I’ve got just 2 words for Liza Long, who published this brilliant piece in the Blue Review.
“They told me I could wear these,” he insisted. “You’re a stupid bitch. I can wear whatever pants I want to. This is America. I have rights!”
“You can’t wear whatever pants you want to,” I said, my tone affable, reasonable. “And you definitely cannot call me a stupid bitch. You’re grounded from electronics for the rest of the day. Now get in the car, and I will take you to school.”
I live with a son who is mentally ill. I love my son. But he terrifies me.
Ms. Long is parent to a mentally ill child. In her case, the child suffers extreme mood swings, going from sweet and contrite to vicious and violent. The beautiful little boy in the picture above has attacked her with a knife, and threatened to jump from a moving car.
A few weeks ago, Michael pulled a knife and threatened to kill me and then himself after I asked him to return his overdue library books. His 7 and 9 year old siblings knew the safety plan—they ran to the car and locked the doors before I even asked them to. I managed to get the knife from Michael, then methodically collected all the sharp objects in the house into a single Tupperware container that now travels with me. Through it all, he continued to scream insults at me and threaten to kill or hurt me.
That conflict ended with three burly police officers and a paramedic wrestling my son onto a gurney for an expensive ambulance ride to the local emergency room. The mental hospital didn’t have any beds that day, and Michael calmed down nicely in the ER, so they sent us home with a prescription for Zyprexa and a follow-up visit with a local pediatric psychiatrist.
We still don’t know what’s wrong with Michael. Autism spectrum, ADHD, Oppositional Defiant or Intermittent Explosive Disorder have all been tossed around at various meetings with probation officers and social workers and counselors and teachers and school administrators. He’s been on a slew of antipsychotic and mood altering pharmaceuticals, a Russian novel of behavioral plans. Nothing seems to work.
Due to a career sacrifice, “Michael” at least receives treatment. Ms. Long was forced to abandon her plans as a freelancer and take a job that offered mental health coverage. Care that Adam Lanza, Harris and Klebold, Jason Holmes and countless others never got. It is for this reason, and this reason alone, that we may never have to worry about Michael growing up to become the next Trenchcoat Mafia killer.
Here’s the link to her profound and extremely well written article:
While we’re struggling to come to grips with the tragedy of Sandy Hook – and again beating the dead horse of gun control – we need to begin to examine how we deal with this nation’s mentally ill. Now I’m not going to say that we don’t need some kind of sensible legislation regarding our national obsession with guns, and the fact that anyone can obtain what is essentially a weapon of mass destruction with less effort than adopting a dog. I’m merely saying that the guns are a symptom of something bigger. Our complete unwillingness to help each other – to work together for the common good.
Our approach to mental illness is to either pickle their brains with chemical lobotomies, ignore them altogether, or warehouse them in our prisons. These people need help. Help is expensive. Help is costly. But until they get our help – unconditionally and unilaterally – we’re going to have a lot more Sandy Hooks.
BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.
- “I am sharing this story because I am Adam Lanza’s mother. I am Dylan Klebold’s and Eric Harris’s mother. (althouse.blogspot.com)
- The Ethics of Publishing “I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother” (blogher.com)
- If the Second Amendment is to Blame for Mass Murder, Then the First is to Blame as Well (youviewedblog.wordpress.com)
- You are probably not Adam Lanza: Mental Illness, Violence and the Perils of Speculation (theworldofmentalists.com)
- That Woman Is Not Adam Lanza’s Mother, and She’s Distracting Us From the Real Issue (jezebel.com)