Tag Archives: mental health

Guns, Drugs, and Burgers

You ever kneel down to a three year old and hold up three fingers and ask them how old they are. They light up and proudly hold their three fingers up and answer, “I’m three”!

Then you change the configuration of your three fingers and ask again and they respond, “No!” Holding up the original three fingers and repeat in a determined tone, “I’m this many!” This is our dilemma socially when it comes to society and culture.

The latest shooting in Florida is another in the tragedies involving guns. There are many folks out there who do not like guns and use these situations to further their delusions that guns are dangerous. They do this to the detriment of all of us.

I don’t want to focus on the family and community failing this kid and his victims. I want to focus on mental health. We do not understand mental health as a nation and refuse to listen to the folks that do understand it because the voice of ignorance is to damned loud. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. Until we understand this basic premise we’ll continue to see incidents like this because there are a lot of sick and neglected young folks out there that we’ve marginalized.

You don’t have to stretch the imagination far to consider sexual abuse in the same light. Luckily mental health folks are very involved with this problem in America. They have to work real hard to be heard over law enforcement budget concerns and a sensationalized justice system.

For years we were told to watch for the guy in the trench coat hanging around the neighborhood. Now we’re told to watch the computer screen for predators lurking in the dark web. This allowed law enforcement to create a whole bureaucracy within the justice system. The incidence of these crimes haven’t subsided, like school shootings.

The reason these issues are still prevalent is because the whole time the real danger for most victims was in the family or family friendships. The majority of the perpetrators didn’t fly in from outta state to abuse a child, they were already in the house or neighborhood going to parties or get togethers forming relationships and trust. That’s not as sensational as the guy caught on camera meeting a 15 year old in a sting set up on TV.

We don’t even consider the psychology behind the horrific legacy because the headlines are sensational. The answer is identification of behaviors and treatment to prevent these tragedies.

Addiction to drugs is another “epidemic” in America. For over a century we have labored under the ignorance that “it takes an addict to treat an addict.” This is another mental health area that the folks who understand the condition have been drowned out. Mostly by entrepreneurs seeking to come further outta their own addiction.

These folks kept the narrative quasi spiritual with an experiential twist. “If you haven’t been there, you don’t understand!” Soon religion got involved and turned the “12 Steps” into some purpose driven stairway to heaven. These systems could do more harm than good. Mental health professionals understand addiction on a therapeutic level that have psychological principles as their foundations.

They understand the addiction is a symptom. They understand that an addict is an addict. Whether you’re a 40 year old upper middle class house wife popping Xanax and hydrocodone to make it through the day or a heroine addict drawing water from a mud puddle to heat your fix, you’re the same. They understand that the addiction, regardless of its form, is a response to the addicts experiences. Not the drug choice.

Another fiction we’ve endured is the “cop shooting” lie. I call it a lie because this one is purposely developed. The real issue was not race. It was about poverty and policing. We still never got to the bottom of the issue because we never identified the issue.

Turns out it didn’t matter what race you were, if you were living in the lower socio economic class you were more likely to end up in a violent confrontation. Poverty, not race was the variable we should have been looking at.

The other issue is law enforcement leadership. First problem is the “close ranks” mentality that had folks shaking their heads and confirming for many that police were above the law.

Second was the fact that folks were being shot in the head or shot with tens of rounds. Anyone who has been around weapons understands this is a training issue. You’re either not properly trained or trained to kill, that’s fact.

Leadership, the guys in the offices, seem only interested in careers and photo ops. They seem outta touch with the guys on the ground “driving” a beat. They weren’t interested in policing, they were driven by spreadsheets and promotions.

Lastly the dollars involved corrupted the system. The rules rewarding departments through seizures changed policing to bounty hunters. If you don’t make the big bust your representatives and leaders are asking questions because the jurisdiction next to you just had a 3 million dollar photo op and received a nice chunk of military surplus for their “X Force. Now you have bounty hunters that used to be police dressed as soldiers. The communities see this and react with their own ideas of who’s the bad guy and what does that really mean.

We could go on about McDonalds and obesity. Casinos and gambling, or alcohol and driving. It doesn’t matter the vice you chose. The food, drug, sexual partner, weapon you chose is you reacting to your environment. Your actions based on your mental condition. Focusing on the weapon, pill, or burger is not a solution. It’s a co dependent approach to curing social ills by folks who have no business in the socio political culture of leadership.

