Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

We Didn’t Do Our Best

I know I’ve been writing a lot about the Virginia Tech tragedy, and I promise to move on very soon, but today I can’t stop thinking about it because, for me, it points to how ignorant most people are with regard to mental illness.

I know this is a very Catholic thought (everything’s our fault)…but I can’t help but feel that we, as a society, are partly to blame for these kinds of disasters: mostly by our lack of understanding of mood disorders and severe psychiatric diseases, but also by our self-absorption–the fact that most of us wouldn’t know if our neighbor was suicidal and even if we did, that we probably wouldn’t do anything about it.

We’ll never have a full picture of what went wrong as Cho descended to a place that led him to commit mass murder. But we can’t help but think, what if his family, classmates, and teachers back in middle school, when the boy already exhibited signs of mental illness (by not speaking) were educated on the various symptoms and kinds of psychiatric problems and intervened? What if neighbors and parents and aunts and uncles could have recognized danger, and driven the boy to counseling or to a support group, or to a doctor, or to an occupational therapist, or to a consultation with experts of all kinds to figure out what was wrong and what, if anything, they could do about it?


“Korean immigrants would feel shame,” said Sang Lee, director of the Asian American Program at Princeton Theological Seminary. “There would be some reluctance and some hesitancy in admitting [a mental illness] and openly seeing a doctor.”

“Why the hell didn’t the roommates or the teachers or the neighbors or the family force the boy to get help?” my friend Margie said to me yesterday when we were debating the topic. “It’s our responsibility as a society to look after one another, and when something isn’t right, to pluck that person out of the community, and get him the help he needs.”

“That only works,” I said, “if the society is well-informed. Had I listened to my community when I was suicidal, I would be dead. Remember, they told me to get off the meds, find my center, and look to the light.”


“But your community is abnormal,” she countered.

“I don’t think so,” I replied. “Watch ‘Oprah’ and you’ll find that that philosophy is more mainstream than you think. And if it’s not the Tom Cruise/anti-meds movement thwarting the progress of understanding, it’s old-fashioned stigma against mental illnesses or cultural biases.”

I reminded her that when I was a threat to myself, very suicidal (and very vocal about my intentions), one person suggested I pack my bags for the hospital. She was a nurse, and not even that great a friend at the time. But (because of her training) she was very knowledgeable about mental disorders and could see some bedspread-sized red flags. Hers were the sole pair of eyes that could see the train wreck coming down the track before it happened.


The others?

Neighbor one: “You need to be better organized. That’s the source of your problems.”

Neighbor two: “Whatever you do, don’t let this [my depression and mental instability] get out. It will ruin you.”

Neighbor three: “Buck up!”

Many more: “Meditate and think positive.”

Yes, as a society we are responsible for each other. But, man is that scary considering what lots of folks around me believe about mental illness.

Which is why, in my opinion, the first step is to educate. Because until we count mental disorders as legitimate diseases, trying to help people like Cho won’t matter. We can have the best intentions, as all of my friends and family members did, but the majority of them couldn’t begin to help me because they didn’t have a clue about how to recognize and treat my mood disorder.

That’s why I’ve become so passionate in my mission to educate the world on mental illness. So that, God forbid, if anything like this ever happens again, we, as a society can say, “we did our best.”

  • Sandy Slaga

    Very well said, Therese!

  • Kathy

    My mother is a nurse and to this day I can’t talk about my depression with her. She’d just remind me of all the things I have to be thankful for.

  • http://HASH(0xd1e8b94) ANN LILLEVIG

    You have REALLY hit the nail on the head with this article….SUPER,SUPER insights.I’m writing because you absolutely keep me going….thank you…,the question is:how do we enlighten the masses?….Ann

  • http://HASH(0xd1e9a0c) Linda Zwirlein

    So well put! As an ex-Special Education teacher, with clients/friends that have various mental health issues I agree. What “we” the masses don’t understand we are afraid of. Knowledge is truly Power, and with power comes the ability to help! Thanks for the article, Linda

  • http://HASH(0xd1ea9a4) Kathy Phillips

    I agree with you, Theresa, and with all the comments above. I would like to add that the power of prayer, especially the Rosary, and daily Mass bring me huge comfort. I agree we are too self absorbed. Volunteering was another huge thing for me. Getting out of myself was the best thing I could do for me. (Ironically)Would any of these things have helped Cho, perhaps not. But perhaps might be helpful to someone who reads this.

