Sunday – June 28, 2020
Good morning friends. I hope you are doing well. It’s nice to see life sprouting once again. The closure of businesses and lock down took a hard toll on so many. The primary cause isn’t because of sickness from the coronavirus. Being ordered to “stay at home” induced harm beyond an approximate 1% death rate from this pandemic. We are all well aware of the economic devastation we continue to endure. What we don’t see, and the media fails to report, are the significant physical and mental health issues associated with the isolation. Seclusion, fear and anxiety create many unforeseen circumstances. The situations which result, bring devastating consequences. Healthy living is based on how we maintain our balance of physical, mental and spiritual health. The continuity of each is important for all of us. They are interconnected to bring harmony to our life. Now, more than ever, we need to realign ourselves and our loved ones with good health.
I began writing my blog over seven-months ago. My intention; to share information on health and wellness. I spent over half my life in law enforcement. This gives me a unique and interesting perspective. A formal education, along with a life time and career packed with learning gives me new found insight. This is my opportunity to share my knowledge and experience with you.
I’m not a psychologist, doctor or extremist pushing an agenda. I have witnessed an array of life and death events; only a few have the opportunity to experience. I wouldn’t want anyone to experience many of the sad and heartbreaking situations I have seen. The years of trauma take a toll mentally and physically. It’s important for you to know that these tormenting situations exist. They are part of our everyday world. We need to understand this in order to assist and help others.
The lockdown and home confinement created catastrophic events. The quarantine may have slowed the spread of a virus, but the fear and isolation created undue stress and anxiety for many. Unemployment, financial hardship, food insecurity are a few other factors that contributed to an enormous spike in violence and suicide within homes and families. I doubt this was anticipated or considered when the initial order was given. Incidents of domestic abuse, violence and suicide continue to rise worldwide.
When I became a police officer, I thought what many others think the daily duties would involve. I dreamt of spending my days chasing bank robbers, car thieves and burglars. Well that was far from true. While I did have the opportunity to crush crime and arrest criminals, I (as many other law enforcement officers) spent much of my time responding to family dispute calls. These incidents are now termed “domestic disputes” or “domestic violence” calls for service.
I received quick on the job training; becoming a relationship advisor, counselor and referee. I had no idea I’d be required to receive this education. The end result was, solving domestic, relationship and often violence related issues. When a crime occurred, it was my duty, as an officer, to arrest the aggressor or abuser. Domestic situations can range from mental abuse, dominance, control, yelling and screaming, to physical abuse, aggressive and violent behavior. There were many occasions that were violent beyond belief or repair. All of these incidents are sad and trauma filled for all participants. They are extremely dangerous situations for law enforcement officers to respond to and attempt to resolve. They pose a significant threat for great bodily harm or death. Officers must be extremely vigilant while responding and controlling these situations
Domestic violence isn’t just about couples arguing or men abusing women. The scope and violence is much larger, wider and deeper. Confrontations involve men and women abusing each other, their children, parents, families and friends. During my career I witnessed men as more prolific perpetrators, but have dealt with women abusers too. Each situation is unique, different, sad and dangerous.
Participants can display a variety of emotions, feelings or characteristics during the course of any incident. They may be calm, depressed, silent, loud, argumentative, agitated, combative, violent or any combination of these and more. Alcohol, drugs or other mental or physical stimulus may be present and a contributor in escalating the severity of the situation. Women, children or family members; beaten, battered, tortured or murdered. The reality slaps you in the face and breaks your heart. People can be brutal, like savage animals. Experts render opinions about factors that could cause such an incident by the perpetrator. Maybe it’s due to mental or physical issues from their life. I am no one to judge another. When I witness the tortures a child or helpless person has endured, it causes me to wonder if these criminals have a soul or black hole in their heart.
Suicide is the other heartbreaking reality I never thought I’d deal with, or with such great frequency. The loss of friends is devastating. You wonder what you missed or how you could have helped them. I had the opportunity to render assistance to humans considering this fate. It brought a feeling of gratitude when I could offer relief. While I often never knew where their life took them, I was happy I had the chance to show alternatives and hope. There were far too many other situations where my response was after the fact. These were difficult and traumatic for multiple reasons. It was sad to witness a life lost, that could have potentially been saved. The trauma I experienced was real and brought the harsh reality of life into view. Death notifications to family members; due to suicide, accidents or any means; was never easy and always sad.
Our veterans, law enforcement and first responders continue to turn to suicide to relieve their internal pain and suffering. We continue to lose far too many of these individuals during the course of their service, at home and abroad. Why are we allowing them to suffer in anguish and take their own lives? All of these brave men and women have given so much of themselves to protect US. When are we, as a people and nation, going to stand up and take action to protect them?
The loss of teen life seems to rise yearly, as society places increased social pressure on our kids. We need to let our kids just be kids, instead of rushing them into adulthood at such an early age. While wanting to grow up is a universal phenomenon, the speed at which this takes place is at an incredibly young age. Society, social media and the fast pace of the world intensifies for our children each year. Peer pressure, bulling, drug and alcohol use further compound and destroy our kids. The closure of schools and doctor offices resulted in a drop of reporting of child abuse incidents. Now at risk kids are isolated at home. 90% of abuse is perpetrated by a relative, with 4 out of 5 cases caused by a parent. Children now become the target for frustration and anger.
Hot lines have exploded with activity over the last couple of months. Physical and mental abuse, domestic violence and suicide are the driving force. The grim reality of “staying at home” has increased domestic violence and suicide dramatically. The Crisis Text Line experienced a 40% increase in volume. A New York Times article reported suicide and abuse cases are on the rise worldwide. The percentages in the USA vary from city to city. Some cities report a 30% increase in law enforcement calls for service. Social isolation, anxiety and natural disasters are factors that increase anxiety and suicidal thoughts. A doctor in Walnut Creek, California, reported he’s seen more death from suicide than from the pandemic. The mental health crisis is real. Experts believe the numbers will continue to rise over the next year. Statistics from past major events provide insight into what is in store in the future. The repercussions of events like this do not simply disappear.
Now civil unrest, demonstrations, riots, chaos, madness and anarchy is added to the situation. These further cause additional anxiety and stress for the already traumatized individuals. The uncertainty and lawlessness can manifest into violence or suicide. The strain, mentally and physically, is often difficult for some to adjust to, deal with or process. The trauma is real. The negativity, continuing to circulate, can become toxic until it’s resolved.
This is an important time to remain focused on your good health. There isn’t much support from the outside right now. Once you balance your own physical, mental and spiritual health, it becomes easier to maintain. When you feel good, then you can concentrate on your family and friends. Be sure to check in often with people who struggle. Men often have difficulty asking for or seeking assistance. I know this from my own experience. Guys want to maintain that tough and strong persona, but are often in anguish. We all know them and worry about them. Like me, they may be hesitant to reach out when they need a helping hand. Don’t be afraid to ask or offer. Their life may depend on it. There are many factors, variables and uncertainty during this time. It is so easy for one of us to get lost along the way. Keep all your avenues of communication open and available. You never know when the time may present itself and action is required. Be kind, gentle and always grateful.
Please tune in and join me again next Sunday for more! The healthy life puzzle is always in rotation. Let’s be healthy and strong mentally, physically and spiritually!
Thanks for your love and support! Embrace Life! Be sure to get outside and enjoy nature!