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  • just a conservative girl 11:38 AM on 02/05/2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , drug addiction, , hoffman, mental illness, , tmz   

    Mental Illness Cuts Another Life Short – Phillip Seymour Hoffman Dead 

    Phillip Seymour Hoffman was found dead from overdosing on drugs Sunday morning.  He was found with a needle still in his arm.  On the surface it is easy to say “so what”.  He was just another actor who had fame and fortune who threw it all away with the selfish use of drugs.  A theme that is all too common when these things happen.  

    But the truth is his problems started long before he was either.  The truth also is that his battle with depression had been ongoing for most of his adult life.  He went to rehab for the first time in his early twenties right after college.  So his problems had nothing at all to do with being rich or famous.  His problems had to do with the fact he was human.  He had the same frailties that all the rest of us have.  We all have issues.  We all have things we wish could change, do differently, react differently to, be better.  

    Mental illness isn’t something to mess around with.  It isn’t something that will just “go away” in time.  It is a medical condition, not unlike high blood pressure or diabetes, that requires medical attention.  In some cases it requires medication, in others talk therapy will work just fine.  But in either event it is a medical condition.  

    I was watching Hannity on Fox News last night.  Something I rarely do, as he isn’t one of my favorites.  Last night he reminded me of why.  He was showing pictures of the last few days and/or weeks of Mr. Seymour’s life.  The pictures were from another “news” organization that I avoid like the plaque, TMZ.  It is nothing more than an exploitative gossip organization that seems to get off on the tragedies of others.  I am not sure how much money they paid for the pictures, and for my own mental well being I am better off not knowing.  

    Have your opinions on what drug addicts are, that is fine.  If you believe they deserve what they get, OK.  I will get to how you are wrong about that shortly, but that is your opinion.  But remember, famous people have families as well.  He had a long time girlfriend and three young children; Cooper, Tallulah, and Willa.  The youngest being only five years old.  These young children just lost their father.  

    I grew up with parent with a substance abuse problem.  It is certainly isn’t the easiest of childhoods.  It is downright painful in fact.  Which his relapse back into to the addiction cycle may have been part of the reasons that he was separated from his long time girlfriend.  That isn’t something that is really any of our business in any event.  That is between him, her, and their children.  But that doesn’t make the love they felt for their father any less than that of your children towards you or your love towards your parents.  They deserve time to mourn in private without the people from the cheap seats chiming in on how he deserved what he got because he was a no good addict.  

    As I have stated mental illness is just that, an illness.  It isn’t as simple as going to the doctor, getting a blood test, and be given a treatment that will help control or cure it.  For many, such as myself, it is a life-long struggle that requires care.  Care from others and care from myself towards myself.  It is very easy to say well people like this are selfish when their lives end in a tragedy such as a drug overdose or suicide.  The reality is far different.  

    Drugs and mental illness are very closely related.  As I said it requires care.  Sometimes that care comes in the form of self-medicating.  It becomes the way to feel better, just for a moment.  One moment in time that you don’t feel bad.  You don’t feel that the entire world is closing in around you.  For many, which I firmly believe that my father was one of these people, the stigma of mental illness is far worse than self-medicating.  Being a drunk, an IV drug user, a pill popper, a snorter or whatever else your drug of choice may be is the better option.  It is easier.  

    Dealing with a mental illness is painful and it is work, very hard work in fact.  You are surrounded by a society that doesn’t even make the attempt to understand what you are dealing with.  You are just labeled.  You may as well just be the addict.  

    As a society it is well past time that we start dealing with these issues.  Virtually every mass shooting in this country has roots in mental illness.  Our jail and/or prison system contains a very large amount of mentally ill people, almost half in fact.  The number is estimated to be about 48%.  Nearly one-third of our homeless are mentally ill.  We spend the money on the back end housing and feeding these people in our jails and homeless shelters.  Yet we do very little to help them avoid those pitfalls and get the medical help that they need.  Just in terms of dollars and cents, it makes far more sense to spend that money on the front end.  Because we are spending it.  That can not be denied, at least not honestly.

    We stigmatize them.  We tell ourselves that people like Mr. Hoffman was just a selfish man who had fame and fortune who was too weak to stay away from powerful drugs.  We tell ourselves that the parents of these young shooters should have done more to help their children.  We tell ourselves these things because it is easier than looking at ourselves and saying we too are to blame.  We could do more a society, we just would rather not because if we did, we may have to look at ourselves and our frailties.  We would have to look at our families and admit there may be a problem.  It is far easier this way.  We will just label them, call them weak.  Nothing to see here folks, just move along.  

    Rest in Peace, Mr. Hoffman.  I hope that you rest easier than you lived.  Your talent will be missed.  

     
    • theraineyview 10:21 AM on 04/22/2014 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you. Research is increasingly showing that 1) addiction is largely genetically determined, 2) PTSD plays a huge role as well, 3) addiction restructures the brain in ways that affect every part of the individual’s experience, including decision-making, 4) a personal or family history of mood disorders increases the chance of addiction, 5) opiate addiction causes more permanent brain alteration than other types of drugs do, and 6) most heroin addicts make nine or more serious attempts at recovery, of which almost all fail. While society should certainly expect people to choose not to use drugs, the temptation comes from a complex set of problems that exist before a young person ever uses, and once addiction has set in, it is often a lifelong genuine brain disease.

  • just a conservative girl 1:45 PM on 04/09/2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , inhumanity, mental illness, ,   

    Mental Illness, The Death of a Child, and Human Hostility – Pastor Rick Warren’s Son Commits Suicide 

    This story really upset me to the point that I have had real problems writing this.  This is like the fourth draft of this post.  All my regular readers know that I have been very open and honest about the fact that I suffer from a mental illness; major depression.  I truly believe that all people have crosses to bear in life, and this is one of mine.  Sadly, Pastor Warren’s son unable to bear his cross, he ended his own life on Friday night.  Simply tragic.

    Another cross I had to bear in my life was the death of my best friend when we were teenagers.  She was killed in a car accident on her way to an amusement park one summer day shortly after her 15th birthday.  Luckily, her family and I have remained close.  I not only still talk to them, they are my family on an emotional level.  I watched what that family went through after her death.  It was horrible.  It almost devastated that family.  They were able to find their way to the other side, but it took years.  Honestly, they are likely not the same people they were before the accident.  The wounds went that deep.  I know the affect it had on my life and we were not really family, just childhood friends.  She and I shared the things that little girls share as they are trying to find their way to adulthood.  I often wonder how different my life would be had she lived.  But my point being I watched parents trying to find their way after the grief of losing a child.  I firmly believe that is a pain like no other, it is not the natural order of things.  You are not supposed to bury your child.

    It took little time for people to show their inhumanity after the news was released.  The hate was just awful.  To make matters even worse is that it came from both sides.  Look, I have issues with Pastor Warren and some of his views.  But, does that justify this?

    “I am a Christian and this guy was no Christian. … Purpose driven life my ars. The kid couldn’t be helped by a cult-like atmosphere and false teachings.”

    I think not.  This family is burying a child.  The fact that he was grown doesn’t change the fact that they are his parents.  Matthew Warren, besides suffering from mental illness, was also a son, a brother, an uncle, a friend, a co-worker, and many other things as well.  Doesn’t that matter in our culture anymore?

    The left has come out with the theory that he was gay and due to his father’s stance on same-sex marriage caused him so much pain he had to take his own life.  There is no proof of this, but this is theory that those that are pre-disposed to hate any and all Christians have come up with.

    “Rick warren hates all homosexuals. Look it up! His own son couldn’t change his mind. Do you think for a minute that rick is in mourning? His son was gay! He is rejocing. What a pathetic excuse for a human being.”

    Hmm, he hates all homosexuals.

    Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.”

    There is a huge difference between hating someone and being against gay marriage based upon tenets of one’s faith.  Not only does the left not get that, they don’t even make the attempt to.  Or maybe they do get it and just don’t care.  I am not sure.

    Pastor Warren’s work around the globe for AIDS patients can’t be touched.  He has done amazing work not only giving medical care to the stricken, but also caring for the children who have been orphaned because of the disease.  If he were so full of “hate” he wouldn’t be doing this.  Unless you are being intellectually dishonest you cannot disagree that AIDS is primarily an illness based upon behavioral choices, such as gay sex and promiscuity.  If you practice  abstinence until marriage and remain faithful the chances of you getting AIDS is almost nonexistence in the world today.  That would be life choices that Pastor Warren would prefer that people make.  Yet, there he is out in the world trying to make a difference to those that are suffering from that illness and helping the children who have become second-hand victims.

    But sadly, simply talking about living a life based upon biblical teachings is enough to get you labeled a hate monger.  Standing by your belief system seems to justify being targeted within hours of the one of the most painful experiences of your life.  Even worse is when other “Christians” join in on the attacks.

    Nothing is being said about the horrors that people with lifelong depression face.  The darkness that permeates far too much of their lives and takes away hope.  So let me say it.  Let me try to describe to you what this is like.  I am not a doctor and I can only talk about my own experiences, but from what I understand mine are not all that different from the others who suffer from this.

    It has been described to me that on a scale of one to ten, most people fall between a 6 and 8 on any given day.  They will have days of fluctuation of course, but generally speaking this is where the average falls.  I happen to fall between a 4 and 6 on any given day.  My good days are your bad days.  I live in a constant funk.  I feel like crying for reasons that I can’t explain.  I have described this to people on several occasions that I feel like I am in a body of water and I can’t see land and no matter how much I swim I am getting nowhere.  Think of how exhausting that is.  That young man likely didn’t feel all that different.  He couldn’t find his way to land.  30% of all people who take antidepressants on a regular basis will have the medication just stop working.  There is no rhyme or reason for it, so you can’t prepare for it.  When this happens your depression will of course get worse.  I have no way of knowing if Warren’s son happened to be in that 30% or not, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he were.

