Mental Illness

I’ve been told that I should write more about politics on my blog.  I already write about it pretty heavily on Facebook.  Below is one of those posts referencing the terrorist attack at the Pulse Nightclub here in Central Florida.  It is the first real post that I have penned on the matter, being too shocked and saddened thus far to put anything into words.

“I’m glad Orlando’s crisis can be fodder for everyone’s political gains. If everyone could shut up for a moment and see that both democratic and republican mommas have lost their sons and daughters. That both pro-gun and pro-gun control have lost spouses, lovers, and partners. That both those who support refugee immigration and those that do not lost their brother and sister. 50 people. 50 hearts no longer beating. 50 souls called home to the Lord. Shame on those of you taking advantage of that.”

I avoided reading messages on Facebook the first couple of days as it was mostly a hodgepodge of homophobic nonsense, Christian holier-than-thou attitude, Muslim bashing, and political driven drivel.  It has made me reconsider some of my friendships, and has given me several philosophical things to consider.  My next post below was in response to the growing hate I saw building on Facebook in regards to the shooter’s wife, as well as the extremely divided debate on gun control.  It is a mix of ramblings and emotions, but addresses something I think is pretty important.  I hope it becomes important to you too.

“Ok, so I’m going to make some remarks that a few of you might find extremely infuriating. Despite that, it’s things I feel that need to be said.

For starters, let’s talk about the shooter’s wife. I mean, let’s really talk about her here… So far I have heard some pretty harsh words for her, and little sympathy. Now I’m not about to say that they aren’t words she deserves. I don’t personally know her and I don’t know what the authorities have found out about her. I’m inclined to jump on the bandwagon with everyone else and say she needs to be thrown in jail, however…  

I’m sad. I’m sad that 49 people had to loose their lives. I mean, REALLY sad. Its a helpless feeling. I know that despite wanting very much to, there is nothing I can say or do to help these families and friends. NOTHING. There are no words. And anything I can do or say would simply fall short. I am so sad for our little community.  

But you know what? I’m also sad for the shooter’s family. I’m sad that a mom lost her son. I’m sad that his father (who appears, at least on the surface, to also suffer from mental illness) has lost his son. I’m sad that they have to live the rest of their lives knowing that they raised a child who committed such a horrible act against innocent people. It hurts my heart to see the news shove microphones into their face and ask them if they knew their son was a monster. Who thinks of their children as monsters? I know that my love for my children is unconditional. There is nothing they could ever do that would make me stop loving them. And yet, here are these people who not only are responding to questions posed by the public, but have welcomed them into their living room to answer questions. About their son. Their dead, horrible son.  

I’m also sad for his wife, and their beautiful child. So we understand that she knew he was planning something horrible. That she went with him to Pulse. That she was with him when he bought at least one of the guns and ammo. But we also understand that he has a history of beating his ex-wife. That he was violent and potentially bi-polar.  

It is easy to say- “you should have said something”, “you could have prevented this”. But would it have been? That was her husband. Her better or worse, richer or poorer, husband. And if he beat her, like he beat his ex-wife, I seriously doubt she would have been strong enough to stand up to him, turn him in, break up her little family, and walk away from everything she knows and loves.  

Domestic violence is HARD, y’all! It’s not just someone hitting a person. You can hit back! You can go through a physical altercation with your soul in tack. It’s more than that. It’s ingrained into the relationship in such a way that every decision, every action, every thought starts to revolve around it. It kidnaps a sane woman and leaves her immobile. It takes away her ability to make decisions, and her ability to judge consequences of actions. And trust me, she KNEW that if she did report him and no one believed her, or she couldn’t prove it, SHE or her child would be the one in serious peril. She probably questioned herself a thousand times- “do you think he would really do that?” And I am sure that she answered EVERY. SINGLE. TIME- “no, he wouldn’t do that.” Because if I am in her position, even if he said he wanted to shoot up a club… he has a gay app. That he is active on. He wants to go to the club. You couldn’t convince me that was about canvassing the place. I would think, as many women would, that he was putting on a tough attitude to avoid the discussion that he was cheating on me with a man. Or that he has homosexual feelings. And if I’m being abused, I would think that its because I’m not enough. If I love him harder, if I make him happier, if I… As women, I think we have all been in bad relationships where we catch ourselves making excuses for our significant others. The strong women kick that a**hole to the curb and find someone a little more stable. Weak women, well, they keep trying harder and harder until they aren’t living for themselves anymore.  

