Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Sick of the judgements

I was reading a blog post on Sunday written by a mother who can identify with Adam Lanza's mother and some of her struggles. You can see her post here. Reading ONLY that post, I identified with the mother just a little bit.

I do feel that there is a stigma attached to anyone with a mental health issue. Our own family is struggling with the lack of mental health care that is out there. After my son was brutally assaulted, he became suicidal. It's been a living nightmare for us all. The lack of help for a 15 year old boy with suicidal ideation is concerning.

When he first told me that he was having suicidal thoughts, I rushed him to the emergency room. We were then given a referral to mental health. I called the very next day to make an appointment, but they couldn't see him for 3 weeks. They gave me no guidance as to how to get him through those 3 weeks alive. There was NOTHING at all. No support, no help, nothing. Just an appointment 3 weeks into the future. I wasn't even sure that my son would be alive in 3 weeks.

I had to fight tooth and nail and raise all kinds of hell to get him seen before that. I needed to know how to keep my child alive, how to get him through until his appointment. It took a lot of yelling, screaming, crying, and guilt trips before they agreed to see him sooner than that.

It's not easy accessing mental health care. Sure, it's out there. But it is not always readily accessible. The professionals that you see aren't always all that great either. My son has been diagnosed with severe PTSD. The doctors suggestion? Lock him away in a residential treatment facility. I grew up in one of them. It's nothing but a glorified orphanage. I'm not sending my son away during the time that he needs the most support. They don't monitor the kids well enough there. They medicate them instead of properly teaching them coping mechanisms. The therapy is a joke. It's so easy to just tell them what they want to hear so that you can get out and go home. My son needs real care. Not to be shipped off somewhere where he knows no one at all and feels like his own family doesn't even want him.

I know how difficult it is to acknowledge that your child has any sort of mental health issue. I also know that people treat both you and your child differently once they find out there is something going on there.

It's not the same as a physical disability. A physical one would almost be easier to handle I think. People can see the limitations. People can see exactly what is wrong. With mental health, they always assume the worst. Not just of your child, but of you too. I've been accused of being a shitty parent over this. Since my son is suicidal, it MUST be because I didn't love him enough. BULLSHIT.

This woman made a very hard comparison. I'm sure it wasn't easy for her to admit that her own child could very well turn out the way that Adam Lanza did. I don't think that about my son at all, but I know how difficult it must have been for her to acknowledge her fear to the world.

Instead, she was attacked. This woman here took parts of the original blog and tore it apart, bit by bit. I don't even have to read all of the original content to know that the second woman attacked, fiercely. It's hard as hell to admit that you child could potentially be a threat to society. It's got to be even harder to have someone tear you apart, sentence by sentence.

I personally believe that the OP was simply trying to point out the difficulties of having a mentally ill child in this world. I think it took a lot of guts for her to admit what she did. She was begging for a change in mental health care and she was essentially ripped a new asshole.

We do need changes in mental health care. If our solution to a child with suicidal ideation is to lock them away, then yes, there need to be changes. If a mother can reach out and beg for help and not get it, then yes, there need to be changes.

And when a concerned, overwhelmed, scared mother makes a very very difficult comparison and is attacked for it, then yes, there need to be changes.

Our society sucks. We're so busy pointing fingers and accusing others of doing wrong, we don't bother to see when they do right. Or when they are asking, no begging, for help.

I'm not going to read either of their other posts. I don't need to see more than I already have. As a mother, I am scared shitless to even post this. Because I'm afraid of being judged. I'm afraid of being told that I'm a horrible mother because my son struggles to get past the assault.

I shouldn't be scared. I should be able to raise awareness, to discuss my families struggles. Just as the OP should have been able to do in her own post. Without the backlash that she received.

We need changes. And anyone who is brave enough to speak up about it should not be attacked. We need changes in mental health care, we need changes in gun control. We need a whole lot of changes in our world that aren't happening. But mostly, we need to change the way we react to people when they reach out and admit the darkest moments of their lives. 


  1. We absolutely do need changes!

    I am so grateful I don't deal with mental illness...

    But I watch my sister deal with her stepson's myriad issues, which the bio mother denies.

    Well she can deny all she wants, but she's not the one who lives with an 8-year-old boy who decided to smuggle a sharp kitchen knife and beer bottles into his room, intending to know goodness-knows-what-with them.

    So now my step-nephew is in a residential treatment facility, after YEARS of my sister and brother-in-law slowly escalating his treatment from pediatrician to counselor to psychiatrist to medication... *sigh*

    They are lucky, in a way, that they have the health coverage and local resources to TRY to treat this little boy.

    But not everyone has the insurance or the resources.

    Change is absolutely necessary, and instead of stigmatizing the mentally ill, they need to be helped. Those who seek out treatment should be applauded, not treated like lepers.

  2. *intending to DO*