Monday, December 16, 2013

Sorry that a persons death inconvenienced your commute...First World Problems!!

Today, there was a fatal car accident just outside of the town I live in.   It brought traffic southbound to a halt for hours.  Tragically, a man died...others, seriously hurt.  As I read some Facebook posts tonight, I was saddened to see how "inconvenienced" people were by someone's death.  Are we that entitled of a people, we can't wait long enough for such a horrific event to be worked through?

That person's family will never see them again.  You had to wait a couple hours to see your loved ones, and maybe you won't get as much sleep tonight...that family won't sleep tonight.  Are we in that much of a hurry?  What are we doing? 

Tonight I got to serve dinner and give a message at the local Union Gospel Mission, afterward I drove to a local grocery store and joined some friends who were ringing bells to help raise money for the Salvation Army.  The folks we served at the UGM and I'm sure many of the peeps that receive services from the SA, would have loved to sit in your warm, leather upholstered seats, listening to music while you share your vexation and disbelief. 

So, I'm sorry that a human beings death brought you some inconvenience...maybe tomorrow will be a better day for you.  In the meantime, perhaps this video of First World Problems will remind you of how ridiculous we've become.  I hope your commute is better tomorrow...

Friday, December 6, 2013

Robinson Cano and the world of Mental Illness...

As a life long Seattle Mariners fan, I was excited hear the headlines this morning, "Cano and Mariners agree to $240 MILLION!!"  No, this post is not about the craziness of paying someone insane amounts of money to hit a ball and round some's about providing a glimpse into the world of mental illness.

Most of my life, my dad battled mental illness (bi-polar/shizo-affective disorder...was the most recent diagnosis).  I grew up visiting my dad in and out of mental hospitals and all that they entail (watching him in struggle in straight jackets, being tied to beds, receiving extreme doses of anti psychotic drugs that have the affect of making someone a living zombie...literally the walking dead).  Before my dad would receive a 3-4 month stay-cay in our state mental hospital, he would go through weeks, sometimes months of manic, paranoid, delusional, and grandiose behaviors.  

I couldn't help but smile today, thinking that if my dad was still alive, he would have called me and said either "Rhyan, I'm moving to Seattle...the Mariners just hired me to help coach Cano!" or "I'm moving to Houston, the Texans offered me a coaching job." (In light of this mornings Houston Texans firing of Coach Kubiak) When I was younger, it was a bit harder to navigate such delusional calls, that would often lead to frustration...but now that they don't happen anymore, perhaps the "crazy" thing is, I sure wish they did!

He used to walk into the local police department and ask for his business cards so his peeps could contact him in his "undercover detective" work.  He went to a local high school one morning and announced in a class room that he was the substitute that day...the contracted teacher quickly called for help!  

When I would go to the local food bank with him, pick him up in all hours of the night at the local downtown bus-stop or any given destination of his walking pleasure, he had great friendships with the local transient homeless population...they were friends.  I learned more from my dad and his mental illness than I could have ever imagined...I learned that in light of HUGE state and federal budget cuts, and continued lack of local resources, folks with mental illness have fewer and fewer places to go.  Families are often at a loss of what do with their loved ones who suffer from such agonizing and difficult (to say the least) mental disorders...often they lead to abandonment, and you know, while I don't agree with it, I sure understand it...the ugly side of mental illness; threats, behaviors, manipulation, and more...are sometimes a living hell.

I'm not sure why I felt compelled to write this...perhaps it's the impending two year anniversary of the sentencing hearing for the transient young man who beat my dad to death?  Maybe it's the holiday season, and the memories that come with wishing my dad was still here and knowing that there are hundreds and thousands of families all over the country wondering what to do with their loved ones who are doing everything they can to estrange themselves from the very ones who care about them the most?  Maybe it's my hope for a world to be more empathetic and caring for those who battle mental illness?

My dad would call me at all hours of the night, sometimes to yell, sometimes to offer a threat, and sometimes to tell me that the lucky number for the day was "3"...I don't get those calls anymore...but I sure wish I did!!  Maybe this spring, I'll head up to a Mariner's game in his stead.