Friday’s horrific national tragedy—the murder of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in New Town, Connecticut—has ignited a new discussion on violence in America. In kitchens and coffee shops across the country, we tearfully debate the many faces of violence in America: gun culture, media violence, lack of mental health services, overt and covert wars abroad, religion, politics and the way we raise our children. Liza Long, a writer based in Boise, says it’s easy to talk about guns. But it’s time to talk about mental illness.

Three days before 20 year-old Adam Lanza killed his mother, then opened fire on a classroom full of Connecticut kindergartners, my 13-year old son Michael (name changed) missed his bus because he was wearing the wrong color pants.

“I can wear these pants,” he said, his tone increasingly belligerent, the black-hole pupils of his eyes swallowing the blue irises.

“They are navy blue,” I told him. “Your school’s dress code says black or khaki pants only.”

“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.

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.

At the start of seventh grade, Michael was accepted to an accelerated program for highly gifted math and science students. His IQ is off the charts. When he’s in a good mood, he will gladly bend your ear on subjects ranging from Greek mythology to the differences between Einsteinian and Newtonian physics to Doctor Who. He’s in a good mood most of the time. But when he’s not, watch out. And it’s impossible to predict what will set him off.

Several weeks into his new junior high school, Michael began exhibiting increasingly odd and threatening behaviors at school. We decided to transfer him to the district’s most restrictive behavioral program, a contained school environment where children who can’t function in normal classrooms can access their right to free public babysitting from 7:30-1:50 Monday through Friday until they turn 18.

The morning of the pants incident, Michael continued to argue with me on the drive. He would occasionally apologize and seem remorseful. Right before we turned into his school parking lot, he said, “Look, Mom, I’m really sorry. Can I have video games back today?”

“No way,” I told him. “You cannot act the way you acted this morning and think you can get your electronic privileges back that quickly.”

His face turned cold, and his eyes were full of calculated rage. “Then I’m going to kill myself,” he said. “I’m going to jump out of this car right now and kill myself.”

That was it. After the knife incident, I told him that if he ever said those words again, I would take him straight to the mental hospital, no ifs, ands, or buts. I did not respond, except to pull the car into the opposite lane, turning left instead of right.

“Where are you taking me?” he said, suddenly worried. “Where are we going?”

“You know where we are going,” I replied.

“No! You can’t do that to me! You’re sending me to hell! You’re sending me straight to hell!”

I pulled up in front of the hospital, frantically waiving for one of the clinicians who happened to be standing outside. “Call the police,” I said. “Hurry.”

Michael was in a full-blown fit by then, screaming and hitting. I hugged him close so he couldn’t escape from the car. He bit me several times and repeatedly jabbed his elbows into my rib cage. I’m still stronger than he is, but I won’t be for much longer.

The police came quickly and carried my son screaming and kicking into the bowels of the hospital. I started to shake, and tears filled my eyes as I filled out the paperwork—“Were there any difficulties with… at what age did your child… were there any problems with.. has your child ever experienced.. does your child have…”

At least we have health insurance now. I recently accepted a position with a local college, giving up my freelance career because when you have a kid like this, you need benefits. You’ll do anything for benefits. No individual insurance plan will cover this kind of thing.

For days, my son insisted that I was lying—that I made the whole thing up so that I could get rid of him. The first day, when I called to check up on him, he said, “I hate you. And I’m going to get my revenge as soon as I get out of here.”

By day three, he was my calm, sweet boy again, all apologies and promises to get better. I’ve heard those promises for years. I don’t believe them anymore.

On the intake form, under the question, “What are your expectations for treatment?” I wrote, “I need help.”

And I do. This problem is too big for me to handle on my own. Sometimes there are no good options. So you just pray for grace and trust that in hindsight, it will all make sense.

I am sharing this story because I am Adam Lanza’s mother. I am Dylan Klebold’s and Eric Harris’s mother. I am James Holmes’s mother. I am Jared Loughner’s mother. I am Seung-Hui Cho’s mother. And these boys—and their mothers—need help. In the wake of another horrific national tragedy, it’s easy to talk about guns. But it’s time to talk about mental illness.

According to Mother Jones, since 1982, 61 mass murders involving firearms have occurred throughout the country. Of these, 43 of the killers were white males, and only one was a woman. Mother Jones focused on whether the killers obtained their guns legally (most did). But this highly visible sign of mental illness should lead us to consider how many people in the U.S. live in fear, like I do.

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.

With state-run treatment centers and hospitals shuttered, prison is now the last resort for the mentally ill—Rikers Island, the LA County Jail and Cook County Jail in Illinois housed the nation’s largest treatment centers in 2011.

No one wants to send a 13-year old genius who loves Harry Potter and his snuggle animal collection to jail. But our society, with its stigma on mental illness and its broken healthcare system, does not provide us with other options. Then another tortured soul shoots up a fast food restaurant. A mall. A kindergarten classroom. And we wring our hands and say, “Something must be done.”

