From a very young age until now I always have associated the act of whispering with all topics that were tightly closed in a secure jar, just waiting to come open. Whispering creates an overpowering shadow of darkness that ultimately fades any lightness for truth. For many suffering with mental illness, society often tip toes around these tightly shut topics so much that those who get diagnosed with mental illness often begin to inherit feelings of being weird, invisible, and forgotten so much that they begin with one whisper and that whisper feeds off another so much that they become their whispers. Sadly, this was the case for my beautiful sister Laurie Beth Taubman, who passed away a week ago to the soft whispers of bipolar disorder. Approximately 5.7 million Adult Americans have this disease, and my sister is just one of many, who suffer quietly in the corner never having the ability to strike a chord and end on a high note. Towards the end of her life, her disease became so debilitating that the life she had once known, so calming, free, and out in the open became a life of isolation in a tightly shut glass jar, just dying to break free to be out in the open, but too tightly trapped in an illness, and stigma she believed that came towards living with bipolar disorder, debilitating disorder of the brain that affects all aspects of life if not treated right.
This post is not only a memoir to honor her life and soul, but to any one worldwide who is also suffering with any form of mental illness and feels like a whisper in the backround. I hope that this post resonates on many different sound waves whether you are suffering with a mental illness, know someone you are close with, or are looking to find out more information about mental diseases, so those tiny sounds of faint whispers one day can turn into strong powerful voices that can give one the courage to be brave and inch their hands slowly towards striking chord by chord to create a sweet and most pleasant sounding musical that ends on a high beat! Unlike other posts at #zenonaplate which discuss the central theme of being accountable for your own power and being the master pianist to creating a rich symphony of life, this post shines light on those who struggle daily to stay on beat to their own tune. Those who don’t suffer with mental illness can often easily strike a chord without help, hit a high note, end on a few low notes, or go on in between the discordance and end their piece with such ease and confidence that ovation is the outcome, rather than a whisper.
Often times people who suffer with mental illness take on the mindset of being invisible because society is so quick to put bandage over these issues and not address the serious wounds that mental illnesses like bipolar disorder result in which are drug addiction, homelessness, isolation and suicide.
Laurie was diagnosed with bipolar disease in her mid 20’s and over the years it chewed up her soul and spirit so badly, that in the past two years I barely knew who Laurie became. Her spirit slowly lost the battle to waging war of the chemical imbalance in her brain that often times mimicked a cold blooded killer slowly slashing her soul piece by piece that her spirit was completely torn and ripped apart so bad that she no longer knew her self. Those old ovations over the years turned into praises which transitioned to one word compliments to slowly being forgotten and to finally fuelling whispers that transcended from the subconscious mind into a sad soul that was buried with shame, guilt, depression, anger, hate, and resentment. This was not the Laurie that I once knew and grew up skating with. The old Laurie was funny, beautiful, athletic, smart, an animal lover, heart of gold, a great listener, great friend, life of the party, family-oriented, creative, and the list expands miles long. All of these qualities slowly faded into the darkness to the whispers of her illness. Unfortunately, as a result of these whispers I was not able to directly say good-bye right before she passed, finding out that the funeral was private with only four people. The old vivacious Laurie, would be having standing ovations where her soul was playing center stage as the feature performer with such tenacity, grace, enthusiasm, and confidence to create the richest and awe inspiring musical piece imaginable! So next time when you hear whispers it can either be “Life is like a Piano, what you get out of it depends on how you play it,” or , “The Piano is a monster that screams when you touch it’s teeth.”
* Dedicated to the beautiful memory of Laurie Beth Taubman (1978-2016) RIP * I will never forget you, and the impact you have had in my life. I have always loved you and will continue to carry that love until we meet up there and beyond.