Skip to content

When Mental Illness Matters

December 19, 2012

The last several days much more discussion has been done on mental illness. It’s not acceptable that those who need help can’t get it. And yet, the shame pushed on those asking for help puts up barriers to ask, then when it goes bad, as it will eventually, the blame starts.

No empty gun has killed anyone by shooting. People are so terrified of guns that they hear something and all reason leaves. We’re a half hour from police help, if there’s no traffic and immediate dispatch. Call in a midnight trespasser with gas can and it brings no response at all – knowing they’ll likely be gone before the police get there. A more widespread issue, gun or no, is the mental illness. Dealing with prescription drug issues, dealing with overwhelming life issues, isolation – there are many factors.

Some bloggers have addressed this on their blogs. And at the same time there are many threats in comment sections, insults, bullying, name calling which all are widespread in society – they’re out there around us, and the people making them may be in my community – or in yours.

For those who have dealt with depression – mental illness – it’s more than “snap out of it” or “just get over it”. It can vary from self hatred to hopelessness. And it may be that people you pass, or deal with daily, are struggling in ways you cannot fathom.

I remember working at the Santa Cruz Hostel and a guest introduced me as “the happiest person on the planet!” I thought ‘wow I have them fooled!’ You see what they, and most that meet me, don’t know is of depression and a suicide attempt long ago. Yes, there is hope for those who seek it. And it’s usually not just one thing, or two or ten things. It’s an overwhelming mountain that may mean nothing to you, but is to the one under it.

Yes it took getting counseling. Attending women’s support groups for a couple of years, initially to get help, eventually to help others. Tons of reading. Some incredibly special people in Washington who have no idea how much they helped.

So now the simplicity articles, the blog posts about helping others, the Twitter signoff of ~Make a difference for someone. ~ It’s having learned and benefited by those who, in action, demonstrated it. And I thank God it was long ago and is no longer an issue.

Another family member didn’t have that second chance. Never take for granted what a small act can do, especially at the holidays. It may be the thing that keeps someone hanging on. Many of our veterans still struggle every day.

~Make a difference for someone. ~


7 Comments leave one →
  1. December 19, 2012 8:54 PM

    Thanks for sharing your story. We all have a story, don’t we? So why do we not talk about these things?

    • December 19, 2012 9:10 PM

      Embarrassment. Shame. Fear of being judged. Feeling weak. Not wanting to go “back there”. The reasons may be diverse but there can be a future. It takes time. It took a lot of self evaluation at things I didn’t really want to look at. It takes taking responsibility for things and being unwilling to be the victim. And it’s not easy. As my friend Stephen Cochran sings…it comes in pieces. But we’re a whole lot stronger together than individually, and asking for help might just give someone else a positive thing to do that helps *them* too. Friends are more than convenience…trusted friends are lifelines.

  2. December 20, 2012 5:38 AM

    I think this country has reached a point where the conversation needs to go even further than the topic of mental illness. I think it’s time to include the ‘ thinking process of this entire nation, ‘ period. People are overwhelmed. The pressure to survive and just take care of the family, these days, means abandoning the family, in most cases. There are way too many households with children having both parents working multiple part-time jobs, etc.. It’s all about being able to get what it takes to feed, clothe and shelter a family anymore… MONEY. And it’s been rigged that way. People are too overwhelmed to find time to sit down and… think anything through. They can barely focus on the double piles falling off the edges of their own plate. And that creates the isolated ‘ Me-Me-Me ‘ toxic fumes that feed all the negativity. Once again – we are knocked to our knees with a tragedy that brings up one more reason why this nation’s people need to hunker down together and refuse to work anything beyond Monday – Friday from 8am – 5pm. If people would take time to think about all the difference that could make in healing this country so many thousands of ways. But nobody will do that. I guess it’s just easier for some to put a barrel to a head, rather than get in the face of greed and scream, ” Enough! No More! You will not do this to me and my family any longer! “

    • December 20, 2012 10:52 AM

      All true. With a generation or 2 of instant comfort you deserve this right now the message is changing. Tighten up, things are tough, pay cash, not everyone wins, we don’t always get what we want. And there are many ordinary obstacles and missed priorities. It starts in our homes, communities. Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Permanent Solution to Temporary Problems | Food, Farm, Life Choices
  2. True Compassion | Food, Farm, Life Choices
  3. Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May | Food, Farm, Life Choices

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: