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We seem to have an outbreak of mental health issues throughout the world. Yelling “allah hu akbar “  is not terrorism, apparently it is a mental health issue.

People murdering others, massacres carried out – mental health issues.

There are people whose brains have been addled by drugs and they have mental health issues. Addled by religious zealous or fanatical indoctrination.

When I was a little girl, there was a hospital down the road for people who were mentally unwell. There was also another place, for those who were of a more violent persuasion. 

For those of the younger readers here, Mental Institutions were a part of life back when I was younger. They were big, normally old imposing buildings that housed folk who were, as Mel Brooks so cleverly said in “ High Anxiety “ places for the terribly, terribly nervous.

The place down the road from me was for those who were nervous but not dangerous. They ran a programme whereby the residents had an active occupational therapy slant. They made soft toys. Back in the days before Chinese imports. These were home made soft toys for children to enjoy and cuddle. It seems to me in retrospect that it was a lovely way for people who were afraid of the world to stay in touch with life : a soft toy made with love by someone who was somehow unable to directly engage anymore. I suppose these days it would be a care home. Somewhere for the fragile minds damaged by dementia or stress. Somewhere to rest and to stay engaged.

 

Whatever the reason, these ladies diligently made Teddy Bears and Rabbits and, at the time that I first visited, it was a somber and fearful reminder that if one lost one’s mind, one ended up in the “ Looney bin. “

I was about 10 years old. My young cousin wanted a Teddy Bear and my Mum decided that she would get one and it would be a Bear made by the lady who specialized in such things.

We arrived at the hospital one morning, on our way to school. Mum got out of the car and headed to the administration block to find out how she could acquire one of these precious toys. Within seconds, my brothers and I hit the locks on the car and sat, terrified, alone and fearful of a “looney “ racing out and attacking us.

After what seemed like years, Mum returned. We unlocked the doors and let Mum in. Our protector was back. Mum announced “ Apparently they are making rabbits this week. No one wants to make a Teddy Bear. “

Damn. It meant, that, for the next weeks and months, we would have to visit the " looney bin " and sit in the car and wait until Mum came back and announced that the ladies were back to Bears and off rabbits.

One day, months later, Mum emerged with a bear in her arms. By this time we were somewhat accustomed to the fear and had ceased to be quite so terrified. But we were glad to finally pull out of that carpark and leave that place for good. The bear was given to my young cousin and she loved that bear. 

Our next door neighbor worked as a Nurse at an insane asylum for the terribly terribly terribly nervous. The patients there were incredibly, unbelievably off the chart nervous. 

In the “ old “ days, people who suffered from mental illness were popped into homes like these, and, like it or not, we so called normal people managed to avoid being stabbed or ( as children ) frightened by people who were not what we perceived to be normal. 

Incidentally, our next door neighbour was killed by a patient who stabbed him with a pair of scissors. 

As the decades have passed, mental illness is now not confined to stark and imposing hospitals, buildings that are almost frightening on their own, no matter who resides within.

Our mentally unwell live within our community these days. Apparently to ease their integration and to ensure that they are not ostracised.

 

Their human rights must of course be protected and even our courts agree. If one pleads " mental health issues " then all is forgiven. 

We find these people with mental health issues killing our neighbors, killing our friends and loved ones, raping, bombing and stabbing us and mowing us down with cars. 

We even find them in our parliaments and places of governance. We even find them ruling countries. 

 

In fact, it seems to me that the world is one gigantic insane asylum and they are running the place, We are now the inmates being tasked with making teddy bears and taking our medications.

 

Is it not time to reopen some homes for the terribly terribly nervous and start making some Teddy Bears instead of bombs?

Because we are starting to get terribly terribly nervous. With good reason.

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