  • http://HASH(0xd1eacc8) Beverly

    It is so true…I have said that Cho was in a lot of pain to do what he did. I am not excusing it by any means, but I read in an article that in middle school, he used to walk the halls with his head down..and of course, he was teased while reading. What kind of impact do you think this had on him? He suffered. We as a society need to better educate ourselves and above all, treat others as we would want to be treated.

  • http://HASH(0xd1ebcc4) T

    Let’s not forget about support for the support system, too. Education will help take the burden off parents, friends, etc. who can become so emotionally and physically exhausted by the effort of caring for, mitigating the negative consequences of unhealthy behavior, hiding the truth about a loved one’s illness or facing the same sort of bad “advice” from others that they aren’t able to provide all the support their mentally ill loved ones need without doing damage to their own health.

  • http://HASH(0xd1ec8f4) Kathy Jones

    I have recently been experiencing the breakdown of my soon to be ex, to some degree me, and many others that are overwhelmed by the day to day of life. The stb-ex was expressing suicidal thoughts, planning etc. I encouraged himm to meet me at a health facility. He did. I wasn’t sure if I was going to press for commitment or not. To take away someone’s liberties involuntarily is a huge responsibility. Very scary. Not something to be done litely. My point is there are sometimes, maybe more often than not, grey areas. A person can only pray for guidance, listen to their inner self, and ride the many tumultous waves that go with the process. Oh and listen to the other person. Really listen. First and foremost. Try to get in their head, their shoes. Shut off the inner you and let them have the stage. Then pray. It was/is a horrible place to be and endangers not only the loved one, but those who love them.

  • http://HASH(0xd1ed334) Marlene L. Uy

    I’d just like to comment on your incredible points, thank you for sharing your opinion. It’s wonderful to hear things from an individual that society, in my opinion, does not want to hear. We don’t want to hear, “Hey, we all could have done a little better on our part in helping this boy, or helping this person with a mental illness.” Everybody struggles and I like the attitude you present when you say, “We should all realize that we’re all in this together.” If we leave someone out of our community, of course he or she will feel a bit like an outcast. If we see someone is extra quite, take the extra time to show him or her that we care, and give him a little, “hello? How are you today?” and really mean it. Once again thank you for this, it’s refreshing to hear a lady speak out truth. I’ve been hearing so much garbage from people, like one woman said, “That’s why we shouldn’t allow foreigners in.” …………Yes, she really did say that. I don’t think I have to begin to explain my frustration, because I’m sure you all are on the same page as what I am thinking: it’s because of people like that woman, that these problems exist!!! At any rate, keep up the wonderful articles! Cheers, Marlene

  • http://OutlookExpress Carl Blue

    As a retired Community Mental Health professional I have supervised at times 70 to 80 psychiatric outpatients. It’s very hard to accuarately predict what people are going to do, psychiatricly impared or otherwise. Moreover, people demand privacy, individual freedom, and above all, the right to be wrong.We should always try be compassionate with ourselves first and foremost. There are many people who are very mantally ill who may have the same symptoms as Cho who may never commit acts of violence at all, and, depending on the reviewing official, such a person may or may not be considered dangerous and not be committed for psychiatric care.I’m all for reaching out to those who are in need. You mention doing our best, but I must confess, very few of us do our best on a sustained basis, and even when we do it falls short. As a people we must pray for compassion and love to exist within our hearts, asking God to give us the ability to care about people racially and/or behaviorally different from us, and the training should begin early. As our population grows most people become less and less concerned with persons who appear to have problems. We are fearful and unwilling to get involved especially with people who are different. That needs to change. Really, it must for our sakes! I believe we should encourage each other to be merciful and humble, remembering that living a life of love is an inside job, and looking always for similarities rather than differences is usually the best course.

  • http://HASH(0xd1eebbc) Dolores

    Excellent comments. As a Christian, I am taught to be my brother’s keeper. As a healthcare professional, I have taken an oath to provide specific service for mankind. If this young man was diagnosed with problems during middle school what were all the professional services providing as assistance?

