Another year down and one more on the way in. I know most of us like to reflect on the year we are leaving behind in hopes of doing things a little better, not repeating some mistakes and being thankful for seeing a new year come to us.
We do indeed have so much to be thankful for and my heart aches for so many around the world who have suffered unimaginable loss this year. Of course, the Newtown killings are first and foremost in my mind. As a parent that very thought of my child being killed, not longer here with me, brings such pain and despair. The pain so many parents, friends and families are living with each day since that horrible, tragic, evil day is unimaginable.
What, as a world, as a nation, can we do in 2013 and beyond to prevent such disaster, such pain, such mass taking of innocent lives? The answer escapes me. Really.
Better gun control? I don’t think so. I believe someone wanting a gun, to do harm, to make a statement, to cause pain, will find a gun. End of story.
Better mental health care and resources?
This issue is close to my thoughts, as the mom of a seriously mentally challenged child. I have been there, on the phone for hours calling hospitals, trying to get help, trying to get someone to understand our crisis. I have been there. Done that. Over and over.
When I say seriously mentally challenged, I mean emotional disabilities, challenges that are neurologically based. Not conduct disorder, not mean, not evil. But problems that affect his ability to live and thrive on a daily basis. OCD, Tourette’s, ADD, Learning Disabilities, Anxiety, Depression — and three head traumas.
Living and managing one of these illnesses is hard enough, but all of them? Geez. Knowing all I know, seeing all I have seen, it still upsets me the stigma associated with people “like my son." My son has never hurt anyone, or tried to. He is a softy, a sensitive, caring, loving boy. Can he get angry? Can he be mean? Does he rage?
But so do other, “normal” people. Mental illness does not make someone a killer, or aggressive, or wacky. Most people with mental illness manage quite fine, are smart, productive, talented, kind and warm. Yes, some people on the more serious end of the mental illness spectrum can and do cause harm. That is sad. That is unfortunate. That breaks my heart.
It breaks my heart that there were probably signs that they needed help. There were probably signs their thoughts were not quite sensible. There were probably signs they were spiraling out of control.
There were probably signs….
I hope 2013 brings more awareness and help for people with mental illness. It is very much needed. I hope 2013 will help people understand that ALL people with mental illness are not killers and mental illness is just that — an illness. An illness that needs treatment, like any other. I hope 2013 brings peace to so many who are hurting and whose hearts are broken.
I hope 2013 will bring hope.