I wasn’t planning on writing anything else on the shootings that took place in a Connecticut elementary school or just anything on that topic but then this crossed my path (http://gawker.com/5968818/i-am-adam-lanzas-mother. I feel the need to write a response to it.
I am not going to pretend what this woman, or any other parent, goes through when they have a child who they are truly fearful of. I am not going to give advice to anyone dealing with this situation because who the hell am I to do so?
But having had to admit myself into a psychiatric hospital for completely different reasons, I have been exposed to a lot of people and heard stories that quite frankly would make you want to blow your brains out right there because it would destroy your faith in humanity.
There was a girl there with me whose father (a prominent gastrointerologist ironically) continuously raped her until she got pregnant at the age of 16. In order for her to receive trust fund money, she had to apologize for “lying” to her entire family and community in an extremely embarrassing manner.
Another patient that was there with me lived with his grandmother after his father abandoned him and his mother killed herself IN FRONT OF HIM at the age of 10. It definitely wasn’t his first time being hospitalized and there was honestly a lot more to his story. He was in the room with me waiting to be called in for an assessment and I could just tell he was dealing with some serious things. I honestly think it made my dad a little nervous actually. But after listening to him on the one day he opened up, I just remember thinking “I am amazed that this guy is still standing.”
One of the first people I met opened up to me about how a family friend would constantly rape and molest him starting from the age of 9 and how his parents did not believe him. So, every vacation, every family event, this man, this predator, was there, starring at him, and hurting him and violating him every opportunity he got until the age of 15.
A girl that I became friends with was finally dealing with the fact that a car accident (of which she was a part of) killed her friend three years ago.
One woman lost her sister and brother in law on September 11th, 2001 of which part of one of the towers fell onto her and somehow she survived. Then, a month later, she lost her husband and both of her children in an automobile accident.
I could seriously go on and on with these types of stories. The point I am trying to make is that can you blame ANY of these people for needing help? ANY of them? Or, would you consider it showing enormous strength that they recognized the need for help and sought it – one way or another?
The difference here also is that I was not in a state run facility. I am lucky enough to have private insurance. My parents and I were lucky enough to have some options. Many people and families do not.
What can we honestly expect from people in this country who have been burned so badly, who have no access to help, whose lives have been turned upside down, who have experienced trauma that has altered their brain chemistry, who are in desperate need of someone to confide in and medications to control their temperament….but they cannot afford it/don’t have the means to seek help?
What are we supposed to do? Resort to filing a criminal complaint so he/she is “in the system” like the mother in the article was told to do.
Is prison really the way we want to deal with people in this country who are struggling with mental illness but due to the absurdity of the cost of treatment have no other options?
Nothing is going to change until everyone recognizes that there is, in fact, a very real, very large problem. The prison is not a proper treatment plan for people suffering from mental illness. Families should not have to suffer or live in fear because of the lack of access to adequate medical help. This country should not have to mourn the loss of so many innocent victims of horrific disasters that I like to think could have been avoided if society takes some responsibility for the things that went wrong.
How many more of these tragedies do we have to see in order for the country to realize that we cannot wait another second before taking action? How many more stories like the one this incredibly brave woman wrote do we have to read before we make some kind of changes so that her and her family can receive the help they so desperately need and deserve? The answer should be none.
The shootings that took place on Friday at a Connecticut elementary school should be the last straw.