Mental health is the most important topic of our times. There are entire cultures suffering from cognitive dissonances as family values. There are political structures that are developed on co dependent strategies. There are folks out there who benefit financially and politically from these confusions. We need the mental health community to sound off. Take a stand and send the message that only psychologist, psychiatrist, therapist and counselors can help us identify the origins of our ills.

Media has become the bitch to the highest bidder. It’s ideologically bankrupt and only interested in sensationalizing American life. You wouldn’t call a carpenter for a broken leg. We need to take a stand against ignorance to save our sanity.

Billions of kids went to school yesterday and came home with bags of Valentine goodies. Hundreds of thousands of people came home from surgery and can’t wait to get off their pain meds. Billions of gun owners shot paper targets and cleaned their weapons and billions of family members and friends hugged a child without ill intentions. This is the time for thinking. Reacting got us here, the same place we’ve been stuck forever.

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Awakened

Thoughts of you framed in the shadows of lattice separate my heart from mind. I wonder about in the stillness of a gentle breeze caressing my dreams towards you; towards us intertwined outside of this prison, where flesh is a memory.

There are layers in here that spiral downwards or upwards to freedom. I lay here as a vessel of dreams only to awaken to memories of you wrapped in the hope that Love is all I remember, not what I fear. All these places I travel motionless, they’re sweet lies.

When is a hopeful expression. I hold you in my thoughts as my soul screams for the touch of just a finger tip on my lips to quiet my mind. A life of pictures, words, and dreams meld into the reality that I can have you in my arms once again, but the nightmare begins when I awaken.

Tense Moments

Life is relentless waves of now
Discarded as memories
Or hopes that tomorrow
Will reveal new stories

Live in the moment they say
Finding myself here
Blinded by yesterday
And hopes far or near

You can never go back
As I remember it’s today
And the past is tattooed
In every word I dream or say

Tomorrow is a sunset playing
With the moons patience
While I travel along the horizon
Searching for another chance

I walk through all three tenses
Holding yesterday and tomorrow
Creating now in a moment
Of joy and sorrow

I’m bound by the future
And free of the past
Hoping to hold now
And make forever last

We can’t escape our past.
Or leave tomorrow behind
So now is not the time
Or a single moment to find

Out of Rhythym

All my memories in a box filled with tears and laughter
It’s magical and mournful
As I stand here empty and fearful of what comes after

It’s all gone, but I’m stuck here
In between yesterday and tomorrow
feeling sadness and fear

I can’t be here now with my body and soul
No matter how I try I’m trapped
A fragmented existence neither present or whole

Some say slow motion, or maybe surreal
This space isn’t now
And doesn’t seem real.

I speak in sentences I watch float away
With memories of tomorrow
fearing yesterday

I hear those voices
whispering in my mind
Sometimes they’re yours
And others are mine

So together we’re lost in time
No rhythm is safer
Than living a rhyme

In My Own Way

Neon thoughts blinking and begging for my mind to settle. Racing thoughts speed past my brain leaving my mind to a primitive state of survival.
I close my eyes and the scenery doesn’t change, it enhances the confusion making me dizzy with nauseated fear the day won’t end if night is all i see.
My ears are deaf to my surroundings and scenes of an electric existence replace the sound of the tv that sits alone repeating episodes of drama.
I hold my keys in my hand forgetfully trying to escape wondering if the hum of the car and the sound of rubber on asphalt will at least transport me to the nowhere that’s quite and relaxing.

I can smell fresh cut hay and exhaust with my memories. I can taste the straw dangling between my tobacco tax stained teeth. My muscles tighten at the memories of the work I hated that I wish I could still do. At this moment I want a field of hay, or a 60 pound ruck to sweat the world away with the calm feel of exhaustion.
I’m never in the proper tense. Then I was here, now I’m there. I travel off kilter never in the moment. The hope and dread weigh heavy on my footsteps. It’s hard to move forward while I’m trying and difficult to sit still without thinking of every move that would get me to now.
I don’t know if I should slow down or speed up. I can’t seem to have my ambitions align with my motivations. I’m intelligent, but being smart eludes me. I’m compassionate, but angry. I’m engaged, but distracted. The pace of my life is impossibly random.
So here I sit writing to you hoping I’m not the only tortured soul who’s spirit has a mind of its own. I’m thinking about the work I have to do and the words screaming to get out of my head. Then I remember my mind controls my brain that is full of experiences and dreams. My life is full of hopes and dreams. So all I have to do is move out of my own way.

I Hope!

