Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I Found My Words

Robin Williams' death turned the world on its ear.  We will see this again, but every time we do, we look at these people and wonder, "How?"

They have the perfect life, with more money than they can spend in a life time. The world caters to them.  How can they not be happy?  So many lost talents. So many lost lives. How can that possibly be?

Even though there are so many lost souls that the media spends no time discussing, what this should tell us is that there is so much more TO be discussed.  We need to discuss that these rich and famous idols, are still people, with the same failings and dreams and hopes and demons that we all harbor.  We need to discuss that mental illness, like cancer and so many other horrible diseases does not care who you are, what you Klout rating is or how much money you make?  Poverty or wealth, depression, mental illness and suicide hit all areas.  It rears its ugly head, without prejudice or bias.  Some times it runs in families and sometimes the atrocities of life bring it out in the happiest of worlds.  Mental illness knows no color or gender or social class.  Even those who have all the services and treatment options that money can buy, still succumb to its evil grip.  There are families that are destroyed and hearts that are broken and lives torn to pieces because of mental illness. 


And like the other million bloggers out there that are writing about this, we all have opinions.  Don't glorify suicide, others will emulate.  How can you mourn someone you have never truly known? White privilege.  What about the thousands of kids we are losing on streets?  But we all need to remember is that it all these lives that are lost are valuable, significant and our instructors.  We can learn from all of these losses.  THAT is what they all have in common.  We can all learn.

I know you are all tired of my soap boxes, but too fricking bad. I am okay being the squeaky wheel.

Mental health is significant.  I have had kids attend my classes and then take their lives as soon as they left.  I have seen my husband so close to that point, where I thought I would be certain to lose him if I didn't keep my guard up.  I have seen alcohol destroy families.  I have seen those people try to fight for their loved ones, only to lose them to the streets. I have seen the scars left in the minds of public servants who stay strong while others have their world falling down around them...only to realize that those images just don't go away. So many mentally ill walk among us.  And there is such a stigma and prejudice.  So many judgements to be made. So many suffering in silence, thinking they are alone.  Thinking that no one understands.

Some of those immediate responses are merely human, when we see someone suffering. Makes no difference if they are homeless or schizophrenic or manic or whatever.  We are unsure how to proceed or react or simply begin.  Fear from someone you don't know. Voices you can't hear are everywhere.  However, the path you take after that initial, "What am I supposed to do know?" reaction, is no longer a reaction, it is a choice.  Saying Hi and smiling.  Carrying happy meal cards.  Asking how they are.  All possible choices.  Just show the people of the world that someone cares.  That everyone is important, regardless of the socio-economic status or baggage.  

Think of how many people wanted something from Robin Williams - a picture, an autograph, his time at a benefit.  How many people truly asked, "How are you?  Are you doing okay?"  You never want to let your immediate family know you are in pain, because that brings unnecessary pain to them.  We just don't know what he might have needed, nor will we ever.  

We need to make sure that we reach out to our friends, co-workers, neighbors and even strangers.  Sitting and just chatting might be the most powerful medicine there is.  I might not be a cure all, but it might make a difference.  Something so simple. 

Take care of the firefighters in your world.  Know who to contact, who to call when you see that things are not quite right.  Don't be afraid to confront them.  Don't be a afraid to reach out, even if it is to a complete stranger.  People might just amaze you.  

I have written about suicide and depression before.  I watched one of my closest friends work through her father's suicide, to make the world less dreadful for those left behind working with S.O.S - Survivors of Suicide.  I tried to help my kids at work muddle through the heartache losing a classmate and friend. I have often talked about my fears with my FF and so many others on the job.  Please don't hesitate to reach out to any of these resources.

Some of the red flags to look for...


Please don't be afraid to reach out. If you are hurting, a loved one or someone you have never met in the real world.


Good-bye Genie, you're free.

Peace.


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