    People with long-term depression get very good at faking it.  At least to a point.  It eventually will catch up to you.  During one of my down cycles I used to go to work everyday and do my job with no issues.  But that was about all I could accomplish.  I went straight home, turned off the phone and sat on the couch in a daze until I went back to work.  I got through it by taking my car a few miles away during my lunch hour and sit in my car and cry for an hour.  It released enough of the emotion that I could through the afternoon.  Once that episode began to fade, I then had to clean my condo, which was a mess.  My poor dog got little attention during this cycle.  She was an amazing comfort to me during the time, she seemed to sense my down moods and would snuggle with me.  She used to put her head on one shoulder and her paw on the other and lick my face.  She was giving me a doggie hug.  She really did help me get through the bad days.

    The point that I am trying to make is that depression is a horrible, horrible illness.  It is an ILLNESS.  It isn’t a choice.  It requires medical attention and in most cases medication to balance out the chemical imbalances in your brain.  His son couldn’t find his way out any other way.  Is it cowardly?  Maybe.  But if you lived with this pain and darkness day after day for the majority of your life , you would see it a different way.

    Our inhumanity to man is very sad to me.  Questioning Pastor Warren’s belief system is fair game as he is in the public eye.  But to purposely hurt a man who is about to bury his own child can only be described as inhumane.  There is no other word for it.  Shame on those who did this.

    Grieving is hard.Grieving as public figures,harder.Grieving while haters celebrate your pain,hardest.Your notes sustained us

    I hope that Matthew has found the peace he was unable to attain in life.  I also hope that the Warren family continues to get notes to sustain them through this horrible ordeal.

     
    • Joyanna Adams 3:21 PM on 04/09/2013 Permalink | Reply

      Good for you. I too had a lifetime of suffering from them. People who have never experienced deep depression have no idea how hard it is to not only keep trying to help yourself out of it, but to keep from hurting those around you who feel powerless to help. And this man’s poor pain will never end.

      I don’t care if it’s Hitler’s child, it’s a loss to the world, and to say nasty things just because you don’t like the man’s politics is low. Sounds to me, like the poor kid suffered greatly…Keep on with your post writing about this…we should all be talking about all the boys coming home committing suicide. Why are we not dealing with this? (Most who read this ,know.)

      DHEA and 5HP are actual over the counter ‘meds’ that you can buy to help your brain cope. If I am having a blue day, I take 5HTP and it helps. It’s very mild.

      Most of the prescribed anti depressants are worthless, and if not monitored… dangerous.

  • just a conservative girl 3:53 PM on 12/21/2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , mental illness, nra, orwellian,   

    The NRA Goes All Orwellian 

    There, I said it.  I am so astonished, flabbergasted, and appalled at the presser that Wayne La Pierre and the NRA held today.  While he started out just fine, it just got creepier and yes Orwellian as it went along.

    A federal program that puts an armed guard in every school across the country?  Uh, no.  The security of a particular school system is a local/state issue, not a federal one.  Smitty over at The Other McCain accused me of being so federalist.  My reply, you’re damn skippy I am.  What conservative can get behind this suggestion?  This is something that the left would do, not the right.  Not the gun part, but the federal government control part.  I mean the irony of all this is so thick you can cut it with a knife.  Some on the right are heralding this as the great cure-all, and the left is screaming about it.  Neither of things are true.

    First and foremost, I am 100% against forcing a teacher to become a gun toter.  Many teachers would not want to do this, and as an American citizen that is their right.  The second amendment says nothing about every American must bear arms, it says the government can’t infringe upon that right.  Even if the teacher was someone who liked guns, I still think it is a bad idea.  All the students would know that the teacher is armed and I believed it could be a huge distraction; especially in schools were violence is an everyday part of life for the student body.  What I would be willing to go along with would be highly trained and certified guard of some sort.  I know where I live the police department has a unit of people who are hired out to all kinds of locations, even to some jewelry stores in the area.  But only if the school system wants this type of thing.  I don’t think it should be forced on a federal level.  This is something that state/locality should decide upon.  I know here in Virginia there is discussion if our Constitution would even allow the commonwealth to force this on every school system.  A bill is expected to be put into our legislature next month.  We will see how it goes.

    But the thing that really takes the cake for me is the national database of the mentally ill.  What???????  Does he really think that a person like me deserves to have my name put into a national database simply because I have a chemical imbalance in my brain?   I have been very open and honest about my mental illness on this blog.  It didn’t start out that way, but over time I have come to realize that in a very small way I could try to lift the stigma that surrounds mental illness.

    Mental illness isn’t really a science.  There is no blood test to determine if you have it or not.  It is more of an art when it comes to getting a proper diagnosis.  Which, by the way, is part of the problem.  There is no way to determine who is going to become violent.  The vast majority of mentally ill people are not in any dangerous to other people.  They are in many ways self-destructive, but not dangerous.  The differences between the two is huge.

    I have been having a discussion about this on my Facebook page and have been told that I am already in a database about my MDD.  True, but that is for purposes of insurance.  While the police/government could get access to that information if they really needed to, but it would take a court order to do so.  The differences between a private company having this information for those type of purposes and the federal government creating one that they alone have access to don’t compare in any way, shape, or form.

    Am I going to have to start wearing a scarlet letter to identify myself to others too?

