Friday, December 21, 2012

Crazy Times

It's been a long time since I've written. First, it was because we were scheduled to give a talk which was all consuming until the scary moment it was finally over. Finally I felt like I could actually start working on Christmas and the five hundred other projects awaiting me. Then came the awful shooting, fifteen miles away, in Newtown. Whenever these tragic events happen, I always feel sickened and have to avoid all media for the next week or so, but being physically close to this one was unbelievably jarring. Genevieve and Hannah's schools went into lock down and while it was mostly clear that the person causing this horror was dead, I felt a little powerless and was anxious to have them home. The hardest part of all of this has been thinking about how we looked at a few houses in Newtown and realizing we could have been one of those grieving, missing a daughter. One of the families who did loose a daughter goes to our church building. It was so painful watching their grief and seeing so much of our own family, in their family. We could have so easily been there too. And I guess really in life, we are all on a razors edge between life and death. Life is so precious. I'm so grateful to also know that healing can happen through the atonement, comfort can be found through Christ and we can again be with all those we love because of His sacrifice.

I hated the need to break some of my kids innocence and talk about what happened. I don't want to have that kind of conversation. I want them to grow up in a world where everyone is safe and people don't do evil things. I don't want to tell them that a bad thing happened at a school, but at the same time try to reassure them that they are safe and all is well.

Mental illness needs to loose it's stigma and the silent way people have to try and work their way through such difficulties. I don't really know a whole lot about the shooter and his mental problems, but I do know that the mental health system is broken and most of all, people have a hard time admitting they or their family member has a problem. Finding the proper help is also difficult because of the immense fear of repercussions personally, professionally and internally. LDS Family Services was awesome. They came to our ward and told us all how to help ourselves and our children through a tragic event. They also made themselves available to talk to anyone who needed to talk, for free. I kept seeing emails and Facebook posts begging for people to take advantage of the counselors and their offers of help. But I assume no one wanted to admit they needed "help". In fact one of the pleas tried to inadvertently quell their fears, by saying they didn't need to do a "session", but they could just talk to the therapist or ask them questions about their kids. What's so wrong with a "session"? What's so wrong with just talking to them about you and your fears? What's so wrong with wanting to talk to someone when something so unimaginably horrific happens in your community? I think we could all use someone understanding, sympathetic and trained to hear our fears and feelings at such a devastating times. I'm ready to argue that we could all do with a "session" every once in awhile in everyday life. We all need a therapist to talk to. Sometimes a parent, spouse, friend, hairdresser, cab driver or stranger can be that therapist. But why is it so scary, so shameful to go to someone whose trained to do that very thing? I'll admit that when I told my friend I was considering going to talk to them, it took her encouragement to actually go and talk. And talk I did. And while it was so hard even after being to therapy in two different states, I feel so much better now and I'm so happy I swallowed my pride and my fears and stepped into a session.