Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Sticking Your Head In The Sand

I know no one likes to feel vulnerable. No one likes to suggest that something may be wrong with a loved one or friend. No one likes to think that suicidal tendencies or mental illness may play a factor. It is a scary thought. It makes people uneasy. It makes people uncomfortable to even bring up the topic.

You can't stick your head in the sand and hope that all will be fine. Life just doesn't work that way and neither does mental illness. The only way to help your friend or loved one is to have an open discussion about what they are going through. You may be surprised to see how relieved they are to actually be asked how they are doing. I know for me, it was a relief when my mother sat me down and asked me questions. She saw that something wasn't right with the way I was avoiding things. My mother in my life story of mental illness is my hero. She went out of her way to get me help, to read up on my diagnoses, and to comfort me as best as she knew how. I am here today, simply because she refused to stick her head in the sand and ignore the signs that something was wrong. 

Had she not been willing to admit that her daughter had issues, had she not allowed herself to ask questions and receive answers I do not believe that I would be here right now. I wholeheartedly believe the guilt and shame would have been the end of me. I don't need to ask what if because I already know the answer. Take it as you like but it the God's honest truth.

There are heroes and there are people that ignore. They don't ignore to be mean or because they don't care. They simply do not know how to broach the subject. They are afraid of the answers they may get in return. They don't know how to help or how to offer support. Many things are said, not in meanness but because they simply have no words that offer help. Comments such as perk up, it will all be okay, why don't you get up and go out more, you just need a good kick in the pants to get better. Then there are the comments that seem to imply mental illness is not real. Such gems as you are just overreacting, you are lazy, you need to stop playing the victim role, and you just want attention. Stop me if you have heard these before. I don't believe they are said to hurt, I believe they are said because they do not understand and become frustrated with not being able to help. I believe they are said because ,in some cases, these people actually believe that a stern scolding will snap us out of our mental illness. When words are not enough they turn away and stick their heads in the sand. To talk about it out loud makes it real and some can't handle the repercussions of that conversation. It may not be said to inflict damage but it none the less wounds us. It make us feel dejected and judged. It makes us feel afraid to talk to others about what we are going through and how we feel.

Many people judge the word mental illness as dirty or a sign of failure. Like they have failed to make us normal. The only failure done is if we are turned away or ignored. Failure is when people stick their heads in sand and refuse to accept the fact that mental illness exists. Failure is turning away and not offering to listen to the person. Failure is pretending everything is okay when it is so obviously not. Failure is when we lose people we could have helped by their own hands. The failure is how we treat those with mental illness. Failure is a system where people are criminalized for having an illness in their brains. Failure is judging, blaming, and ignoring.

It doesn't have to be this way. The choice is yours. Will you be a person that ignores or be someone's hero? Will you ask the hard questions and listen to their answers or will you pretend it all will go away on its own? Will you be there for the person suffering or will you turn away? Will you step up or stick your head in the sand?

The reality is that we all broken people in one way or another. All of us. You wouldn't turn your back on someone who got hit by a car. Why would you turn your back on someone who is being driven from sanity and into a world where suffering is the only constant? There is help for us, but we can not do it alone. We have to realize that we are vulnerable and reach out. Will you take our hand or back away? We need to be supported. We need to be accepted. We need to be understood. We need to be comforted. Most of all we need to be heard. We need to be asked questions and we need to be heard when we answer them. We need to be open and honest and stop beating around the bush because people who could be saved feel like there is no way out of this hell. They are dying and it could be prevented. They are suffering in silence and their silence ends with a tomb. If we continue to stick our heads in the sand the number of those lost will get higher. The number of those suffering will rise. We can not afford to keep quiet and pretend anymore. This isn't Disneyland, this is life. Be someone's hero and ask them about whats going on. Do it for you, because you can help. Do it for others because they can learn from your decision and it can be a blue print on how they can do the same. Do it for us because we need to be asked and heard.

You can not afford to stick your head in the sand.
We can not afford for you to stick your head in the sand.
Please don't stick your head in the sand and forsake us. We need you.

Neurotic Nelly

No comments:

Post a Comment