I agree that something must be done. It’s time for a meaningful, nation-wide conversation about mental health. That’s the only way our nation can ever truly heal.

God help me. God help Michael. God help us all.

(Originally published at The Anarchist Soccer Mom.)

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The views and opinions expressed here are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of Boise State University or the College of Social Sciences and Public Affairs.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=120810443 Tedra Osell

    My son is also incredibly intelligent and started having problems in middle school. I am grateful beyond my power to express that his problems didn’t become as bad as your son’s; he never was a danger to himself or others (though he talked about it) and is now medicated for anxiety and his old, very sweet and reasonable and brilliant self again. But I experienced enough of the difficulty trying to figure out how to balance his intellect with the impossibility of keeping him in school, and the panic and fear about what might happen if we couldn’t help him get better, to know something of what you’re going through.

    I just want to register my solidarity with you, mom to mom. Not least because I know that every time I write honestly in public about this stuff, there will be people wanting to tell me that doing so makes me a bad mother, that somehow I’ve caused my son’s problems or made them worse. But only by being honest can we get others who thank god have never experienced anything like this to understand how urgent and terrifying it can be to have a child who needs help and not know if help exists.

    • LOR

      its not why he got to that point, the important thing is something was done about it. Family took time to understand, accepted the fact their child is not mentally well, accepted that we can only do so much and outside interventions may be helpful, be pro active in his treatment, etc

  • Ben

    thanks for the article. have you tried a raw food diet for him? best wishes.

  • http://www.facebook.com/BMWR90S Jon-Lars Sorenson

    Thank you for guiding the national discussion to a change that can actually make a difference.

  • CVK

    As someone who was like Michael, who could have been any of of those kids you mentioned you could be the mother of, thank you for writing this. This is where people need to turn their attention to, to care, to help, to keep things like what’s happened many times, from happening again and again. I’ve been in and out of the system for years, because, like what you said, ‘a paper trail’ needs to be started. I’ve forgiven my mom for not understanding, for disregarding what was taking place in me. I hated everyone for not even acknowledging I had a problem when it was so blaringly obvious, I’d go off about that too. But there just isn’t even an acknowledgement of certain things, a blind eye, a ‘hoping this isn’t happening’ reaction with a lot of people, it’s no surprise that one of the hidden problems going on today is families coping with very real, very painful, sometimes very deadly, mental issues.

    I wasn’t the only one. I always met others who were going through the same thing, like some perverse support group. And one by one, I got to see them taken away for things, drift into institutions, or far, far worse. If anyone thinks this is an appeal for sympathy, no, it isn’t. It’s almost shaming to admit to anything close to this in society. In those moments of clarity, the last thing anyone wants to be is like that. Wishing that we all lived in a world that no matter how awful or distorted things are to share, they could be, and with help something could be done.

    Slowly, over time, and seeing one too many other people get destroyed, I coped. I reconnected with my family, though they might as well live on another planet still. I don’t blame them. There’s the rest of life ahead of me, but I wish so many years had not been lost. If we lived in a society that supported families.. if we even acknowledged that some people need very serious help (and their parents).. if we stopped with the pill popping mentality or waiting for people to commit crimes before sending them off to places where they could be around other people just as bad off.. if.

    I hope you can navigate through this with your son. I hope a lot of people reading your story stop living in a fog and reach out to others who need help, or help to bring more attention to the fact that there’s no safety net out there for some. Things don’t need to be as stark as they are in some people’s lives. Living through this is no joke, and surviving it is an tough accomplishment.

    • heardthat

      My brother got diabetes from Zyprexa, and was part of a class action settlement,

      years ago. Yet they still use it. Be forewarned. And thank you for your article.

      • jdgsce06

        you can’t “get” diabetes from medications, it’s a genetic disease

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Gail-Neuman/709457716 Gail Neuman

          You are incorrect-some medication do affect insulin resistance and alterations in blood sugars

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1307976111 Kathy Edmonston

          Yes, many anti-psychotics can cause Metabolic Syndrome, which leads to diabetes & other serious health issues. Zyprexa causes extreme weight gain in many users. But if Zyprexa keeps a patient stable, it’s a risk some are willing to take. No medications are without side effects.Some of the newer anti-psychotics claim they do not cause weight gain.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Linda-Skempris/502936331 Linda Skempris

          That is what they want you to believe. It is a lie.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Oline-Wright/772108468 Oline Wright

            No it is not. It isn’t just genetic either people can get a form that is genetic but people can acquire it too there are several types of diabetes juvenile diabetes may be genetic I don’t know but you can also have diabetes that only occurs when you are pregnant. Science does not have all the answers. Type II diabetes is frequently acquired in part due to poor eating habits.

