Recently, I heard news that 12 people had been killed by a man in Virginia Beach. The man, who's name I don't want to share because I don't want to glorify or publicize him, was described as a "disgruntled employee" who came in and shot down 12 people, injuring several others in the process.
Like everything else that happens after a mass shooting, the gun control debate came up yet again, despite the fact that the shooter was using a legally owned .45-caliber handgun with a silencer. Most gun control debates involve limiting the type of weapon, usually automatic weapons, available for sale to the public.
BUT WHY ARE WE SO FOCUSED ON THE TOOL OR METHOD OF KILLING RATHER THAN THE PERSON BEHIND IT?
MENTAL HEALTH IN MASS SHOOTERS
As I mentioned before, today's post does not intend to take blame away from the mass shooter. However, there are very limited resources and a strong negative stigma associated with mental illness all over the world and in the United States.
A lot of people either have no money to be treated for mental health problems, or they are told to just "get over it" by relatives, friends, classmates, teachers, and church officials.
I have general anxiety disorder. This means that I get anxious about certain things. I still operate normally in life and try to keep my reactions behind closed doors between trusted people like my mom, best friends, or my husband. However, I have had to fess up to my disorder to a church official who told me that, despite physical ailments that were coming to light because of my anxiety disorder, I still needed to come to church every single service, even if that meant distracting others.
I've had family members shrug off my issues. I've had coworkers unknowingly say things about my nervous energy in a bit of a negative way. Unless you've experienced my illness full-time, you don't know what it's like. Even if I told you.
WITH MANY SIDE EFFECTS OF MENTAL ILLNESSES TRANSLATING TO PHYSICAL HEALTH, MOST PEOPLE WITH A MENTAL ILLNESS WOULD GLADLY "GET OVER IT" IF THEY COULD, BUT OUR BRAINS ARE SICK
HOW WE CAN ALL HELP
1. STOP REACTING BADLY WHEN SOMEONE TELLS YOU ABOUT THEIR MENTAL HEALTH
Mental health problems are becoming increasingly more common as the years go on. If someone tells you they have a major mental health issue, don't get "creeped out." Many people who have major health issues are getting treatment of some sort. Don't villainize those who are upfront about their struggles.
3. CONTACT YOUR REPRESENTATIVE ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH TREATMENT AND WORKER'S RIGHTS
Your representative can bring up your concerns in front of other representatives. They can help normalize the mental health talk in your country.
But another big thing that needs to be handled is worker's rights. A lot of other mass shooters are people who worked at the place they shot up, like the Virginia Beach shooting. Some employees who may have a hidden mental illness will try to take things into their own hands if their issues aren't being handled, if they feel there is a problem in the workplace, or if they feel unfairly compensated.
There are companies that don't give lunch time to their employees, don't provide proper breaks, and threaten to black-ball the employee if they leave for a new job. Americans need more time off and need to be compensated fairly to avoid mental exhaustion which might lead to depression or general anxiety disorder.
BE THE CHANGE
Speak out about unfairness toward those with mental illnesses and disorders. Instead of droning on about what gun someone used, look at that person's humanity and ask if we as a nation did enough to prevent what happened not at the gun store, but in the school, workplace, and the home.
I will say once again that while mental illnesses can't be "controlled," most reactions from them can be. Those who have committed a mass shooting should not be excused for the awful atrocities they've committed. I just think there is a better way to handle this issue.
For today's #WellnessWednesday, I sat down with my husband to compile five tips on how couples like us can maintain a healthy relationship! If you don't know, I was diagnosed with anxiety disorder in 2013 when I was in college.
My anxiety is mostly medical anxiety (I sometimes get scared that something is wrong with me medically when I am perfectly fine.) I also sometimes worry about relationships or if something that I said had a negative impact on someone's view of me.
So, if you want some tips from us, keep reading! Don't forget to drop some of your tips below, as well!
1. REASSURANCE OVER JUDGEMENT
2. BEING A GOOD EAR
3. LEAVING ROOM FOR LAUGHS
4. BE A HELPER ON BAD DAYS
5. GET OUT OF THE HOUSE
This is the first Wellness Wednesday post of 2019! I'm glad you decided to check today's post out. If you missed last Friday's post, you probably didn't see that we adopted a dog! I wanted to talk today about the emotional health benefits of having a pet, be it a dog or a cat.
1. THEY CAN READ YOUR EMOTIONS
2. THEY ARE LOYAL
As I retreated inside with the dog, Jonathan stayed outside with her, and she eventually came to him. She never ran away, but just sat there outside waiting for comfort. She is so loyal and loving, and I'm so happy she didn't run off.
I am also amazed that dogs remain so loyal. Even when they are in abusive homes, they are still so loyal to their owners and would do anything to protect them. We don't deserve pets, they are so good to us! To tie this into the ultimate topic of this post, their loyalty helps us feel as though we are never alone and will always have a friend.
3. THEY BOUNCE BACK
4. THEY IMPROVE US PHYSICALLY
If you've been a pretty loyal reader of my blog, you know that I suffer from anxiety, particularly medical anxiety I would say. But, around this time of year, a different form of anxiety plagues many people, making it really hard for them to enjoy the season.
So, I thought I would share some information on seasonal affective disorder to spread awareness and urge those who are experiencing symptoms to seek help and guidance.
WHAT IS SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER?
Biologically speaking, scientists and researchers agree that less sunlight due to Daylight Savings Time can cause some people's bodies to react by reducing serotonin and melatonin which control mood and sleep respectively.
The fall and winter seasons are also hard for people who feel alone. During these times of year, people are normally filled with cheer, are giving gifts, and laughing with their family members. SAD can come around if someone they loved passed away in that season, if they feel they can't contribute financially to various celebrations, and so forth.
WHO DOES SAD EFFECT?
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF SAD?
SAD symptoms include:
WHY YOU SHOULD SEEK HELP
SAD can cause you to act out of character or harm yourself, and I'm praying that you don't do that. Everyone who was placed on this earth has a purpose. You mean something. If you don't feel like you mean something to anyone you know in person, you mean so much to me. Your life is precious and I don't want this illness to take anyone else from this world.
SAD, however, can be treated or at least managed by going to various therapies, exercising to reduce stress, or through medications.
If you are experiencing these symptoms, I hope you will seek professional help. If you don't have the means to do so, you can always search for anonymous chat lines and chat rooms where you can talk about your problem with a professionally-trained coach.
You are worth it. Get help so that you can feel better and so that you can brave each and every day knowing that you have someone in your corner.