Xavier Smith: Diseases need to be discussed

I am merely one man in a nation of more than 300 million people, how can I make a difference? I am sure some of the following arguments will fall upon deaf ears or continue to remain in the sealed box of forbidden topics unable to be discussed among members of different social sects. If nothing else, I can always say, ‘I tried.’
Aug 13, 2014
Xavier Smith

I am merely one man in a nation of more than 300 million people, how can I make a difference? I am sure some of the following arguments will fall upon deaf ears or continue to remain in the sealed box of forbidden topics unable to be discussed among members of different social sects. If nothing else, I can always say, ‘I tried.’

I feel many people, including myself, go about their lives oblivious to the problems of the world besides what’s reported by media or seen often. 

I also feel that because of this blindness to certain problems, we sometimes dismiss the misunderstood problems as nonexistent or exaggerated.

Depression and racism are often dismissed in this country, according to what I’ve observed in my 23 years of life. 

I can’t speak to what anyone else has observed and I can’t speak for them, but I feel that most people have seen or heard the events of the past few days and so we are connected in this moment.

I can’t say the situation in Ferguson, Mo. started because of racism. I don’t know the facts of the case and I wasn’t present when the shots were fired. 

I can say that in the aftermath of the incident, I’ve observed several instances of racism or references to the Civil Rights Era and have seen or read people expressing feelings indicating they believe racial progress in America hasn’t progressed since the era. 

I can say that I’ve experienced racism and stereotyping as long as I could remember. I’ve seen it from all sides. I can also say that I’ve never held an open discussion on race relations outside of a college classroom. 

I can say that I’ve never observed an open discussion about race on television that effectively discussed the history of race from its origins and how it affects people today. You can’t cure a disease without talking about it –honestly, harshly and without reserve. 

Law enforcement officials said Robin Williams apparently took his own life. A man who was full of character and created millions of laughter decided his life wasn’t worth living anymore, at least simply put. 

I’ve never experienced depression, but I’ve seen it up close. I’ve seen the way depression changes a person to the point they become unrecognizable. I’ve seen how it alters thoughts on its victims, toying with them almost like a twisted mind game.  

I’ve never seen an open discussion about depression. Almost every time I hear about depression, I hear people make jokes about possible cures for it, or dismiss the people and say they simply aren’t enjoying or thankful for what they have in life. I was one of those people until about five years ago. However, I saw what depression really is. It’s not pretty or nice like it is portrayed in films. It’s ugly and a destroyer.

These diseases need cures. They don’t need public forums where the panel sugarcoats arguments in order to keep the peace. They need serious attention and research into the roots of them. People are losing their lives because of them. 

Xavier Smith is a staff writer for The Lebanon Democrat. Email him at xsmith@lebanondemocrat.com or follow him on Twitter @wilsonnewswritr. 

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