          • mommapap

            The medication itself doesn’t “cause” the diabetes…the side effect of weight gain can result in diabetes. Millions of people have diabetes due to weight gain caused by poor eating habits and are not on any type of med. In most cases, losing some of the weight normally will “cure” that particular type of diabetes. Think about it, gestational diabetes (when you’re pregnant)…weight gain…but it goes away after giving birth. So saying the meds CAUSE diabetes is not true…it’s the side effect of weight gain (because the med affects blood sugar levels) that results in the diabetes. Seeing for myself the horrors of mental illness, I feel that controlling the diabetes (if it even happens) is a much easier course to follow than the person’s mental status without meds.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1002557801 Allison Falin

            That is not correct. Type I diabetes is an autoimmune disease whereby the pancreas’ ability to produce insulin is damaged. Type II diabetes is due to insulin resistance that CAN be caused by excess body fat, however, there are thin people that do not process glucose well and end up as a Type II diabetic later in life. Most women that have gestational diabetes will end up as a Type II if they are not careful about maintaining healthy body weights as they age. The only genetic component that is now known is the propensity for the body to develop Type II. It is not genetic in the sense that in families it is a given that you WILL develop diabetes. Zyprexa can cause weight gain, as can a lot of the anti-psychotic medications. That will not be a given, however, it makes compliance difficult in some individuals. Medications come with side effects and sometimes you just have to trade off what is acceptable versus what isn’t.

          • Doctor-Mom

            Autoimmune means your body is attacking itself; a pancreas that does not discrete a hormone does NOT qualify as an autoimmune disorder…

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1002557801 Allison Falin

            Pancreas’ do not ‘discrete’ and the latest research is linking Type I to an AI process brought on by viral infections.

          • su ohiasia

            Back up what you’re saying or you’re just a troll.

          • Ariana386

            how exactly is responding to a post w/ relevant info being a troll? The fact that u just want to b argumentative for no reason with no real point kind of means….YOU r the troll. Ijs.
            And I happen to hv Lupus (SLE) which is an autoimmune disease that generally requires lots of meds–steroids n chemo drugs, to be specific. I choose not to live my life on these meds; I reserve them for extreme flares. My doc n I hv decided it is of no value to manage my Lupus symptoms only to then hv kidney/major organ failure from the diabetes caused by these meds. U want someone to back up what they say? Okay. If u lived with
            the pain I hv everyday n u chose not to take the meds bc of the horrible side effects…. I would take that as enough “evidence” for my taste.

          • MrRiah

            Your grammar, spelling, and ability to use letters and shorthand are admirable Ariana386. I would trust your words over any other’s. Thank you.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jess-Smith/100004239061682 Jess Smith

            You, kind sir, are kind of a jerk.

          • Pinky

            I couldn’t understand what you said because your atrocious shorthand, spelling and grammar was too distracting.

        • http://www.facebook.com/SonFlower.daelynn Daelynn Williams

          Certain medications can cause problems with the way the body produces and regulates blood sugar. Diabetes is not a genetic disease – it is the inability if the pancreas to produce/regulate insulin.

          People who take steroids to help them breathe easier can develope problems with high blood sugar.

          So yes, medications could cause diabetes.

          • http://www.facebook.com/misty.hopkins.12 Misty Hopkins

            I think Linda was addressing her reply to the person who stated Zyprexa causes diabetes, not intending to be a ‘troll.’ Can we get back to the business at hand, which seems to be lobbying for better mental health care in our country?

        • DuckieDeb

          You should look into this. Many people “get” type 2 (adult onset) diabetes due to other health issues, i.e., obesity, alcoholism, pregnancy, etc., so it’s perfectly understandable how the same could happen with pharmaceuticals.

        • Guest

          Zyprexa is famous for causing high blood sugar… Lilly (the manufacturer) states it on the label.

        • Chefette

          You *can* “get” diabetes. A viral infection “gave” me Graves disease and, later, diabetes. While the vast majority of diabetes cases can trace the disease through heredity, it is possible for the pancreas to be harmed, the metabolic system to be compromised, or the immune system to be weakened.

        • http://www.facebook.com/jessergirl Jesse Mazet

          You are wrong.

        • Stevie851

          Then how is it that you get type 2 diabetes from food?

          • TD93

            Zyprexa causes or exacerbates diabetes symptoms. There was a class action lawsuit against the manufacturer because people died or had a worsening of symptoms. The manufacturer had suppressed advance research that the drug caused these results.

          • Nicki

            The majority of the time Type 2 diabetes is caused from obesity, not sugar. The other causes are age and hereditary.

        • Peter Lowe

          Plse jdgsce06 , stick with the facts. My brother is taking some serious medications that have side affects, one of which is, for all intents and purpose , a diabetes-like condition. Fact. Period. There is so much ignorance around the whole issue of the mind in the world that is a world disgrace.

        • meganjr

          Wrong, genetics is responble for 20% of the chance to express disease state if only one of your parents passes down the gene. the rest is environmental and/or stress related.

