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Burning Away the Excess

How much cruelty, neglect, hatred, and abuse is in the news shocks me. The fact that rape, assault, and shootings are what we read about and hear about every single day hurts me to my core. We're so used to the nightmare news that we've been desensitized. We think that gun violence is unavoidable, that women's accusations being ignored is just another daily activity, that politicians are supposed to be liars and crooks, that pain and tears are unavoidable... we've grown up drowning in pain and disrespect. It breaks my heart, it really does, that getting along person-to-person is such a hard task for us to master. However, I find it encouraging that although horrible things continue to happen every day one small but incredinly important stride toward taking care of one another is being made: mental and emotional health is becoming more and more openly spoken about. Awareness is skyrocketing because mental health has been prominent in the news with athletes and celebrities speaking out about their struggles. And such news reminds people that just because a life is full of good things, just because someone's outward appearance is put together, doesn't necessarily mean their inner world is it peace. So, I see a tiny flicker of hope- that people can love and respect each other, that judgement can fade, that people can open up and say 'hey I'm hurting' and have others around them jump at the chance to be kind, to give support, and reassure someone that it's okay to not be okay and that things will get better. It gives me hope for the future, because for a long time there's been stigma about anxiety and depression, about being sick of the heart and mind, instead of of the body. For a long time going to the doctor has been completely socially acceptable but going to a psychiatrist hasn't been. For so long we've viewed mental illness as weakness or insanity rather than the battle against disease and disorder that it truly is. We've neglected taking care of ourselves- which is such foolishness! We all have problems, troubles, demons, and we can't always bear those things alone. We need each other's support. The news hurts. It hurts that humans can be so awful to each other... but then I read an article about somebody's determination to get well. And then I see all the comments... and for once they're filled with people saying "me too", "keep working- keep fighting!", "I've struggled through this too and I came out on top. So can you". I read strength and encouragement instead of hatred and trolling, and bashing on the person who had the bravery to open up. So, although it's only a small victory, it's a victory that's long been awaited. I have hope now that eventually we can burn away the excess, get rid of the bad, push through all the negative, and find the purer, true, kinder version of self and society. That someday we can get along and respect one another. It gives me hope for healthier minds, happier hearts, and stronger bonds. September is suicide prevention and awareness month. Don't stay silent.

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