It took me a moment to comment or talk about the shooting at Walmart in Chesapeake, VA and the suicide of tWitch. I know it’s been almost a few weeks and many of you have moved on to other mass shootings or drama. Yet, I realized a simple post on Facebook wouldn’t really work for me. Although I don’t know anyone personally involved with either situation, it still hits closer to home than other mass shootings. Mental health is real, and not just in retail or among the rich and famous, but here in your own communities. However, I can only speak on the retail aspect and from what seen personally and feel within myself.
I want to tell you about my experience in retail before I speak on the Chesapeake situation. I’ve worked many positions at various locations with Walmart. I understand the stress, concerns and everything on many levels. When I first became an assistant manager, I made a vow that when it got to be too much, I would be done. I did about 6 years an assistant manger for a total of 17 years. Why did I leave? The store I was at stressed me out so bad that my vitals were at stroke level and was hospitalized for THREE days. The day I was released from the hospital I made the decision to put in my two week notice. Once I made that decision all my vitals dropped to almost normal. Who would have guessed that.
Leaving was the best thing for my health all the around. Four years later somethings changed. I needed a full time job like asap. Guess who was hiring? Walmart. Did I apply for an assistant manager position? That would be a big fat NO. However, the store manager, who I worked for before, offered me a department manager position. Perfect right? Yes, until it wasn’t. There were many ups and downs as usual. My breaking point was five years later when they changed the positions, added almost double the responsibilities and I had two knee surgeries. Oh and I caught covid that impacted my respiratory. This had me in a crazy frame of mind. My poetry was very dark, my mood was foul, I didn’t want to be around people (this made me grateful for the pandemic restrictions), I lost trust in everyone, I didn’t care about anything or anyone. What helped me? My blood family, my church family and my close friends. Deep prayer and mediation helped me to leave the company before I had a total breakdown.
I’m not condoning what he did in no form. Wrong is wrong. What I wanted to say is to be cautious of how you treat others regardless of what is going on. I’ve had moments where I wanted to be rude and nasty as a customer and as a subordinate. Heck, I have done it as a supervisor. Each of those situations I had to stop, say a silent prayer and sometimes an apology. Most of the time it was simply because I thought about the fact that I wouldn’t want someone to come at me that way. Other times I think about people who have committed suicide and I never want that on my conscious. Then I remember, I don’t know what’s going on with them.
This brings me to tWitch situation. I’m not as familiar with him as many of you are. I did some research when I saw what happened. I saw he presented as being happy and helping keep others motivated. It’s obvious he had some things going on within himself that others didn’t know about. Whatever the issue was, he didn’t feel as if he could discuss it with others. Maybe it wasn’t a mental health type of situation, maybe it was. However, something vital played a key part in this. When it comes to the mental health it’s vital to get the help you need.
I know many of our parents or grandparents don’t believe in that. They think it’s something we as individuals are doing wrong. Sometimes you can overcome the issues on your own, others, not so much. You have to know when to ask for help. Sometimes, that maybe easier said than done. At that point, as family and friends we need to be asking the important questions, not just surface questions such as “How are you today?”. There is more that’s needed. For me personally, when it comes to my friends and family, I take in the whole picture. Or at least I try to. Sometimes it’s hard when you’re going through you’re own set of problems. Still, you should know those around you well enough to know when something isn’t 100% right. You may not know exactly is wrong or how deep it runs, but, it’s important they understand you are available to talk when they need to. If you are on the other end of the situation, please understand there are people that care and will listen. We may not always understand, but we will listen and help how we can to help you navigate the waters. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, even if it’s just a listening ear you need. If one person is unavailable, another person will be. A tiktoker said it best, you are important. We need you here.
When it comes to mental health, it’s vital to understand that not all mental health looks the same. Just like in tWtich case, you may never see an outside sign of it. You’ll have to dig deeper to find it, listen to and pay attention to the signs. Other cases like in VA it maybe a little more apparent. In either case, it’s always important to understand that sometimes your words and/or actions can either help them off the edge to safety, or it can push them over the edge. Even without knowing you’re doing it, it can happen.
There’s my spiel on mental health to end the year. Let’s remember to be kinder to those we meet or interact with in our lives. It doesn’t matter if it’s for two minutes or two days, show kindness, it can go a long way to saving a life or two.