    I have already seen comparisons between La Pierre and Hitler around the intertubes.   I am sorry, but that isn’t so far off.  Hitler didn’t like the mentally ill either.  I am was not considered a good person to continue breeding, heaven knows I shouldn’t create any more mentally unstable people to mess up the landscape and the perfect utopia that due to be created in the imagination of that madman.

    Under no circumstances should anyone be heralding the idea of a national database about mental illness.  If you are, ask yourself, who gets to determine who is mentally ill or not?  Does a woman who goes through postpartum depression get added?  Postpartum depression is something that last a few months and is curable (yes curable) by a short round of meds.  Many women don’t even go the route of meds, they push their way through it.  Does a person who experiences a bout of depression after a divorce get added?  Do we add all the over medicated children we have across the country too?  Does he have any idea how this hinder getting medical treatment for such illnesses?  Did he even remotely think this through?  We already have a huge problem with stigma about mental illness in this country.  This would make an already big problem even more unmanageable.

    This is a violation of our freedoms and rights of epic proportions.  It needs to be ridiculed for what it is.  A Orwellian overreach of government.  Wayne La Pierre should be deeply ashamed of his performance today, deeply and profoundly.  SMDH.

     
    • signpainterguy 11:36 PM on 12/21/2012 Permalink | Reply

      I`m with you on the federalism thing; leave all this to the locals and state gov., but chase the feds out like rabid dogs ! The feds, administrated as they currently are, have NO BIZ creating any data bases outside of criminals and terrorists. Even with an admin. who breaks their backs to remain within constitutional bounds shouldn`t be in the data base biz. Orwellian indeed !

      Like your area probably, we have SROs (Sch. Resource Officers) who are city cops inside city limits and Sheriff`s Deputies outside. They are trained to deal w/ the sch. environment. As for teachers and other staff having CCW permits and packing heat in schools, that should be limited to teachers and staff who first want to, secondly qualify and thirdly, only in schools where students are not so unruly that an armed teacher would be a challenge to overpower. I mean, the students would take it as an invitation among their clique. In those instances, I prefer the uniformed officers. But back to teachers and staff carrying concealed; I would imagine that should remain “concealed and secret”, thus maintaining the element of mystery as out in public. Who is armed ? Anyone might be !

    • edge of the sandbox 1:46 AM on 12/22/2012 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you for going against the grain. Whether or not school employees should be armed is a local matter. Personally, I favor school employees (not necessarily teachers) in our school district carrying weapons, but regardless, I also think it’s odd that the NRA would want a federal intervention here.
      From what we know, Adam Lanza had Asperger’s, which is in most cases amounts to over the top geekiness… A personality flow, really. While I believe that the people who are danger to themselves and others should be institutionalized, Asperger’s can be annoying in day-to-day interactions, but doesn’t cause violent behavior. I don’t think there is any imperative to track people with AS — or to deny them the right to bear arms.

    • smitty1e 10:39 AM on 12/22/2012 Permalink | Reply

      Let me divide the discussion between political, social, and technical.
      Politically, all information is a weapon that can and will be used against the citizen. To include blog posts and replies. :-)
      Socially, you really do want the critical information available in the correct place and time to correctly credentialed people.
      Technically, information doesn’t improve by compartmentalizing it. You’re NOT going to be pleased with the results.
      Suggestion: a healthy discussion of the desired outputs, required inputs, and implementation details.
      Complicating matters: there is a vast mountain range of existing work that you can’t wish away.

      • just a conservative girl 12:04 PM on 12/22/2012 Permalink | Reply

        so you have to start getting all techinical on me? thanks Smitty

    • theraineyview 5:36 PM on 12/29/2012 Permalink | Reply

      Excellent post. The last thing we need (or one of the last things) is more institutionalized, centralized, armed, intrusive governmentalization of our society. We need to make it possible, not required, for teachers to bear arms, and we need to make it possible for students to remove themselves from schools if they fear violence from a classmate, and to discuss their observations about classmates with teachers privately. We need more common sense.

  • just a conservative girl 3:45 PM on 12/19/2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: lanza, mental illness,   

    Newtown Shooter Motive? – Lanza fearful of Involuntary Commitment 

    It seems that one of the working theories of why Adam Lanza went on a killing spree in the small town of Newtown, CT was that he feared being put into a psychiatric hospital against his wishes.  Getting an adult (and even an underaged child) committed for reasons to do with mental health is very difficult thing to do.

    What we don’t know is if Adam was deteriorating even further that made it easier that a judge would consider conservatorship to his mother and allowing her to enter him into a hospital.  Several friends of mom have said that they believed Adam was becoming harder and harder for her to handle on her own.  It is also said that it was possible that she was going to relocate to the state of Washington where she located a school/treatment facility that would be able to help care for him.

    As my regular readers know, I suffer from a mental illness; one thing I can be quite certain of, hospitalization is a scary prospect.  It is something that I have had to deal with at times in my life.  At moments I knew things were totally out of control and I couldn’t continue on the path I was on.  If I had stayed on that path I wouldn’t be here right now.  I know that with 100% certainty.  I also know for 100% certainty that I, like most mentally ill, was not a danger to anyone else.  Most behavior from mental illness is self-destructive, not violent.  But, how does one tell the difference between the self-destructive and the potentially deadly?  I am not even sure a doctor can do that.

