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September 1, 2011

When shocking news like this breaks, our first instinct is to… well I don’t know what our first instinct is.

It’s different for all of us. Some of us cry. Some of us get angry. Some of us become obsessed with the morbid details of what happened. Some of us speculate on the causes.

Often, we argue. We argue about the cause. About whether speculating on the cause is appropriate. About whether reporting the cause is necessary.

All of a sudden we all become experts. Experts on fighting. On prescription medication. On media ethics. On mental health.

So much yelling.

It’s getting really loud in here, in this offseason.

I don’t know why we’re yelling. Maybe we’re yelling because we’re finding it impossible to wrap our heads around the recent deaths we’ve been seeing in the hockey community. If we yell the loudest about fighting, we won’t have to face the fact that we just don’t understand how or why these players keep dying so young. If we’re the angriest about how the NHL/NHLPA don’t do enough for players with mental health issues, then we don’t have to face the fact that we just don’t understand enough about mental health issues in the first place. If we’re loud, we don’t have to listen to the silence telling us how ignorant we really are.

We have very so very many questions, and so very few answers. Not having the answers is scary. And so we yell.

Maybe we need to be quiet for a bit. Not having the answers is an uncomfortable place to be. But the only way we’ll ever have the answers is by shutting up and listening.

Mental illnesses frighten us, in large part because we don’t know much about them, if at all. They won’t stop being frightening unless we admit our ignorance and open our minds up to learning about them.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. September 1, 2011 1:26 am

    I agree. Whether it’s a friend or an athlete, our brains try desperately to figure out WHY because the situation is so incomprehensible to us. We don’t understand that dark place, and we fear it, and so we try to control it through rationalizations and blame.

    In that little corner of our minds, a voice says that it could be any of us in that situation.

    But the truth is, we don’t know what goes so wrong in these cases. We don’t know how to help someone who doesn’t even appear to be suffering. The human brain is still largely a mystery.

    That’s why people wind up getting so mad, I think– there’s too much unknown about something that is so frightening.

    Well-put, my dear.

  2. September 1, 2011 3:53 am

    Yep. Somehow it’s easier to mad at each other over causes rather than dealing with death.

    Nicely written, Laura.

  3. Andrew permalink
    September 1, 2011 7:19 am

    Well said. Instead of, “What happened?” or, “Why?!” can’t we all just remember the person who died, and not focus on how they died.

    We all have theories. We all have opinions. But we’re all full of crap. No one knows.

    That’s the scary part.

  4. Laura K permalink
    September 1, 2011 7:32 am

    Well said Laura. No one really knows what happens in the dark recesses of the minds of others.

    We know what goes on in in our minds and it scares the crap out of of us. And makes us pause and think there but for the grace of god go I. That is scary indeed.

  5. SensDew19 permalink
    September 1, 2011 9:19 am

    Great write up Laura. It’s like you said, we all scream and shout because we’re so afraid of all this. Nobody understands it and somehow people think it becomes easier to deal with it if the reason so clear cut. So many I had a discussion with want to pin this onto fighting because they think if fighting is gone, so is all those deaths but the truth is I’m not sure fighting was even the cause of all three deaths.

    Just like when Daron Richardson died, I know for a fact that her school mates were searching for weeks on what they could’ve done and people fail to understand it never is black and white when it comes to mental illness.

    Again thanks for a great read, you truly captured the essence of the reactions that took place yesterday, mine included.


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