Michael Stone was a beloved yoga, meditation, and Buddhism teacher from British Colombia, Canada. Although he had been using mediation and yoga to find balance in his life, his family said he was growing desperate for more treatment for his mental health. His death sent shock waves through the yoga community.
Stone was declared brain dead on July 14. His wife, Carina Stone, announced that he was taken off life support after two days so that his lungs and kidneys could be donated.
According to a statement Stone’swife and senior students released on his Facebook page and official website, initial toxicology results suggest that he had opoids such as fetanyl in his system. These results are still inconclusive, however, and it will take five months for the official toxicology report to be completed.
The statement also shared that Stone was possibly seeking help for his bi-polar disorder at the time of his death.
Although Stones wife and some of his students knew of his past with mental health issues, he mostly kept it private, fearing that the stigma of revealing his bi-polar disorder would change how people looked at him.
It was revealed that yoga, meditation, as well as a special diet helped Stone with his mental health issues for years. Stone had been candid about his use of psychadelic drugs in his youth but stopped in his 20’s when he discovered meditation. He went to naturopaths, herbalists, as well as trainers and psychiatrists to find the right balance of meditation and medication.
In 2012, he mentioned his wounds in a video to support the documentary and book, Reactor, and how his internal struggle could be a tool to help him connect with others through the spirit of Bodhisattva – a being that is worshipped in Buddhism that compassionately refrains from entering nirvana in order to save others.
“I think about this in my life: what does it mean to have tools of compassion? It seems, in my life, having tools of compassion has everything to do with my own woundedness. To be able to take places where I’ve been wounded and recognize that instead of seeing those wounds or those scars as kind of places that hold me back or stop me, maybe my woundedness is also a tool for connecting with others.”
But in recent years he was growing more desperate for help.
Michael Stone Overdose and Help for Mental Health
In the days leading to his death, he reportedly sought help from a substance abuse and addictions pharmacy, presumably to ask for a controlled drug to self-medicate his bi-polar disorder. But he was not a candidate.
Instead, he might have bought an unspecified “street drug” which likely lead to his overdose.
As many took part in vigils across Canada and the world to honour the life of Michael Stone, his wife asks for the conversation about mental health to continue and to release the burden from those suffering from bi-polar disorder, depression, and other mental illness.
Although he kept his personal mental health mostly a secret from the public, Stone was an advocate for mental health in many of his teachings and workshops. He supported mental health awareness and urged those with anxiety, depression, bi-polar disorder, and other issues to seek help and not struggle alone.