Page 2 - MidWeek Kauai - June 1, 2022
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     Because You Never Know
Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always. — Ian Maclaren
        MShining A Light
We knew it was a real diner because they served root beer floats, they didn’t take credit cards (you paid by check or with cash), and a grouchy man left a 4-cent tip. That’s right. Four pennies. And this was 2021, not 1921. The young waitress, who had been work- ing very hard, looked slightly crestfallen but dropped the coins into her pocket and sanitized the table. When she saw our stunned faces, she shrugged and said, “He always does that.” In further conver- sation she related how he had once handed her a penny and said, “That’s what you de- serve.” He had come at a busy time, placed a huge takeout order, then complained about
allowance for a customer’s hostility. It made me think back to the time a student had given a series of flimsy excuses for missing several classes. When I ran into him in the quad, I tried to subdue my irritation while warning about the effects of absence on his grade. He started to of- fer another very weak excuse, but stopped suddenly. Then: “Ms. Jermann, I lied. The real reason is because ...” The ex- planation, which embarrassed him, was heart-wrenching, and, on a dime, I was filled with compassion. Ever since, I’ ve been aware, as was the waitress, that we usually don’t know the full story behind someone’s behavior.
When we left the diner, my
ental Health Awareness Month is over, but for those in need of help, May 31 didn’t sig- nal the end of anything. While the stigma of
By observing a young waitress, the author learned that kindness is important because you never know what the other person is going through.
friend and I left more than a substantial tip — because the waitress was cheerful, because she deserved it ... and because you never know what people are going through.
Rosemary Jermann does freelance editing after over 30 years of learning, teach- ing, translating and editing at Saint Louis University. She is honored to be editing for “Chasing the Light.”
Chasing The Light is pro- duced by Lynne Johnson and Robin Stephens Rohr.
people coming forward to acknowledge mental health issues has lessened in many ways, there is still a great need, especially as we leave these last two years of heightened anxiety, for people to step forward and get help without judgment.
having to wait for the food. She seemed to feel a need to defend herself. “I always greet him, ask how he is, and try to be polite; nothing changes. But I still keep trying ... be- cause, you know ... you never know what people are going
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that in any given week over the past two years, between 29% and 43% of U.S. adults experi- enced symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorders. The calls and cries for help have been growing locally. The National Alliance of Mental Illness Hawai‘i has been doing its part through a multitude of offerings and services to anybody, any ethnicity, any age — CEOs, caregivers, teens, front line workers, lawyers, retail clerks, retirees, et al. Mental health concerns are ubiq- uitous, but the great news is that assistance is available no matter how seemingly benign or how dire your cir- cumstance may be.
It astonished us that one so
Think about it ...
young had managed to make
with Rosemary Jermann
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    Support, mentorship and peer groups, online or phone chat opportunities with absolute anonymity (if desired) can help people today. Now is as good a time as any for you to check-in and check-up. As Alice in Chains sang, “Somebody check my brain.”
Braveness shown in this arena by celebrities like Nao- mi Osaka and Michael Phelps going public is wonderful, and I’ve read a few columnists opening up about person- al mental health issues recently, but it’s really about your concerns, friends, family, co-workers and/or neighbors. Busy therapists might be tied up for months, but a coun- selor or support group may provide an immediate beacon of hope for you. Crisis lines are also available locally if the need is immediate, sporadic or acute.
People freely discuss heart issues, cancer recovery or nagging knee ailments. Talking openly about mental health should be just as easy and cathartic. Yoga, med- itation, nature, music, learned coping skills — there are myriad ways to deal with what ails you, but don’t wait or let anxiety build. Go to, call 808-591-1297, or call 211 for a referral. Please don’t let creeping mental health issues fester. And if you’ve got a personal mental health success story to share with others, how great might that be?

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