Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Time Out

So many thoughts are running through my mind, after today's tragedy.  
I was on my way to a friend, while listening to the radio was when I heard of it. 
And I was on the  brink of tears as I listened to the radio hosts describe what had happened, and reading the local stations' tweets remembering the innocent victims. 
The fear that was once irrational, isn't. 
No longer do we live care-free lives.  
We now have to be afraid of malls, movie theaters, schools, neighborhoods-you name it!
Many thoughts went through my head. 

The first thought was: we think we're too good....
 We think we're too good, so we don't need family.
We think we're too good so we don't need "religion".
Too many times, and I unfortunately know firsthand, that too many families are not intact.  Family members just fall by the wayside. Your inbred support system, gone. 
When I say religion, I just mean a higher power.  We all go through hard times, it won't be good all of the times.  But if we don't have the strength to tell ourselves it will get better, wouldn't we all crumble? 
Wouldn't we all fall if we never told ourselves, it will get better?

My second thought was: the standards are too high
This generation is all about technology and social media, and too often all you see are the perfections, not the imperfections.  So often we compare ourselves to the perfect, and think how imperfect we are.  Because of social media we have so much more exposure-we don't live in our immediate environment.  And there is a constant battle going on-always striving for perfection.  
My third thought was: end the stigma
Anyone who is not able to act as a functional adult, has a problem.  If you can't get to work on time, you have a problem.  If you are in trouble for sexual harassment, you have a problem.  Any time that you are unable to complete the job that you are supposedly qualified to do, you have a problem.  
It came out that the gunman was a "disgruntled employee."  We don't know why he was disgruntled, but does that really matter? If he was having a problem in the workplace, it should have been addressed.  If your answer is to shoot people, you need help.  
Mental illness is a disease that cannot be helped, and it is not something to be ashamed of.  Can it be addressed and can techniques be taught?  Of course! But mental illness and asking for help are not things to be ashamed of.  
Sometimes there's a trigger which exposes one's mental illness-maybe the gunman was previously diagnosed with a mental illness, or whatever made him disgruntled triggered his mental illness.  Perhaps on-the job counseling would have made a difference-by preventing his actions, or alerting professionals that an employee was risk to themselves and others?  
Here's an example: one of my friends lost her job causing her to question how she would pay rent and what she would do without health insurance.  She dealt with it in a healthy manner and believed it was meant to be, and it would all work out.  But, that could have been a trigger and caused a dangerous situation for herself and others. A professional should have been on hand to address her anxiety and concerns that way it could be assessed if she was a risk to herself and/or others.

We need to end the stigma that is mental illness, I'll start.
I was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and mild anxiety at age 9.  I have been to therapy a couple of different seasons in my life.  I never needed medication, but did my OCD and anxiety affect my life? Of course! 
Do I have any control over it? Not at all.  
I've learned what helps me, I'm a functioning adult, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't sometimes get the better of me.  

Will you help end the stigma?

Ganfhi quote and image shared by Julie Kautz Mills

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