  • Tammy

    Hi, I absolutely agree with you. In fact, you are the only one I read about VT who resonated with how I felt. I had written on my blog as well on the issues of mental health as well (although not in so many words), but ppl who read them had said nothing. Do they not care or not agree or just plain think there’s nothing we can do about it?I have stopped writing about it because I don’t live in that country & I feel i am in position to comment.However, I do want to point out that forcing the boy to get help isn’t going to work because from the reports, he had been to the doctors & the only thing the doc could diagnose him with was autism which for the life of me would never be able to understand. And when the school referred him to a psychiatrist, they sent him back home & said he is not of imminent threat.Also, the boy may not see that he needs help. He was not a threat to himself. He was a threat to everyone else & if one should force help on him, he might turn violent quicker.But yes, personally, I agree, education on mental health would be needed so that instead of leaving him to his own little world, friends around him can be on the lookout for him & not isolate him further because of his quietness.

  • Katie/Seta

    It’s hard for me to admit that I have a ‘mental illness.’ I still like ’emotional disorder.’ Yet, it all boils down to the same thing for me, that I do have schizoaffective disorder along with obsessive compulsive disorder and general anxiety. It’s hard to even type this now! I do wish that society and schools would start teaching tolerance and understanding, rather than force and might through guards at doors and guns (thinking of high schools as well as colleges). Perhaps if people, children and adults, started learning to tolerate others’ differences (as long as it’s presently not harming anyone), emotions won’t be stirred, hearts won’t be crushed and lives won’t be scarred or lost.

  • http://HASH(0xd1f269c) cyndi

    I guess my comments address more about depression than anything else. I have suffered with depression most of my life, I am really the one who got help for myself, my family used me as the scapegoat. Also I have tried to get my mom and my kids to get help because it appears to me that it’s a family disease. None of them have sought any help. I have tried and tried. Lots of alcoholics in my family, I go to alanon. I guess it makes me think of “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink”. I do however agree that society needs to learn tolerance, depression and addictions are character faults or weaknesses, they are real illness’, that need real treatment. Maybe when we start working on ourselves and not judging, which is human nature, we will have compassion for others.

  • http://HASH(0xd1f3194) cyndi

    Oops I meant to say depression, addictions and all mental illness’ are not character defects or weaknesses but true illness’.

  • http://HASH(0xd1f4774) LeAnne

    I couldn’t agree more. I have had depression off and on since I was 8. There was more than one factor. I have cerebral palsy and I’m a perfectionist. Belive me, the two don’t go together. I’m also a ameture poet and wrote poem about the young man who committed the 32 murders. From experience, I what it’s like to different and looked upon as “retarded”. I always felt I had to prove myself. At nearly 68, I know I’ve done a lot, but I’m never satisfed with myself. There’s so much I’d like to do to help others.LeAnne

  • http://HASH(0xd1f4a98) Barbara

    Thanks so much for your compassionate comments! Living in a small town and rural agricultural area of southwestern Minnesota, I was so devastated by the sudden loss of my job nearly 3 years ago, that I became increasing depressed and withdrawn to the point of not even wanting to get out of bed all day; within about 8 months, I tried to commit suicide by alcohol poisoning, even though I was a recovering alcoholic with over 7 years of sobriety!! Three months later, I was arrested for a DWI, my second in 8 years, and spent 20 days in county jail and 45 days in a dual diagnosis depression/alcohol treatment program. Now 19 months sober and still on anti-depressants, I continue to struggle with depression and self-esteem issues on a daily basis, but my life is better, I feel some measure of hope for the future, and I am very grateful to the courts for sending me to treatment. I have more friends in AA now than I have ever had in my entire life, and every day that I am sober and working to improve my life and the lives of others is a good day for me! I, too, never quite fit in, suffered with teasing, bullying and other aggressive behaviors from my fellow students in school, and many days, I came home feeling inadequate, lonely and inferior because of their mean comments. Although I never once wanted to go to school with a gun and shoot them all, there were a lot of nights I cried myself to sleep in despair. It was a terrible thing that happened at Virginia Tech, but so much MORE terrible are the comments I have heard regarding Cho, everything from disparaging remarks about foreigners to disappointment that he committed suicide before the families of the students and staff he killed could get some measure of satisfaction at seeing him sentenced to death for his actions!! I don’t justify what prompted Cho to take the path he took, but I do understand true and utter despair and hopelessness! This society does NOT care about each other, does NOT reach out to help one another and does NOT get up off the couch for much of anything unless they lose the tv remote!! It’s unbelievably pathetic how selfish and egotistical we all seem to have become!! Perhaps the good that will come of this senseless tragedy is the wake-up call it may bring to us all, to stop trying so hard to conform and start trying just as hard to get along with each other and help one another!!

