About 10 years ago my mom and one of my sisters dropped in unannounced. It is not unusual for someone in my family to do this, but on that day I knew something was very different. They sat me down and had an intervention of sorts. They pointed out that they could tell that I suffer from a great deal of anxiety, and at that point depression. It was winter and I had a one year old baby. September 11th had just happened and I was worried about losing my job. It was all understandable and relatable to the times we were living in.
They took it a step further and told me they thought it was more than that. They suggested that I go see the doctor, and they would come with me. They wanted a better life for me and were willing to hurt my feelings to get me where I needed to be. They came to the appointment with me and helped me tell my story and filled in the blanks that I couldn't even see.
I have never kept it quiet that I suffer from anxiety disorder. I have never kept it quiet that I take medication to help control it. My mom and sister gave me a great gift that day. They got me help when I needed it the most. They let me see that I am not alone in this and that it is okay, and even responsible behavior to take care of an issue when you know it is adversly affecting your life. There should be no shame in this even when we are told we should have it all and do it with a smile.
I write about this for two reasons. I want people to know that there is help out there for these disorders and there is no reason why you should not seek it. You would seek help if you had heart disease, so why not with a mental disorder. It has made me a better, happier person; a better wife and mother for the people that deserve only my best. The second is to tell you that if you see someone suffering, please, please offer the same hand up that my mom and sister offered me.
Earlier this week there was a mass shooting in Arizona. It was commited by someone that needed this help. It was the classic case of people knowing it was going to happen. Time after time we are hearing of people that are saying that they knew he was a ticking time bomb waiting to go off. His college expelled him and told him he could not come back until he had cleared a mental health exam. While it is true that you can't give help to those that are not willing to see that they have a problem, I wonder if that school offered him any help in finding the medical professional he so desperatly needed. Did anyone in his family see the need to step in and take his hand and lead him to the doctor and stay in there to tell his story?
There is little doubt that this man was not willing or able to acknowledge he has a problem, but what about the countless others out there like him? Is there a future tragedy that might be avoided if we were willing to go out on a limb and show somebody the way?