Priorities

Fall 2009

by Patricia Obletz

The astounding GOP once again has shown the world its core principles. In psychiatric terms (I’ve had intimate experiences with them), I’d say that the Republicans model personality, anxiety and depression disorders, given the incredible arrogance of their greed. But then, Rome is burning right before our eyes and this time Rome is the USA.

The need to die has doubled, according to a recent research study from SAMHSA (Substance Abuse, Mental Health Administration, National Institute of Mental Health).

I know the need to die. That siren haunted me for seven years. Love and intelligent psychiatric treatment turned my escape from intolerable pain by entering eternity into my return to being afraid of death. But during those years, I was afraid of finding out that once again, I again had unwittingly entered psychosis. The worst accident I’ve been in is not the time my friend drove us through guardrails. The worst accident was my crash back into reality and discovering that my zeal to get into print my “messiah’s” new bible that would set the world free with love was in fact a full blown manic episode.

Human nature is now vividly portrayed through real time electronics, reaching more than ever ordinary men, women and children. But it doesn’t seem as though mainstream thinking has figured out that spiritual well-being, the metaphysical human heart and spirit, determines attitudes, which are crucial to well-being and being well, whatever Job-like event occurs.

We only have to look in our bank accounts, if we still have them, and at the growth of hopelessness, homelessness and suicide as today’s brand of greed expends family, neighbors, friends, all of us who cannot afford to buy votes. The re-election of George Bush (I’m still astonished that Americans elected him again) handed over even more powers to the arrogance of greed-inspired fanatics, cashing in while pushing workers out of jobs and into the streets to shield their obscene profits and assumptions.

One Million Students Jobless, Homeless

Instead of increasing the pay of those below the executive rank, American brand name corporations shovel their profits into CEO pockets. And yet, more and more workers are losing fiscal back-up, many of them without emotional and spiritual support. Last spring, more than one million students were casualties of unemployment and foreclosures. Their unstable home life puts their education at risk as they move from the homes of relatives and friends to motels to shelters to parks to the streets. In a September 6, 2009, report in the New York Times, “the number of schoolchildren in homeless families appears to have risen by 75 percent to 100 percent in many districts over the last two years,” according to Barbara Duffield, policy director of the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth, an advocacy group. When you’re homeless, and hungry, how much attention can you give to learning, should you be able to attend school, given your family’s need to move from shelter to shelter?

Now add in the ongoing problems of kids who are born to hopeless parents in any income bracket, and aggravated by untreated illnesses, poor education, neglect and other physical, emotional, spiritual abuses. Perhaps it’s the survivor instinct, or the intolerable conscious pain of existence that triggers suicidal intention, that turns some of them into high school dropouts and gang members, living by the sword, dying by it. The individual and collateral damage these kids create may be invisible to them in the tunnel that hopelessness digs.

Did you as a kid fear for your life, experience love, learn how to use education to your advantage? Did you live in an inner city? Did you experience love as well as poverty, be it financial, physical, emotional, a matter of respect and self-respect, or an accident or illness? Since perceptions of our environment and attitudes about other people are formed by the adults who raise us and are ingrained in us by the time we’re five years old as experts say, it takes years of hard work and diligent attention to overcome oppressive influences.

Sometimes the only way to learn how to feel good about ourselves is with a talk therapist, a professional who has the objectivity and the language to help us find out how to gain the skills required for achieving self-respect, and for keeping our balance while navigating rough times. Sometimes medication prescribed by a psychiatrist becomes the only way to manage symptoms long enough to learn how to prevent them from ruling our life.

Treating Hopelessness

Untreated hopelessness can lead to suicide. Suicide has many causes. A friend who now is 89 recently told me that, during the Great Depression last century, affluent people had their servants hand out three dollars to every poor soul in need who rang their doorbell. The wealthy kept large urns filled with dollars next to the front door. She also said that two men her parents knew had committed suicide to provide for their families with life insurance money. They weren’t the only ones who died to save their families, and of course, insurance companies stopped paying out death benefits to families of people who committed suicide.

SAMHSA (US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) recently reported that death by suicide* is expected to double the average annual rate of 10 percent, given the ongoing exodus of workers who either are downsized or their employers were forced out of business. Untreated hopelessness can convince a person that the only way out of the intolerable pain of fear and self-doubt is suicide.* I know that need to die. Hopelessness owned me for nine years, most of which were sedated by medication. During those years, love, financial security and decent medical care manacled me to life. The pills made dying scary again, no longer a goal, and numbed my ability to think. I lived my years in hell in my own home, helped by people who loved me and paid for my mental health specialists. I know how blessed I’ve been by birth.

We need a non-violent revolution based on the teachings of the Martin Luther Kings of history, although they were few and far between for centuries. Prejudice backed by invincible wealth still dictates in too many countries.

As time edges toward 2010, those who practice unconditional love and those who do not are battling each other in full view. There are more good people than bad, and once united, will overcome

  • If you or someone you know exhibits any of the following signs, please contact a mental health professional or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800–273-TALK (8255):

  1. Threatening to hurt or kill oneself, or talking abaout want to hurt or kill oneself.
  2. Looking for ways to kill oneself by seeking access to firearms, available pills or other means.
  3. Talking about or writing about death, dying, or suicide when these actions are out of the ordinary for the person.
  4. Feeling hopeless.
  5. Feeling rage or uncontrolled anger or seeking revenge.
  6. Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities — seemingly without thinking.
  7. Feeling trapped — like there is no way out.
  8. Increasing alcohol or drug use.
  9. Withdrawing from friends, family and society.
  10. Feeling anxious, agitated , or unable to sleep, or sleeping all the time.
  11. Experiencing dramatic mood changes.
  12. Seeing no reason for living or having no sense of purpose in life.

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Last edited by Tyler Schuster.   Page last modified on January 02, 2012

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