    I do believe that it is far too difficult to get a severely mentally ill person into treatment without their consent.

    When I asked my son’s social worker about my options, he said that the only thing I could do was to get Michael charged with a crime. “If he’s back in the system, they’ll create a paper trail,” he said. “That’s the only way you’re ever going to get anything done. No one will pay attention to you unless you’ve got charges.”

    I don’t believe my son belongs in jail. The chaotic environment exacerbates Michael’s sensitivity to sensory stimuli and doesn’t deal with the underlying pathology. But it seems like the United States is using prison as the solution of choice for mentally ill people. According to Human Rights Watch, the number of mentally ill inmates in U.S. prisons quadrupled from 2000 to 2006, and it continues to rise—in fact, the rate of inmate mental illness is five times greater (56 percent) than in the non-incarcerated population.

    The words from a mother of a mentally ill child who is at the end of her wits.  She is struggling to find the right school, the right doctor, the cure.  She has been unable to find them and her son is ill.  She has to make a heart wrenching choice, jail her eldest child or take the chance that he be the next mass murderer when his rage rises to the surface.  She has two younger children to consider, and of course her own safety.  She has a “plan” that her two younger children follow if they see their big bro acting in a violent fashion.  They run to the car and lock themselves in.  I don’t think that work as this now 12-year-old boy grows and becomes stronger.

    We have to find a balance between the civil liberties of people like me and protecting the severely mentally ill from themselves and protecting society as well.  We went way too far back in the 50’s and 60’s.  We locked up people who had no real business being locked up.  We had parents who were shuffling off children that were difficult to handle, but not mentally ill.  Once you were put into this place, it was very hard to get out of.  The movie Girl, Interrupted was based on a true story of young woman who spent 18 months in mental institution against her will.  These things did happen.   These hospitals were sometimes hell holes.  Patients were sexually abused, raped, drugged, given severe medical treatments such as labotomies and shock treatments.  We cannot go back to those days.  But we went too far in the other direction.  We have made almost impossible to get any treatment until they hurt themselves or someone else.  By then, it usually already too late.  The laws are far too restrictive.

    There are no easy answers and finding the proper balance between the needs of a civil and moral society and the rights of the individual is not going to be easy.  But we must try.

     
  • just a conservative girl 11:45 PM on 12/14/2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , mass murder, mental illness,   

    Tragedy in Newtown 

    I want to start this out by saying I personally know children that were in that house of horrors today.  Luckily they are fine, physically.  Emotionally, well that is going to be something that time will only tell about.

    I grew up in Fairfield County, Connecticut.  I lived in the other side of the county, about 35 minutes away.  So this hits home for a number of reasons.

    In most instances, we find out days/hours later that the shooter is mentally ill.  I have written about this in the past.  I have a mental illness.  I suffer from Major Depressive Disorder.  I can clearly remember the symptoms showing up in about my freshman year of high school.  I was 13 at the time.  It has a major effect on the trajectory of your life and the lives of people around you.  There isn’t an aspect of your life that isn’t affected.  You may be able to hide it for a while, but sooner or later it comes through.  How much the people around understand depends on the education level of mental illness within that person.

    Today, a 20-year-old man shot his mother in the face, killing her.  Drove to the school she allegedly worked at (this aspect of the story is still cloudy), walked into the office of the school shot and killed the principal and school psychologist, continued into a classroom of kindergarteners and massacred them.  20 dead children in all, and that number could very well change in the next few days.

    All every one wants to know right now is why.  A question that we never fully have answers to since the shooter killed himself after he did his dirty deeds.  His mother, whom he was living with, is also dead.  His father and brother lived in a different state and apparently did not have a great deal of contact with him.  The brother, who was originally called the shooter in the early hours in the fog of reporting has told police that his brother had a personality disorder (gee, ya think) and was either suffering from autism or asbergers.  Neither of which are known for this type of depraved violence.   So we will be forced to make assumptions on what his motives were.

    But what I can tell you is that this type of act isn’t thought of in one day.  He had to have had this planned out in his head.  But before we even had a body count, the cries of “GUN CONTROL” were being heard loudly and clearly.  Well, as I said I grew up in CT.  I can tell you they have strict gun laws.  He was not able to buy these guns legally.  He was under age.  He also committed this horror in a gun free zone.  Obviously he didn’t care about the laws.   Today, in a much less reported story, there was an incident of 20 children and a teacher being attacked by some knife wielding lunatic.  Luckily none of those children were killed as far as I know.  But it just goes to show you, if there is a will, there is a way.

    Look, I dont’ know what really happened today, and neither does anyone else.  We know that far too many died.  We know that the surviving children that were in that school today are going to be traumatized for quite some time, if not forever.  There will be children who will be afraid to go back to school.  First responders are having a hard time with the scene they witnessed today as well.  The town of Newtown have already started pulling resources together to get counseling for those who will need it.

    What I do know is that we have many issues that could have contributed to why this happened today.

