Today I had a sad and strange experience as I went to visit a friend in hospital. On the way I happened to pass through the emergency room waiting area. Even outside I could hear the screaming. I heard someone crying and screaming, and shouting the word “murder” over and over and over again. Typing it here really doesn’t do it justice.
When I got inside I saw a young man who was having a very difficult day. It looked like he was there with his mom and she was doing her level best to calm him down, but he was crying, screaming, angry – no, enraged – by something evidently quite serious to him, and his purple face positively writhed from his exertions. He kept saying he was going to murder someone – that someone was going to be murdered if this couldn’t be worked out.
Nurses were scrambling, security people were running to the scene. His mom asked him if he wanted to be sedated, and that touched off another volley of protest and an even deeper, fouler rage than before. I thought to myself, even as I started walking again, that in a very short time he would certainly find himself sedated, whether he liked it or not, and in a few hours he would probably find himself at the Lougheed, in the psychiatric ward, either sleeping it off or waiting for his chance to talk it out.
Either way, I couldn’t help thinking that his road to wholeness was just beginning, and I felt bad for him.
Tonight I am thinking of that young man – my thoughts are truly with him and his struggles. I hope he has good people around him, and good therapeutic help. I’m quite certain he’s on the ward as I type this, and I’d be lying if I told you that this thought doesn’t bring back a few memories.
For him – whoever he is – or for anyone struggling in this way – I attach this photograph. If it inspires, good. If all it does is intrigue or distract for a moment, then that’s good too. Either way, as you look at it I urge you to think of your own loved ones – especially of those who have problems they are working on. Do you think that that loved one would benefit from an arm around the shoulder? Then do it. Do you think they might appreciate the chance to talk? Then let them talk. Act on your instinct, and at least try to help them avoid the kind of pain I witnessed today.
To me, mental health is just as important as physical health – perhaps more so. And yet we put almost all of our efforts into looking and feeling good, physically. From where I sit, looking and feeling good doesn’t help much if your heart or mind is breaking.