University News

The Value of Reflection: During Times of Distress, We Must Stay Socially Connected

June 23, 2020

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Editor's Note: The following was written by WIU Law Enforcement and Justice Administration Professor Anthony McBride.

MACOMB/MOLINE, IL -- Western Illinois University and many universities and colleges are the central hub of a community for creating leaders and changing and saving lives. WIU is the foundation for many to be proud to say "I'm a Leatherneck."

So, as a University community and a proud educational institution, during difficult times, we must respond as a shining institution, that many of its alumni represent in our communities. It's the Western Illinois University way; it's the purple that flows throughout the journey of every student; it's the "Destined for Success;" and it's the "We Believe in Where Your Potential Will Take You."

As an educator I support the student journey. I plan to help in the listening and healing process as we foster in our student's education and well-being.

The impact of coronavirus and social injustices has sparked serious concerns about our country and the direction we are headed. We, by all means necessary, can never turn a blind eye and forget about how both impacts have resulted in high rates of mental health issues and how a large valuable part of our country continues to suffer racial inequalities.

A former LEJA student, via social media, posted a message revealing her battles with mental health and invited her Facebook friends to share what is going on with them internally and externally. I responded to her message by writing a poem. My poem reflects on a teenager/young adult living with attention deficit disorder (ADD). So I thought it would be therapeutic if we allowed our LEJA students or any student to share their emotions in this fashion.

The following series of writings will serve as a dialogue for reflection during these times of distress. The impact of what many people are feeling or suffering should be proudly and freely shared.

It is my hope that these expressions allows you to reflect, perhaps be of help, and be a resource and advocate for change. In the meantime, one person's pain is the pain of us all, so let's read with open minds and listen with open hearts.

By WIU Student Alumni

Obsessive the thoughts keep coming, my heart is racing, and my vision is blackening

Compulsive run in circles, touch each wall 8 times, when you're done do it again

This time you need to do it 10 times

It can't be 9 or 8

Even numbers only, unless it's reused 4 and 6 don't count

It's a disorder

Disorder I don't know what's wrong. Some, not all, but me. Yes, me

The girl sitting crossed legged on her queen size mattress

The girl sitting in the front seat of her car, unable to drive

Overpowering thoughts, craving for peace, feel like there is none

I want to run away from my mind, but I can't

Breathe in, Breathe out, Smile, You are okay

Shaking my head, it's a façade, I live differently than those next to me


This time their bad, I love you. Tears flow down from my eyes

I don't want to hurt you. The OCD and my mind, they play tricks

They tell me things I don't like. I think terrible things. Frankly I'm scared I'll act on it

But I don't think I will. I know I won't. But the belief part is hard

Very hard, so I cry. I weep, I scream, I sleep, I isolate, I self-harm

I try to take my like. I'll do anything to be set free

Even if that means losing my chance at life

The life my God gave me

"Even I live"
By Dr. Anthony McBride

Even when I struggle with paying attention

I live

Even if you may view me as strange

I live

Even when I feel good, I act out without thinking about it but,

I live

Even though my parents are concerned

I live

Even when my problems are complex

I live

Even when you describe my thoughts as abnormal

I live

Even when I believed the impossible wasn't possible

I live

Even when you said, "I would not graduate from high school and college was impossible" I did both!!

I live

Even when I achieve you still live in me

I live, I live, Even I live

Students facing difficulties can contact the WIU Counseling Center at (309) 298-2453, or visit

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