Scott Reiss: The Silent Screaming

The loss of Scott Reiss sends me to reflection of so many great artists that have been lost to mental afflictions from depression and alcholism to bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Artists emote for a living, and its in our giving off energy to transform and maintain society that we are like human batteries. After a while, the battery explodes, wears down, and burns out.

I remember as a new student of music hearing about the death of Jaco Pastorius and his many occasions that were telling others of a pain deep in the psyche of this amazing musician. The name of artists who met this end, suicide or forced burnout is probably not much more significant than not as artistic human beings who live the similar burnout lifestyles.

The end for artists like Danny Gatton, Kurt Cobain, Wendy O. Williams, Michael Hutchence, Hunter S. Thompson, Phil Ochs, and now Scott Reiss bring me to ask, what is it that disappears in a human being to bring them to the end of hope or desire to live in this world?

I think the time to learn about mental illness has passed us and we are no behind the times. In reading about AA one time I found information about Alanon, and the ways in which loved ones play a part in the ongoing suffering of a person with an illness like alcoholism or drug addiction. Now it seems as important for people who live with someone who is affected by mental illness to find out how they can be more aware of how this illness plays out in their lives.

In the coming years I hope to help establish more support for understanding how artists suffer with and cope with mental illness in our community and how loved ones can become aware of this suffering long before an end is met with suicide.

To my dear brother Scott Reiss, I wish I could have heard your call. Perhaps I need not question the outcome and simply smile at your memory and ease of suffering, but to the loss in Tina’s heart and others who are left with a question was not what you wanted and there must be another way. I for one, forgive you, love you and am still your brother.

Scott Reiss shot himself December 15, 2006 in his backyard at the grave of his cat. The pain in his head was too much. This pain is our pain now and we can surely do more to understand it.

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