Remember a few weeks ago when we first heard that a Trini dude tried and failed to steal a plane in Florida?
And we thought “Well that’s CRAZY…”
Soon after we found out that he had plans to crash the plane and take his own life.
And some thought “Well he’s CRAZY…”
Turns out that it wasn’t the official diagnosis (shocking right?)
Despite the FBI’s findings or the actions of the defendant himself; which all pointed to clear signs of intense emotional distress and possible mental illness, ‘taxifulls’ of people all over Trinbago still think the boy just CRAZY.
I’ve also heard friends and enemies alike postulate that this was just a case of a wealthy adrenaline junkie playing the mental health card to get out of jail. Whatever you believe or however yuh slice it, this story reeks of tragedy, speculation and doubt.
I keep thinking how different our opinions would be if there was actual footage of the young man bleeding from his eyes, or him pulling out his hair, or coughing uncontrollably. How much physical evidence would we need to firmly believe he is sick?
How much evidence do we need to believe anyone who claims to be afflicted by a mental illness? And how tragic the story’s ending has to be for us to stop slinging the word CRAZY around?
(Think bout that for a lil bit, wheel and come again)
The sooner we all admit to having issues with mental health issues, the better.
Truth is a lot of us (for pretty plausible reasons) feel ”a type ah how” whenever we hear words like schizophrenia and bipolar (for me it’s because they’re hard to spell), others simply find it hard to shake the memory of a church leader shouting “demon ting” or a school mate calling the ‘excessive’ crier a drama queen or a ‘soft’ man.
This culturally imposed ideology may cause us to act insensitive and dismissive towards people in our lives who struggle with their mental health.
>>> Which in turn makes it harder for them to talk about it. >>>
>>> Which in turn makes it harder for us to spot the problem. >>>
>>> Which in turn makes it more difficult for them to receive help.
Our actions can make things difficult!
And yeah, yeah we know “society is shit” and “daz how yuh was raised”, but we have to hold ourselves accountable for our own actions. (You can stop reading here cause I’m basically talking to myself now)
I’ve said to an ex-girlfriend suffering with depression, “cheer up and work harder.”
I’m ashamed to admit that very recently I told a close friend, who was on suicide watch the week before, “ the next time you drop down I won’t come to help” all because I was mad at her for not eating well and taking her meds.
I’m not an expert and pretending to be one is incredibly reckless. I’m literally just a shitty human trying to be less shitty…
and you’re not an evil person for making mistakes, or doubting someone’s claims BUT quite possibly you are making it harder for them to get the help they need and that shit needs to stop.
Heres what needs to start:
Watch yuh words – I does talk real dotishness and yes comedy is a valid coping mechanism but it cannot be at the expense of someone’s feelings. We need to be ultra aware of what we say and who we are saying it around (I know I know PC this PC that) but breds is a man life yuh talking bout.
Listen, Listen, Listen – Don’t criticize, don’t try to shove logic down their throats. Express your love and concern by being there and keeping an open mind.
Don’t Reproach – Don’t bring up what you do for them in a fight or make it seem burdensome. You’re not a hero for doing the right thing. (Jesus said it, Allah said it, Chance the Rapper said it)
Make the tough call – There is no such thing as friend/client privilege. If someone you know is showing signs of suicidal tendencies or self harm report it to a trusted family member and REFER to a professional. Yes you run the risk of them feeling betrayed but this might save their life.
Take care of yourself – You can’t pour from an empty heart. It’s okay to not be strong all the time, it’s okay to be frustrated. Taking a break from helping a friend doesn’t make you selfish…. You can’t help them if you’re not okay. Step back, take some fresh air, take a day off, talk to a therapist yourself.
Mental illnesses aren’t contagious but poor practices are. .
Wrote this piece after reading about the Florida plane incident. Hope this helps someone 🙏🏾