    1. violence in our culture is glorified.  Look at almost any movie that is out today.  I loved The Dark Knight movie.  But it was horribly violent.  It is far from the only that is.  Jaime Foxx was just making jokes last week that he killed all the white guys in his latest film due out on Christmas Day of all days.  
    2. We live in a 24/7 news cycle in this country.  Where these incidents are plastered all over the news for days on end.  We have You Tube where any idiot can post things to make themselves look “cool”.  We have an obsession with becoming rich and famous; in this case becoming infamous.
    3. Mental Health issues are so stigmatized in this country that many people are unwilling to admit that they, or a loved one, has a problem that needs to be addressed.  I happen to live in a state that has a law that insurance companies must cover certain illnesses at a medical problem instead of a mental health problem.  Which many of them are.  Many other states do not have these laws.  They should.  Mental health care should not be something to be ashamed of.
    4. People in the U.S. are largely uneducated about mental illness.  We make these assumptions that if you are not in need of straight jacket sitting in a rubber room that you some how are not really mentally ill.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  I am a living example.  I have journals that I was writing in during one of my really downward spirals.  I was able to plan.  My plan was to kill myself and make it look like an accident.  I wanted to make my loved ones wonder.  It was some sick sense of revenge that I was going through at the time.
    5. Yes, we have lost our moral compass in this country.  We have a culture that says if it feels good, do it.  We have become rude and that seems to increase almost daily.  We have lost respect for ourselves, for our communities, and for worst of all for each other.
    6. Parenting, and I mean real parenting, is very lacking in this country.  Go to any mall in America and watch how children behave.  They run wild and parents do little to stop it.
    7. We assign labels to virtually every childhood ill these days.  Autism, ADHD, and Aspbergers.  I don’t deny this things exist, nor do I say that there are not children who honestly need to be medicated.  But many that are being medicated can very likely be more in need of a firm hand at home.  By that I don’t mean spanking, I just mean a parent that is truly parenting.  Setting limits for your children is loving them and being the best parent you can be.  All children need boundaries.

    I have said this before and sadly, I will have to say this again.  We fail people with mental illness in this country and we fail them in a big way.  Mental illness is not a something that you choose to have.  The same way you do not choose to have a heart problem.   It isn’t something that you do to yourself.  It isn’t an illness that is brought on by lifestyle choices.  It is a chemical imbalance in your brain.  That imbalance can make you hear voices.  It can make you so paranoid that you do quite literally put on a tin foil hat.  That saying came from something that is real.  Many believe that the televisions are sending signals to them.  It can make you barely be able to get out of bed, to cry incessantly.  You will over/under eat.  You will lose friends.  You will lose jobs.  You will have a difficult time holding relationships.  Another thing I have heard people say is that it is so selfish.  Why yes, yes it is.  That is another part of the illness.  You can’t see beyond your own pain.  The rest of the world be damned.

    Until we start having the difficult conversations in this country and talk about the underlying reasons that these shooting keep happening, all the gun control in the world won’t change it.  I am all for common sense restrictions on guns.  We should have  a permitting system.  We should have background checks for mental illness and criminal activity.  But what we can’t do is take guns away from law-abiding citizens that allow them to protect themselves.  Do I want to see every school in this country full of  armed people.  Heck no.  The idea of that repulses me.  But maybe we are getting to the point that at very least every school entrance must be locked on the outside and metal detectors are installed.  As sad as that makes me, it just may be necessary.  As I said, I grew up near Newtown, CT.  It is a sleepy little town that has virtually no crime.  It is a very family friendly environment.  It has one of the largest American flags in the town square that I have ever seen in my life.  The people in that town take pride in that flag.  On summer weekends people are watching their kids compete in sports and having neighborhood BBQ’s.  It is the kind of town where most people know your business.  This is one of the places that hear about these things in a far away place.  The people who live there say to themselves how terrible, but go to bed feeling safe it will never happen to them.  But today it did.

    So thanks heavens that Leslie, her children, and Graham all made it out ok today.  I am thankful for that.  But the time has well past that they have the difficult conversations and deal with the real problems instead of political talking points.

     
    • joyannaadams 12:39 AM on 12/15/2012 Permalink | Reply

      Great points. And yes…there is not enough help for people that get depressed…especially the young, when parents don’t understand them, and boys tend to lash out I think because of their hormones levels when depressed. Video games are not helping.

      Will we find out that like Colunmbine, this boy was on some sort of perscriped drug?

      I’m so sorry to hear that you suffered from depression…but thank god you were gifted with a high intelligence to get you to this point. I too had bouts, but when I realized it ran in the family, (both John and J.Q suffered from it, AND their sons) and some of my family handled it well, it gave me strength to handle it too.

      And nobody who is depressed WANTS to be..some people are just wired that way. (brain) More than drugs, they need real support from people who have actually suffered too, and too many doctors just CANNOT relate. In the old days, the priests would be there for you…but those days are gone.

      People who have never been that low, just can’t understand it. It’s like trying to tell a man about what it’s like to give birth. But the face of that kid…OMG he was in so much pain. That doesn’t excuse why he took all those kids, but you can see it on his face.

