So much sorrow and many, many thoughts and emotions as I process the latest mass shooting. While it is early in the reporting, the implications of mental illness are very much on my mind.
My students and I discussed this in class today because these things are huge triggers for them. Being mentally ill on the various levels that they are – bipolar, multiple personalities, Alzheimers, anger issues, etc – they are aware, perhaps more than many others of the stigma of mental illness. They are aware that each time an awful act is committed by someone who is mentally ill and off meds or triggered, etc that many in our community and society in general wonder what it will take to make us snap. It is a very uncomfortable feeling to be scrutinized in such a fashion. The mentally ill face significant challenges on a daily basis to function well, to be aware of triggers, to lower anxiety and to do everything he or she can to foster well-being. Still, overwhelm can creep in and people lash out, break down and yes, commit violence.
Do not misunderstand me: I am not making excuses for the actions that caused so much collateral damage. Every aspect of the shooter’s life and influences will be examined in the media, by law enforcement and the armchair quarterbacks will expound upon things of which they have no personal exposure. Beware of painting everyone who struggles with depression with a broad brush. We are all just doing our best to live a full and meaningful life.
Mentally ill but hopeful, My students and I
© 2012 Paulissa Kipp “The Beckoning Path”