We’re Really in The Soup, Aren’t We?

That is what madness is, isn’t it? All the wheels fly off the bus and things don’t make sense anymore. Or rather, they do, but it’s not a kind of sense anyone else can understand

– Audrey Niffennegger

After two weeks, a slight return. Whether it’s my children or my day job (it’s only June and we’re hitting 105 degrees with the heat index – not exactly prime conditions for mowing), free time has been non-existent for me, and it’s affected all avenues of my writing for the time being. If I can’t write, I will read. There hasn’t been too much time for either of those things, though. Stuck in the soup.

I do, however, have something on my mind. I live in a small town. Bars, churches, and fast-food restaurants take up most of the space. Conservatives, drunks, and drunk conservatives take up most of what’s left, not leaving much of anything for the rest of us. So, there aren’t a lot of resources for…anything. This became all too clear recently after watching a local Facebook group dedicated to those suffering from drug and alcohol addiction do battle with members of Small Mind, USA.

Agree or disagree, alcoholism and addiction are considered diseases in the scientific and medical fields. Diseases can be managed or treated so not all hope is lost. To many, though, addiction is a choice. I’m not going to pretend that I know the ins and outs of all of the science, but it shouldn’t take a scientist to understand the effects alcohol and drug use have on human biology and brain chemistry.

“You chose to put the needle in your arm, junky.” Granted, that’s kind of fair, I guess, but on a very low, superficial level. It’s not so black and white. Not at all.

That was just one of the many negative, ignorant comments posted on this “recovery group’s” Facebook page. I felt so bad watching these people who are trying to find empowerment through recovery get torn apart by the vicious ignorance of the misinformed. And on a digital platform, no less.

“Our tax dollars shouldn’t go to paying for your methadon.” Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Ignorant and illiterate. If you can’t spell “methadone” then you shouldn’t have a fighting hand in the argument.

I must give it up to the recovery group and its members, though. They stayed firm in their decree while also taking the higher ground by not going on the attack.

The one thing it made me realize is if this recovery group is getting criticized to this extent, what “challenges” would a support group for the mentally ill face in a small town? My town particularly. Would we be laughed at? Called lazy? Told to suck it up? Probably all those things and then some.

It’s pointless to feel hopeless, though. Some things will never change or will only at a rate so slow I won’t be here to see the repercussions of any of the progress.

Although mental health resources are usually limited everywhere, I’m sure it’s a little different in my town of 2,000 people. There is a “county counselling service”, but good luck getting an appointment or consultation there. The system is more than broken. It’s non-existent in some places.

I don’t have much else to say about this. There is nothing I can say that hasn’t already been said. Mental Health Awareness Month is almost over, and I don’t feel it’s made much difference or was “successful” in any special way. “Awareness” is a relative term, even useless at times. Did we remember to call our support groups together? Did we make T-shirts for everyone, or picket in the streets? Mental Health Awareness Month was just a month wasted on pride for our condition, not a celebration of our endeavors and struggles. Nothing was truly spotlighted except “woo weee…it’s our month.” Every day is Mental Health Awareness Month for me. And for many others reading and stuck in the soup.

I’m trying to be a realist but am recognizing all I do is complain about the ignorance or misgivings of those who don’t understand or agree. And who knows when or if real change will occur. Perspectives and foundational ideologies must change for many and that’s not up to me or any of us. But for the time being I’ll remain here, in the soup.

5 thoughts on “We’re Really in The Soup, Aren’t We?

  1. I sooo relate to your post and to your thoughts. I grew up in a small town in the Northern Territory here in Australia (are you in America?) so I know the feeling of a population of 1000 members and everyone knowing everyone else’s business. Lol. It is hard in a small town to get a lot of support for mental health. I don’t know how you cope.

    As I’m getting older, I’m learning to be less judgemental and more compassionate so for people addicted to drugs/alcohol/food/whatever…my heart goes out to them. It’s not my place to judge and seeing others put people down who are in RECOVERY just breaks my heart 💔

    I hope YOU are ok and I’m so glad to see a new blog from you. You’re a talented writer. Hope you keep going xx

  2. The whole Mental Health Awareness week/month/whatever thing doesn’t do much for me. As it is for you, every day is mental health awareness day for me. People are slow to change, but I figure it’s important that we keep on talking about the reality of mental illness, and maybe eventually it will start to seep into people’s heads.

  3. People in America have become so comfortable being impolite and uncaring. I really don’t understand the mindset of a troll. Negative interactions like that raise my blood pressure. I can’t imagine seeking them out or initiating them. Tourette Syndrome Awareness month ended yesterday. I like having an awareness month because it gives a reason to put out the information. I was able to do some splashy stuff at my library under the guise of awareness month. I’m not sure I would have gotten a green light for the stuff I did if it wasn’t seen as a special, once per year occasion.

    1. That’s awesome. There’s definitely ways I could’ve been more proactive, but I’m not sure what that would have entailed in my conservative corner of the country – might actually have hurt the cause more than helped. Small-minded people reign supreme, as noted in my post. It was sad to see that sort of trolling. But those in the Facebook group took the higher ground and didn’t miss a beat. Again, it may not matter much in the long run, but at least some people still have decency and respect for others.

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