Most of the stuff I’ve written has been generally light-hearted or movie-centric, because those are the benchmarks of my personality.  I tend to focus on the light and airy or the entertainment side of life, because I’m not a fan of being too serious.  Unfortunately, there are times where being serious is unavoidable – for example, when I talk about politics, and this is one of those times.  No, I’m not going to talk about politics, because it’s really not the time or place for it.  Instead, I’m going to talk about something that more people need to take seriously, because it’s no laughing matter.

I’m talking about mental illness and depression.

Now, I know what some people are thinking: what does this clod know about any of those things?  He’s an entertainment type of guy; why would I go to him for anything dealing with depression or mental illness?  Well, I’ll tell you.  Over my 33 years of life on earth, I’ve held a myriad of jobs.  I’ve delivered pizzas, done tech support, served food in a restaurant setting, so on and so forth.  One of the more rewarding and challenging jobs I’ve ever had was when I worked in a mental hospital for a year.

Prior to this, my challenges with mental illness had been limited.  I grew up in a realm where mental illness wasn’t discussed in any form; instead, it was looked upon as a general annoyance and people were convinced to go to church and seek out prayer.  I also had some minor personal experience with it (not me, but someone I’m close to), but I was still pretty green about the whole ordeal.  When I started working at the mental hospital, all of that changed.  I got to see patients suffering through mental illness first-hand, and I saw the effects of them.  The part that hurt the most was that these patients were children.

I worked on a ward that was all children – seventeen and younger.  It was my responsibility to be a sort of a role model to these kids, while making sure they took the medicine they needed to stabilize themselves and get the sort of physical and mental exercise required to transform them into capable citizens.  Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I had some failures; there were some kids that I just couldn’t reach, no matter how hard I tried.  Then, there were those that I – and the rest of the staff – changed their lives forever.  There was one kid who was considered by most to be completely prejudiced, if not racist.  However, I was one of the few people he trusted, and I can’t really explain why.  I guess wearing my emotions on my sleeve came in handy for that one.

There were more kids who couldn’t stand me at first; if they could’ve slammed me on my head and broken my neck, they would have and not even blinked.  Through a whole lot of effort by myself and the rest of the staff that I worked with, these children proved the notion that they were nothing wrong.  I haven’t seen any of them since I left, but I do wonder if they’re doing okay.  I wonder if they’re still on their medicine, and if they’re still on the up and up.  There is a point to all of this, and it is showing how real this situation is.

We all go through down patches in our life, but when the down patches tend to stretch for days, weeks, or months at a time, there is nothing wrong in talking to someone about it.  In fact, it’s highly recommended that you talk to someone about it before it begins to eat at you.  It won’t do anyone any good to hide behind it and it makes the fallout from it even worse.

I’m going to be talking more about this topic on The Insanity Report Podcast on the 12th, and I’ll be going more in-depth on the topic itself, possibly including my own personal dealings with the matter.

Mental illness is no laughing matter, and it’s time we as a people started taking this seriously.

Matters of the Mind
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