|The "Dark Cave"|
|That Poverty Guy battling mind games.|
As street homelessness that we know in Canada represents only a small portion of the homeless in the world, I had also hoped that this experience would provide me opportunity to gain insight into being a refugee. However, that hasn't happened to any large degree yet as I find that psychologically I am probably most associating with the homelessness of those on the streets (albeit getting only a glimpse of what they truly experience). I think that is probably because my current situation most closely resembles theirs. I'm not talking about living in a tent or having limited clothes or feeling dirty and grubby . . . but rather experiencing "have not" in an environment full of "have". To know and see what is close in proximity and yet knowing such is out of one's reach can be demoralizing. It makes one feel apart . . . different . . . less than . . . which conflicts head on with our base human desire to belong.
The Dark Cave is depression, which you may have guessed if you or a loved one have experienced it before. I have experienced five major depressions in my adult life, and don't desire nor expect to experience another one. Since my last one (about 4 years ago) . . . I have developed many personal tools that help me recognize and deal with the early warning signals before they get out of hand . . . I take medication that works well for me . . . and I have spent more time developing and deepening my faith and spiritual life. However, for many on the street, depression and other mental illnesses are quite common. For some, the mental illness may be the reason that they ended up falling through the cracks and landing on the street; for others the fact of being on the street (however they got there) has worn them down to the point where they become mentally unhealthy. The mind games, the lack of belonging, the being without in an abundant society . . . it can take down the very best of people. As I mentioned, I can see the entrance to the Dark Cave from where I stand right now.
Do you know why I know that I will not end up going into depression this time despite my history and my current circumstances? It's because I have never seen the entrance to the Dark Cave before. In the past, I felt a slipping (a falling . . . a spiralling) into the abyss, which later was diagnosed as depression . . . but I was always there before I really knew what had happened. Due to the therapy and years of work that I have done, my faith, and my medication (which I see as providing the seratonin I need, much like a diabetic needs insulin) . . . I can see where I am at and where the "Dark Cave" is . . . which means I also know where not to go. My hope is that people will recognize that many of those suffering on the streets have an illness of some form, and need help accessing the professional help necessary before they can heal and work to improve their lot in life.
Hey!! I'm That Poverty Guy . . . let's make a world of difference together.
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