Brittany Eldridge (Courtesy photo)
I am writing this as a victim of childhood abuse and a survivor of many mental health challenges because of it. As I have reflected on my life and my family history, I am realizing that this is a generational sickness that is repeating because parents are not equipped with the resources to heal themselves and to resolve generational trauma which then is impacting future generations coming up in the world.
Just yesterday on CNN, there was a high percentage of children admitting that they were thinking of suicide and in the highlighted color red, MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS was bold across the TV screen. I realize there are resources out there, however funding for those resources are minimum or not enough to carry through with the crisis that is happening before our eyes.
Bullying and school shootings and threats are continuously made in the schools and if we look back at the Columbine shooting that took the innocent lives of others, I realize that we have an "ONGOING" issue that we need to do something immediately about. If we don't do something about this immediately as a collaborative effort, this issue is not going to go away.
As a person that has been in the mental health system, I have dealt with issues of being misdiagnosed, thrown meds just to band-aid my issues when really the root of my issues is trauma. My insurance hasn't covered services that I needed to function in society or the wait lists have been greater than what I needed which left me without resources. It's great that 9-8-8 has been initiated, however, what can we do regarding internal family systems?
The world is overworked, the scare from COVID, generational-learned behavior is being passed down, the time spent with our families is on a huge decline and children are not getting the important time in their growth with their families and are missing out on that connection which leaves the entire family at a disadvantage. Cost of living with the low minimum wage is a huge stressor on families just trying to survive which then takes away from family time and family connection.
In the recent elections, I don't feel that mental health was at all an important topic as a given proven crisis in the world; it was just about how we can make the economy better, Roe VS.Wade, politicians attacking other politicians, a division between red and blue. We need more connection instead of division. Our world is failing and I am afraid that people in power that are making decisions for our community are not looking out for the best interest of our people, and this is not okay.
I have sat in at Mental Health alliance meetings in Rochester, and learned that per the police department and school officials, that there is a high percentage of students that have admitted they were thinking of suicide. These students are in a state of self-discovery, trying to find their place in the world, growing up in chaos and feeling like they can't talk to someone about how they are feeling. Students in the mental health alliance meeting even admitted that they weren't aware of the resources that were being discussed at the mental health alliance meeting.
Is resilience important? I believe so. Will anyone go throughout their lives not experiencing something traumatic? No. But I believe that this world is failing with the supports that people need to function in society with intense stressors. As an individual, society teaches you that you need to go to work, raise a family and pay your bills, but there is so much more to a person. If we look back in history at previous psychologists and studies on an individuals' brains, we can learn that this has been an ongoing issue throughout centuries. Individuals with disabilities, parts of the brain such as the amygdala that has been overstimulated because of trauma makes it hard for an individual to function accordingly to the challenges that they face.
I feel that psychiatric medication isn't the answer for all, as I feel that the real root of all issues is trauma and the way that the body and mind learned how to survive based on what they were exposed to which leads to a lot of deregulated individuals in this world.
Recently, someone reported a school shooting at Sanford High School which thankfully turned into being a hoax but I'm certain mental health issues were involved with that, a large count of physical fights at Spaulding High School that requested police presence, a homicide down the road from my house, domestic violence numbers are high, disease (dis-ease) in the body is high because of the physical stress on the body. I lost a high school friend to suicide and an uncle from suicide. Right now, there is an individual that is planning their suicide, overdosing on drugs because facing their reality is too much for them to handle, or someone is cemented to their bed because their depression is too much for them to function. What more needs to happen before we step up and do something about this?
Mental health has been stigmatized so much that older generations have just bottled it up and shoved it under the rug. A person who has a broken toe is more apt to saying something than saying they're struggling with mental health. This is unacceptable. Mental health affects everything in our daily lives (jobs, relationships, finances and much more).
Oprah Winfrey's book, What Happened To You?, is changing the narrative from "What Is Wrong With You" to "What Happened To You," because individuals suffering from mental health, it is not their fault. Their brainstem where we process things from sight to smell gets deregulated which if we work our way up the brain stem where the cortex is where judgment is based upon (time management, decisions, etc) it's deregulated at the base of the brain stem, which everything in the cortex is even more deregulated. We have people on the streets driving intoxicated, high on drugs, thinking of driving off into the woods to end their
lives. This is heart breaking and I felt I needed to write this because if I can do one thing before my time here on Earth ends, it's to make some type of impact for others and to have my voice heard about a serious topic that is affecting everyone.
Please incorporate more internal family system education support worldwide, please hear our people.....we are suffering. Please try to think of our people and what would really help individuals, not just the economy. We are people with beating hearts with needs that are difficult to meet in a world like it is today. We need your real help.
Brittany Eldridge is a local Rochester author who has written books on her story regarding trauma, internal family systems, mental health in hopes to spread awareness and make an impact. She can be reached at at 603-833-1303.