  • http://HASH(0xd1f5848) Donald

    Very well put.I to suffered from depression.And the symtom’s went unrecognized for 2 year’s.Not only by my peir’s.But by me also.I didn’t know anything about mental illness’s.So I kept it inside of fear that no one would understand.I didn’y understand so why would anyone else.Education of disorder’s would help not just recognizing it in other people but also in youself.I know not everyone one would seek help on there own.But I would of had I known that the feeling’s were a medical problem.I was reliefed when I found out that What I was feeling was treatable.Great topic.And well put.God Bless,Don

  • http://HASH(0xd1f6940) Teresa. u.k.

    I would just like to add,’Treat people as THEY would like to be treated’. I try to find out what other people’s needs are and don’t assume that just because it suits me, that other people will like the same thing/treatment. When i hear the word ‘everybody’ alarm bells ring.

  • http://HASH(0xd1f7ce0) Teresa. u.k.

    Also -i can relate to cyndi’s situation concerning family members. I’ve always been the different one in my family. I have become self-aware and tried to change my three sisters attitude. I have fallen out with one {she won’t speak to me). Now i stand back and try to be a good example in the hope that they will come to their own conclusions. People have to want to change. I have a different relationship with them now (healthier) better boundries. At the end of the day i have to accept them for who they are, evan if i don’t agree with their behaviour. But i won’t be dragged down with them.

  • http://HASH(0xd1f8fd0) Majella

    I agree to disagree, it was mentioned he was a queit person, a person who kept to himself. society could not on that level detect his thoughts. yes mabey his quietness indicated mental illness. however one could mistake that as was said for shyness. He lived in his own world. in his mind. yet he was aware of the outside one to buy two guns?

  • Tammy

    I couldn’t agree more. When the articles came out, I felt the same way too. They all blamed Cho & now all will be singling out American Asians in future. Just because he happened to be one.I really know what you mean. :(

  • http://HASH(0x8f43e3c) michelle

    well said, i agree that we don’t know enough about mental illnesses and what little we do know we ostracize so that people who have a mental illness are ashamed and embarrassed to admit it…i’ve suffered with bouts of mild to moderate depression for years and though i’m still very functional in society,no one would ever know i have this problem, i cannot talk openly about this for fear of potential rejection from people. On top of this i would like to add to the thought that we as a society ARE to blame because we do not teach our children compassion and sensitivity for others…Cho did have a mental illness, but was it exacerbated by the relentless teasing he suffered, from being a target of his peers’ laughter and mockery? it’s not just lack of education but a combintation of things: lack of education; neglect by friends, family, and the “Powers that be” that could offer helpful services; lack of sensitivity and compassion by friends, family,peers and the public at large–time after time i hear of these kids going on a rampage because they were the target of RELENTLESS teasing, bullying, rejection, etc. we just discount it and write it off as “kids are cruel.” kids don’t have to be cruel…we teach them cruelty by allowing them to continue to mock, tease, and bully, and we enable their cruel behavior by turning a blind eye, laughing along, or writing it off as “kids are cruel”…no we shouldn’t walk on eggshells around each other but we do not have to torment one another (or allow our children to do it) either!! does no one remember the golden rule: treat others as you want to be treated??

  • http://HASH(0xcdd2750) Ra

    You are absolutely correct…we need to educate the masses. Mental illness stigmatism shrouds attempts for help. Insurance companies need to provide coverage as any other illness without reduced benefits. I lost my mother to suicide and have a sister who is a paranoid schizophrenic but with her medication she maintains a job and at age 52 graduated from college with honors. Yet, she deals with ignorance and prejudice everyday. We need to replace fear with knowledge.