        • MI

          Not true

        • Cheryl Thiruvathukal

          It bothers me that you presume this. There have been class action lawsuits. I know that Type 1 is usually something one is born with, but many meds mess with the endocrine system. Vicodin disturbs the pituitary gland, for example. Lithium was implicated in causing thyroid issues, another endocrine and autoimmune disorder. Diabetes is an endocrine disorder. How are you so sure this wasn’t possible?

        • GeauxSaints

          Not true. I got diabetes from predisone treatments as a chemo regulator.

        • Lyn Browning

          Not entirely so – if the pancreas becomes damaged as with any other organ it may no longer perform as it should. Steroid injections do the same thing to some people. I once shared my home with a 21yr old woman who with a life of activity ahead of her became seriously ill, was given steroids and came through the other end with full blown Type 1 diabetes. My cousin also has diabetes – no one in our family has EVER suffered from Diabetes.

        • http://www.facebook.com/TogethernessJellyman Rogelio Jorge Perez Gonzalez

          sometimes

        • Doctor-Mom

          Many, if not all, drugs have side effects. Diabetes can be genetic or can be ‘triggered’ by something else, including different meds. The Statins currently being pushed for high cholesterol, for example, have been shown to throw women into a diabetic ‘crisis,’ from which they are then considered diabetic. I have three male cousins who were all diagnosed with it within 90 days of starting a statin (yes, you read that right: MALES, although the research–that I heard–said women). Yes, both sides of our families have a genetic loading (from our fathers, who were brothers-in-law), but my Dad was the first in HIS family to have it…where would you say he got it???

      • Guest

        I would just like to say that I was forced to use Zyprexa in high school when the drug had been rushed to market for teenagers without full testing. It was marketed not as an antipsychotic, but a mood regulating drug for drama queens, which my psychologist parents determined to be my problem. And I now have type 1 diabetes. I too was a part of that class action law suit. I am the only one in my family who has diabetes and who has ever had it. Also in 2002 Duke University did a study on Zyprexa which proved that the medication causes diabetes types I and II, hyperglycemia, hypoglycemia, pancreatitis and death. So to all of you out there that believe you cannot get diabetes from medication do some reading. You will be amazed at how many people suffer from issues with blood sugar after taking antipsychotic medications. The worst part of it for me is the fact that I didn’t even come close to needing this medication and now I have to live with diabetes for the rest of my life. So be careful.

        Mental illness is definitely something this nation needs to have an open conversation about. For some conditions it is no different than me needing to take insulin for my diabetes. Yes I am embarrassed by it, but does that mean I shouldn’t take my insulin? No, I do it anyway. Otherwise I will die and as uncomfortable as it may make a lot of us, the same is true for so many mental disorders. Of course medication does not solve the entire issue, in fact, as in my case, medication may be completely wrong. The point is that we need to accept mental illness like any other disease and therefore create the safety nets and resources that the patients and families so desperately need.

        • Cheryl Thiruvathukal

          So sorry to hear of your struggles but I wanted to thank you. A family member was
          put on that for bipolar illness. She doesn’t have it. Now she can’t get
          off–withdrawals, anxiety, etc. She had reduced to a low dose, but
          after trauma earlier this year, it was doubled. I have been worried,
          but now with this info, she has to go off of it. Thank you so much for
          sharing. Well stated….your response btw.

          • Guest

            You are so very welcome. I hope that you can get your family member off of Zyprexa. It is such a bad news drug if you are not truly psychotic. I did some reading and found out that it is still Eli Lilly’s 2nd or 3rd top selling drug. Based on how strong it is I guarantee you it is still falsely advertised and over prescribed.

          • http://www.facebook.com/dottie.maben Dottie Maben

            I have been taught that Bipolar is the easiest treated of all the mental health disorders (pharmaceutically). The usual first line drug is lithium and/or Depakote. Read the Rolling Stones article “Bitter Pill” for an indepth look at Zyprexa that would really make you shake your head (or worse).

          • Doctor-Mom

            Easiest treated?! Where on earth did you hear that?! It is most successfully treated with meds & seems to be somewhat resistant to therapy, but I doubt anyone with it (or their family members) would say that it’s easily treated, just saying…

        • Rebecca Magliozzi

          There are alternatives to antipsychotics, beta blockers like Propanolol. Go to http://www.hopefortheviolentlyaggressivechild.com. The doctor who pioneered this treatment wrote a book on it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/amber.mekus Amber Mekus

      This article describes my son perfectly….he is 8. I dream of saving my child from the life you described. If you feel ok with it I’d like to talk to you, you can contact me through facebook.

      • http://www.facebook.com/mindy.shumaker.7 Mindy Shumaker

        I have similar things going on with my 9 year old…..it is so hard to deal with it.

