Let’s put some perspective on the news from yesterday: Freddie Freeman’s wrist is broken. Chris Cornell is dead. Freddie will be coming back to baseball in a few weeks. Chris is never coming back. Freddie’s injury was an unfortunate accident. Chris’s suicide was a lonely, desperate act. There is no greater tragedy than someone taking his or her own life. There is no darker place in the world than the mind of someone about to commit suicide.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month………………………….
As writer of Friday Night With Guitar George I spent two years dispensing information and observations about music. I composed one hundred essays and covered a lot of ground but not once did I mention my own struggles with mental illness—depression, anxiety, alcoholism, the constant struggle to maintain an effective balance of medications, the constant battle with The Darkness, a fight which ebbs and flows in severity but never goes away completely. I doubt that my opinions about Muddy Waters and Samantha Fish have done a single thing to help anyone who struggles with mental illness. So maybe it’s time I began a different type of dialogue. Maybe Chris Cornell’s suicide should be a grim reminder to those of us who have a secret hidden behind our texts about baseball and our tweets about music that there is a much more important message that needs to be shared.
I am not suggesting that we abandon our discussions of music and baseball—there is certainly an intrinsic value to such lightheartedness, especially for those whose minds could use an occasional break from dark thoughts—I am simply imploring myself not to allow my angst over a ballplayer’s broken wrist distract me from the much more significant news of the day.
Apropos to our juxtaposition of baseball and mental illness, a link to an essay composed by baseball writer Keith Law about his battle with anxiety is below:
“Brando,” a longtime friend of BGS tweeters, wrote this moving and powerful essay about his mother’s suicide and he retweets it every year during Mental Health Awareness Month.
Please take the time to read these two essays. And then turn on the Braves game, mute Chip and Joe and crank up some Soundgarden.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: