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The World Needs More "Hope"

by Sandra Radford 7 months ago in stigma

There's always Hope's Hope

The world needs more "Hope."

Our stories will end differently when the world starts treating the opioid pandemic with the same seriousness as this coronavirus.

Yes, approximately 5,700 people die each month from opioid overdose. I'd certainly call that a pandemic, yet why can't we get the help we need, from our government, to put an end to it. Or even put a dent in it.

Please tell me why their lives seem to not matter enough.

Oh, that's right....STIGMA

And whatever you do, don't ever say "it won't happen to me," or " not my child, or "must have been bad parenting." Instead, how about we try to find ways to improve the quality of where it largely begins, the worst mental healthcare system.

Take a moment and think about how people with mental health problems have been treated. They've been hidden away in families, a subject never to be discussed. They've been tucked away neatly in institutions, they've been medicated, in to, a practically vegetative state, so whatever you do, make sure you try to avoid these people, you just might catch something.

Maybe a virus??

It begs these questions, do you avoid diabetics? Do you avoid cancer patients? Do you avoid the person in a wheelchair? Of course not, these are physical disorders, right?

Sure they are, but what controls us physically? I believe the brain does.

Is there stigma attached to these disorders? For some of them, there certainly is. Take, for instance, the person in the wheelchair, it's only been in the last few decades that these folks began being referred to as handicapped as opposed to being called crippled. So when the world became politically correct, funds were poured in to handicapped parking spaces, bathrooms, public event seating. Even automobiles became equipped with steering option packages, lifts and racks for wheelchairs. Ramps were built for ease of entrance and/or exit. Educators had special training in the needs of the handicapped. How about the diabetic? Funding for research, better methods of treatment, special education on the individuals condition, etc. Cancer, now, that's a hard one to tackle, but once again, funding for research and incredible strides having been made in treatment of, you guessed it, the individual. Education is also provided to the families for home care.

But, do you know what else comes along with each of these conditions? Counseling. Counseling, because each of them comes with issues that are hard to comprehend and cope with. Issues that require... Mental healthcare providers.

If anyone, other than we parents, who by the way, plan on becoming more vocal to the point where you have no choice but to hear us, and will move Heaven, Earth and Hell, would take a look at the common threads that run through these conditions, and I'm not counting out the Corona virus either, and tell me what you see.

I'll tell you what I see...Funding, treatment, research, mental healthcare and education. But what I do not see is stigma, condemnation nor shame. There, instead, is love, acceptance and "HOPE"

Why? Does that group of people deserve better, do they matter more? Are they more worthy of the best that our society has to offer.

Absolutely not. Not one of them deserves better than my daughter, Hope, did. She had an underlying mental condition, known as bipolar disorder. Her bipolar disorder brought about attention deficit disorder, which resulted in both needing medication treatment. Her subsequent substance use disorder, became, what is referred to as a co-disorder.

Hope was in therapy for the majority of her life. But some friends and even family members refused to discuss or accept the fact that her brain was wired differently, therefore, she was treated differently as well. Oh, what's that called? Oh yea, Stigma. Since she was treated differently, she was not self confident, therefore easily swayed by using an opioid, that she was told, would ease her internal pain.

Her brain chemistry was once again altered, resulting in the beginning of what became a substance use disorder.

Often, so often, she would ask, "Momma, why doesn't my brain work like it should, Mom, why do I feel so stupid?" This led her to feel ashamed. She would tell me that just because she was mine, that what I told her wasn't true.

Hope, you are one of the most brilliant, intelligent, kind hearted, loving, beautiful, caring people that I know. You have so much to give, so much to say, you have so much to offer this world that I just wish you could see in yourself what other's see.

But I don't, Mom, I don't feel about myself the way you do, what you see and what you say.

What do you feel honey? How do you see yourself?

I see what people say I am. I'm a junkie Mom, and very few people look at me like they did the old Hope, Mom, not even the family.

But, Hope, you have an addiction, that doesn't make you a "junkie," whatever that is by the way.

A junkie is a bad person that does drugs, that uses needles among other things. I'm judged by everyone for the rest of my life, so where's the incentive to do better. I didn't ask for this, Mom, but it happened, I can't undo it. I can do better, but people won't give me a chance.

Well you know what, honey; Fuck those judgemental assholes. Uh, Mom, language! I don't give a damn, Hope, you let me see or hear from one person that they're better, or that you aren't good enough

Mom, you really feel that way, I thought you would hate me.

Hope, I hate, more than you know, what you've gone through, but you are my hero. You have faced situations with grace, held your head high and owned it. There's no one that I know that's a stronger person than you. I admire you. And I love you more than ever, you're the most amazing woman. You're my idol.

But Mom, I can't even do the work that I wanted to. With my felonies, I won't be able to work with children. I'm just so depressed. I did my best to reassure her that everything would work out, will just take some extra time, but things will work out.

She had been out of prison 32 days. She had pled guilty to taking some things that weren't hers. Yes she obtained property by false pretenses, but what she went to prison for was failing her drug tests.

She was in prison with a woman that threw her 3 month old baby out of a moving car. Another one had helped her boyfriend chop up his ex girlfriend into pieces, then they spread her body from NC to TX. Another one serving life for murdering her boyfriend.

My girl spent 6 months in a maximum security prison for failed drug tests, when the woman that threw her baby out of a moving car gets 3 years for manslaughter.

Three days later, she finds out that one of her friends passed away. Her depression deepens and I saw a message she sent to someone telling them she wants to get high, one last time before she starts her week of job hunting and school registration.

She comes home around 12:30 that night

She hugged me and kissed me and said, good night, Mom, I love you.

She died in her sleep, less than 2-3 hours later. One last time.

Corona virus pales in comparison, yet gets trillions of dollars. I'm not downplaying the severity of it, but I am Up playing the severity of a pandemic surrounding a disease that people get shamed for having.

So, does the world need more Hope?


Sandra Radford
Read next: Never In the Cover of Night
Sandra Radford


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