The events over the past week have left me largely speechless. Like many of you, senseless tragedies like the shooting in Aurora remind me of how little I understand in this world. As someone who is agnostic and will remain agnostic until the day I die, the beliefs I hold and do not hold are sacred to me. This weekend, I’ve found myself taking inventory in these beliefs:
First off, I believe there is nothing wrong in believing in God or an afterlife. If you can believe, I may even be a little envious of you. The fact of the matter is, I simply cannot believe in those things. My brain is no longer wired that way. And I believe there is nothing wrong with that, either.
I believe tragedy provides us with an opportunity to be better people. I don’t believe in fate or predestination, but I believe in us. I believe that we are wired to survive. We are wired to do better and be better, and there is something in us that keeps us pushing and persevering no matter the odds.
I believe we only live once. We only experience this world once – and whatever becomes of us after death, be it afterlife or nothing, we never experience what this world has to offer ever again. We can only feel the warmth of a kiss, see the setting sun turn the sky into a masterpiece of oranges and reds, or listen to Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos a limited number of times. The idea that an individual can rob another of those experiences is beyond tragic and sickening. There are no words to describe it.
I believe it’s times like this where we have to reach down and cling to our sense of humanity rather than our sense of vengeance. I absolutely believe in the importance of justice, but with all the sensationalism and politicizing, we’re losing sight of the future. At what point are we going to take mental illness seriously and connect those in need to the help they so desperately need before something horrible happens? When are we going to remove the stigma and the red tape that keeps friends and family from finding help for their loved ones?
Right now, I don’t have the answers for the things I don’t understand. I usually try to find answers and possibilities and present them to you on this blog, but I simply have nothing today. All I can offer is a few links to help you if you or someone you know is in need of help. Maybe at some point in the future I can do more. For now? This is all I’ve got:
Suicide Hotlines by State (http://suicidehotlines.com/)
60 Tips for Living with Schizophrenia (http://www.schizophrenia.com/family/60tip.html)
National Alliance on Mental Illness (http://www.nami.org/) [This is a very good general resource on coping, support and recovery]
Grief Recovery Support Groups (http://www.griefshare.org/)