Black Lives Matter, Protests, Riots, Peace, Unity and My Mental Health

blog Black Lives Matter, Protests, Riots, Peace, Unity and MY Mental Health

I have tried to be as silent as possible during this whole thing. But the silence is killing me. It’s way more than I want to put on a generic Facebook post. I’m not looking for a fight. If you have different opinions than me, that is fine. If your goal is to intentionally cause me or any else any form of pain and suffering, that is where I draw the line.

Like many others in the world, I suffer from depression and anxiety, which I work on daily, as well as take medication for. I also have ADHD and a slight case of OCD, neither of which have been clinically diagnosed but it is pretty obvious and I definitely have symptoms of both. The older I get and the more I learn about all of these conditions, the more I see how they are intertwined with each other. Some days these things make it near impossible to even get out of bed or focus on a task long enough to complete anything.

The reason I prefaced this post with that is because all of the shit in the world is having a serious negative impact on my overall mental health. I know I am not alone. I have spoken to quite a few people who are also feeling the effects. I have seen countless videos of the pain and suffering people are going through. I try to avoid the media, but I also want to be informed. I understand that certain media outlets can skew the information to suit their views. But I don’t really see how you can justify hurting innocent people, EVER. That is just basic human decency.

The Coronavirus sent us all into our homes for shelter. This started to cause a serious divide between people who were already divided under the reign of our nation’s so called “leader”. We were all asked to stay home, which I believe was the best thing to do given the virus was nothing like anything we had ever experienced before and seemed to be killing people at an unbelievable rate. Some will argue that it is a hoax, but I have heard plenty of first hand accounts of people who personally know someone who was bedridden, hospitalized or died by the hands of the virus. Over 100,000 people died in this country WHILE WE WERE IN LOCKDOWN!!! Can you even image the number if we didn’t take such actions?

So this sets up an entire country, which is already full of people suffering from all kinds of mental illnesses (including our leaders), into a hyper sensitive state of being. Stuck in our homes we all turn to the media for answers. But it seems there is nothing but bad news. You actually have to forcefully look for something positive buried in the sea of crap, but it is out there if you look hard enough. Sometimes it’s right in front of our faces.

While we are all so intently focused on the television and social media, we have been witnesses to a few murders. I don’t know about you, but watching someone get murdered is not something that I normally witness and my jaw hits the floor. People are already at this heightened state of angst and now this?! People of color everywhere are outraged, and rightly so. And right alongside them there are many white people showing their support, me included. I was just starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel from this virus and all of a sudden my whole mental health took a nosedive. I felt that because I am white, I am instantly associated with those horrible people who committed such heinous crimes. Murder and blatant disregard for human life. I am sickened by what I am seeing on the screen.

I can’t believe that we even have to go through this. It makes me sick to my stomach. The horrible acts of violence I have seen on BOTH SIDES make me furious. I am a peaceful man. I can’t even watch a boxing match. Last year I even started eating vegan because I couldn’t handle knowing that I contributed to the suffering and death of living beings anymore.

But when I watched that dirty cop with his knee on George Floyd’s neck, my blood boiled. I felt a tingling in my body. I wanted to jump through the screen and kick that cop right in his face to make him stop. At that moment, he was not a cop, he was a murderer. Unfortunately, if I had been there and done that, I would have ended up with a felony, if not dead as well. But I might have been able to save his life. People on the sidewalk screamed at him to stop. That murderer ignored them. How can someone be so cruel to look down for 9 minutes at a man and knowingly watch the life get sucked out of their body. It takes a cold blooded killer to do that. It makes me sick.

Moving on….

Then the protests started. The entire black community finally had enough. After being cooped up in their houses for months, they took to the streets, arm in arm with a large number of white people. People in cities all over the world protested together. Different races, ages, sexes all came together as one. Unified together to stand against police brutality.

And what were they met with?

More police brutality.

The images and videos that ensued for the following days were heartbreaking. The peaceful protesters who were practicing their constitutional right, were violently attacked by police forces, largely unprovoked. This only angered the people more. Then nightfall comes. The angriest of the angry started rioting. Can you blame them? The people are so upset in this country that some of them are resorting to destroying their own communities. A large number of them have been found out to be from out of state, just coming in to join in on the anarchy. But I definitely feel for them too. Being completely fed up with being unheard can drive people to do crazy things. I’m not in any way condoning their behavior, I am just sympathizing with their pain.

And maybe I’m seeing it wrong, but it seemed like the police were nowhere to be found during the riots. Did they just let it happen? I’m sure many forces tried to stop the riots, but it seemed they would rather fight the nonviolent protesters than the ultra-violent rioters and anarchists.

Meanwhile, during the day, thousands of people take to the streets for peaceful protest and are met with police officers in full riot gear. Flashbangs, tear gas, rubber bullets, pepper spray, billy clubs, etc. Protect and serve? This is military action against their own people! All over the country protests were going on and in many places they were met with violence. It absolutely disgusts me.

It is impossible for me to ignore or pretend like I don’t care. I DO CARE! I wish that it didn’t eat me to my core, but it does. I certainly am not the leader for change, but it feels like we need some leadership to step up and be the face of this revolution. And that is what I fear the most. A revolution. Another civil war. I feel it brewing. The people of the United States are pissed off! We are NOT United at all! In my lifetime, I have never felt more divided.

It really sucks that it feels like we have to pick sides. As far as politics goes, I don’t trust either side. The whole system is screwed up and has been for a long time. The corruption is so deep that I’m not sure how we can correct it without a revolution.

That terrifies me.

This is supposed to be the land of the free. But we are anything but free. The misuse of power needs to end.

I am NOT sorry if I offended you. I needed to get this out there and voice my opinion. I know this will go largely unheard and that is fine. At least I said it. Rant over.

OK, I don’t want to end this on a bad note. I keep saying to myself, there may be some bad apples, but there are a hell of a lot of good apples. There are people of all colors standing together for a common cause. Fighting for equality. Together we have a chance. Divided we will fall.

A friend told me (I’m paraphrasing) “There are always blue skies. There might be clouds in the way right now, but beyond the clouds, the skies are always blue.”

I’m not saying to pretend like the clouds aren’t there. I’m just reminding people that the skies are blue. If we work together, one day hopefully this world will have peace and unity. Until then, I will do my best to spread peace and unity and love within my sphere of influence.

Please be kind to one another,

Nick

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