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What You Do Not Know
Can Kill You

by Gustavo Gonzalez

read the top section of a poster. I kept reading. “You can’t see it. You can’t smell it. You can’t taste it. But, carbon monoxide can kill you.” The ad was promoting the use of carbon monoxide detectors. As we all have come to know, carbon monoxide is a silent killer.

And so, in many ways, is our culture.

We are being constantly bombarded with negativity. “What do you want to do with your life?” “What are your hopes and dreams? - people are constantly been asked by relatives, friends, school teachers, career counselors, social workers, co-workers, lovers, tennis partners, etc.

The objections, to whatever your answer might be, are as predictable as trying to figure out IF a freight train carrying a cargo of 500 tons of steel, travelling at 85 miles per hour can come to a full stop within 100 yards (about the length of half a block) if you hit the brakes real hard!

It seems people just ask so they can take a shot at trying to torpedo whatever plans, hopes or dreams you may have.

There is enough negativity to make the healthiest of people sick. “That’s been done before”. “What don’t you try… something else” “There are enough of those around, already.” “Others have tried and failed.” “70 percent fail within the first two years.” “There is no money in that.” Etc, etc. “Of course there is no money on that, stupid!” - I feel like yelling. “If it was a sure thing, and the only thing that made any money, every body would be doing it and we would not have anything else available, STUPID!

Then there is the other side of the coin. The bright side?

In our culture we do not allow each other to grieve our losses. Grieving is a necessary process for getting over a difficult time, “and then” get on with it. Grieving your losses, whether it involves people, things or health must be done in the company of others who care about you. Grieving alone does not work. And leaving others to grieve their losses by themselves does not do them any good.

Have you ever seen T.V. footage of dozens of people, usually from far away cultures, hugging each other while crying as loud as they possibly can? It looks silly. But, the fact is no one can get on with life until they are through grieving their losses.

In a foolish effort to be positive, people often try to say positive things to others when they are viewed as being negative. For example; someone comments, or complains (as part of their grieving process), that they had a life a head of them, including a full set of plans that took their physical ability into account, before they were pushed in front of an oncoming subway train by a complete stranger. And now as result of this, they will have to spend the rest of their life in a wheel chair.

How true, life sucks. Why would anybody feel compelled to try to make a positive comment regarding the above situation to this person is beyond my comprehension. Yes! Some times life sucks, for some people. And I do not know what to say, except that this is just the way it is. Reality.

This is hard for me to understand, I do not know about you. But, I have heard a couple of comments by very qualified, professionally trained people, one of them a psychiatric nurse, about the situation above. The psychiatric nurse expressed her “theory” about cause and effect. In her opinion, the victim must have done something to bring this tragedy on to herself. Maybe she looked at the guy the wrong way. Wow, talk about qualifications!

The other person, also a mental health professional, had a different approach. She told the victim to be positive, to look on the bright side. Now that she was disabled, she had a wonderful opportunity. Since the government would pay her a pension, she would not have to go to work, and she could use the time to go back to school and become something else. Wasn’t that wonderful?

Where do this people get their diplomas? In a bubble gum machine?

This issue brings to mind the equally “professional and medical issue” of trying to get over the “common cold” or “the flu”. You basically have two choices. Take Tylenol and antibiotics three times a day and go back to work the next day. Or, spend three days in bed feeling very, very sick. Sooner or latter taking Tylenol and antibiotics to “speed things up” will do you a great deal of harm.

And then,

…there are those who subscribe to the notion that if you can’t figure out that you are being taken advantage of, then you are a sucker, and by extension deserve to be taken advantage of. A lot of people are subscribing to this school of thought.

Some of the people who belong to this school of thought are police officers, doctors, layers, spiritual healers… the list goes on. If you take all these people at face value and think they are all there to serve and protect, and provide you with helpful information, you may be in for a shock.

The same goes for doctors, and every other reputable profession. It may be hard to believe now, but there was a time, not long ago, when to even think badly, never mind saying anything, of those good intentioned souls, working with children in orphanages, was considered sacrilege. Duhh!

Be aware! Some people live their lives like if they were playing a poker game. And surprise, surprise, you are part of their game. They expect you to play. Except they have not asked you to. And they won’t be asking you to be a willing participant either. If you don’t catch on to the fact that they are trying to screw you around, then you are a sucker, and by extension, you deserve been taken advantage of. The poker face culture is here to stay.

At 43 years of age, this is, unfortunately, what I have learned during the second half of my adult life.

Perhaps we should come to the realization that society gets out of people exactly what it puts into them. I am not sure about you, but I need a change.

Gustavo Gonzalez is a Survivor of Psychiatric Abuse [not a psychiatric survivor] who lives in Ontario and hopes to make his case in a court of law some time before his death.
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