|Bill and I on Our Wedding Day - June 21st, 1980|
Recent life events have caused me to think more lately about the past, my relationships, wellness and illness, life, death, and all those things that tear us apart, tie us to one another, and bring us together.
In 1979 I met Bill. We were both frequenting the Younge Street Mission Evergreen, in Toronto Ontario. I was living around the corner of Gerrard Street and Younge, at the Women's Christian Temperance Union, because the rent was relatively affordable, and I needed a place to live, while I was attending school. You could only entertain gentlemen in the parlor, never upstairs in your room! Bill was living around High Park, on Roncesvalles Avenue, in a windowless, dark, one bedroom, basement apartment.
|On the right is the WCTU in 1956. It still looked the same in 1979. It was like going back in the past.|
While I was at the Mission one evening, before I'd met Bill, I heard a young man laugh out loud, such a great full laugh, which caused me to take immediate notice of him, and I said to myself, "Who the hell is this guy.?" He'd made such a strong impression on me. He was wearing a toque on his head, like the one Jack Nicholson wore in One Who Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. Jack was Bill's his favourite actor, and that was his favourite movie. I was later to find out exactly why.
We began dating, and after a very short period of time Bill became my husband, and then quickly became, my late husband, as he suffered with Paranoid Schizophrenia and Brittle Diabetes from the age of 16, and was an out-patient at the Clark Institute in Toronto for ten years. Our first date was spent in the outpatients at Saint Michael's Hospital.
Bill was an extremely caring, compassionate, creative person, a writer, with a great love of music, and wicked sense of humour. He was very intelligent, and could relate to any one, especially to street people. Everyone loved Bill.
I have known many creative artists who have mental disorders of some sort. I really don't know if there is a connection between the two, or simply that mental illness is more common than society cares to acknowledge, because it's frightening, if we don't understand. When it comes to any disease, many people go into denial.
“We do not have to visit a madhouse to find disordered minds; our planet is the mental institution for the universe.” - Göethe
I don't know if the correlation between mental health and artists is so important, but what I do know, is that it is essential that people need to talk about it, so we can get educated, and change the stigma and misunderstanding attached to mental illness. The silence and stigma surrounding the topic is what is not only crazy, but so very destructive and threatening to peoples lives, more so than the illness itself.
I found a site today about bipolar artists that is very informative, compelling and worthwhile checking out.
This information I found on line from Public Health Agency of Canada site