I should be doing work for the 3 modules I have to submit work for in the next 4-8 weeks but procrastinating is what I do best and something has gotten my interest. Bare with me here as this post starts off a bit odd but I get there in the end. (It’s quite interesting some of the awkward feelings that have surfaced writing this post, I went off at more of a tangent than planned at the start)
I have a bit of a curiosity about death and the after life. Not in a weird I like to wear black and sacrifice small animals way. I like reading about near death experiences. It all started with a post on reddit asking strangers on the internet to talk about situations where they died or nearly died and came back and what happened. A lot of stories reach the same conclusions that there was a presence and an overwhelming feeling of love and returning to some kind of energy/light. I was indulging in some reading on the subject last night and a couple of posts caught my attention, people said they were told to be loving, to give love as that is our purpose- to be loving to each other and don’t kill people. I’ve been thinking since, I wonder what my life will be like at the end if I am measured in “love”. I was raised as a Catholic so some of my beliefs growing up were the typical God, Heaven, repent type stuff. As an adult I don’t think there is an all knowing being concerning itself with where people put their genitals and excluding people from an “afterlife” based on specific trivial things like that. The existence of an afterlife part maybe, the vengeful judging part no.
So measuring my life in “love”. I’d been dwelling on it this morning wondering what kind of person am I? Have I killed anyone? Not on purpose but accidentally? Who knows! I’ve never been informed or disciplined for harming someone but you always wonder what were the chances you gave someone an infection because you may not have washed your hands that one time or something else related to the job. I do overthink these things. I am prone to feel guilty about anything, whether I was involved or not, it probably goes back to the “Catholic guilt”.
I think I mentioned in a previous post about a friend that had become mentally unwell. They are ok now, enough to be discharged and cared for in the community. I was thinking about this incident of an example of what kind of person I maybe am? My friend was in a bad way and had been in contact with me. We worked together a while ago, we’re not best friends or anything, meet at the odd conference and ask each other for professional advice or comment if an incident occurs on either of our patches. Something had happened that upset them and they were asking me for some support as it related to our field of work. Unfortunately they were experiencing some psychosis so between messages that made sense I was getting all sorts of paranoid theories and weird phone calls. I tried explaining to them to seek some help but they felt they were ok. Others were advising me to stay out of it or block their messages as “I didn’t need that stress in my life”. I think the guilt mentioned above kicked in as I couldn’t not do anything. Unfortunately living a couple hundred miles away meant there was little I could do, I didn’t realise this but mental health services basically do nothing unless you walk in yourself and convince them you need help or unless you are an imminent danger to yourself or others but then again what could I expect them to do? I didn’t know my friends address or their particular nearest and dearest, just a vague knowledge of roughly where they lived from a description from 5 years ago.
Things came to head in a public incident involving armed police (maybe avoidable if mental health services could do more?). A mutual friend alerted me to the incident as the local newspaper was live updating on their website. I instantly knew it was our friend. I rang the police and explained everything that had happened, the phone call i’d gotten the night before at about 11pm, all of the text messages and concerns and what i’d tried to do. I had to email screen shots of texts for evidence. Fortunately, whether it helped or not the police got in to the building and my friend was taken away. I got a call later that night from the duty officer to thank me and ask some more questions so they could make a decision on where to send my friend (Prison or hospital). By this point i’d been put in contact with some of their friends and family so we were able to co ordinate our efforts and kept updating each other over the weeks they were in hospital. We’ve agreed to keep each others details which our friend is happy with in case anything happens again.
I’d like to think this incident reflects that I am a “good person”. I couldn’t sit back and do nothing. It frightens me to think about support networks and having the right kind in place. Could this happen to someone else I know? Probably. I always see those messages shared on facebook about if you feel lonely or self harming contact “me” and wonder what would the friend sharing it do if someone did actually message them and say “i’m not quite right, please help me”. I can be judgemental sometimes and do have a chuckle at some of the people sharing these things when I think I know what they’re like in real life- a bit of an arse hole, you know who you are! (sets off reader’s catholic guilt)
I think overall I am an ok person. I have a job looking after the sick, a loving family, close friends (i can’t do fake niceties and have 100 friends, its just not me), I donate to charity now and then but could probably do more here; I keep meaning to set up a regular donation to Medecines san frontier. I had heard of them before but putting together some work around Ebola during the outbreak a few years back I found out that they were the only organisation properly working the front line investigating and treating people from the start, looking in to their work it is amazing how they just get the job done. There are probably reasons people have for not supporting them but so far they seem worthy of support (i just need to put my money where my mouth is). I sometimes think about volunteering or something but local stuff I find is more about asking for money to cover costs which is fair enough. So I think charity is where I need to look to to improving my “good person” score… maybe that and loving myself a bit more.
Anyone watch the good place? Wouldn’t it be weird if it is what happens to us after death.