A lawyer in affluent Westchester County, a NYC suburb, killed his wife and two sleeping children yesterday, then shot himself. The couple reportedly was going through a bitter divorce. The kids were 8 and 10 and neighbors said they were a “beautiful” family.
It is impossible to fathom what could trigger such a horrific act. An extraordinarily stressful situation can lead to psychosis, which can show up in a variety of ways, including delusions–a break with reality. Whatever the case, the report momentarily unnerved me and has haunted me throughout the day. So many people across the country are experiencing stressful situations. They’ve lost their jobs and homes and are losing their hope. Young people can’t get jobs in the first place.
I am not suggesting that everyone who is stressed will develop a psychosis. But we must try to alleviate the stress of our loved ones and friends as much as possible. If we can offer someone a job–even if temporary–or a helping hand in some other way, we must do it. We cannot simply thank our lucky stars that we’re employed and have wonderful homes.
Deep despair is one of the worst illnesses that can affect us. Words don’t provide hope; actions do.