Its the same thing you hear time and time again. No one wants to believe their loved ones are capable of such acts of violence. AND even if they are, we have seen time and time again women of domestic violence assisting their husbands with committing crimes.  

I’ve heard so much about guns and gun control lately that it makes me sick. I have lots of opinions about that, but seriously I don’t think it matters right now. Do you know what I think matters? MENTAL HEALTH. Seriously, let’s have that discussion. Whether it’s wives (or husbands) being abused, guns being shot, bombs going off, or planes into buildings- we have one more thing in common. Mental illness.  

Now I’ve heard a crazy amount of politicians talking about radical Islam. And, no doubt, that’s something we should talk about. But all religions have radical wings. You only need to head into Orlando and shake hands with the Westboro Church to see that point driven home (be sure to wash your hands in holy water afterwards, please… we don’t need that evil spreading around). But we need to have an open discussion in this country about how to help heal people with mental illness.  

And if we want to talk about gun control, then fine. Let’s do that. But first let’s talk about mental illness. Let’s talk about how unhealthy our country has become. Mental illness. That we would rather sit in our opposing sides, refusing to budge an inch so that we can prove that WE are in the right. Mental illness. How we refuse to pass/enforce gun controls that can keep them out of the hands of or make it difficult to purchase by those suffering from serious mental illness. Mental illness. How we refuse to acknowledge that this country is largely a rural one where guns are still a necessity in many communities. Mental illness. That there are veterans, members of the armed forces, and the police that desire mental health help but refuse to get it because they are afraid of being stigmatized and having their right to own a firearm revoked. Mental illness. That there are legitimate populations in the United States who are terrified of a gun and have little knowledge in how to operate one, much less use it for personal defense. Mental illness. That there are people every day who would rather shoot innocent, wonderful, loving people, than seek out help for MENTAL ILLNESS.  

There is a lot wrong with our country right now. A lot. We have two main politicians that the American public is strictly divided on, but most people agree that we wish we had better options and feel forced into voting for the lesser of two evils. People have divided themselves up like children of divorced parents who are forced to pick a side. Well, we are’t forced to pick sides. In fact, the purpose of the United States, as a country, is to be united in our differences.  

And more than anything else we ALL have these two things in common: mental illness- we will all suffer from a form of mental illness several times in our lives- and love. There is so much love! Orlando is busting at the seams in love. But it’s time for this country to pull together with all our LOVE to help combat MENTAL ILLNESS. And that means giving a little, making concessions, educating ourselves, showing compassion, and loving one another a little bit more. Even when that’s really, really hard. Perhaps because it’s really, really hard.  

I’ll hold onto my stones for the shooters wife until the FBI tells me that she’s broken the law. Until then, I’m going to focus my attention on my own little family. I’m going to hold them a little tighter. Hug then a little longer. And start having conversations about being mentally healthy. Because no one as a child wants to grow up to be a mass shooter. And no one wants to loose a child to mental illness.”

The LGBTQ community in Orlando is vibrant and strong.  The community contributes in such an important way to our character, our culture, and the personification of who we are.         The days following the attack at Pulse has formed a bond between central Floridians that cannot be broken.  Thousands flocked to blood donation centers as the call went out for more blood.  People brought out food, water, fans, and cookies to those waiting in line for hours.  Volunteers are currently being gathered together to help surround families as they prepare their loved ones for burial, so that protestors like the Westboro Church will not be able to get too close to them.  

I am a christian and when I find myself in a scary situation and am afraid, I pray to God.  And in my prayer I ask that he fills my heart with so much love that there is no room left for fear.  Or anxiety.  Or hate.  That is Orlando.  There is no longer any room for homophobia.  There is no more room for bickering and segregation into groups lobbying for attention.  There is no more room for fear, or anxiety, or hate.  Our love did that.  Our love wins.  Our love is greater than hate.  

1 John 3:18 “Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and truth.”  ESV

#loveisloveisloveislove  #Orlandostrong #Orlandolove #loveisgreaterthanhate

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With all my love,

The Colourful Teacup

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