I get “breaking news” clips on my computer and phone. Much of the time I just ignore it but today my Hubby said I should take a look.
It stated that Margot Kidder had died. Now I have long been a fan of her acting, especially opposite Christopher Reeve’s Superman as Lois Lane. They say she died peacefully in her sleep Sunday, May 13, 2018. The actual cause has not been released.
She was known for displaying erratic behavior while working on films and life in general. It is that “behavior” that I grieve. That may sound like an odd statement but it will become clear.
Margot was diagnosed with bipolar disorder around the same time I was and we both had gone undiagnosed in our teens and early twenties. She is ten years older than I am but we both went through mental illness during a time when it really was not “cool”.
It was how Margot handled herself that I admired and respected. After a very public manic high in 1996 where she ended up on the streets, she decided to take matters into her own hands. She moved to a small town in Montana to be far from the Hollywood mayhem and close to her daughter and grandchildren.
In an interview that I read several years ago (can’t remember the publication), Margot Kidder said that she refused to take medication because it either didn’t work or made her feel like a zombie (paraphrased). Instead, she worked on keeping her diet, sleep, and exercise in check and had a network of people in her small town who kept her on track. If she was rambling on or getting anxious they would take her for a walk or get her something to eat, etc.
I understood what she meant about taking medication and also have tried to make those around me aware so they can nudge me if needed. My husband and close friends have been very good at making me accountable and I honestly attribute this to Ms. Kidder’s example.
In my tribute to Patty Duke in March of 2016, I mentioned that she also was a champion of the bipolar cause. Both of these women, though no longer with us, will live on in the hearts of those they advocated for in fighting the stigma surrounding mental illness.
While they both chose private lives in the later years they did not stop working and were active in many causes.
When I said that I grieve her erratic behavior I meant that in the kindest of ways. I understand it because I have been there more times than I want to admit. But it is the illness, not the person and while the person needs to take control, that isn’t always easy. And what works for one person may not work for another. If Margot Kidder had not allowed her behavior to be public and also had not spoken freely about how she coped, I may not be as mentally sound as I am today.
I have not listed a lot of facts like I do in many of my tributes – dates, accomplishments, etc. That is not because they aren’t relevant or important, but because I wanted to show my gratitude. “Margot Kidder, I have loved you and will dearly miss you”.