For Foos Sake

Well. It has been a while since I felt I had the time and energy to write something on here and if I am honest, I don’t really feel like I have the energy now as I sit here writing it! This feels important though so I am going to push through. I am feeling very sad about a lot of things at the moment, there is the obvious situation in Ukraine, politics in general is very grim and over the last couple of days I have seen and read a lot about two people I have admired greatly for a long time and not all of it has been easy to process.

I will start with the most recent. I woke up this morning to see one of my heroes as a young adult hitting another man on what should have been the best and biggest night of his professional life. I am angry but also understanding of Will Smith. I will never and can never condone violence in any form, for any reason, but I am also angry and frustrated at a wider world where it is OK for a ‘comedian’ to mock another human being for a physical condition that is often linked to stress and anxiety. How is it OK to take the piss out of someone with mental health struggles in front of millions of people? How is that a mark of a civilised society? I just don’t get it. At all.

Will Smith has written recently about watching his father beat his mother unconscious and the shame and guilt he felt and still feels for not doing more to protect her when she was being abused by his father. Again, it does not make what he did OK, but surely it makes sense that it is not a good idea to provoke any person who has been through this kind of trauma on a night when he is likely to be extremely stressed and anxious. Who read that script and said, ‘…hey, Will Smith has been traumatised as a child, he has seen his mother beaten up by his dad many times, so yeah, it is a great idea to make a joke at the expense of his wife on the biggest night of his life, go for it Chris…….’. I mean really…..

I do not want people to condone what Will Smith did, I just want people to try and understand why he did and not judge him soley on his mistakes. He made a mistake that he will have to live with for the rest of his life and despite of his success he is still a human being and he is obviously not fully healed from his childhood trauma and experience. He needs care and understanding, not judgement and further ridicule. Give the man space to heal.

This has all been on top of my losing another one of my heroes this weekend. Anyone who has met me in my office (or outside of it) will likely have met my Foo Fighters hoodie. I wear it a lot! It is a link to one of the best days of my adult life when I saw the Foo Fighters live at the London Stadium with my wife. That day was special for many reasons, but it woke a part of me up that I had neglected for years and seeing the joy and feeling the energy created by the Foos on stage lit me up and even as I think about it now I still feel that joy and buzz.

It is tinged with a deep sadness now I know that Taylor Hawkins is no longer with us. He and Dave Grohl had one of those connections that was so deep and so obvious and so natural is was a beautiful thing to see. I cannot imagine the pain Dave and Taylor’s family and friends are feeling at the moment. I am listening to ‘My Hero’ as I write this and I am not ashamed to say I am crying as well as that song now has another, incredibly sad layer to it, and it used to make me cry before anyway.

Taylor obviously had his struggles as we all do, and as I was thinking about everything that has been happening recently on the walk into work, I suddenly felt completely overwhelmed. I was talking to my supervisor last week, one of the battles I have as a therapist is to not try and fix the whole therapy world and everyone in it. When I am in this fixing mode, I often expend a lot of energy in fighting systems and structures that I have very little influence on and absolutely no control over. This fight leads me down a dark path as I lose too much energy and then don’t have enough to actually focus on the people and things that I can support and make a positive difference to.

I felt overwhelmed this morning as I just want to live in a world where people are kind to each other and respectful of their lives and their struggles. We all carry trauma from our past and history, every single one of us, if we are aware of it or not, it is there. We should all stop trying to deflect our pain away from our selves and onto others. When we do we risk pushing people deeper into their own pathology and pain and that can lead to the self destructive behaviours that may have contributed to Taylor Hawkins death as well as Will Smith’s behaviour last night. This is not OK, we all need to create a society where we own our own psychological stuff and get the support around it we need if we want it.

I ask that you allow me a slight moment of selfishness here too, losing Taylor has denied me the joy of seeing him on stage with Dave Grohl in June when I have tickets to see the Foos with my wife and my step son. I am also gutted that my step son has been denied to chance to see him play live. He was fucking awesome!! There is no other way to describe him than that so I do not apologise for the profanity!! He was just the best drummer I have ever seen or will ever see (except for maybe Dave Grohl himself!).

I feel better for having written this. I don’t feel overwhelmed anymore, just sad and tired. Please be kind and caring to everyone around you today. Please try not to judge and criticise others for their wounds and struggles, try to be understanding of them as you would hope to be cared for if you were struggling as they are. Also, try not to get too caught up in the bluff and bullshit that is social media and the modern media, don’t be tied up in negative knots, by their agendas. They make money from negativity and clicks on awfulness. Lets try and starve them of their fuel for a bit and focus on loving and caring for those around us instead.

I hope Will Smith finds the kindness and care he needs to heal from his childhood and I hope Taylor Hawkins in at peace and happy wherever he is. My thoughts and care go out to his family and friends, as it does to Will Smith’s and Chris Rock’s too. I am off now to stop trying to fix the world and re focus on my own healing and that of my family, friends and clients, as it should be I think.

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