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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Not Made For These Times

The obituary of a local young lady who died as a result of mental health issues has been getting national press, including an article in the Washington Post (you can read it HERE).  Read it at your own peril, as it's about as difficult a story you will come across these days, which says a lot.

I read it over a week ago, by the way; well I didn't really read it in as much as I just skimmed over it.  A kind of cursory review that we all do when faced with something we know to be uncomfortable but yet required.  I still haven't read the entire obituary.  At best I did read the Post article.

I'll not claim some degree of discomfort or pain at this story, as that does an injustice to the suffering of this young lady's family.  I will claim though having had people in my family suffer from some very severe mental health issues.  I will claim more than a few visitor trips to in-patient mental health facilities.  If anything, this story hits me in a difficult spot precisely because of those memories (and other related experiences) that I have instinctively learned to think about in the most detached manner possible.  That's my self-defense mechanism at work, a tawdry excuse itself for coping, long ago over-taxed.

I don't know what I would say to this family if I were to see them (again...I knew them from church, many years ago).  Words, especially your own, can be so hard to come by in times like this.  Was does come by is a certain song that would occasionally pop into my head, back many years ago when I faced some of these issues more directly.

Back then, as I desperately searched for some kind of logical explanation for that which is, by its very definition illogical (mental illness), I inevitably came to the conclusion that some folks simply aren't made for these times.  It's a insightful sentiment coming from a songwriter (Brian Wilson) who himself suffered from many challenges.  That's one of the beautiful things about music by the way:  It  has this wonderful way of giving voice to something that is very difficult to explain otherwise.

"I Just Wasn't Made For These Times" is the musical, mental picture in my head of those who suffer.  For myself, I had a different mental soundtrack song pinging through my head.

For the record, I don't have blue eyes.

Rest in Peace young lady.

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