        • Sofia Sangiorgio

          my brother is nine and going thru the same thing

      • http://www.facebook.com/terry.t.ballard Terry Todaro Ballard Schaferme

        It is a tough road, but never give up on them, i had to fight for all the help i could get. I never really believed she could live a normal life. But at 31 she is married with three kids, somedays she still struggles, but she knows she got thru it

        • ehredrain@gmail.com

          It is a very tough road but at age 23, my son is living a normal life. He does struggle some days but we work through it together. It is a lifelong commitment Terry but thanks to your strength and courage to fight, your daughter will continue to live a normal life.

          • Jessica Pfiester

            This is such a
            sticky situation since I’m assuming most of the people commenting did not know
            Adam Lanza or his mother personally. On the one hand, as a teacher she had the resources
            to help her son at her finger tips, but, and that’s a big but he was also an
            adult so he was able to refuse services. Also a lot of these mother especially
            ones that have only one child have lived with these behaviors for so long that
            they become normal. I firmly believe that responsible people should be allowed
            to own guns and those should be held accountable for the guns. It is the responsibility of the gun owner to make sure that guns are properly stored and locked up when not in use. I could go one with what I think, but I am just one person and my situation is solely my own personal situation. There are no winners in this battle and I think most of us want the same result in the grand scheme of things. Mental disease is still looked at in a very archaic point of view. Depression is a word my friends throw around to explain a bad day, but those who know the darkness of true depression rarely talk about it at all. Nothing is going to change until we do as a society and start looking at true mental illness as seriously as we look at cancer and heart failure. All the medication in the world isn’t going to get rid of the stigma that comes with mental health disorder.We can point fingers at Adam Lanza’s mothers grave site all we want (trust me, I did too) but at some point we have to clear our minds and figure out why she didn’t get him help, why didn’t any teachers report him, why was he just dismissed. I know that it’s so easy to just punish a child for bad behavior then to actually deal with it. Some parents are simply too lazy, some don’t know where to go, some actually do seek help but the doctors hand them magic pills and send them on their way, and there are others who feel like they are just making excuses for their child. I know because as a parent of a troubled child I think I was every single one of those parents at some point in my son’s life. I vividly remember the moment I realized that I wasn’t going to get the help I need from the doctors I was seeing. I remember the moment I gave up on the schools because every time I asked for help it just opened the doors to them calling me every time my son simply lost focus in class. I remember staring at my sons doctor with dried up tears in my eyes thinking this was it, I’m not getting anywhere with this guy. Then I thought where do I go now? I mean this was like the fifth doctor who just handed me a bottle pills and said that he’ll see me in six months to see if it needs to be adjusted. Meanwhile I’m trying to explain to him that he needs intensive therapy because this behavior just wasn’t normal. I did everything I could; I always kept great insurance even paying out of pocket
            when I took a job that didn’t cover the same facilities he was being seen at.
            To sum it all up though, I take my child and everyone else’s safety very
            seriously. I would never leave a gun where my child could get it, even though
            he has never been violent it could take one moment and I know our lives could
            change forever. With that said I hope I have shown you that even though some of us do everything we can to help our children sometimes we aren’t meet half way.Some of us have been at a dead end and even though we continue to push for help at some point we just can’t get the support we so desperately needs.

        • Helen

          There is one thing that I don’t understand: I guess you are talking about your daughter here? Is it really success for her to have 3 children, being a person with mental condition that can be hereditary? Isn’t it cruel to pass it on the next generation just for the sake of having a family and being a “success story”?

          • Wendy

            Do you presume to know this daughter’s situation or her reasons for raising children? There is no mention that her children are biological or that her mental illness has a genetic component. People with mental illness can and do lead productive, satisfying lives, particularly when they have access to compassion and quality health care.

          • Kelly

            If everybody with a family history of physical or mental illness refrained from having children, there wouldn’t be many children around. How about those that are not financially or mentally ready to look after children? People with an IQ lower than some benchmark? How many restrictions shall we put in place while we’re at it? I suffer from depression, but I also had a good upbringing, a postgraduate education, I have a job, a healthy, happy marriage and good friends. I am not saying this to skite about how I am such a “success story”, I’m just saying that people with mental illnesses can lead rich and rewarding lives. There are different kinds of mental illnesses, and different degrees to which people are effected by them. I used to question the morality of having children when I could possibly pass on a predisposition to depression to them, but now I believe that I would be able to provide my future children with a better upbringing and better opportunities than many other kids get, and if any were effected by mental illness I would be in a better position than most to provide understanding, support and navigating the system to get help. Depression is not a death sentence. Look at your own family health history – should you be having children according to your logic?

      • Cindy

        Call Klamath Youth Development Center in Klamath Falls Oregon. Move if you have to to get him in there. I did with my Joe and he is now a compassionate 38 year working a good job, supporting me financally so I can go to school.

        • Mermaiden

          ADAM LANZA’S MOTHER made no effort in years to do a thing for her son. THAT IS ABUSE.

