On Monday, November 28, 2016, Christian William Harned went missing. His mother asked those of us in the Moms of Boys Facebook group with her to pray for her son to be found safe. She told us that Christian suffered from schizophrenia, as well as asperger syndrome.
Sadly, on December 1, 2016, Christian was found deceased. He had committed suicide. The pain of his mental illness, the limitations it put on him and the social isolation it caused him became too much. The video below was made by Christian’s sister to raise awareness to the suicidal dangers faced by people suffering from mental illness.
We should all think about what we can do to make a difference in the lives of others. Sometimes, one small action is all it takes to make someone change their mind, to save their life. How will you make a difference?
As I have mentioned in a previous post, I live in a rural town in North Carolina and work approximately 30 miles away in a different town. When I tell people in the town I work in that I am from my hometown, they tend to make comments such as “I can’t believe you haven’t been shot.”
Some places in my hometown have over 75% of the population living below the poverty line and the crime rate is over 2 times the national average. Our roads are littered with garbage. The unemployment rate is over 12%. The average income per person is over $19,000 less than the state average. There are almost no stores in our town mall, it is literally a ghost town and while our mayor has worked to get businesses into our downtown area, many of these businesses are more expensive than what the people living here can afford.
A few weeks ago, our mayor went into Walmart and saw a shirt that said “Where in the heck is (insert hometown), North Carolina?” Now, they have these shirts for almost every town that has a Walmart around here but our mayor got offended and made a big deal out of the situation. All of these issues listed above and time is being wasted over a stupid t-shirt in Walmart. Since t-shirtgate, now when I say to someone in the town where I work that I live in my hometown, they ask about the mayor getting so worked up over the t-shirts and immediately begin ridiculing the situation. I can’t argue with them.
Earlier today, I commented on a post by the mayor on Facebook. He posted pictures of littered areas and asked if we were bothered by the litter. I stated that I was bothered by the litter and that I thought it was a more pressing issue, along with the recent string of shootings that took place over the weekend and into the beginning of this week (I believe there were 5 shootings reported in a 4 night period), than worrying about a t-shirt. Well, my comment disappeared. I have emailed the mayor to ask why my comment was removed. Now I wait to see if I even receive a reply back. I previously had a lot of respect for our mayor and thought very highly of him, now I will wait to see if and how he responds.
To be continued…
Edited to add, as of Monday, February 6, 2017, I still have not heard back from the mayor.
You’re so stupid.
You’ll never amount to anything.
You are so ugly. No one will ever love you.
You’re a horrible mother. It’s a wonder your kids don’t hate you.
You’re crazy, it’s no wonder you spend every weekend home alone.
You’re a mess. Your house is a mess, your life is a mess.
These are just a few of the abusive thoughts that run through my head on a daily basis and a negative comment from anyone or any type of rejection sends these thoughts into overload. It’s so much easier to latch onto the negative thoughts I hear instead of any positive ones. The negative comments reinforce the beliefs I already have about myself.
I second guess everything I do and say. This makes social and work interactions so much harder than they should be and are a big reason that I avoid going out or letting people get too close. I always feel that everyone else is judging me as harshly as I judge myself, which I know from experience is sometimes true. All you have to do is turn on Facebook to see the judgemental and hate-filled posts directed at people that are posted every day. It seems that people’s default reaction is judgement, not empathy.
I’ve had these thoughts for as long as I can remember and it is exhausting. I constantly feel that I have to put on a mask and be who people want me to be. This mask is heavy and makes me just want to be alone so I can drop it and be myself. Sometimes it’s all I can do to make it through the day at work or even answer a phone call.
I never remember a time in my life where I didn’t doubt myself and find myself lacking. It’s an ongoing battle that at times feels unwinnable but I will not stop fighting. For my sons, I will keep fighting. For my family, I will keep fighting. For my student staff and the students I teach, I will keep fighting. For me, I will keep fighting and I will do my best to make sure I’m spreading love, kindness and empathy instead of hate and judgement
I spent the first 37 years of my life trying to be perfect and failing miserably. I’ve come to realize in the last few years, that the pursuit of perfection is an exercise in futility. However, that doesn’t make abandoning the pursuit any easier. I desperately longed for people to like and approve of me. I felt that I had to hustle and constantly prove my worthiness in order to earn that love and approval. I kept a certain distance from people, even my family, because I was sure that if I let them get too close, they would see how horribly inadequate I was as a person, friend, student, daughter, etc. I felt that once they saw the real me, I would be disregarded.
My goal over the last year has been to learn to accept myself, as I am right now but it is a constant struggle. Even starting this blog has been a long process. I’ve been waiting for that perfect first post. This post may not be perfect but it will be the first of hopefully many more.