I was horrified to learn of the news taking place in my country as I awoke today in Paris. Yes, mental illness is the problem. But not what we pretend it is. It’s an epidemic and we all suffer.
Do you have the strength to be sad? The steadiness to be angry at someone and still listen? The self confidence to receive a complement? The clarity to filter truth from a global broadcast of fear and confusion? The self knowledge to trust your senses?
There is a mental illness problem in this country, but it is far more ingrained into our social landscape and aggressively disguised as normal modern living. We want to drudge up mental illness as being the cause behind this tragedy, and come up with all of the reasons this killer was “diagnosably ill”, “different”, “unlike everyone else”, “evil”. But what was this mental illness?
We are a population of people with weak, neurotic nervous systems, with unbalanced mental states, shaky and irritable and anxious, exhausted, fearful of everything, depleted of nutrients, lash out at others, can’t cope without constant interaction, or medication, or alcohol, or TV, or sex, or social media. This is the new normal. This is the real mental illness. People snap because it’s unsustainable. Our consciousness can’t stay within the lines of this oppression and instability. We require the means to handle the insurmountable pressure of change our planet and our society is under.
What we need to do is to see how we are all alike. Not how this man was different than ourselves, but how his thoughts and actions mimic our own. Maybe we didn’t wake up with an arsenal of weapons and execute innocent people, but there is violence inside of each of us that affects people each day.
Did you use a power dynamic to take something you wanted?
Did you cut someone off?
Did you lie to someone?
Did you lie to yourself?
Did you purchase a piece of clothing or technology that was manufactured by a sweatshop?
Did you decide your opinion of someone else’s experience was more important that their experience?
Did you ignore someone who was in need?
Did you spread a rumor about someone?
Did you treat yourself in a way that was harmful?
Maybe none of these offenses are as bad as what happened, but it doesn’t make them ok. It doesn’t make them any less violent. It’s like saying “Oh, my next door neighbor has a meth lab, so it’s ok that I sneak into a movie, or ignore that homeless person, I’m better than them”