I think there needs to be a new approach in the way we deal with things. I think we need to change our way of questioning the world and trying to find answers to questions that make no sense.
Many ask the question, “Why?” as if there could be a simple answer to life’s complex things. People ask “Why?’ about the tragedies that have no explanation and could never be explained. We ask why but oftentimes the answers have nothing to do with logic. And yet, there we are, all of us are still asking the question, “Why?”
I suppose we have to question things or else we will never learn or understand. Perhaps, and for nothing more, we try to find out “Why?” because need to find accountability. Maybe we need to find different answers because we don’t like the answers we’ve been given. Or, perhaps the answers are too simple to be good enough (or true.)
Maybe we need more, or, maybe the answer we find does not and cannot solve the personal dilemma we have.
Be advised, everything we interpret is based upon us and our perception. Our interpretation is based upon our life and our background, which means our opinions derive from our experiences and our past and personal biases. This is where our private and not-so-private prejudices come in. This is where our mental judge and jury come in, as if we always know better, because of course we do
In most cases (if not all) our opinion is based upon the reflection we see when we roll back into the reflections of our past, our upbringing, and experiences; not to mention the inclusion of our losses and the subconscious data recalls us to the connection of adverse or negative interactions.
The brain is an amazing part of our body. It stores facts, remembers lessons, and learns to adapt, and yet, at the same time, our brain calculates the memories and totals the sum of our fears and past occurrences which define our opinions and reasons to be biased.
I have seen places, like crack houses and dope dens with the darkest rooms and damp corridors with black holes in the floors and creaky floorboards—and one could fall right through, if one was not careful. I have seen places where a false move could result in a show of incredible violence, and yet, none of this is a deterrent.
Of course the question comes up, “How does someone end up in a place like this?”
Why would someone do this to themselves?”
I have seen the city’s homeless on both the West coast and the East. I notice their eyes. I can see the marks in their arms or the wired up look in their eyes. Many of them are young.
I have seen this come in different shapes and sizes. What I mean is I have seen this both personally and professionally; all shapes, all sizes, all colors, religions, ethnic background, and from wealthy to poor, And some would look and call them infected.
Most never see the people in this life as a son or a daughter or a father or perhaps even a mother. Many see them as the infected and have an opinion as to how this happened.
I have seen people dipping downward, slowly, eyelids closing like a shade to an old abandoned window —their mouth hung open as if they lack the muscular capacity to close their jaw, and their body dangles in the air as they swivel downward and nod off, but they never fall to hit the ground.
People in this life were not always this way. People that struggle with mental health disorders come in all shapes and sizes too.
We need to meet this head on and face people where they’re at. We need to create a new and improved dynamic. We need to remove shame because no one is ashamed when they have something, like say, diabetes or or Lyme disease. No one points their finger at a person with cancer and shames them or blames them or their parents for a bad upbringing. Perhaps mental health is a choice but mental illness is not. To say to one that “Their” problems are “Their” fault is not altogether accurate.
In full and total disclosure, I can say that I know what happens when I give in to things like my depression. I can say that I know what I have done to defend myself from my fears and anxieties. I know what I was capable of before entering the recovery community.
I can also say that not all of this was innocent or kind, and in some cases throughout my background, I admit to the mercilessness of some of my choices, to which I had to be held accountable for.
However, I am accountable. I am responsible for my actions. I agree with this. I also had no idea how to change or live my life, or in the simplest terms; I had no idea how to relax or calm down. I lived in a state of a constant high-alert.
We are not built to live this way, which is why our decision making abilities can be altered and questionable when people are not at their best.
No one expects this to be them. No body really wanted to fall so far from grace that the only savior is a momentary release that only digs the hole deeper.
If anything, people just want to feel good. The reason for the high is a easy to understand. It’s the euphoria, —it’s the break in the tension. This is a cure for the boredom and animosity; whether this be an internal thing or situational or whether the need begins innocently enough as in a pill to take away an ache or pain, —no one expects the downward spiral will ever happen to them. But it does. It happens in all regards. Drugs or alcohol are just an outlet. They are a symptom of a deeper issue.
Keep in mind, our behavior is a response. We do what we do to honor a need or a thought. Therefore, what we do in response is a symptom of what lurks beneath us.
