Disclaimer: This isn’t my normal humorous post. The crash of Flight 9525 in the French Alps has saddened us all deeply, and, as we know, I can really only express myself through words.
This week, a 27 year old German pilot flew a plane full of 150 innocent people into the side of a mountain, on purpose.
The news would be heartbreaking enough on its own, but this morning the New York Post reported that the young man suffered from major depression, a condition he had seemingly been affected by for years. The Post reports that German police found a torn up doctors note, excusing the young pilot from work the day of the massacre. It went on to detail the fact that he had recently been having trouble in his relationship. They paint a picture of a troubled human being, on the edge of complete despair, who had no way out. (You can read the NYP article here: http://nypost.com/2015/03/27/killer-co-pilot-had-hidden-illness-from-his-employers/?utm_campaign=SocialFlow&utm_source=NYPFacebook&utm_medium=SocialFlow)
Please understand, my following comments are not to be misconstrued as “excuses” for the behavior of this man. His actions were selfish beyond reproach, unforgivable, and as a believer in life-after-death, I know he will suffer greatly for what he has done. I want you, my dear reader, to understand that I cannot, and will not make excuses for what has happened.
And yet, here we are. A nation where one in three people suffers from a mental illness, and yet when we hear about depression in the news, it’s in relationship to a “lunatic.” That, I have a problem with.
I am not a lunatic. Neither are you. 9.95 people out of 10 who suffer from a mental illness are not lunatics. I’m not ashamed of my disease, but it frightens me that those people who are not comfortable talking about it, or those who do not have it under control, might be. If the only conversation we have about mental illness comes after a tragedy like this, the tragedies will continue to plague us. I try to be a passionate and vocal advocate for people with mental illness because I know many are unable to discuss it the way I am. My only hope is that the voices of those of us who are ABLE to talk about their disease will soon become loud enough.
I wish that this misguided soul had the support group of doctors, friends, and family that I have. That’s my wish for everyone who suffers from this disease. But he didn’t. So instead of focusing on what a “lunatic” he was, perhaps we can start focusing on the underlying issue here: mental illness, either directly or indirectly, affects is all. (By the way, cancer is the other disease that basically affects every single one of our lives, and how many times a day do you hear that word?)
I wish, truly, that I had been able to lend my support to this young man in his time of need.
If you need a shoulder, or an ear, or even an understanding glance… I am here, and #IWillListen.