  • http://HASH(0xce47e14) Mon

    I agree totally with you. Society needs to be more open and willing to accept mental illnesses. There should be more programs to educate all who don’t know about them, but will be willing to learn for whatever reason. It’s ashame because alot of mentally ill people don’t even know what they are doing. Because they are not on any kind of medication that they need. I also believe that if Society starts to except people with Mental Illness Disorder than the person with the Disorder would feel much better about themselves, and how they are viewed by society. They would know that they have people in there corner, not just the doctors.

  • http://HASH(0xce495c4) Diane S. Morris

    You hit the proverbial ‘nail on the head’.You’re absolutely right about education.I’ve been a nurse for a very long time and have seen quite a number of sad people with mental illness.Most times the families have no idea what to do,feel guilt or feel anger that their loved one is ‘like this’.As to the person who made a comment about the mother being a nurse,we’re human,some times even the most experienced people have a hard time accepting problems with their loved ones.My mother is a nurse also,she had a very hard time when my depression hit rock bottom.She felt so much guilt and pain it was easier to deny it for her than to face it.So,give ole Mom a break and understand she is a Mother first and a nurse second.

  • http://HASH(0xce498e8) Mary Baker

    Everythings our fault is not just a “Catholic thing”. Too many times in too many famlies in too many religions in too many situations blame is placed everywhere but on the responsibility of the person, with or without mental illness. The breakdown in the family unit transends all cultures, all demoninations and all peoples. Its a shame when people in the know make rash comments or have opinions when they really “don’t know”.

  • http://HASH(0xce4a4f8) someone that has been where Ch

    WOW this is a great topic that is discussed here. Deaths of many kids being blamed on the so called mental problem that one child had. Society is blaming 1 boy with a mental illness for the deaths of many innocent loved ones that are lost. So this kid that was picked on by other students,always walking with his head down, teased for many different things is the cause of this horrible day. The truth hurts, reason for blaming the boy who was different. Knowledge of mental illness is needed as well as how to correct days/events like this to not happen in the futrue. The problem lies within those asking god to help people which have similar problems as Cho had!!! WE ALL REQUIRE THE SAME AS THE NEXT TO LIVE AND WHEN WE BLEED ONLY ONE COLOR COMES FROM WHO EVER IS CUT.

  • http://HASH(0xce4b8d0) lio

    I hear ya. Unfortunately, here in Georgia, if I was to publicly profess what you are writing publicly, the medical professionals (the ones responsible for the care you see is so desperately needed) would be telling me that by discussing any part of my past like you’ve done that I am continuing to have suicidal ideations and insist that I need to put the past behind me and forget it. Just like they want to forget the rest of history. Except for their state holiday Confederate Memorial Day wherein those who fought to tear the Union apart and maintain slavery are commemorated for their valor as soldiers, as any soldier deserves. And until you follow their orders, they would have you institutionalized where they can medicate you into listless indifference. The mix here of incompetence, bias, and arrogant ignorance is the wall between society especially those in church and government and the real compassion you know is needed. And that mix is prevalent here in the so-called Bible belt. They have re-defined doing your best to mean claim or appear to be doing your best. (wink) I have had as much chance to maintain good mental health and practice true Christian principles here as Lot had of being a good family man and practicing his beliefs in Sodom. I have heard that it is no measure of good mental health to be considered well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society.

  • http://HASH(0xce4c3f8) Sylvie

    I find it very interresting to read your articles sometimes, because it gives me a clear and well informed opinion of someone who lives with a disease that I don’t always understand but accept. I have a friend who has post-traumatic disorder (according to her, and schizophrenia according to me)… I have been her last and only friend for the past few years and her mental health has just taken a very bad turn. She is lashing out on me through emails and insulting me, breaking up the friendship from one day to another. I understand that it is the disease talking and not her after I had gotten the informations I needed to deal with her condition. I guess my point or question is : How do you help someone who doesn’t want to be helped ? Thank you for your input.

