I’m hitting on some serious topics today… losing contact, mental illness and my usual attitude of gratitude.
Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you, your family and friends have a wonderful weekend. I urge you to take some down time this weekend. Spend some time thinking about all the wonderful and challenging things and times you are grateful for.
A friend of mine got a blast from his daughter a few days ago. He has quit calling her and emails instead. He had some pretty valid reasons excuses for not calling… he didn’t want to disturb them if they were busy, he doesn’t like leaving messages in voice mail (who remembers answering machines?), he could email at times that were convenient to him (2:00 in the morning), if they were sick and resting he didn’t want to jar them awake with the ringing of the phone. She didn’t care. She wants a real conversation not a one sided commentary.
I agree with her. There have been many posts and blogs and tweets about the fact that we are losing touch but staying in contact more with social media. There have been numerous posts, blogs, and tweets about how we are more in contact than ever before.
We may be in contact more but are we really speaking to each other? When we speak are we really listening to each other (that’s a topic for another day)? When you think about it when was the last time you called someone just to say hi?
I am guilty of not calling people. There are so many people I’ve met over the years and enjoyed talking to that I don’t call. I have brothers and sisters who the last time I spoke to them was at a funeral. I have other relatives I have never spoken to. I have friends (or had) that I haven’t spoken to in years.
I think about calling but don’t because… (this from a writer what a shame)… I don’t know what to say. I want to hear about them and what’s going on in their lives but have so little to say about mine that would interest them. Even as a kid I was never much for talking unless I had a story to tell. I always found it easier to listen.
Today I commit to calling three people just to say hello. Who haven’t you called for a long time? Who do you email all the time but never call? Join me today and call three people.
An amazing statistic… over 450 million people suffer from mental health conditions. Mental illness leads to over 1 million suicides a year and is the third leading cause of death among young people. One if four people will suffer through a period of mental illness during their lives. The most common illnesses are depression, bi-polar depression, schizophrenia, drug or alcohol addiction and dementia.
In North America 35% to 50% of people struggling with mental illness go without treatment (some professionals think it may be higher because it is so well hidden by many victims and their families). The sad part is many people don’t know or want to admit that they or someone they know suffers from a mental illness. The shame of mental illness overcomes the need for help. The most common treatment is some form of intervention.
How can you help?
Reach out to someone you see struggling. Make donations to mental health research. Seek help if you are struggling.
I have a fair understanding of bi-polar depression. I wrote two poems that express what it feels like when you are bi-polar and going through a transition from balanced to high and low. One captures the emotions and desire of going manic, Seductive High, and the other, Winter Low, expresses the fear and loss of going low. You can read them here. www.danwrites.ca/stories-and-poems
Thanksgiving makes many people realize some of the things they should be grateful for. I think we should be grateful every day of our lives. I have so much to be thankful for that I can’t always say it or write it. Today some of the things I am grateful for are;
The people who read my posts. I know you are busy and the fact that you take the time to pause for a few minutes and read what I write inspires and motivates me. Thank You.
My job. I’m thankful that the work I do brings in money so that I can pay bills, donate to charities, buy food and clothes. I’m also thankful because it brings me into contact with new people every day.
The kindness of strangers. Thank you to the person who held the door for me when my hands were full. Thank you to the person who let me out into traffic when I needed it. Thank you to the person who asked me for a donation when I was feeling down, being able to help lifted me up.
The encouraging and beautiful things people post on Facebook. Thank you to the people who do that, sometimes your postings lift me up, other times they encourage me.
Here are a few quotes to think about…
Do not let the empty cup be your first teacher of the blessings you had when it was full. Do not let a bard place here and there in the bed destroy your rest. Seek, as a plain duty, to cultivate a buoyant, joyous sense of the crowded kindnesses of God in your daily life. Alexander Maclaren
Kindness is the language, which the deaf can hear and the blind can see. Mark Twain
Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. William Ward
When eating bamboo sprouts, remember the man who planted them. Chinese Proverb
Happy Thanksgiving. Be kind to a stranger and give thanks for the opportunity. Share some of yourself with a friend or family and thank them for being there. Listen to some good music and thank the musicians. Call someone to say hello and then listen.
All the best,