          • cm

            not that easy,,unless you have a son like this you wouldn’t understand, help is not advertised and when you do reach out you get ridiculed as a mom, and little help is avalible,,,

          • Melanie

            ~ You are so very correct, where do you go…what do you do…which Dr. or Professional do you go with when they all say something different than the last?
            My good friend has a Beautiful boy, 12, struggling with what many have described. Brilliant, charming, his IQ-’Is higher than our country’s Presidents’ he Loves to brag…I would too lol!
            My friend has confided in me that she has never been able to maintain friendships for long periods because of the daily struggles that she endures with her Beautiful son. We spend lots of time together so I understand where many of you Parents are at…AS WELL as your precious angels. I have always had a close bond and understanding with him.
            Can I always calm the storm while in Walmart ….no, but sometime,
            but this is just part of God’s Gift of children, no matter who you are, where you’re at in life, we all face our great challenges.One thing that I have learned about my friend’s son, that also seems to be common is these Beautiful children seem to all display is a

          • Covergirl

            You are clueless. Like so many other ignorant “judges”. We need help, not “judges”. Remember karma when you make broad brush statements like that. This woman was very brave to share this.

          • Mermaiden

            NO, I have a real life experience. My parents raised ELEVEN children, the last was born with DOWN’S SYNDROME. Can’t begin to count how many times I was hit in the back of the head, during one of my bro’s tantrums, with a flying TONKA TRUCK. Whether the investigation will come out w/it, or people will have to wait until the documents become public, LANZA WAS ABUSING this kid. She fed his head full of fear, and hate. She had tons of money, and had not begun to exhaust the resources available for a kid w/Asp. I stand by my statement. BTW……..just because someone has a child with a dev. disability, or any other handicaps, or what have you, does not mean that parent is some kind of HERO. Ms. Lanza allowed her offspring w/major issues, to basically be warehoused, at home, sitting in a blacked out room adding gasoline to the fire, along with guns and ammo around. Yet, you’re preaching to this commenter about Karma, of all things? You, my friend, “ARE CLUELESS.” Oh, and BTW…….. WHO said anything about “this woman”……..i.e. the lady who wrote the article with a very bad title?? I also happen to have two nephews w/Asp., and I KNOW neither of their mothers would say THEY were a twisted, morbid, hate-filled, murderer’s mother. THAT was my point, and yes, I will stand my opinion on that. The judging is up to a higher power than I, or YOU.

          • Walker

            So much hatred in these words. I pray for you, friend, that you can see how hurtful you are being to these people.

          • Atticus Finch

            Closer to me than breathing, nearer to me than hands and feet. Thanks, but what you really mean is “I think I’m holier than thou.” Mrs. Lanza, her guns, and her denial are to blame. When I wrote this FOUR MONTHS AGO, I was bereft of hope. I have taught Emotinally disturbed kids, and have many dimesions, so you go ahead and pray……..for yourself. You must be a member of the NRA, or just a gun lover, yes?

          • William Mace

            If you are teaching emotionally disturbed kids, I suggest that you also get therapy for yourself.. it the field of psychology it is highly recommended for those who treat others.. if our thoughts become so directed to suggest that because someone had an opinion, they must be a member of the NRA (really there is much more to this point, but I’ll just stick with this one).. your opinions are becoming stereotypes, prejudices, and discriminatory.. bottom line: I suggest therapy

      • http://twitter.com/pppatticake patricia

        Please see Michelle’s posting below about Pyroluria it may be helpful as well.

        • Linda Redmond

          Yes, learning about Pyroluria and other related types of issues can be very very helpful for these problems!

      • Andrea Duarte

        My son began at age eight. It came on suddenly. It turned out to be a Traumatic Brain Injury that was hidden by older brothers who had been afraid of “getting into trouble”. It is more common than breast cancer and very few doctors can diagnose it as it often does not show up in MRI or CT scan. It is often caused by damaged or stretched neurons that do not show up in any kind of imaging. My son is improving after ten years of going in and out of mental hospitals and jail. But lack of treatment can cause sudden death. The treatment is totally different from traditional therapies for the various mental illnesses even though the symptoms are similar. Please feel free to email me at kcfamilyconnections@hotmail.com

        • http://twitter.com/Sherry_Foster Sherry Foster

          would it show up in a EEG? thats how they diagnose seizures, they dont show up on mri scans either…

          • http://www.facebook.com/laura.anaya.167 Laura Anaya

            If your son is Gifted I recommend looking into Reactive Hypoglycemia. Seeing a Pediatric NuroPsychologist who is trained in Gifted Children. There are several issues with gifted children and their physiology related to glucose processing, medication reactions, and nutritional issues. Watch http://videos.med.wisc.edu/videos/32540 If this is your child there is Hope. I’ve been there and know the fear and healing that takes place.