  • http://HASH(0xce4c92c) Jamie

    I too

  • http://HASH(0xce4cc50) louise

    Sometimes I feel I could write a book about depression. After fighting severe depression for about 5 years am beginning to come out of it. Thanks to my Drs. help. Many times it is not possible to talk to any friend or family member about what ever is bothering you. You may be ashamed to admit that there are things you can’t handle. And being a perfectionist does not help one bit. Upon learning more about depression, now know that I have fought it most of my life. Also now know that my daughter and two granddaughters and one son are also affected. One would think that if you can see someone with more problems, pain etc, it would be easy to realize that you do not have it so bad. It seems that it does not work that way because, to you, you can not see beyond your own pain. It becomes impossible to concentrate on anything to the point of finishing a project. We can ask for and attempt to educte others, but it is difficult when you can not explain how or why you feel the way you do. It seems to me that the only way others will ever truly understand what depression is, they must walk in my shoes. louise

  • http://HASH(0xce4e3cc) HASH(0xce4e300)

    Thank you so very much for your open and honest stories of your healing and recovery. All of these comments are great information for sharing. I, too, feel like the post that calls mental illness an “emotional disorder” rather than the true meaning… mental illness. Society would rather brand those who suffer as being a weaker, broken link of humanity and, render us of less value. I would have commanded an Academy Award for the daily performances I gave during my days on the job. When I finally broke down and had to take leave, my very best friends thought me to be faking. They abandoned me at a time when I needed them the most. And after that, my days as a career woman were over. I have suffered this illness for many years and help to keep things together through medication, sincere friends and my faith. Praise God, I’m finally free… free from having to be someone that I am not. I can be true to myself and be honest with my feelings which allow me to be more real (still in mental illness) than I ever hoped to be. If being healthy means being like my loss friends and like-minded people in this world, then I never want to get well. I wish to continue on my path and grow in my mind and spirit to develop a better understanding for me and my fellow sojourners. This is a rough path to be on, but the most rewarding one — for by knowing oneself, with love and acceptance, allows us to give the gift of love away freely to those who need it most. My prayer is for all who have visited here to continue on the road of discovery and healing, to be the very best that our heavenly Father created us to be…more and more like Him. For in Him lies the answer and example of how our lives should be lived. Our critics and scoffers are in darkness to this true reality of our existence…the sole purpose of our lives to worship and honor our creator, Almighty God himself. May His mercy and grace abound to you all.

  • http://HASH(0xce4f654) DougO

    This is about the best explanation of why such a tragedy could occur. Hats off to you for your frankness. I try to reassure my two kids that when someone is a bully or trouble maker or even a loner, try to understand why they may not be as disciplined or respectful as you are. They may not be loved as you are or they may have no structured parental or guardial direction in their lives. They are simply a product of a culture that has lost it’s own guidance simply by trying to feverishly take GOD out of what this country was founded and structured from. I love where I live and would not want any other. Yes, our Government has lost itself but we vote them, Right? So, until we can help one another, put God first and see what happens. BUT, be patient and listen. Sorry, for the tangent but that is my belief.

  • http://HASH(0xce4fe04) Anne Prevost

    Dear Ms. BorchardThank you for this mission toward public enlightenment on mental illness. It is extraordinary how very well-intentioned and educated people still pull out the platitudes of self help and stiff upper lip with such mindless self assurance. In these informed times, the ignorance of these supposedly worldy intelligent people borders on negligence. Let me know how I may help you in this nobel endeavour.When I began my depression in 1986, all of my friends and my own 23 year old daughter began to feel that I lacked character, and as the years and the illness wore on, I lost all support. My sister came for a visit to New York and saw for the first time the effects of the illness. She and her husband took me to their home in Florida, nursed me back to health with carrot juice and organic, raw vegetables and began with me the journey to discover the right doctor, the right medication and the most effective, absorbable vitamins. The struggle was long to find the correct medication, and I periodically slipped back into the depths of the bed for weeks, accompanied by hopelessness, self-loathing, and utter despair. Proper nutrition kept me functioning. Then, in 1995, my doctor perscribed Zoloft, and I have never looked back! Keeping on the medication is key, along with great nutrition. You are so very correct: Education is the way forward in helping those who think they understand clinical depression in all of it’s forms because they have once or twice been extremely blue. As Dr. Kay Jamison, a depressive herself, explains in all of her books, trying to describe depression to someone who has not experienced clinical depression is like trying to describe open heat surgery to someone who has had a paper cut. Bravo for you! Keep up the good work. So many brilliant people have suffered from bipolar disorder and from schizophrenia, Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill, to name only two! Kind regards, Anne Prevost Anne Prevost One Palace Green London W8 4QA Tel: +44 207 937 7457 Mobile: +44 782 5566 499 email:

