The Elephant in the Room

When people think of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder their first tendency is to associate the disorder with the men and women in uniform. Army, Navy, Air Force, Coastguard, and then further on down the line to a domestic level in the shape of Police Officers and other First Response Teams like those with the Fire Department and Paramedics.

Certainly there is a smaller group of aware people who would associate PTSD with survivors of rape, incest, and violence; but, those traumas are specific. As a society we have it in our head that only one kind of trauma leads to PTSD. This is of course incorrect and indicative of the ignorance that we as a society have with regards to mental health – most importantly our own. Mental Health is still that Elephant in the Room that everyone knows exists; but, few people are willing to address it directly.

Because of this unwillingness to directly address the issue – the issue grows. Contained by lines such as, ‘You’re being over emotional,’ or ‘You’re making a mountain out of a molehill’ we often miss out on the opportunity to send important messages to those in a position to help us. At times those messages may be sent out; but, they may go by unheard or unacknowledged and brushed under the rug. When there is no one to be your advocate, you lose your voice. When you lose your voice there is an ever present sense of fear and helplessness.

Mezame no Tabi is Japanese for ‘A Journey of Awakening’. I utilized this phrase en lieu of other languages as Mezame can be used to imply an awakening that ranges from simply opening one’s eyes to something more spiritual and psychological in origin. There are certainly other words that can be used for ‘journey’ and there may be one far better suited for it; but, this is the phrasing that spoke to me on a personal level. Here I will make posts examining specific issues. Sometimes they will be from more of an emotional standpoint and other times the vernacular used in posts may liken it to an academic article.

It is my intention however to examine some very real issues and how they impacted me, and to share these experiences with others in hopes of fostering a network of support and in hopes of continuing an open dialogue on the issue of mental health in general.


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