Do Something

Again, I say……………It’s time for us to do something!IMG_20140812_095850762_HDR

This time it is a well-known, beloved comedian and actor. Another family left in the wake, dealing with grief and asking why?

A nation in mourning! Every news station has covered his death; social media is blown up with his pictures, quotes and movie clips.  All of us join his family in their grief and ask why?

Isn’t it time?  Time for you, me, all of us to do something.

It’s time for us to recognize the serious of mental illnesses and disorders.

It’s time for us to move quickly and remove the stigma associated with these disorders. Helping enable those suffering in silence to get the treatment and help they need.

It’s time for us to ask the hard questions and seek the right answers.  If you or someone you love is dealing with depression, don’t be afraid to seek help.

There are organizations which can help you and/or your loved one.  Are you thinking of harming yourself or others? If so, seek help NOW.  Give yourself permission to call the National Suicide Prevention LifeLine (1-800-273-8255).

Other national and international groups such as To Write Love on Her Arms, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and Freedom from Fear provide lists of resources and ways to find help for depression.

There are local mental health offices in most communities and cities across the nation.  Check your local phone listing or google mental health in your county.  Seek out a support group. These groups can provide practical suggestions and emotional support for individuals and families dealing with depression and other mental disorders.

For you and your loved one, it’s time for you to DO SOMETHING!

For us, as a nation, mourning the loss of another individual to a mental disorder, it’s time for us to DO SOMETHING!

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tattletaleBack in January I blogged about some unfinished business concerning unforgiveness in my life. Here we are 7 months later and I haven’t gotten much further in this business of forgiving.  However, in my devotional time on Friday, God showed a truth I hadn’t seen before.

I was reading through Overcoming Unforgiveness, a chapter in Beth Moore’s book, Praying God’s Word, and she confirms it is ok to talk to God about these people.  She writes, “I mean learning to tell on them to God. Yes, I’m talking about tattling.  Learning to tell God what they’ve done to you and how upset you are.  Learning to tell Him all the things you feel and how unfair you believe someone has been to you.”

This is so NOT christianese for me to say.  But I love the thought of tattling to God!  Growing up I was never given permission to tattle and if I did, I was in big time trouble.  But now, I feel free to tattle all I want to my Abba Father. The thought makes me giddy!

God even confirmed it through one of the verses Beth shared.  Psalm 62:8 says, “Trust in him at all times, O people, pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge!”  Refuge, there’s that word again.  My 2014 word!  Not only has God given me permission to tattle, but He is promising to be my refuge when I do!

Now, let me add a disclaimer here. I realize God doesn’t want us to stay in the tattletale mode from now to eternity. Yet, he does give us permission to pour out our hearts to Him. The Good. The Bad….and more than I like to admit. The Ugly!  My thoughts are that if once God and I get through this tattletale business, we will start working on the unforgiveness.  Doesn’t that sound like a great plan!

For now, I gotta go.  I have some tattling to do!  What about you?

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It’s Time For Us To Do Something

It’s time for us to do something!anguish

There has been another shooting.

More families dealing with unspeakable grief. 

Additional rhetoric by the media.  However, still no long term solutions for the treatment of individuals suffering with a mental illness.

In the song Do Something, Matthew West sings, “I’m sick and tired of all the talking! …. I want to be someone who stands up as says, “I’m going to do something!”  His words echo my heart this morning.  Isn’t it time, we do something?

A couple of opinions you will NOT read in this post are: 1.) It’s the families fault and 2.)  We need gun control.

In this particular tragedy the focus should not be on gun control.   It should be on how our society addresses and treats individuals suffering from a mental illness. 

My heart broke as I read the article which pointed out the shooter’s (Elliot Roger) family had contacted police in late April.  Upon visiting with the young man, the police deemed him stable and left it at that.  In a manifesto written by Elliot, he stated, “If they (police) had demanded to search my room … That would have ended everything. For a few horrible seconds I thought it was all over.”

“What if’s” and “could have been’s,” cannot change the outcome of this latest shooting.  However, serious conversations and immediate action in regards to education and treatment of individuals with mental illnesses can.

To date, I have written very little about the personal aspects my family experienced with Mom’s mental illness.   However, as I watched news coverage and read articles about Elliot Roger.  The memories flooded my mind.  There were those days when I sat next to Mom as she waited for a mental health evaluation.  As a family, we recognized a need for intervention and hospitalization in order for her mood to become stable.  However, even trained professionals, sometimes don’t get it right. The manipulation characteristic in mental illness can, at times, be difficult for even professionals to recognize. There were numerous instances when we were sent on our way, and Mom continued down the slippery slope into mania and/or depression.  Most of the time when Mom threatened to harm, it was to herself.  As I recall, there were only two instances she threatened harm to someone else.  Both times, she was taken to a psychiatric ward before the threat was carried out. It goes without saying that I am thankful Mom received the needed intervention and treatment, yet, I can’t overlook the fact there are hundreds of individuals and families, like Elliot Roger’s, who do not.

So, when reading the account on Rodgers, I couldn’t fault the police.  They are not trained mental health professionals.  They did what they were supposed to do, a welfare check.  I have no doubt the manipulative side of the mental illness Elliot suffered with, talked them into believing all was well.

Today, we know all is was not well!

Today, our entire nation should grieve along with the Roger’s family.  This family recognized the signs, they asked for help.  However, somewhere between April 30th and May 23rd, the system failed.  I am not talking about the police department.  And I certainly am not talking about the family.  I know from personal experience how frustrating it can be.  You realize a family member needs intervention and immediate psychiatric treatment, yet there is nowhere to turn.  I can’t tell you how many times we heard “she needs to be threatening harm to herself or someone else, before we are able to intervene.”  

Why does it have to get to that point? Individuals suffering from mental illnesses are typically not going to recognize and/or admit they are on a slippery slope spiraling downward. The family members who deal with these illnesses on a daily basis know better than any professional or policeman when their loved one is in danger.

When the individuals doing the evaluation listened to Mom instead of us, I always went away feeling angry, frustrated and helpless.   Even though I know that sooner than later, she would be admitted.  It was the in between time, the waiting and wondering what was going to happen time, that was paralyzing.

The helplessness and frustration had to be overwhelming for the Rogers family.  They too had to be waiting and wondering what next.  And the “what next” which came for Elliott and the entire Rogers family is something many of us will never, ever have to walk through.  They are experiencing a grief few of us will ever endure and a sorrow no one should ever have to bear.

Matthew West continues to sing, “Right now, it’s time for us to do something. If not now, then when will we see an end? To all this pain. It’s not enough to do nothing. It’s time for us to do something…”

Before another individual struggling with a mental illness reaches their point of no return.

Before another shooting.

Before more families have to deal with unspeakable grief.

Before we talk anymore about gun control, let’s take a good hard look at mental illnesses, the diagnosis and treatment for… and then begin to search for positive, life changing solutions.

It’s time for us to do something!

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