It’s certainly not an original story that hits the news cycle all too often: someone has shot a number of people, for no understandable reason.
Or, as the war rages in the Middle East many are claiming a God-given mandate to cleanse and purify those who are inferior.
Or, we’ve even seen the violence blamed on the financial crisis because those who have are not sharing enough with those who have not.
Perhaps most tragically we have witnessed deeply lost and hurting individuals who somehow seek inexplicable relief through taking a gun into a school.
I’ve noticed how quickly we question the extent to which mental illness may have played in each of these incomprehensible situations.
And, of course, keep them under tighter control.
If I were looking at it from the outside as they do, I probably would share their views.
But I’m not.
I’m on the inside looking out through my own oddly-colored bipolar window.
From this vantage point I am able to more and more clearly see that there are two groups involved in these tragedies rather than one: those who are mentally ill, and those who have truly crossed over the abyss into insanity.
Many of the cases we hear about lately are of a lone gunman who privately plans, prepares, and executes death sentences on people he has never met.
As the authorities dig deep into the days and months prior to these horrific acts, they often find that these mentally ill people have been nurtured and groomed by anonymous sources from the dark corners of the Internet. These are people who have embraced evil and take secret oaths to bring as much pain as possible to as many nameless, faceless strangers as they can.
And they do it through as many nameless, faceless strangers as they can.
Some of these harbingers of destruction may be mentally ill and deranged.
But many are not.
I would, however, submit that they are all insane.
Part of their irrational, unreasonable insanity is their predilection to prey upon the mentally ill.
In their clever and carefully thought out strategies they understand that we who struggle with differentiating reality from delusion are easier targets.
Do you ever wonder why?
I really think that one reason for the mentally ill’s susceptibility could be that those who do not struggle with mental illness may feel a greater need to distance themselves from those of us who do.
And, of course, keep us under tighter control.
If we were able to go back and insert ourselves into the psyche of those who have thoughtlessly killed people who are nothing more than strangers, I really wonder if part of the underlying problem was that they felt trapped within the prison of their own minds.
Somehow they believed that they could find freedom through becoming part of a grander cause, a higher calling, or even what others told them was the greater good.
Knowing how alone these people feel, the shrewdly insane quickly swoop in and provide just enough attention and validation to create that sense of belonging.
Instead of strengthening realities, they enlarge delusions.
That sounds like a pretty good definition of insanity to me.
I am grateful to say that those surrounding me and my mental illness quirks didn’t feel a need to distance themselves from me, but rather circled the wagons and never left me alone.
And, of course, created the safety net that allows me to be free.
In that freedom, I have come to not only believe, but to truly know that I am part of a grander cause, a higher calling, and what is in fact the greater good.
I like to think I’ve made it pretty easy for you to come in and get closer to me without fear of being hurt in return by my bipolar unpredictability.
But, what about that mentally ill acquaintance who hasn’t invited you in?
Chances are pretty good that they just don’t know how.
So they remain captive, waiting for someone who will knock at the door and ask to be let in.
All too often it is the evilly insane who are the only ones knocking.
Everyone deserves a choice.
I think it all comes down to who is consistently doing the knocking.
So get out there and start pounding the pavement. I hope you get calloused knuckles pushing insanity back where it belongs, off the porches and stoops of the mentally ill.