          • Kowabunga

            I had never heard of this before, thank you so much for sharing. I struggled with anger, attention, social and depression problems my entire childhood. Reactive hypoglycemia has definitely added to my problems and I can tell a serious difference in my rationality when my blood sugar is low, although I was also borderline diabetic at age 10. I never knew that any of these problems could possibly be correlated to my IQ. Even with therapy and constant behavioral problems in school, no one ever mentioned anything like this to my parents. Maybe the reason things have seemingly gotten easier as I’ve aged is because the emotional aspects have caught up to the rest of my brain? If that’s the case, there is a lot of hope for many of the troubled kids out there.

          • Linda Redmond

            Good words, thank you much.

          • http://twitter.com/ajlynx Amy Joel

            Have y’all tried the GAPS dietary approach? I’ve read it can help with mental issues related to gut issues (gapsandkids.com)

          • Linda Redmond

            A modified version of GAPS is working for me personally, for mental/emotional and health issues… getting off gluten was tremendous (and recent). When I heard of GAPS I thought it sounded irrational, but I get it now. I highly encourage people to do GAPS!!

          • Doctor-Mom

            They might not show up on an EEG; they’re tricky.

        • http://twitter.com/Sherry_Foster Sherry Foster

          thats the 1st thing my sons child nuerologists did was text them for fragile x, ordered MRIs, and EEGs. to rule out what wasnt there.

          • Doctor-Mom

            Fragile X is different from a TBI, btw…

        • http://twitter.com/shortie072001 WhyWorryNow

          Injury of the frontal lobe does create anger and outburst. I had a mild closed head injury which doesn’t show up on test but it’s central nervous system issues. I couldn’t remember things as well. It’s terrbiel because you have to know what happened and triggered it. I think people need to start asking; did you fall or hit your head? Instead of diagnosis of some mental disease and giving chemicals to balance the brain when that’s not the issue.

        • Linda Redmond

          Thank you, this is so incredibly incredibly helpful.

      • Natasha

        My brother is 32 and this article describes him perfectly as well. He has been struggling with this since he was 17. We have tried everything. We feel helpless and hopeless because nothing has worked. We would do anything to help him get better. It’s sad, very sad.

        • J. in Missouri

          Natasha, I know what you are saying. Reading this reminded me of my brother, especially the paragraph where it talks about the siblings running for safety. Reading this brought tears to my eyes just remembering the nights of terror we went thru with him going on rampages and having to have the police come to help get him under control. He is now 40 and sitting in prison. I can remember him having rages when he was under 10 years of age. He was sent off by the state for several “treatment” programs and when he would return home he would often be worse because of other things he learned from other ppl at the programs (learned about drugs, etc). He even broke my hand because he was attacking me because I had changed the tv channel, this was when he was in his mid teens. One doesn’t know unless they have been there what it is like to live with someone that can be an awesome sweet kind person one minute and the next second on a full out terror rampage. Walking on egg shells not knowing what is going to set him off next is no way to live.

          Mental health problems are definitely an issue that needs to be brought to the forefront. I applaud Liza Long for having the courage to write about what her family is going thru. I do hope she gets the help she needs for her son.

          • danny

            I had a brother that was mental. He married young & his wife left the state with a man. Our mother moved out of state & left me with him. I had to call the cops on him all the time & they came & acted like I didn’t really need to call even thou he attached me over & over. I tried to remove him but he always came back & broke in the house even when I had him evicted. He was in and out of jail but they were real easy on him & hardly gave him any time cause they would rather stuck him with me, I decided. Well he is now dead from Overdose & I am free from his terror. Believe me no one helped & I called everyone I could think of. His kids are all in prison & on drugs, 3 adult boys & 1 gal. I don’t have anything to do with any of them cause I believe they are just like him. There is no help out there. These people don’t respect court orders or anything & don’t care about the consequences when caught cause most are let go.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=645776440 Benjamin Chung

            In this case, I would add, that the best thing ever happened is that he got locked up, and at the end, dead. What can you do as a rational society, when a crazy mental case like this kept attacking his poor brother. He should have been sterilized in the first place! We make choices as a society, and leave God out of this one, since the thing he could do for this man is to kill him. What can you do in a world that God is useless and we be the ones to take care of the mess???

          • AMW

            Amen!

          • http://www.facebook.com/tomas.glass Tomas Dawson Glass

            It would be an insult to stupid people to characterize you with that word . You perpetuate Violence and ignorance disguised within a statement made to appear that you care ; you offer no” rational” as you mention , answer because you have done no research into ”Mental Disease” but in my personnel opinion you and other’s who feel this way should educate yourself before opening your mouth and offer nothing but ego fueled reactionary discord.

          • Doctor-Mom

            You can’t randomly decide to “leave God out of this one!” God is here, always!

          • Guest

            Well Benjamin Chung, I’m glad that you don’t speak for the species. Otherwise, I seriously wouldn’t have any problem assuming the human norm to be thoughtless, uncaring, ignorant, and selfish. I mean everyone has these qualities, but usually there’s a self control mechanism that keeps us from sounding like complete .. well, I’m sure you can plug in a word there.

