"The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four Americans is suffering from some form of mental illness. Think of your three best friends. If they're okay, then it's you." Rita Mae Brown
Memory lane again. This time with local celebrities, though wait, that's not the right designation. Prominent Philadelphians. Closer. Perennial local lights in publishing and media. Bingo.
The Spikols: Art, Linda and their daughter Liz. A family triad of talent, brains, achievement, suffering and survival. Friends and colleagues back in the day.
The picture above is from 1980 at a Philly ad agency called Kalish & Rice. Linda is seated in the picture. I'm standing to her left (your right).
When I worked with Linda back then, I got to know 8-9-10-year old little Lizzie. A sweet, precocious, brilliant child who seemed filled with promise. And showed no hint of the rocky road she would travel.
And now Dan Rubin of Blinq has showcased Liz as she is today, Managing Editor of Philadelphia Weekly, with a blog called The Trouble With Spikol, about mental illness -- hers and others'.
It's a bit unsettling to see Liz so grown up. But it's also a genuine pleasure. And frankly, a kick in the pants. I was younger then than she is now.
Her life has been filled with pain. But she draws on those experiences with insight and wit to paint in bold strokes the stark reality of mental illness. And to advocate for help and change. In her work at least, she has fulfilled her promise, and more. I hope she achieves equal success in her personal life.
I've advocated for and shared stories of my own family's struggles with physical illness -- most specifically childhood cancer, breast cancer and blindness. But we're on the board with mental illness too. Clinical depression. Bipolar disorder. Suicide.
It takes character and courage to talk about those struggles. I'm old enough to be Liz Spikol's ... baby-sitter, but I'm not ready to do that yet.
Someday I'll find the maturity and wisdom to speak out as Liz Spikol has spoken. I only hope to do it half as well.