Homelessness

Items & Ego: Cassie-Jo Shadlock

This morning I was driving downtown. I was at a red light on Garry St. I looked to my left & saw a man sitting on the step of a building and it was apparent he was homeless. No, he wasn’t begging or “bothering” anyone as some people may call it. He was keeping to himself, head down, fading into the background, as it was apparent he was telling himself he deserved to do.

What I will say is that he was a human being & it broke my heart into a million pieces to see the look in his eyes. He could barely stand to make eye contact with anyone for fear of being judged, not belonging to society, or just wanting to disappear.

How do we look at another human being like that & not feel anything? We find every reason to tell ourselves that this is just the way it is. 

You can find all of his faults, call him weak, or judge what he may have done to get there.  You may lump him into an category based on our own fear of unfortunate circumstances or the racism we have come to find far too normal. All in an attempt to make us feel better about our own demons.

I was on my way to a job that I love, freshly showered, after starting my day with a hug from my mom & my belly full of breakfast. Can you imagine living any other way than you are now, cutting your privileges down to a quarter & still trying to appreciate the gift of life?

Some good friends and I were given an opportunity to come back from vulnerable situations and not let a dark path become permanent. We had love and support throughout our journey but some people aren’t always given that privilege.

I am grateful everyday, but especially today for being here, a life not based on the quality or quantity of items & ego.

I am thankful that I have seen this man & the many men/women out there, who (we have to remember) are not just versions of someone who “once was” important at one time in their lives. All I ask is the next time you see someone in the state that this gentleman was, try & change your thought pattern!

We can use some love right now,  All of us!

Warm Hearts/Healthy Minds: Rachel Chapman

I am a 21 year old nursing student with the Saskatchewan Collaborate Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. I had the opportunity to be placed on the Regina General Hospital’s Psychiatric Unit this year for my third year clinical placement.  Anyone who knows me knows that I am a confident student who works well in a fast-paced environment, and who excels in challenging situations.  After being on the cardiac unit at the General, I was unsure of my move to the mental health unit.  Don’t get me wrong; I have a great respect for mental health and those affected by it; being someone who has struggled with my own mental health barriers. However, it was not the unit I wanted to work in.  To me, I wanted to be able to stitch someone up, heal a wound or administer medications and send them on their way to a healthy recovery.  But those who struggle with mental health barriers and addictions will battle with it for most of their lives and I had difficulty grasping the concept of never being able to fully “heal” someone.  Little did I know, it would change me forever as a person.