It has been my experience that life is all about change. Sometimes change comes gradually, a slow awakening to the realization that transformation has occurred. Say, for instance, finding those first few strands of grey hair. At other times change slams into us without warning, altering the journey we meticulously planned out for ourselves. Regardless, metamorphosis is a constant. Growth occurs with change if you allow it. It’s not what happens in our lives that determine a successful life, it’s how we choose to act and accept our circumstances that does. In Viktor Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning,” written out of his time spent in German concentration camps in WWII, he states:
“We who lived in the concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
There are many people who hold to the belief that change is different and different is bad. Fear is the driver of this type of thinking. I sometimes wonder if those people who long for the “good old days” purposely forget the difficulties of the past. Only in the last century were women given the right to vote or own property. It wasn’t until the Civil Rights movement in the 60’s that discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin was outlawed. We continue to push for changes needed regarding issues around human rights.
Abuse and violence are woven into our history, only back “then” it wasn’t talked about. There were no resources for those whose lives were being damaged, silence was the norm. I am so grateful we are realizing silence is not golden, that speaking out about abuse, mental illness and substance use are bringing these issues to light. Hopefully, we can erase the stigma of disease and the shame of victimization so those who need help will reach out and find resources for change.
It is important that we provide a platform for those who have suffered victimization. The over 100 victim impact statements from the Larry Nassar child pornography and molestation trial are an indicator of the prevalence of the code of silence our society has been perpetuating. Add to that, the #TimesUp movement against rampant sexual harassment and subsequent discussions of the proliferation of this type of discrimination is promoting societal change to these issues which have plagued civilization for generations.
Change is truly vital, moving us toward greater actualization of our human potential. I hope we as individuals and as a society never stop changing. To do so would indicate a surrender to the limitations of the now and what is, rather than look to the future and what can be. Back to Viktor Frankl; “…the prisoner who had lost his faith in the future — his future — was doomed.”
In January of this year, last month, change occurred when I accepted the position of Corporate Director of Quality at Oceans Healthcare. While unexpected, it has been a positive change allowing me to continue in the behavioral health field and challenging me to learn and grow professionally. I will miss all the outstanding individuals I worked with at MHMR Tarrant and continue to support them in their mission.
If you or someone you know needs help from abuse, substance use disorder or mental illness, there are resources available. Here are a few…