“God never gives you more than you can handle.” This slogan is bandied about in everything from Sunday schools to Recovery groups. The implication os that “God”, however you define him, will never put you in circumstances that exceed your power to deal with them. This is a form of mind candy used to placate those who face troubles. And in the mix, the blame for the whole sequence of events somehow lands squarely in the lap of “God.” It smacks of the challenge in the Book of Job where the main character is a pawn in a pissing match between two divine beings.
The statement is wrong. First, it is not some “God” who is doing the trick. It may be a matter of Wyrd / Karma /Kismet or it might be a simple matter of cause to effect. It may be many things. The reality is that Life is unfair and that some folks get hit with more problems than others. Most problems are manageable but a few are not. Sorry to say, folks, but innocent babies do die of cancer, good people get killed in natural disasters and schizophrenics get overwhelmed by the voices in their heads.
The recent death of comedian and actor Robi n Williams has many people asking “Why?” Did “God” give him more than he could handle, or did he wimp out on himself. If you look at it bluntly, it is obvious that the man did everything in his power and availed himself of the best help. Even with all that, it was not enough to counter his troubles. Life is unfair. Sometimes the unfairness is lethal.
A higher percentage of talented and creative people have these troubles. We wonder if ti is part of that which gives them talent. Is it a side effect of being creative? It could be either or both, or neither. We really do not know. History shows that many creative people succumbed to alcohol and drugs and other excesses. Just as many have fallen prey to bouts of insanity. Most tried to deal with the problem but lacked whatever it took to win.
I had a friend named Jackie who was something of a character. She was an attractive, good-natured woman who could be described as “nutty as a fruitcake.” For years, she had battled mental illness. It took time, but she slowly got her life in order. One of Jackie’s gifts was the ability to explain mental illness to folks who knew little or nothing about it. I learned a lot from her. The last I saw her, Jackie had a good job, nice apartment and a fiance who was wonderful to her.
One day Jackie’s illness flared up without warning and overwhelmed her. She had no defense and was dead because of it. All of her hard work and the support of her friends and family, even her successes, were not enough. So yes, folks, this hits close to home. I personally knew people who were given more than they could handle and died as a result.
Many of those afflicted with this kind of illness unconsciously self-medicate. They use booze and street drugs to buy themselves some peace. I met a man some years ago who told me his own experience with self-medication. Extreme behavior landed him in an alcoholism rehab. He was able to pu the brakes to the booze. About three or four months after leaving the rehab, the man realized that he had mental problems that needed to be addressed. He did so. As the man explained it to me, the booze masked the other problem.
We often wonder how successful people could be so distraught. After ll, they have wealth and prestige and fame. All of the money and recognition cannot compensate for serious personal troubles. The fame and the wealth do not fill that hole in the soul.
Robin Williams and those like him are victims of a disease that cannot be seen, touched weighed or measured. It masks itself in the personality and emerges to wreak havoc. All of their wealth and success cannot counter it. A higher percentage of creative and talented people have this problem than with average folks. It has caused the demise of many a skilled performer. Let us not judge them, but understand that there are those among us on whom a heavier burden has been placed by Life. And give thanks to the God or Gods of your understanding for your physical and mental health. Hopefully, science will one day find a remedy for them. Until that day, we can give them our goodwill and pray for their well-being.
“But for the grace of the God(s), there go I….”
My experience is working with alcoholics and drug addicts, not the mentally ill. If you are dealing with mental illness and are seeking someone who understands, seek elsewhere. I do not have the answers you seek and I do not understand the nuances of your situation. Better to find someone who knows than to rely on the partial information of someone who knows little.