I felt my old newsroom self bubble up twice this week. The first time was when the shutdown clock was running out and our legislators decided to let hundreds of thousands of government workers be furloughed, or report to work without getting paid.
I’d been on news websites and twitter like a junkie, reading and reacting and feeling. Then wearing myself out.
The second time was yesterday.
First the reports said there was someone shooting at the Capitol. And there was a sick part of me that, while I didn’t want anyone to be hurt, I wanted our politicians to understand shit is real and they are not exempt from the pain and the violence and the problems that they argue over all of the time but don’t actually do anything about.
All hell broke loose when more facts were revealed. It was a woman.
Then it got worse, the woman who rammed her car into the White House and set off a car chase to the Capitol, a woman who was not shooting or exchanging gunfire, as reported earlier, also had a baby in the car. 34-year-old Miriam Carey, suffered from mental illness.
Oh, even writing this hurts my heart, because there are so many familiarities that I see between this young woman and my mom.
For whatever reason, people with mental health issues are obsessed with the belief that the government is after them and it’s a real fear that haunts them night and day and day and night. It keeps my mom from ever leaving the house. It makes her nervous when someone brings a cell phone into the house. She won’t even use a cordless land line phone.
This young lady drove from Connecticut to Washington. She went to the very heart of the government to finally face them and win the war in her brain. She rammed the gates of the White House, not even to as most of us assumed, prove a point, but after hearing my mom scream and yell into a phone with no one on the other end but a dial tone asking that they leave us alone, and stop using the air waves to send pains into her body, I have a sad understanding of how Miriam Carey decided to fight back and hopefully silence the voices in her head.
I am not writing this blog to say I understand her completely, but going through what I went through with my mom, the picture is a lot clearer for me than maybe other folks who are trying to piece this all together.
I hurt for her beautiful little girl, who will have to deal with the loss of her mother and the very public and controversial way in which she left the earth.
As folks dig deeper into this woman’s life, I see that she was working as a dental hygenist, who was starting to have problems at work. That basically happened to my mom, but we didn’t know she was let go for three months, because my mother kept getting dressed and kept going to the job until a work friend called us and said the company started calling security on her.
The back story was they sensed something was wrong and because she was a dedicated employee for over 20 years they offered her a buy out package, but she wouldn’t take it. She didn’t understand. But she didn’t tell my dad. We were all in the dark.
I say this all of the time, mental health is real.
I know that my mother’s problems are a major reason why I am terrified of having children. There is a part of me that is very worried I would be like Miriam and suffer from post partum depression. I’m very afraid of being resentful about having a child and not having the maternal feelings mothers are “supposed” to have. And I know my experience with my mother plays a large role in that.
I pray for Miriam Carey’s family and her precious little girl.
Lord, guard our hearts and minds. Our struggles are real and often a little too much to bear. Give us your peace.