In the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy, all I have been able to do is pray. I can't begin to understand the depth of the grief and loss that so many parents and loved ones are experiencing right now, but I come to the table with the perspective of one who has suffered with mental illness for a great many years. It's not something I like about myself, but it is something I have learned to live with, if not control.
At it's best, my illness manifests in small quirks: OCD-type eccentricities that don't really get in the way of my life, except to make me waste time. Middle ground is where I'm usually standing, more stressed out than I should be, and more fatigued than anyone ought to be. Even then, there is a sane part of me that reminds me I ought to get back to school for a new career, or keep looking for something less stressful than retail management. My family and friends keep me in check, and if I don't get too panicked, I'm generally okay.
At it's worst, however, my illness is a terrifying thing. It has lead to self-mutilation, self-medication, hospitalizations, shock therapy, and suicide attempts that left my parents wondering who would care for me when they were no longer of this world. Thankfully, I have not been there in a long time. Hopefully, I will never be there again.
I have never been able to understand homicidal tendencies. I have always turned my anger in on itself. The only person who has ever had cause to fear me... is me. It has taken me a long time to learn to love and accept myself, but perhaps it's because I have struggled so much to gain that love and acceptance that I can't begin to understand where this lack of respect for the sanctity of life is coming from. I don't care what kind of problems you have, there is always a way out that doesn't involve violence against yourself or anyone else.
I can remember what it feels like to lose my mind; to feel like reality was going on somewhere else, somewhere apart... and without me. Even with that realization and understanding, there is no level of insanity so deep as to justify the crimes that have taken place. All that is left to do is pray for those who have lost loved ones... and to pray for each other... that we might try to help each other out a little more... that we might try to be more caring towards one another. Are we not all just looking for reasonable happiness in this life? Can we not be more kind, and in so doing, make that reasonable happiness all the more attainable for each other?
Or have we fallen so far from grace that we only care about ourselves?