This is my favorite picture of the late beautiful Ms. Phyllis Hyman. This is how she appeared at my freshman year homecoming when I was attending the waste of time people call college. This is also how she’s burned into the lexicon of my brain’s images catalog. She was tall and very sexy to a young man trying to work out the world on his “own” for the first time. I loved her dearly from that point forward. I didn’t know she suffering from what so many people that look like me suffer from. Bi-poplar, manic depression, chemical imbalance, plain ol’ depression you name it and it’s what we have. Some are able to pull it together for long enough patches to make a life of some sort. Others can’t and others still bailout early, the pain and deep, lightless, emptiness is an absolute soul killer and nothing on this planet is worth living for. The damaged brain is insurmountable and way to exhausting to counter, so we simply lay down and never get up.
This is the story as reported by Ms. Hyman’s friend and manager Gelinda Garcia:
Walid and Richard have shared with me that many of you would like to know “Why Phyllis killed herself …”
This question has been asked of me time and time again. I always respond with the short answer, which is : only Phyllis *really* knows why she killed herself.
However, for those of you who may be able to relate to my *feelings* about what her motivations were, I will share my feelings with you…
First, let me start by saying that within two hours after Phyllis’ death, she visited me in my office. When I heard her laughing, I asked her the very question you have asked me — to which she responded “Because no one believed that I would.” I then asked her, “But, do you see all of the chaos and confusion that your death has created?” She said, “Handle it!” Then she giggled and left as suddenly as she arrived.
Phyllis had a philosophy about life, death and her body. Simply, she felt that because it was her life, it was also her death. Because it was her body, she had the right to do with it as she chose, including leaving it behind when she was ready to.
Although she was not a member of the Hemlock Society, she was very clear that suicide was indeed an option for those whose lives could not be managed successfully because there was just too much pain : emotionally, physically and spiritually.
About ten years ago, Phyllis was diagnosed as being “bi-polar”, a medical term for someone who suffers from the dis-ease of manic-depression. As she got older, her dis-ease became more and more difficult for her to manage. She elected not to use pharmaceutical medication. She elected to self medicate. Her self medication distorted her dis-ease more and more, until she felt helpless about ever being able to recover from it.
Phyllis was an extremely complex person. She had many, many layers to her personality. But, at the root of everything was her most basic need : love — to both give and receive love.
She could love in a very deep, deep way. She had the capacity to love so deeply that she would become empathic — meaning, that she was so sensitive that she could actually *feel* the feelings and the pain of others. Although she never considered herself to be *psychic* per se, her sensitivity was such that she experienced telepathy, pre-cognition and generally speaking, the paranormal environment in a way that did not allow her to be easily understood by others. As a consequence, she experienced frustration and oftentimes enormous agony when she knew that she *saw* something happening before it happened and no one would believe her.
When she *saw* distortions in the world, she would feel so much pain from these distortions that she could literally detach herself from everyone for days so that she could recover/heal from the experience. For example, when the Oklahoma bombings occurred, the death of the children, in particular, so disturbed her that she was out of commission for a week!
Phyllis’ pain was personal and global. She had carried it around with her since childhood, as do most of us.
It is important to note that she had attempted suicide twice before she actually committed suicide. Because she and I talked about suicide as an option to living a painful life, I was not surprised by her death. I was and am still very sorrowful that she actually made the decision to ascend June 30, 1995. I really miss her…
Stay in the Light and Love,
Some of my faves by the lady Ms. Phyllis Hyman: