Laurean D. Robinson, MA
Founder, Editor, Writer of “The Student Becomes The Teacher”
So forgive me for not writing sooner. This week was exceptionally difficult and I was running on very little sleep all week (NOT a good thing).
But in welcoming the weekend, a 70-ish degree spring day (THANK GOD), and my first paycheck at my new college, I am able to get the peace of mind and clarity I need to see my experience as a journey. It also helped to see Friday’s Oprah Winfrey Show.
Today’s show was about a mother who was dealing with a young son who flew in the fits of unprovoked rage, injuring himself and creating terror within his own parents and little sister within their own home. Later, it was discovered that he was suffering from mental illness and was sent to a mental institution that specializes in his condition.
What was truly insightful for me was the mother’s explanation of a “black sheep.” She explained that a black sheep in a family is only the manifestation of a family’s tensions/sins/ugly problems embodied with a real person. She said that her son was a “black sheep” based on this definition. That was why it was so important to discuss family issues/secrets/uncomfortable topics.
While I don’t believe that my roommate is mentally ill, I do believe that the frustration he feels is real and needs to be addressed. I also understand that he needs to be embraced and his issues need to be addressed. That will come in the form of joint counseling once a week. That way he has a “safe space” where we can tackle the complicated history that we both share.
Sometimes, we can act out as a call for help. We all want to be “saved” even if we don’t say it directly. I am here for a reason – to help my roommate get through this rough patch and be the support he has lacked. For me, this is a live test, challenging my patience and tolerance – all the areas that I prayed to God for more of. Now I have a reason to fortify these qualities. So just as I am helping him, he is helping me. What a blessing!
So as I watch the latest developments of the Santa Barbara massacre involving the 22-year-old college student Elliot Rodger, I reflect back on that show. It makes me wonder what secrets had been hidden in that family household and were swept under the rug for years. Did Elliot REALLY have the help he needed? Did his parents REALLY do all they could do for their child? Did the mental health professionals REALLY do all they could do for their client? These are questions I hope get answered soon so that this tragedy stops repeating itself over and over again.