Hope is a double edge sword tempered by fear and sharpened by faith. It matters not what we know, or learn, or experience. It only matters that we feel we deserve the possibility of brighter days and calmer nights.
Tempered emotions see through feelings of doubt. It’s the trepidation that guide each step silently through the crowds of reality. Desolate figures strewn throughout rubbles streets boil grease slicked water for a blessing.
Looking for a sign through hundred yard stares, hoping, not sure whether the sun is beating down on your back or shine down on your life. Then rain washes away the doubt leaving you shivering with the reality that hope is lonely.
Lonely in a sea of faces and exhaust that pollute the air revealing your soul in grey shadows on graffiti drawn walls. Your thoughts dwell behind the fragmented words that leap off the wall with anger. How can you lose hope to the point anger is soothing.
In this twisted state of emotion you sit in the filth of one hundred souls shedding their spirit for noodles and a God who gives that one chance to cleanse your soul and stand tall in the face of poverty.
It’s not the grime or the hunger that hides hope. It’s not the clothes or the state that sees hope is possible. It’s the mind that says “one more step is a step closer to something, and something id better than nothing”!
I hope!

College Football Participation Award

So, the whole SEC, Big Ten playoff dilemma says says a lot about the denigration of our morality. The real problem for me is it makes sense to most people. The playoff system in college football is not a playoff system is what I hear and see.

Take the NFL for instance. How many championships would each team have if we followed the obscure method the that college football follows. More importantly what does it say about the “comeback kid”!

The privileged class in America is in control of our country, our sports, our entertainment, etc… There is something being said when someone can look back at a body of work (Ohio State) and portray their efforts as less because they lost a couple games early. Folks believe that should eliminate them from competition. Never mind that they came back and overcame the problems they had and continued to strive for excellence winning their championship game.

I’ve told my kids for years that if you get an “A” on your class work you didn’t learn anything. Getting an “A” means you already knew the information. The belief that getting something wrong and going back to try harder is no longer a part of our emotional beliefs in America.

This is true in academics, sports, employment. It extends into healthcare, justice, and military situations as well. Stay with me a minute cause it all ties together, trust me.

Now I’m not an Ohio State fan, I’m a Georgia and Alabama fan. In fact, I’d go as far as to say Auburn should have been placed above Ohio State using the current method of reasoning. It only makes sense that a team who beat 2 of the top 4 teams should be one of the top 4 teams, and I’m no Auburn fan.

My belief is if you win the games to get you to the top, then lose the top game to get the championship, your out. You didn’t win. Any team can be beaten on any day given the right circumstances. This is not the college football logic.

Because Alabama “participated” and has a history of getting “A”’s on the field they were advanced past a team that won their championship. I won’t mention the PAC 12 because then it really gets confusing.

The real obvious point for me is not football, that’s a game. However, nationally there are at least half of the nation that believe this makes sense. To say you don’t win your out seems to harsh. This may or may not be true in America today. That’s scary.

Even scarier is that “the come back” is no longer admirable or valuable to half of us. Participating and talking the loudest about when you did perform is more valid evidence of a champion.

If athletes and citizens start to believe “the comeback” has no value, and that some folks deserve opportunities more than others based on criteria other than effort we’re in trouble.

For me it’s simple. Win your division, go to the championship. Lose your division, try harder next year. The fact this seems harsh is beyond me. The term “deserving” is emotional. We don’t always get what we deserve and that’s life.

I’m still an “underdog” kinda guy. I don’t follow sports religiously, but enjoy football, basketball, and the fights. The individuals and teams that almost made it are my champions. They we’re up, then down in their efforts and made no excuse for their losses other than taking responsibility.

To make exceptions to make a champion doesn’t even make sense when you say it out loud. It could be true that the slowest child in a race put more effort in a race than the fastest child. It is also true that given the right motivation, training, and attitude the slowest child can train and become the champion through effort. Equally true is the child could train hard, eat right, and focus hard, only to lose again. There no shame in this, not everyone can be the best everyday.

The true champion battles adversity and overcomes deficits to be the best any given day. Making exceptions for what you’ve accomplished in the past just says you were the best once. It doesn’t mean you’re the best forever. It doesn’t mean you have more heart than others. It doesn’t mean you get a pass when you fail. It means you competed, and that’s the point we’re dulling.

We have to battle this “participation award” mentality. These folks have grown up, (questionably) and are not running business, buying tickets and jerseys, even running the country. If this attitude spills over into our governmental or business models we’re in trouble. We’ll have a privileged class that buries anyone with an exception into the bowels of an underclass. “Oh, Waite a minute, damn I’m too late!”