TODAY marks the day of me discovering a grimmest statistic in the course of work. As it turns out, in the first quarter of the year, we already exceeded a third of last year’s suicide incidence.
This, along with the entirely expected and predictable revelation that the city is experiencing an overall rise in mental illness incidence on top of everything that’s going on paints a bleak prospect even as we’re supposed to be in recovery.
But setting aside the question of whether or not we are truly in recovery and whether the optimism some of us feel is warranted, there needs to be something done about this, and we cannot just rely on the medical system – given how overloaded it is – we are still in the middle of a pandemic with no signs of going away for good.
While there is no replacement for the true, qualified professional help from people who practice and profess in the field of mental health, not everyone has access to that.
The best we can do in the absence of that is to try and mitigate the damage as it wears down on us steadily, to choke through the ash as it forces tears in your eyes while you try and breathe.
The basest thing we can do for one another and for ourselves is to share the burdens as we struggle through life. Don’t carry it all. Happiness shared is happiness multiplied, and pain shared is pain divided, though the pain may cut deep, a knife piercing through the skin and the flesh. By sharing our pains, our burdens with those we trust, and those we care for, we lighten the load that crushes and grinds and forestall the coming dark for another day.
And for those of us that share in the burdens of others, know that it isn’t upon us to solve or heal the hurt and the wounded, where we may in our inexperience only push them further into darkness. We may try, but most important is that we are there to simply share in the pain, to sit with them in the darkness and gently push them towards the light.
And if I lose my mental, just hold my hand. Even if you don’t understand.
To be there, to be present, is a delicate balancing act. We give to others our shoulder, and yet we cannot give too much or risk falling ourselves. It is important that we be conscious of this fragile balance and ensure that the scales do not tip over, else the burden becomes too much to bear and everything comes crashing down, person by person, as one falls and the weight they carry falls onto the next in line.
And yet, we cannot take the option of avoiding the risk entirely and ignoring the plights of those around us. For is it not our moral obligation as a society to share in each other’s struggles and to uplift one another, regardless of what the unfortunately too many hateful and disdainful members of the community may lead us to believe.
Instead, it is incumbent upon us to take care of one another with, if not kindness, a certain level of understanding of the difficulties that each of us takes on daily.