Until You Consider

You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view . . . until you climb into his skin and walk around in it. – To Kill A Mockingbird

 Here is the audio version of this post. Thank you so much for listening.

As I opened up the TMZ app Sunday morning, my heart sank, another beloved celebrity, another drug overdose.  Then comes all the voices on the internet, some singing praises and sadness, many passing judgement. It happens. Every time. And every time. I sit in horror and sadness.

I never knew Philip Seymour Hoffman, or Cory Monteith, or Chris Farley or many of the millions of souls who lives are taken by drugs, or mental illness.

What I do know, however, all too well, is my own battle and the battles of my loved ones.

Suicide resides on both sides of my family as does addiction.  I have sat by the bedside of loved ones as they survived their 3rd heroin OD in as many years.

I have come close to taking my own life, twice, and have battled with addiction in many forms. So you bet I understand. And I have immense compassion.

Its time to get serious about mental health. Its time to acknowledge that so many of our problems as a society stem from not addressing mental health issues. Homelessness, mass shootings, crime, prison overcrowding, overdoses and suicides, so much of it stems from mental health.

Until you have climbed into my skin, you may never really know what it feels like to be in so much pain that dying seems like the best solution. Until you have climbed into the skin of a heroin addict or a schizophrenic, or someone who is bi polar, you will never fully understand. But instead of judging and blaming, how about become part of the solution.

You see, one of the most tragic things about mental health is we struggle in silence. We don’t have a disease that people rally around and raise money for. No, we are the forgotten ones until a famous person tragically shows up in the news. Then one 24 hour news cycle later, we are forgotten again.

What can we do? Get educated. Show some compassion. Listen. Stop judging. Talk about it. Lift the stigma.

Just like any movement, the more people that become aware, the more conversations we have, the more we can bring about change.

While there are many quality facilities that offer help, there are not enough. We can do better. For ourselves, our families, our friends, our co-workers and our communities.

This is not about politics, its about life.

(shared with LOVE from Nina)

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