Although out lives were quite different, Rebecca was a dear friend. I was married and settled, she was single and still partying. I was caught up in work, home, and family, she was a free spirit. She loved to shock me with her escapades.
We enjoyed making art together. She loved to work with clay and she admired the fact that I was an artist. Though I didn’t see Rebecca for many months at a time, whenever we did get together our times were filled with fun and laughter. We would talk about her "problems," but they were the kind everyone had; finding a loving relationship, landing an interesting job, fulfilling her creative side.
When Rebecca took her life, I was both upset and frustrated. As an art therapist I had training to guide her to seek help and to express her emotions creatively, yet our relationship never allowed such openness. I never knew her deep pain – she was truly a consummate actress.
That is why Vanessa Shaw-Finelli’s book, Losing Rebecca, is such a powerful testimony. We all need to listen with our hearts instead of our ears and take mental illness out of the shadows and into the light, to let it stand alongside physical illness, so that it can be discussed and treated openly and honestly.
Georgette D’Amelio MS, ATR