Ernest Hemingway enjoyed incredible success in his lifetime. The talented writer penned The Sun Also Rises, For Whom the Bell Tolls and A Farewell to Arms, three of the most respected pieces of literature in history. Unfortunately, his personal life was an entirely different story. He was married four times, survived two successive plane crashes and lived with chronic pain.
Many people overcome adversity in their lives but much of that depends on their coping strategies and support system. Hemingway, a heavy drinker, slipped into a depressive state in the last years of his life and was even treated with electroconvulsive therapy at the Mayo Clinic multiple times. Within months of his last treatment, he committed suicide by way of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The devastating way that his life ended was not unusual for the family, however. Hemingway’s father, sister and brother also committed suicide. Almost exactly 35 years later, his granddaughter, Margaux Hemingway, a supermodel, also took her own life. Her sister, Mariel, with whom she starred in the 1976 movie, Lipstick, has decided to change this tragic pattern in her family.
The Oscar-nominated actress has just released two memoirs recounting her life watching her family members struggle with mental illness and addiction. One book, Out Came the Sun, is very candid about her experience whereas Invisible Girl is geared towards younger audiences with the goal of helping teens who may be dealing with similar issues.
She openly discusses the pain and suffering she witnessed growing up and shares the ways in which she changed her own life. She focused on incorporating yoga, regular exercise and a healthy diet into her lifestyle in order to provide a good and stable home for her daughters, Dree and Langley. The 53-year-old also abstains from alcohol and has embraced Transcendental Meditation, which she practices every day, twice a day.
Indeed, many people who have suffered from depression have found relief in alternative therapies. While some may need medication, supplementing their prescribed treatment plan with yoga, exercise and a well-balanced eating regimen can have a huge impact on someone’s sense of well-being.
Further, research conducted on Transcendental Meditation (funded by the National Institutes of Health, American Medical Association, American Heart Association and the American Psychological Association) has found that the practice is proven effective in the treatment of stress and anxiety, is the only form of meditation shown to lower blood pressure and is associated with a 48% reduction in death, heart attack and stroke among test subjects using Transcendental Meditation in a five-year randomized controlled study.
It’s brave of Mariel Hemingway to share her story and her journey to a healthier existence. She could actually save lives through her honesty. Have any of you committed to any of these alternative modalities? If so, how has your life changed as a result?