      Ah…it’s sad all around. It’s a sad, sad time for America all around.

  • just a conservative girl 9:01 PM on 08/07/2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: loughner, mental illness   

    Jared Loughner Pleads Guilty – Life without Parole 

    First I would like to say that this is the best thing for the families involved.  They are going to be spared a trial.  They can close this horrible chapter as best they can and get on with the healing process; both physically and emotionally.

    That said, this makes me sad that he will be spending the rest of his life in jail without parole.  Obviously guilt isn’t an issue.  He did it.  What makes me sad is the belief that putting severely mentally ill people in jail for life without parole is the right thing to do.

    Dr. Christina Pietz, a forensic psychologist, told the judge Tuesday that Loughner is “one of the worst” mentally ill patients she’s ever seen.

    But she continued, adding that Loughner has shown improvement and he’s no longer in restraints. “He is competent to proceed,” Pietz told the court.

    He’s no longer hearing voices, and he has no difficulty in understanding, Pietz said. Loughner is rational and able to consult with his attorneys, she said.

    In high school he was showing signs of his illness.  He became ostracized and began a journey into darkness that people without a mental illness don’t usually understand.  See I do understand it.  I have a mental illness.  I began showing symptoms when I was 13 years old.  My life has been difficult at times.  I too lost friends, lost boyfriends, and lost jobs.  I don’t have a psychotic illness like this young man has.  I don’t hear voices.  But I do live virtually everyday in a funk.  It has been explained to me by three different doctors like this.  On a scale of one to ten most people will normally fall between a 6 to an 8.  I fall from a 4 to a 6.  So your down days are my good days.  I have tried all kinds of different medications.  Some work better than others.  But none can get me out that of funk.  I personally don’t see the point in the medication most of the time, but I still take it.  Because it helps keeping me from going into jags where I can’t get out of bed and just cry endlessly.  I have experienced thoughts of suicide.  Not just thoughts, but very well thought out plans.  Every so often I go back and read this journal of sorts that I kept during that time period.  It is bizarre.

    But the point is, I was able to plan.  People have this completely ridiculous belief that if you plan something that means that you can’t possibly be mentally ill.  Want to read my journals?  They are proof positive that can and you do plan when you are experiencing even the worst of your mental illness.  Very few suicides are not well thought out.  Just look at Mary Kennedy recently, she waited until her children were not around.  That wasn’t an accident.  She did that because even though in her mind she thought her children would be better off without her, she didn’t want them to find her.  You would be amazed about the steps that people will take in order to take their own lives.  It is rarely something that is spur of the moment.

    Let us just get down to brass tacks here.  Mental illness costs us as a society billions of dollars every year.  We jail people, we feed them when they are homeless, they end up on disability or welfare.  Many are able to function quite well the majority of the time.  Sadly, some are not.  Especially when you start getting into the more serious illnesses like Loughner has.  He hears voices, he is paranoid, he believes people are trying to harm him.  They are trying to implant things into his brain.

    It isn’t like these people just wake up one day are in full-blown mental illness.  It creeps up on you more slowly than that.  At least to the person it is happening to.  I can’t speak for being the person watching it.  My family falls into the stigma bunch.  To this day they don’t admit that I have problems.  It is too shameful I guess for them.  My sister-in-law once told me that she is too busy to be depressed.  Gee, I pencil it in to my weekly planner.  I no longer speak to her.  I have a friend who once told me that she didn’t understand it all and was much like my mother’s attitude of “get over it” until someone she was close to went into a really bad down cycle of his bi-polar disorder and had to be hospitalized.  He is an attorney.  He is obviously well-educated and high functioning most of the time.  But if his meds go off for whatever reason bad things happen.  Luckily he never hurt anyone else.

    Loughner and his victims were not so lucky.  All the red flags were there.  The warning signals should have been on full alert to his teachers. and yes to his parents.  Everyone decided to close their eyes to what was happening to this young man.  He didn’t choose this illness.  Believe me, no one would.  Nor could I think of anyone that I hate enough that I would wish this upon.  The drugs you take make you sick.  They give you gastrointestinal issues at first.  You get headaches, weight gain, you sometimes can’t sleep, or other times can’t stay awake.  The drugs for Loughner are far worse than anything I have ever had to endure.

    I just ask myself as a society do we really feel that locking away a young man who is obviously ill is the best course of action? I also ask what responsibility do the people who had to have seen what was happening and did nothing have?    We need to stop acting like mental illness is a dirty word.  It is an illness no different from high blood pressure or diabetes.  The person who has it can’t help it.  It has nothing to do with behavioral factors.  They deserve help and in many cases they get nothing but ridicule, or worse get ignored.  Loughner lived in a state that he could have been hospitalized.  His teachers or parents could have gotten him in front of judge for at least a 48 hour hold, and then could have kept him as long as 30 days.  The same was true of the Virginia Tech  shooter.  In those 30 days they can get a course of meds started.  Hell, Andrea Yates was told two days before she killed her five children by a doctor she needed to think happy thoughts.  They knew she was ill.  But they wouldn’t keep her in a hospital.  Five beautiful children are dead.  Was not spending the money to keep her hospitalized the best course of action?  I certainly don’t think so.  I bet those kids would love to have a chance of life.  At least two were old enough to at least somewhat understand what their own mother was doing to them.  Think of the horror of that.

