It is amazing to me how little I noticed all the socially acceptable jokes about drinking, about getting drunk, about celebrating with a drink, about bad days being made better with a glass of wine…or beer or whatever. I simply did not pay much attention. But now I am super sensitive about it – and these jokes do not even draw a smile from me as they once did. And no, this is not going to be some rant or lecture about the evils of drink. I will not insult your intelligence with such a stance. It is just weird to suddenly be so aware. This awareness has come about following my brother’s death at the hands of an impaired driver. If not for that I would still be unaware. And I wonder, what else in life have I become immune to?

Years ago I was writing an article about mental illness and interviewed a young man who suffered with severe anxiety disorder. He pointed out how often we will say someone is “crazy”, when what we really mean is that person is exuberant, wild, unique, and perhaps a nonconformist.  Unless or until someone close to us is struggling with a mental illness we are blissfully unaware of the pain and the difficulty people live with, or the pain caused by some of our language such as “retard”, “insane” and yes, “crazy”. Labels are never good.

Life is a mystery whereby we walk around like zombies at times – like sleep walkers. We are totally unaware and live in total ignorance. I am not sure I like this new sensitivity, but I also know it will serve a purpose. I just haven’t yet figured out what that may be.

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