However, It would be crazy to think that this is the only problem that plagues our county. There are other issues that go unnoticed.
There are other initiatives that deserve our attention. Our focus has become symptom related. Perhaps, there are other initiatives that we need to embrace.
Ask yourself, why does bullying still exist? What does this say about us as a society? How much can we say we have matured or improved. I mean, I think it’s great that we have an app on our phone that can figure everything out for us without our input, but can this solve our social problems?
Suicide is the second leading cause of death of people between the age of 25-34.
Some, of course, give way to the ultimate send off, which is something I used to call a “Hot shot,” which is one final blast to take the mind from atmosphere and feel absolutely nothing—to push the needle in and push the plunger down, and once the method pierces the membrane, it’s over Johnny. It’s a wrap!
Why does this happen? Why do we self-destruct? There is something missing. There has to be.
There has to be something overlooked because with all the warnings and with all the technology and information one could find, still, we are a society hell bent for self-destruction.
According to the Center for Workplace Mental Health, the total economic burden of mental health diseases is estimated to be $210.5 per year.
(This is why we need wellness in the workplace, by the way. I will be following up with this thought and some other figures in a future idea regrading workplace wellness.)
But if the truth is to be told, we have more than just an opiate epidemic to deal with. Look at workplace violence. Consider the fact that workplaces offer classes for anti-harassment reasons. And yest still harassment happens. Does this mean we really don’t know how to interact with each other, respectfully, and kindly, without crossing a boundary?
We have inclusion programs, which by definition shows how we exclude others for one reason or another.
I have attended active shooter programs and emergency action plan meetings in commercial office buildings. And why is this?
Where are the resources to prevent the triggers before this happens? What kind of outlets can we provide to create a positive work environment and gain a better return on corporate investment?
More accurately, what can we do to create a better, more productive, and efficient atmosphere?
The reason we need active shooter classes and all the above is because this has become a real problem. However, the problem is deeper. The problem goes far beyond our streets, our kids, or gun control. This goes beyond drug laws or ideas of bail reform. Mental health does not care who the president is or who we voted for.
We have a situation here. Everyone knows this. And look around, we are a country that is divided more by opinion now than by race or religion. Politics have become the new religion. To vote one way is to pray one way. And pray differently than me (or I differently from you,) and somehow we have to become enemies.
Is this helpful to bettering our community?
There is a gap between us and the answer. I know there is. I know there are good people out there and they do great things too but for some reason, great things aren’t newsworthy.
I was interviewed for a piece, in which my interviewer began crying. The camera man began to cry as well. We had to stop for a minute.
They asked me questions about the epidemic. They asked me about loss. They asked me about the ability to heal and to recover.
I expressed my side of the wellness plan and informed that people can and do get well. However, none of this was used in the piece because the initiative called for more moving details on how all hope is lost.
But why? What does this do?
What is the agenda here? Is it to inform? Is it to have an impact? Look around us. Look at the newspaper. Watch the news. None of this is a secret. But hey, symptoms make headlines and headlines make for better viewership. Am I right?
I don’t care much to know why things happen anymore. Besides, we all know what happens. I care more about resources. I care more about stopping the problem than solving the symptoms.
I’d like to see a better way. I’d like to see an end to stigma but in all honesty; like it or not, stigma will always be around.
We are “What’s it for me,” me kind of people.
We need incentive. Wouldn’t you agree?
So then why not emphasize this?
Why not show people what’s in it for them?
I am wondering though, —and this is just a thought, but rather than shame people or outline the tragedies, which, I agree they do need to be mentioned; why not place more emphasis on the resources and possibilities?
Rather than focus on the statistics of failure, why not emphasize the margins of victory? wouldn’t this be better?
I had someone tell me that I was crazy the other day. He said no none is ever going to change unless they want to. I agree.
No one will ever change unless they want to. This is true. But rather than lead from the back and tell people what to do; why not lead from the front and lead by attraction and not promotion? Why not create an open line of communication and support. We can deal with the questions about “Why?” things happen later. For now, what’s say we just help people get out of crisis?
It couldn’t hurt. And, it certainly couldn’t do worse on the main stage of our society than what we are doing now.
Maybe this man was right. Maybe I am crazy. Maybe the world we live in is beyond repair. Maybe I can’t help change the things I see.
This could be true. But no one can stop me from trying.