Dec 17, 2012

Newtown, CT

Hello, gorgeous friends! Did you wear your green and white today? I didn't even know that that was a thing until my sister called me this morning wondering what I wore (alot of black. Haha! So I compromised and threw on a green scarf and a chunky white ring. It's hard to do "themes" when you work in an office).

Okay fine, it's sort of blue! But there is green in that scarf somewhere, I swear!

I haven't blogged in a few days. I've been trying to catch up at work and get ready for the Holidays. I don't have internet at home and even if I did, I probably wouldn't have posted this weekend anyways. Boyfriend and I are playing house for Christmas break so we've just been hanging out, watching movies, cooking together, and just plain enjoying each others company! Usually we see each other MAYBE once a week for a few hours so this has been a really great change of pace for us! It's been a fun adventure in being roomies and I plan on devoting a whole blog post to our adventures later on.

Today, though, let's talk about something serious that I'm sure you are sick of hearing about.

Newtown, CT.

On Friday night my adorable Little came by for girls night. She sat on my couch and told me how all day she had thought about my mom (who is a kindergarten teacher in a local elementary. NOT in Sandy Hook!). Instead of watching the movie that we had put in, she read/watched constant updates via her iPhone. We had multiple discussions about how our hearts just kept breaking.

Let me first say, I don't have children. I'm not a parent. I can't even fully comprehend that amount of sheer gut-wrenching pain associated with the loss of a child and especially in this situation. All I keep thinking about is those poor parents who had set up those gorgeous Christmas trees, shopped for months in advance to find the perfect gifts to place under the tree as Santa, maybe had planned all sorts of fun Elf on The Shelf pranks- only to now be left with this giant void. I can't even imagine all that emptiness and despair and it honestly just shatters my heart to sit here and think of all this. I just keep going back to the pictures of those sweet little faces and it just absolutely kills me. My heart goes out to Newtown, CT. Really, it does.

I almost didn't write this post because these are just MY viewpoints and I absolutely do not want anyone to think I'm not respectful of your views if they are different than mine. Please understand- while I feel a certain way, I understand you won't necessarily agree and that is absolutely okay. Don't feel like I am trying to convert you to my way of thinking- I'm not. I'm just trying to understand a little.

Remember when I said that everyone has a story? I very firmly believe that. Very firmly. It doesn't make anything right here. It doesn't even make anything better here. But I think it does make it avoidable. I've been giving this alot of thought. SO many people coming forward saying they weren't surprised by his actions (some of it I don't much care for- you can be "awkward" and not be murderous) but no one came forward before. How does this all come out now after it's all too late?

Could he have been helped? Could this have been avoided?

Please don't think I'm sticking up for someone who shattered so many innocent lives. I swear, I'm not.
I just have to find a "why". I want to understand because when you understand, that's the first step to finding an answer, right? A solution to avoid something like this EVER happening again.

I read these 2 articles: This 1 and This one!

Two very different views (and who knows how reliable the first one is- I'm often skeptical of media. It's there job to literally SELL you a story so sometimes I think things get spun a little out of whack.)

Well, this made me ask myself a tough question. If I felt like someone was mentally ill, to the point where they were a risk to themselves and others, would I come forward and try to get help for some individual? I answered very honestly- no. I wouldn't have. I would have wanted to be "understanding" and not want to assume. I would have wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt. I would have wanted to believe that they were fine.

If that had been my son, I can easily see why you wouldn't get help (doesnt make it right- Im just saying I can UNDERSTAND not that I AGREE). Because as a parent, it would be so difficult. You would feel like you failed somehow. You would want to undermine it and pretend things were fine and under control. You would want to see your perfect family as being perfect, you'd want the world around you to see it as being perfect. There is such a negative stereotype associated with being mentally ill that we don't necessarily associate with being physically ill. We understand physical illness, we don't necessarily understand mental illness. It's strange and foreign to us and yes, a little scary. Bare with me here-

So I started thinking about what would fix this (or come closer to fixing this) and I came up with this- education. I want (now feel the need) to educate myself on mental illness- signs, symptoms, etc. There are different kinds of mental illness, don't get me wrong, in all different levels of severity. If we can understand a little better, maybe we will realize that this is REAL. Maybe, if we are understanding about what exactly is mental illness, the causes, what to look for- maybe we'll be more confident and supportive. Maybe we can erase some of the stigmatism associated by realizing and understanding just what someone is dealing with.  It just seems like a good idea to know what to look for and even a better idea to know what resources and help are available. Because if this sort of thing can be avoided in the future, it should.

When we don't fully comprehend things, and bad things happen, we struggle to find a reason. Any reason at all. We all want to help, in our own ways, and sometimes this causes us to downplay or overlook an issue. Until we address mental illness as being real, until we focus on mental health and treat it as though it is as important if not more so then physical health, nothing will change. Now, I live in the Midwest and it's no doubt we love our right to bear arms around these here parts. But if you get in these situations and take away a "good guys" gun, what do you have? Just a "bad guy" with a gun. What your forgetting is that criminals will be criminals anyways. They are already breaking the law. If you are willing to murder someone, I assume your willing to get your hands on a gun illegally. Making guns harder to access may cut back minimally but as long as guns still exist, shootings will occur- legal access or not.

 We are sweeping the bigger issue under the rug here. We are trying to find a concrete, tangible solution to a very complex, abstract problem.

Now, I'm not saying we should all run in fear from the next person we meet who is mentally ill. Nope. Not at all what Im saying. Every individual/diagnosis is different and I've met some truly remarkable people who suffer from mental illnesses. What I am saying is that we need to educate ourselves better on mental illness and the resources available so that those who need help get help.

On a lighter note, I am so touched by all the heroic stories coming through about the faculty at Sandy Hook Elementary. So many selfless acts. Sure, there is a fair amount of bad in the world and this situation is just absolutely horrible, but from that same horrible situation came several amazing stories that restore faith in human kind.

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