Saturday, August 1, 2015

Depression and Sandra Bland

>>>Click here to read all the posts in this series<<<

It was two weeks after the Sandra Bland incident before I watched the dash cam video. Lately I feel bombarded by examples of how awful people are every time I go on-line, and sometimes I feel like I am only one more example away from never being able to get out of bed again; therefore, I often find it necessary to self-protect... to not click the link about the Presidential hopeful who publicly terrorized a senator, the article about how congress is trying to defund Planned Parenthood through a trucking bill, or the post about how someone thinks the Confederate flag/American Civil War had nothing to do with slavery.

Eventually my need to self-protect was trumped by my need to be informed, and I watched the Sandra Bland traffic stop. There is no question in my mind that State Trooper Brian Encinia behaved unprofessionally; additionally, I find it difficult to come up with an explanation for his behavior other than a combination of racism and a preoccupation with power. If you do not feel that Encinia behaved inappropriately, then I highly recommend you watch this video by The Young Turks which does a great job of explaining what was improper about the traffic stop.

All that said, I feel that every aspect of the Sandra Bland case has been thoroughly discussed, except one. I absolutely think it is possible for someone to be murdered in prison and for it to be made to look like a suicide; I also do not feel that it is a stretch to consider that someone in law enforcement would murder Bland because of all the "noise" she was making about the traffic stop and arrest. However, it further troubles me that such a significant number of people discount the possibility that Bland did kill herself; as someone who has questioned many times how it is possible to appreciate life when it can be so horrible, I see that it is quite possible that her death was a suicide.

Bland undoubtedly had more history with depression than she reported on her intake form. Most people with depression do not talk/write about it openly, and even those that do, they still keep a lot to themselves. No matter how close you are to someone, and how well you think you know them, there are plenty of things that they are not sharing; this is significantly more true of people who suffer from a mental illness. People with mental illnesses know that if you don't suffer from their mental illness, there is a limited amount of understanding that you will be able to provide; often it seems best to filter our thoughts as to not be looked upon as "crazy." It is entirely possible, dare I say, likely, that Bland's family and friends had no idea how depressed she was; even the people closest to us rarely know the extent of our dark thoughts. If I find humanity this depressing, I can only imagine how much worse I would feel if I belonged to a racial group that is regularly a target of some of the worst kinds of people. Add to that, being assaulted by a person in a position in power because of a traffic incident, and it is difficult for me to imagine a person with a history of depression and suicide not questioning whether she wants to live anymore. Even strong people are sometimes weak.

You can read all my “Depression and…” posts by clicking here.

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