Monday, December 17, 2012

One article isn't the answer.

With regard to the article I keep seeing shared.  People seem to be virtually searching for someone to have an answer to this tragedy.  There are professionals for this, and we may never have the answer considering Adam Lanza and his mother are no longer with us.

This is very private for me to share but I am writing it because I keep seeing this article being passed along enthusiastically on Facebook. I am not a doctor, but have spent my entire life taking care of someone who is mentally ill. Even as a young child when I had no idea what I was involved in.  I've spent holidays in mental wards, seen the horrors of extent of what the human mind can do and share in the horrible frustration these diseases bring our families.   Like anything else we need more help, but I think this article is irresponsible. The public does need to be aware, I as a family member need more support and resources. Truth of the matter is we aren't a country full of twisted horrific mentally ill killers. Most of us will never deal with true mental illness in a child or family member.  Now, some facebook users will read this article posted like doctrine and suddenly think they understand or have the answers.  Mentioning ADHD and other social disorders that kids are over diagnosed with right now along with the names of multiple mass murderers to explain how broken the mental health care system is does nothing to help the rest of us. It will probably add to the urge to hide and seclude what I am really dealing with. Did you know after reading this article that many mentally ill people aren't violent? I wouldn't have. We now have a ton of people on social media that still have no clue about what these children and adults truly need, just more self proclaimed experts with a voice.  In my experience (the last 15 yrs)  psychiatric hospitals need more money, patients need access to private care, stigma and assumption from the doctors need to be removed. Get rid of government run social programs that take these patients from the hospitals to society like an assembly line rather than individuals with very different diseases. Families need to say NO when someone is threatening to harm themselves or others and the emergency room says they have no psych beds. Drive to the next county and find one. Learn the system yourself.  Like any challenging sickness paired with bureaucracy it's exhausting, it can destroy your family. But you CAN take care of those in need- it's just a horrible cycle with many obstacles we hope are being corrected. Turning this issue into the next Komen-like branded conversation in America is not going to help- and bunching many different diagnoses of mental illness into an event like this is such a sad thing for the rest of us, who actually have to live it.  The final thing I will say is none of us are Adam Lanza's mother. We are all judging her and she isn't here to defend herself.  I wish strength and courage to anyone dealing with true mental illness and if this tragedy helps better the system of care, then I am all for it- but this isn't a time to link such a complex arena of sickness to an event none of us can begin to piece together.  I never see the outrage of terrorists overseas killing tons of children w/car bombs or shelling their happens daily... no one ever searches for answer why?  I guess I will never understand where people draw their lines in judgement. Bless those innocent children and staff at Sandy Hook Elementary, may they rest in eternal peace.