  • http://HASH(0xce414dc) nia

    My 14-yr-old (biracial) son and i watched, appalled, the day that the networks broadcast Seung Cho’s videotapes…over and over and over…then the psychiatrist who mouthed off about “buying into his agenda”…! i agree that the videotapes should not have been broadcast, but not for the reasons he stated–it was very healing for us to see the woman who was next door to the first two people killed, talking about Cho with compassion. i suffer from bipolar disorder, which mostly presents as long-standing depression. My siblings don’t understand why i just don’t “pull myself up by the bootstraps” and get a job (i’m on Social Security these days)…i have had poor results with various meds, so these days manage my illness via prayer and helping others. Maybe our society would benefit from a little more of that in their lifestyle.

  • Nick

    I agree with you on this topic about Cho, because the problem seems to be we are all too busy to take time to talk to one another and more importantly truly listen to eachother when we talk. Cho was reaching out the only way he knew how through his writing and ultimately acting out what he wrote. He was all bottled up, but he was still reaching out to the world. Even when his poetry teacher brought his disturbing writings to others to read, heed was not taken. If we would just place more significance on truly hearing one another the world would be a better place. If you get a chance please visit the website and there you will click on a 2 minute informational movie that will address this situation of mental illness.

  • http://HASH(0xce51eec) Elaine

    So well said Theresa… It seems that the social stigma due on mental illness is too strong. I come from an Asian culture where just speaking about mental illness is just absurb and I usually get comments like, get over it or snap out of it. After that, society starts to make me feel like I am weak and unworthy and hopeless. Thus fueling the pain and illness even further. Your words have brought much comfort to me to know that it is alright to be sick but its time to seek help. I completely agree with you on the very need to educate people about the devastation of this illness as society tends mislabel this illness.

  • Nick

    Dear Therse:
    It should be theresa as in mother theresa. my i say i relate to you 1000%……. my young life was somewhat out of the ordinary friends would say why are you letting bernie come with us he is creapy the girls would never come near us, bernie stuck to me like glue i didn’t mind he has two brilliant brothers both prominent laywers they thank me for the attention i gave their brother but because im not perfect i was never in prison. bernie was released from his prison whent on to marry held a job he said to me once why can’t the world be full of italians therese this world is richer with u it GOD Bless u a million times Nick

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Seven Ways to Get Over an Infatuation
“Bewitched, bothered, and bewildered am I” wrote US songwriter Lorenz Hart about the feeling of infatuation. It’s blissful and euphoric, as we all know. But it’s also addicting, messy and blinding. Without careful monitoring, its wild ...

posted 12:46:43pm Feb. 19, 2014 | read full post »

When Faith Turns Neurotic
When does reciting scripture become a symptom of neurosis? Or praying the rosary an unhealthy compulsion? Not until I had the Book of Psalms practically memorized as a young girl did I learn that words and acts of faith can morph into desperate ...

posted 10:37:13am Jan. 14, 2014 | read full post »

How to Handle Negative People
One of my mom’s best pieces of advice: “Hang with the winners.” This holds true in support groups (stick with the people who have the most sobriety), in college (find the peeps with good study habits), and in your workplace (stay away from ...

posted 10:32:10am Jan. 14, 2014 | read full post »

8 Coping Strategies for the Holidays
For people prone to depression and anxiety – i.e. human beings – the holidays invite countless possibility to get sucked into negative and catastrophic thinking. You take the basic stressed-out individual and you increase her to-do list by a ...

posted 9:30:12am Nov. 21, 2013 | read full post »

Can I Say I’m a Son or Daughter of Christ and Suffer From Depression?
In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, we read: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” What if we aren’t glad, we aren’t capable of rejoicing, and even prayer ...

posted 10:56:04am Oct. 29, 2013 | read full post »


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