Last week, in his State of the Union Address, President Obama spoke of the anger that the American people are feeling right now. He said (paraphrased) “they are afraid for their lives and their livelihood. They are frustrated because they continue to ask for, vote for change and get instead the same status quo of immovable personal interests, and end up feeling they are not being heard. Fear makes us angry.”
I get that. Boy, do I get that! But I wonder how many others in our world understand that relationship. President Obama also spoke of a “deficit of trust” that has been created. I’ve wanted to talk of the relationship between fear, anger, and distrust with regards to mental illness many times in the past. President Obama's words could be speaking directly of those with mental illness, and the issues they face.
Fear and anger have been a part of my life for many years now, along with (or resulting in) distrust. A primary reason for my blog is to promote understanding of those who react with anger, to ask those who encounter it to look beyond the initial display, to see the fear that lies beneath, especially when it comes to those with mental illness. As a society, not having done that, the result continues to be an increase in distrust among us all. In the case of those “diagnosed” as mentally ill, it can mean the potential loss of a life, or at the very least a greatly reduced quality of life.
Rather than recognizing the fear in those deemed mentally ill when they react angrily, violently; we disrespect them, put them away from us, actually lock them away. We put them on medications to keep them quiet and sedated. Or worse yet, we let them remain in their extremity until they commit suicide or die from neglect. Historically, we haven’t bothered to get to the root of the problem or to understand it.
I’m not advocating that we condone anger and violence. I am the first to speak for peace and calm, respectful interaction and communication. In fact, I believe communication is the key.
Communication leads to understanding. This post is to offer the understanding that: FEAR makes us all react in anger – some to a greater measure than others. My belief is that fear is at the heart of all “mental illness”, maybe let’s even say all mental “distress”.
I hope you’ll follow along the next few posts that deal with fear, anger, and distrust – from my perspective – from my life.