The following and all of the other episodes to come are snapshots of what goes on in my head, now and in the past. There are times none of this will make sense. There will be times when I might get lucky and the blog I post will be well constructed and will flow like a mountain stream to an awaiting lake below. Other times it will seem like the ramblings of a madman and you’ll ask yourself, “What the……?”
You should probably get used to the latter.
EPISODE ONE HUNDRED SIXTY SEVEN – JOKER – PUT ON A HAPPY FACE…
(Before I start, let me give you a warning.
There will be language. If you are offended bu harsh language, no hard feelings and just pass this one on by.
But before you pass judgment on my word choices, put yourself in my shoes for a moment. Sometimes, when the world feels like it closing in and you can’t breathe, using curse words for shock value can help. It has me in certain moments.)
(Good. On with this post…)
This past weekend (of this writing), my wife and I went to see a movie that put a person’s mental illness on screen and how the health care system basically ignored him which drove him to become a murderer.
It sounds like true-life events.
When, actually, we went to see Joker, a comic-book movie about Batman’s main bad guy.
And yet… the premise of the movie could fit on your screen at home when you watch the news when somebody ‘loses it’ and shoots up their workplace or kills their family or goes somewhere public and just lets the bullets fly.
I sat in the movie theater and watched a performance like few I had seen on screen. Joaquin Phoenix gave this two-dimensional colored inked character from what was once looked at as ‘low art’ a beating heart and a tortured mind that we see every day on the news. Arthur Fleck (Joker/Phoenix) could be the person you work with or are related to. Or just someone that you see in the grocery store buying bread.
Let me get this out of the way, the movie was exceptional and it should get Joaquin Phoenix awards galore and recognition of his extreme talent. Maybe even an Oscar nod.
(I hope if he does, he brings that sucker home with him) The movie is getting high praise for what it’s done.
It’s become something much more than a ‘comic-book’ movie.
It has become (the reason I’m writing this post about it), a call to stop ignoring those that suffer from mental illness in this country. Did you know that 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year? As of this writing, there are almost 330 MILLION people in this country. Of those, 66 MILLION people will have experienced mental illness by the end of the year.
And how many of those are able to get the help they need?
How many of them can afford to seek help?
And of those that do, how many are just given prescriptions to fight the symptoms when the root cause needs to be discovered?
Not enough. Not by a fucking long shot.
You see, I’m one of those 66 million.
I suffer from depression and anxiety.
Not because I think it’s cool or I think it’s the IN thing.
It’s because something in my brain doesn’t seem to be firing right, some sort of electrical impulse is firing too slow or too fast.
And it’s frustrating.
And I’m somebody who can afford to seek the help that I need. I can even figure out my triggers and avoid them most of the time.
I’m one of the lucky ones. My depression and anxiety most of the time is mild and controllable.
But guess what? I’m in the minority.
There are people a hundred times worse off than me that get no medications and don’t get the attention that they need to combat their problems. And it adds up, people. It multiplies with some of them until they explode and do something harsh. Very fucking harsh.
And these people come from all ages, all races, all religions. They may be homeless or living in nice homes. There are people with good jobs and good insurance that could help them with their mental illness. They may not know they suffer. They think what they are dealing with is normal. Their family or friends ignore it because they don’t want to offend them or be bothered to let them know how they feel.
In this society, we want to ignore the obvious because it might upset our lives.
And that’s bullshit. And wrong.
These people that could say something don’t realize they might be able to stop the ones they are supposed to love from doing something later down the line because they didn’t get the proper care. They could stop them from harming themselves because they feel they can’t go on.
Or stop them from hurting others.
As a whole, we ignore anything that might cause us to have more responsibility than we already have. We turn our heads and pretend we don’t see the homeless person wanting a buck or two. Or the person crying in public because we feel it’s ‘none of our business and ‘I’m too busy’ or ‘it’s somebody else’s problem’ or ‘I have my own problems and you don’t see me crying about it’.
As for that last sentence, if you ever thought that, maybe you should sit down a cry in public. Yes, you’ll probably be ignored but there might be some caring soul who will ask you what’s wrong.
Look, the Joker is a bad guy. He felt he had only one course of action and that was to start killing people. And anybody that thinks that’s the right way, well, you should sit down and talk with them. They might be in need of some help.
The bottom line is… don’t be afraid to ask for help when you’re struggling emotionally or mentally. If you’re having thoughts of hurting yourself or others, seek help.
It’s nothing to laugh at.
For some more accurate reading on mental health and the numbers go to NAMI – National Alliance on Mental Illness.
It’s no joke. Hope is possible. Hope is there.
-Loyd Elmore Jr
January 24th, 2020
I’ve decided to keep a blog about how I’m dealing with depression. I’m going to consider this a form of therapy. It might not help anybody else but it might help me.