    I was reading some of the comments across the internet today on this case.  Many were saying he should fry.  One conservative actually said since he isn’t curable he should be killed.  My illness isn’t curable, should I worry that someone is going to come after me as a pre-cautionary measure?   Gee, that puts us in the same company as Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Nigeria for killing the mentally ill.  Boy that is company we should want to be in huh?

    There are no easy answers.  But virtually every time one of these mass shooting happens, we later find out that they are mentally ill and were giving up signs of it all the over the place.  Isn’t time we start listening?

     
    • SignPainterGuy 10:37 PM on 08/07/2012 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you for sharing a deep secret (?); it couldn`t have been easy and I would imagine, more than a little embarrassing. Please know that you are still loved and respected, imperfections and all !

      I have a friend who, after a case of extreme dehydration, began to show signs of mental illness. After frightening his wife, she left him and took their son. Back at home, he scared his parents to death. He destroyed things in fits of rage, heard voices, imagined elaborate gov. plots against him, thought he was the world`s leading neutron physicist. (I asked him what that was – he said he could make things happen with his mind) His parents and the neighbors called the police to have him arrested. Only after many times in jail and the county`s hospital mental ward was he finally sent to the VA Med. Ctr. where he got the proper diagnosis and meds. Paranoid schizophrenic. He holds a garbage man job and owns a pickup, so he`s kinda self-sufficient, but it`s no life. He`s 61, 2 yrs older than me, but looks in his 70s.

      An HP acquaintance tells the story of how his Daughter, in deep depression, took his service revolver and shot herself. He then soon found himself in a deep depression too and planned to kill himself by driving his cruiser into the end of a highway tunnel at over 100 mph. It would look like an accident. He was on his way to carry out his plan, but GOD had other plans and intervened. THAT story is nothing short of amazing. He later formed two organizations; P.A.T.S. (Parents Against Teen Suicide) and T.E.A.C.H. (Teen Education And Crisis Hotline) I tell this to say I know GOD can change things.

      Don`t give up jacg, there is hope, there is love and life IS worth living !

      • just a conservative girl 6:10 AM on 08/08/2012 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks. But my issues are not really the point. I have meds and I have doctors that I see to help me. I am lucky in the respect that people around me are aware of it and are able to tell me when things are going off the rails. They notice far sooner than I do. My question is what about the people who have people around them that won’t do for them what is done for me? Jared should have gotten help so much sooner than he did. Yes ultimately he is responsible for the murders and its aftermath. But he isn’t the only one that has some of that responsibility.

        I am glad your friend is OK.

    • JW 9:33 AM on 08/08/2012 Permalink | Reply

      conservative girl, I had similar thoughts when I read he was going to plead guilty. This is a tough situation for all involved. But it does seem odd that if he would go to trial, he would be found guilty–how did he form the intent if his mind was so far gone? And if he couldn’t form the intent to commit the crime, it does seem harsh to lock him up forever, especially if he has shown signs of improving with medication.

      On the other hand, I’d hate to see him running around on the streets knowing what he is capable of when off the meds. Not sure if there is another alternative or not. Some sort of psychiatric hospital? But it does strike me as harsh to lock him up forever when his mind was so far gone when he committed his atrocities against his fellow man.

      Everyday I look around and see homeless people on the streets with obvious mental illness/problems. Mainly, they sit and hold conversations with non-existent people all day. I don’t know how to help them, and the city I live near (DC) doesn’t seem to do anything about them. They are on the streets day after day, year after year, in the same general location, talking to imaginary people (or are they talking to people in another dimension? who knows).

      • just a conservative girl 9:51 AM on 08/08/2012 Permalink | Reply

        That is exactly the key JW. There is no reasonable person who can say that he was not mentally ill. Had he gone to trial there was a chance they would have gone for the death penalty. What kind of society kills the mentally ill? In this country we quite literally force feed drugs to the mentally ill that are on death row so we can then say they are mentally competent enough to receive the death penalty. That is ghoulish as far as I am concerned.

        Most mentally ill are not dangers to others. Which is why these type of shootings don’t happen more often. But we need to start asking some difficult questions of ourselves and decide how we treat people who are sick.

        Andrea Yates, after being initially convicted and sentenced to jail, was retried and put in a mental institution for the criminally insane. Anyone that thinks that is a picnic needs to go see one. She will likely never get out. From what I have read about her since her hospitalization is that every time she starts to show improvement from her illness the realization of what she did to her children sinks in and puts her right back into near vegetable like state. She won’t ever recover. She doesn’t belong in jail. Jared also belongs in a hospital.

        I think his attorney made a mistake not taking this to trial. It was right from the victims standpoint. But from his standpoint I think it was horrible error. They should have fought to have him hospitalized. Barring medical breakthroughs he will never be cured of his illness. That in and of itself is a punishment.

        I get people thinking that they are some who are faking it. Some do. But do we punish the ones who are not faking it because of them? That just doesn’t seem right.

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