Mental Health Issues…depression and thoughts of suicide
The Wonder of Openness
                If you haven’t read the column by Charles Blow of the New York Times recently posted on October 14, please do so on an online edition of the Times. It is under the title “The Bleakness of the Bullied”.   Mr. Blow is a well respected columnist, regularly appearing on national television shows with comments on the daily life of this country’s politics and well being. It wasn’t always so.
                Mr. Blow recounts a time when he was very young, depressed, bullied by other young people around him and thinking of suicide. He was at a skating ring where the music was loud and people were moving fast around him, and he was just trying to hold on. He thought how unhappy he was, that he didn’t want to live and considered taking too many pills. Then, he remembered a song his mother had taught him, and he began to sing it to himself and pulled away from darkness.
                And now Mr. Blow writes about this time in his life. What a wonderful thing to do! In recent months, I have seen two news stories, one in the Winston-Salem Journal, and the other on the CBS Evening News. Both stories told of young people who were unhappy at school and bullied by their peers. One, a young girl from Forsyth County told no one, not even her closest friends how she felt. They didn’t know until her parents found her body in an upstairs bedroom one morning before school. The other national story was of a young boy who told his parents what was going on in his life, and he got help, and now is a happier well adjusted person.
                The difference in these two stories, at least to me, is that the openness, or lack thereof in each case. I think openness usually wins. What you can do, if you have children, is ask how they are doing and be mindful of their behavior. What you can do, if you have older friends, is the same.
                I believe that one of the best ways to find out about how someone is doing is to open up to that person your-self. That makes it easier for everyone to be honest. But this can be hard. Admitting our weaknesses isn’t for sissies. But the rewards can be priceless.

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