Monday, August 11, 2014

The Masks We Wear

Beautiful mask to the right there, isn't it?

This was just one of many, many gorgeous masks we saw while visiting Venice this Spring.  These masks are worn during Carnivale time in Venice in the Spring.  This used to be a month long celebration, but has now been reduced to a week long one.

But as beautiful as this mask is, what I really have on my mind this evening is the masks we ALL wear.

The death of Robin Williams today of an apparent suicide brings to mind again for me how little we actually know about what is going on inside another person.  This man seemed to have everything going for him.  He was a successful actor,  comedian and apparently parent.  He gave the world so much joy and laughter and was such a spontaneous person.  Who would ever have thought that this clowning, joyous character would take his own life at only 63 years of age?

We all wear masks.  Some of us wear them more successfully than others.  We don't want the world to actually know what is going on inside our minds.  Even though some of us see psychologists, and/or psychiatrists (and sometimes no one knows that about us either), we don't actually share who the real person behind the mask is most of the time.

I'm not sure whether it is because we want people to believe we are all well-adjusted and satisfied, or that we just don't want to express or frailty or even maybe don't want to make others uncomfortable.  The sad part of this is however, that like in the case of Robin Williams, our inability to be "real" leads to tragedy...depression and sometimes even suicide.

So how do we learn to shed the masks?  How do we share what is really behind the smile we wear for others?  For one thing, you must find TRUE friends in order to be able to share openly.  Real friends are sometimes hard to find, but it is a must for us to become healthy, well-adjusted people.  We need to be able to share the good and the bad times with someone we can trust.  We need to be willing to lean on another and let that other lean on us when necessary.  Only by being truly open and honest can we take down the mask.

It is definitely a scary though for most of us.  We risk ridicule, judgement and possibly abandonment. However, if we can find that true friend who is trustworthy and honest with us, then we can avoid the tragedy which took Robin Williams today.  If you can't find that friend, and you are feeling depressed, please please please seek help from a professional you can trust and relate to.  Suicide should not be the only option ... come out from behind your mask and be real and open.



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