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Saturday, April 20, 2013

We have to face the truth.


My dad used to tell his friends of the time when barely a toddler I blurted something out while he was negotiating to sell his horse. I told the other party they were trying to find faults with the horse because they didn't want to pay what the horse was worth. I was three years old and truth came out of my mouth like a wild spring.

My parents worked hard at modifying my enthusiastic delivery.

Now that I'm older and wiser, I pride myself on the simple principle that truth, the whole truth must come out somehow, and much of it in plain speech. I tend to appreciate food when it is presented in ways that all its elements are easily identifiable too.

And that brings me to today's topic. At our age, with our experience, with few days ahead, we are obligated by ethics and morals to state the truth and face it with grace. We can't hide it to save face; we can't hide it because someone will be offended; we can't hide it because we'll lose friends and acquaintances.

The horrible truth on my mind this morning is the tragedy in Boston and all  the tragedies that involved young people, in Columbine, in Newtown. The perpetrators all felt like outsiders, friendless in most cases.  As a nation we say words like "mentally ill" and then we bury that truth in the rubble of blame and the carnage of fear.

People with mental illnesses, people who are suffering unbearable abuse, people with major paranoia and insecurities, people who hurt and can't cope with life's bumps, all of them just a minute away from committing abominable acts towards themselves, or towards innocent victims, living right in our house,or next door, among sane, smart, law abiding folks, these people walk right along us in malls, schools, churches, public and private offices.


Can we say we don't know what to do?
Can we say that just throwing a label their way does no good?
Can we say that we have been silent too long?
Can we say that "mental health" has to be our new frontier?



S

16 comments:

Linda Myers said...

We are all in this together, aren't we?

I have a grown child who is hurting. I have called and left messages and texted, and so far no response. I have to hope someone else will be there for him.

Helen said...

Your truth ... is a universal truth. Stated beautifully!!

#1Nana said...

Just this week I substituted in a middle school class for students with behavioral disabilities. I'm afraid that several of these kids are headed for prison. It's like a career pathway. One of the kids is the son of a very mentally unstable kid I worked with when I was a VP. Now he's the next generation of unstable personalities. What is the intervention that works for these kids when we continue to let them be parented by parents who are themselves mentally ill?

yaya said...

With cuts in medical care, the mentally ill are being forced out into a world they can't deal with. I hope we can be diligent and try and help where we can. Be observant and truthful with our family or friends who seem to have issues that need looking into. We can't hide our heads in the sand and think this can't happen where we live...Your post is right on Rosaria.

dianefaith said...

All of us know somebody who —if he did something unthinkable—would make us say, "I'm not surprised." Right now I'm thinking of one particular individual whose Facebook posts are up and down and blaming.

You are so right that we don't know what to do. He reads any attempt to help as a put-down. His mother is in denial and would be powerless, regardless.

Rian said...

I hear what everyone is saying, but I don't hear a 'solution'? So what do we do? Is the new program that is being introduced concerning studying the brain (which encompasses Alzheimer's, Post Traumatic stress disorder, Autism, etc.)a possible solution? It sounds like a good idea to me...?

rosaria williams said...

We need to face this problem from many angles, studying the various aspects, providing remedies, investing in research, in prevention, in interventions...

As a school person, many times, I relied on the school psychologist, a busy person and not always the best trained person to deal with the many cases in his corner.

School nurses have disappeared from many campuses, just as cummunity health centers have. In most towns there are only private doctors or clinics that require insurance of payment up front before they can see you.

Parents have no idea what to do, to whom to talk about these things, especially if the child is grown up and mostly independent.

I remember a case when a child was contemplating suicide thoughts and our nurse called the parents and alerted them. The parents were furious that anyone would even make such allegations!

We are all squarish about labeling anyone because of just this type of reaction; and we worry more about what people might think than how to help the child.


the walking man said...

I think the answer to your 4 questions were answered when the senate voted NAY on the mild weapons restrictions this week. Until we solve our purchase of politicians no other issue will ever get resolved.

RNSANE said...

So many people would rather hide their heads in the sand than assume any responsibility for others outside their own sphere. As an RN now for almost fifty years, I've seen such radical cuts to necessary services to the poor, the elderly, the mentally ill. Gone are the day care programs that used to offer essential services to so many, children are all too often left to the own resources, and state facilities are closing and nothing is being offered to care for the mentally ill.

Rob-bear said...

Mental illness — specifically untreated mental illness — is a costly curse on any society. We need to deal with it, first and foremost, by simply being a friend.

Thanks, Rosaria.

Blessings and Bear hugs!
Bears Noting

Amanda said...

New frontier indeed. The whole issue of mental health - and on a broader scale, the ability to enjoy psychological well being - is so poorly understood in our culture. How can we expect people to find inner happiness and a sense of contentment when everything around us reminds us that getting more, being more and doing more is the goal? It must begin, somehow, with a turning within to find answers - not in buying something, or having something more than others, not in looking to others for approval or reward, but in listening to the voice within that is so easily drowned out by all the static of our information overloaded lives.

Pat transplanted to MN said...

Not so sure it is that new of a frontier, mental illness or lack of mental health or terrorism or whatever it is has embedded itself all over so that we know not where or when it will surface. Tragedies in our faces daily and what can be done? You raise the questions and the truth may yet surface.

Vagabonde said...

I read once that at the turn of the century when people had to share public transportation they had more a feeling of belonging to the community. Now, people are alone in their vehicle, don’t see or hear other person near them. Also, for example, when I go home to France – I see a lot of people walking everywhere. The city planning is different there and is strictly enforced– towns are centrally located and people don’t have houses all over the countryside – there are not so many malls. When I visit my cousin we go to the baker, the butcher, the grocer, etc, and she only lives 1 hour from Paris, she knows them all. Here people go to huge grocery stores where you don’t know the owners. Also I think that this country is very violent – the movies, the TV, the video games. Young people can be influenced and if they are not totally stable it can affect their attitude. A Canadian friend wrote a comment on my post last week saying that violence in large cities in the US is 20 to 30 more than in the big cities in Canada so he is not coming here this year.

My father for example, immigrated to France – he had a slight accent. I never heard anyone in Paris asking him where he was from. Me, I have a slight French accent, and I don’t think a week goes by that someone does not ask me where I am from – I usually say I am from here since I am a citizen and have lived here for decades, but they insist “but where are you originally from” etc. I think the average American does not like people who are different - so it is easy for someone to feel alienated if they have a psychological problem to start with. When people go to Europe they see how religion there is not such a big deal, not a dividing factor as here, and also people can talk about politics without getting aggressive. This is a different culture here, quite different. You asked some good questions but the answers are not easy.

Tabor said...

We have allowed mental health to fall behind in our social programs. We also have complicated this with many laws that protect our privacy. We also institutionalize those who need mental health care in prisons. It is a big problem in a society that is moving away from social services and toward every man/woman for themselves.

troutbirder said...

When our son took his own life due to bi-polar our family doctor told me that medicine was fifty years behind the rest in mental illness...

Phoenix said...

Honest conversations are the only way we are going to grow as a country into something better than what we are now. This country creates children who lash out when they are scared or angry, regardless of what age they are; we need to do better to help create men and women who have honest, uncomfortable conversations and handle them with grace and consistency.

We have also forgotten what it means to love our neighbors, I believe.