Mental Illness and Violence 

My mind is racing. I’ve been glued to my television for the past 30 minutes watching coverage of the devastating shooting at an Orlando gay club. As I listened to patrons of that club give their accounts of what happened, my heart began to race. I started to break out into a light sweat and I began to get dizzy, at which point I realized that I was holding my breath. For some reason, despite how watching the coverage was making me feel, I couldn’t shut it off.

Hate in any form is horrible. This particular mass shooting and the shooting that occurred at the South Carolina church about a year ago particularly hits closer to home for me and makes me think. My Mother In Law is a lesbian. My Father In Law is a pastor. As happy as I was when my Mother In Law finally came out as her authentic self, I began to fear for her. How will she be treated? Will people continue to be kind to her? Can she really live the way she wants to and not fear what could be in store for her? Luckily, my Father In Law has faith on his side so he is less likely to worry about things like this.

This could happen anywhere, to anyone. Are we ever really safe? I’m starting to think we’re not. As someone with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, I understand that I tend to focus on what could possibly go wrong in any given situation. But the truth is, even people who do not struggle with this disorder are probably starting to do the same these days. Everyday we are hearing about senseless shootings and unthinkable hate. What does our future hold?

Something I have a really hard time hearing is that these gunman are mentally ill. Could they have had mental issues? Sure. But I think the media using the term “mentally ill” is really setting us back in terms of ending the stigma around mental illness. Not all mentally ill people are looking to shoot up a club or inflict pain and suffering on people. How is someone like me supposed to not feel ashamed of having a mental illness if people tie it to rampages such as this? I’ve been clinically diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Depression. The truth is, I would hurt myself before I would EVER hurt anyone around me. Stranger or not. (No, I’m not going to hurt myself, I’m just trying to make a point).

So I’m really struggling today. Not to mention I have the Sunday blues (why does the weekend go by so fast?) and my awkward in-laws are enroute to my house for a cook out. (It’s chilly and very windy – yay). Then I think about what I have going on this week at work and what is going on in the world right now it makes me really sad. Sad for the victims, sad for the world, and sad for humanity. I don’t think taking gun privileges away from law abiding citizens is going to help anything. If there is a will there is a way, and people who commit these awful acts will find a way to get their hand on a weapon regardless. They don’t care about what legal or what is right. This country will fall apart if we do not unify and stand up for what is right, regardless of our religious, political or sexual affiliations. Not to get too political, but I really hope the American people really think about who they are voting for in this election. Have you seen the tweet Trump sent out this Morning about the Orlando shooting? Enough said. (PS – I’m also not a Hilary fan, BUT as a woman I am proud to see her shattering ceilings for us)

Hold your loved ones a little tighter tonight, and spread the LOVE. ❤️💛💚💙💜

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