I watched this in Mr. Mercedes series (Season 2, episode one) last night. Bill Hodges speaking at a funeral of his long-time friend and police partner who died from a heart attack: “He hasn’t talked of his weaknesses and his heart problems. He was all police. At this job we are trained to not show weakness. So, we don’t talk about it. If we did, maybe some of us were still alive.”
There is a strong connection in the idea of that segment to something I saw once on the mental health unit I worked on:
“What was the bravest thing you’ve asked for?”
There is even stronger connection in that idea to what I’ve recently been reading about grief and loss. One of the main ideas in the book (Grief Recovery Handbook by J.W. James and R. Friedman) is that people in the western society are constantly misinformed about grieving and letting go of loss they’ve experienced. Major myths that humans learn over and over through generations is that you grieve alone, and if it doesn’t help, you replace pain with something else and you don’t cry around others. Asking for help, therefore, is not welcomed. People progress through life carrying their pain, not knowing how to deal with it, collecting more pain and loss on their path, leading a life of a kettle that is constantly on fire while there is no way to let steam out.
I’ve met a lot of them kettle people when I worked in the recovery houses and overnight shelters. They wouldn’t talk of their issues that brought them that low, because they were taught not to bother others, not to show their weaknesses, not to cry in front of others, not to deal with emotions. Imagine their kettles going into overdrive and beyond!
In a society where you are taught not to ask for help, showing vulnerability seems to be considered a crime. In a reality full of subjective ideas, myths, and prejudices, asking for help is indeed the bravest thing a person can do. In the same glorious reality, to follow up with finding out more what’s behind those cold eyes and world of hurt can probably earn you your own crest and a Viking funeral.
Yet we are not there yet.
the image was copied from https://www.dreamstime.com/illustration/kettle-head.html thank you.