Oct 27, 2020 Editorial
Kaieteur News – The alarms are increasingly being sounded in sports circles. It was something that victims and their families were long ashamed of, but not anymore, as more and more are braving whatever comes and speak about their mental health condition, with all the stresses, fears, and surrounding problems that come from such a situation long stigmatized and scorned.
It certainly took a long time to come before individuals affected fell such confidence to step forward with much public frankness on such a sensitive, if not secretive and self-protective, issue. But now that it is out in the open, the climate and opportunities should be seized to explore and capitalize on the provisions and places that have been made available for help and relief, and this should be in every walk of life, whether sport or work place or familial. There must be no shame in a condition that cripples, and usually condemns to an imprisoning situation in the home where the affected are hidden away; or the streets where they float about in a haze, sometimes dangerously so. Sometimes, further complicated by chemical practices that make those partaking sicker, even more dangerous.
We should all agree – state and citizen – that it is vitally necessary, and that there is a place for housing and caring for such impacted patients, as well as provisions for the urgent follow-up action required to heal mind and body. Because if the mental faculties are not working on all cylinders all the time, then inevitably the body withers. This is what applies in every occupation at every strata of life itself.
For we have seen them – or know of them through friends, colleagues, or family – in the passing encounters on the street, in the drain that can be wreaked on the human presence. The vacant look, the troubled expressions, the withdrawn natures, the erratic behaviours, the inexplicable relationships that all say that something is not right, that many things are not clicking, and that they lead to failing and diminishing.
On occasion, it is not so visible, nothing much is heard, but there is the dark world of depressions and anxieties that come all too easily and can convert to undetected shadows of self. It is a sorry state of existence, with many suffering in silence, or trying manfully to outmuscle and outlast that for which so little in the way of human and material resources are available here to resolve the crises in lives that reduce men and women to the shuffling and the sparse, the angry and aggressive. There are the fears that come, too: fears for what could follow for those so afflicted by way of deterioration.
There was a time – with residues still lingering – where the ultimate in machismo was to utter and hurl the challenge of “me hed-ain good” with a dare before all comers, and with violent readiness to put words into action, sometimes with lethal outcomes. There was a time, too, when mental illness was something that was recoiled from in horror or retreated from in shame at the stigma of the condition. Thus, there was denying and distancing from and covering up, through one tired pretense after another.
It is not the way to address anything, let alone the mysteries and pain of mental health matters. People carried their baggage by themselves and added to their tortures within their self-imposed and impenetrable wards of silence. Nothing did get resolved when those cultures prevailed, no one was healed or helped. The agonies were simply extended excruciatingly, with no end in sight, while everyone – patient, family, and society – lived in a misguided world of make-believe perfection.
As has come apparent from the high-pressure world of 21st century living, things do not have to be that way anymore. Many are breaking the taboo; there should all breathe a sigh of relief. Many citizens have come forward in sterling support; they should know for they, too, can relate to the gruelling demands placed on both body and brain. Sometimes the latter is unable to cope with what transforms into overload, which means that, at that point in time, there must be willingness to seek help. Whether work or play, the standard must be: know when to say when. Help wanted.
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