I wasn’t sure if I wanted to write about this. I wasn’t sure if it was too soon- but is it ever too soon when it’s such a common topic? Drug addiction. Mental health. It seems like every day we lose someone- whether an iconic artist or loved one- to these terrible illnesses. What the hell is going on?
Yes, it’s a sensitive subject.
But the stigma behind both these topics needs to break. We read posts like this one all the time, and yet people still seem afraid to seek help/speak up. They think they’re going to be judged- and perhaps because some ignorant people around them will judge them. That’s another issue- a lack of education regarding the two aforementioned topics. People tend to assume drug addiction is a choice. Wrong. People downplay and discredit others’ mental instability because, “everyone has anxiety,” or because, “we all get sad sometimes.” Educating those around us on these issues is just as important as the affected individuals seeking help.
I’m a nursing student. I did a full semester in a longterm, psychiatric hospital- and I saw the detriments of both these diseases firsthand. Yes, it was scary. No, I don’t think I could handle being a psychiatric nurse- but there are people in this world who need the help of those brave, kind, souls who dedicate their lives and careers to mental health nursing. These illnesses are so real and it’s devastating seeing lives being taken away by them every day because of the giant stigma our society has placed on these diseases. Think about it this way: if you had a heart problem, you’d go to the doctor to get it fixed. Just because an issue isn’t physical, doesn’t mean it isn’t real.
I’m going to open up a little bit,
because I think good writing comes from honesty and vulnerability. Like others, I’ve had to deal with anxiety. No, I don’t want a pity-party, because thankfully, I have positive coping mechanisms (like writing here for all of you lovely people!). Have I had nights where I lie awake all night for no apparent reason? More than once. Have I had anxiety attacks that end with me throwing up? A few times. Have I had days where nothing seems to be right- even though my life is technically ok (great, actually)? Yeah, I’ll admit it. I’ve found that taking negative things, people, and situations out of my life has helped, but it’s ultimately impossible to remove all anxiety sources. Besides, a little anxiety gives us some sort of drive at the end of the day. And on the days that are worse than others, I try to remind myself that the sun will rise again tomorrow, and the worries and stress will stay in yesterday.
On the other side of things, I’ve also had to be there for people I really love and care about when they haven’t been feeling too good. Maybe it’s the nurse in me. I see someone who needs help and I drop everything to do what I can. I’ve stayed up all night legitimately being a shoulder to cry on, or leaving my house in the middle of the night because someone needs company- even if it’s to sit in the silence. I’ve seen suicide notes, and in those moments I’m glad and I thank God I answered the phone and just listened. It’s a scary world and sometimes I feel like putting others before I put myself is my biggest weakness- but it’s what I do.
This brings me to talk about a recent tragedy: Mac Miller.
I know you all heard what happened, so I’m not going to get into those details. Mac was the first artist I loved on my own– not because my mom played his music on the radio or because I grew up listening to it. No, that wasn’t the case. I don’t even remember how I came across his music, but I do remember being obsessed with his Best Day Ever and Blue Slide Park albums. I’d blast his music at the beach when I’d go with my friends in high school, and we all went to his concert in Miami Beach in 2011. Shit, I even had (and still do) a Most Dope sweatshirt- I was an obsessed fifteen year old.
I can’t help but empathize with Ariana Grande. Although I don’t know personal details about her relationship with Mac Miller, I do know she was in love with him and dealing with his drug addiction and mental health issues for years. It’s sad to see people blaming her for his premature death- saying it happened because she broke up with him and started a new relationship. We don’t know how long she was by his side, day and night, trying to help him get better. It gets to a point where it’s too much for one person to handle. I can’t imagine the pain she’s feeling.
I guess what I’m trying to get at is that we need to do something.
I’m sorry for this ~super~ long post, but I had a lot on my mind and again, this is how I express myself. I’m tired of writing posts on the same topic every month when we experience another tragedy. I’m tired of reading posts exactly like this every time something terrible happens. When will it end? When will people accept drug addiction and mental illness as real diseases? I hope anyone reading this who thinks they need help goes forward and seeks it. You don’t have to tell anyone if you’re embarrassed about it. But I want you to know it’s ok. To anyone else: be the shoulder someone may need, or advise them in a nonjudgmental way that how they feel is ok and there are professional resources they can use.
Everyone is responsible for their own life, and you shouldn’t be struggling to keep up with yours to help someone else. Do what you can to help in the best way you can, and always remember (and remind) that the sun will rise tomorrow.
Rest Easy Malcolm McCormick (1/19/1992 – 9/7/18)