Wednesday, December 19, 2012

sad and happy

I'm on vacation in sunny Southern California, spending my afternoons with a second grader and my mornings playing Words With Friends. So while I should, in theory, have plenty of time to think deeply about many things, the reality is that I am just thinking about a lot of things in general. Pretty sure that's part of the whole transitioning-from-one-job-to-another thing. I don't have specific responsibilities to focus on, so my brain is freewheeling around all kinds of things.

Among those things, one sad and one happy....

I really really really wish we would stop saying that we need to pay more attention to mental illness in the wake of unbelievable tragedy. Two things. One: those children did not die simply because our healthcare system sucks. It does, that's true, and a civilized society would do something about that. But the reality is that those children died because someone had access to weapons with which he could kill 26 people in less than 5 minutes. Two: how do you think people who need access to mental health care feel about being constantly tied to murder, suicide, and horror? What on earth makes you think that having incredible and affordable (aka free) access to health care would actually lead someone to seek that care if what we all think about people who need access to mental health care is that they're murderous crazies who might kill us all at any moment?

For all the talk about how we need to remove the stigma from mental illness (which is incredibly true), this conversation at this time, insisting that mental illness is what causes someone to kill first graders, speculating about things we can never know because the two people who might have been able to shed some light on this are tragically dead...this conversation at this time is only increasing the stigma. Now everyone who thinks "maybe I should see my doctor" or "I wonder if a therapist could help" or "there's so much darkness in there any way out?"--all thoughts that could be the first step toward healing!--will instead follow that up with "but everyone will think I'm a mass murdering lunatic psychopath, so I guess I'll stay home."

Which means that the real unimaginable tragedy here is the fact that millions of people will suffer and die from their own mental illness because we have made it even more socially unacceptable to seek healing.

Thanks for that.
(edit: to read someone who, it turns out, said this already and much more eloquently, go here.)


In completely different news, my aunt has a cat who will attempt to drink out of your water glass. Not just when you set the glass down, like a normal cat does, but while you are holding it, while you are drinking from it yourself, while you are protecting it from him. He will climb all over you and meow constantly, making it almost impossible to reach the glass to your lips, so desperate is he for the opportunity to drink from your glass.

Yesterday I had the bright idea of filling up a glass and putting it on the floor for him (thanks to Elizabeth, who puts down glasses of water for her spoiled siamese all the time...hahaha). It worked. For about 5 minutes. Which was long enough to drink my glass of water. then he moved on to trying to drink my tea.
Ned. after I successfully drank my own tea.


  1. Thank you.

    So often it comes across as an excuse not to pursue gun control. A variation of, "guns don't kill people; [crazy] people kill people."

    Enjoy California.

  2. See, I think we have to start telling our own stories of mental illness. (not you, me!)