          • Chem Kringle

            Well Benjamin Chung, I’m glad that you don’t speak for the species. Otherwise, I seriously wouldn’t have any problem assuming the human norm to be thoughtless, uncaring, ignorant, and selfish. I mean everyone has these qualities, but usually there’s a self control mechanism that keeps us from sounding like complete .. well, I’m sure you can plug in a word there…

          • Mental Health Practioner

            This is disgusting.

          • http://www.facebook.com/aanatami Tami Jean

            Thanks for sharing your experience. I agree. Some people resist change and won’t recieve help. People are trying to make sense of what happened in hopes that they can control their environment and make kids safe. They couldn’t have prevented this tragedy.

          • wickedprincessk

            I have a daughter who is 31 and still refuses treatment, because she does not need it, she can take care of it all by herself. Mean while I have 2 grandchildren by her, that she terrorizes. I have called and they said she has a clean house and she feeds them and can explain their marks and brusies, of course they lie. To afraid of the consequences she has threatned them with. I am lost with no hope until she goes to jail or ODS. Wish I knew what to do I have tried everything possible, since she was 11 years old until now, I am lost on what to do.

          • Chicago Girl13

            Help those children.

          • wickedprincessk

            I have called and notified CPS and all authorities that could help, but they say until I can prove something or the children speak up they can do nothing. Their father will not even speak up, he defends her. I do protect them all that I am able to, both mentally and physical. They are with me as much as possible. They were with me more until she got upset that I demanded she help herself and quit abusing drugs to self-medicate. They basically lived with me all summer, and any school break, but now it is only on weekends. I have talked with the oldest, that they do not deserve to be treated the way they are. She will tell you her mom has lost and is losing her mind. Her father finally agreed and told her to pay no attention to her, or listen to her mom and do what she wants and feels is right.

          • Guest

            yeah so many people who have a mental illness refuse to admit they have a problem. Then they become adults and what can you do? Have you called social services on her and explained your fears. My aunt ended up having the children taken from her son and now she raises them. It was the best option she had.

          • Doctor-Mom

            Not (being able) “to admit they have a problem” is PART of the illness; statements like yours sounded like part of the reason there is an on-going stigma…just saying.

          • Sofia Sangiorgio

            that is just like my brother…he is always refusing to take his medicine for this problem, saying that he doesn’t need it

          • Doctor-Mom

            So sad. So sorry for the loss of who your brother (& his kids!) could have been…

          • Linda Redmond

            Our culture does not help… what you describe is imo just another form of abuse — to sufferers of mental issues as well as those sufering from their actions and responses to what’s going on inside them. Prayers for your family.

          • Mental Health Practioner

            You have completely missed the point of the entire segment. “These people don’t respect court orders or anything & don’t care about the consequences when caught…” because THESE PEOPLE are MENTALLY ILL. People with mental illness may or may not have the cognitive ability to abide by the same norms that normal-functioning people do — which is precisely the reason that they need interventions to HELP them. That’s sort of the whole point, here. Mental illness is not a choice, people.

            And, if a mentally-ill person’s own brother/uncle can’t show love or compassion toward them, then it’s easy to see how we as a society have, and will continue to, fail this population. Unbelievable.

        • David

          Im in the same predicament. My brother has had Schizophrenia since he was about 16 and hes now 33. It seems that there are no choices anymore. It’s my familie’s biggest stressor. What to do? I would be interested in talking to you about it if you are. My email is davidyashar@yahoo.com

          • http://www.facebook.com/wayne.michael.7509 Wayne Michael

            David, I was there. I couldn’t get help with my brother and he was violent with my elderly mother. God help me, I played along with one of his parinoid fantisies and convinced him into accepting a one way ticket to anouther city far away. I bought the ticket, gave him some seed money and loaded him onto the plane with the address of a homeless shelter when he got there. It was probably wrong but the stress of him being around the family would have killed my mother. I did what I had to do. It sucked.

          • David

            That sounds tough but I applaud you for such a hard decision but probably the right one. Who knows what the right decisions are for these types of situations though? It’s never a sure thing. It’s good to know there are others who feel our pain. May I ask how old you are?

          • http://www.facebook.com/wayne.michael.7509 Wayne Michael

            I’m 50 now. This all happend @ 10 years ago.

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          • Sher Bach

            Good Lord, I know I’m gonna get blasted for saying this…but why hasn’t anyone ever gotten to the “root” of mental illness? If this is truly a “chemical” problem, 1) why doesn’t medication help and 2) why would anyone believe it can be treated through therapy of some sort? Is it just me, or isn’t there an AWFUL lot of this insanity (pardon the word) going on? As for Lanza, and the other murderers, please…their parents knew their kids had a problem, why in God’s name would you have a weapon that he could get his hands on? Seems to me that perhaps the parents had some mental illnesses going on as well. Has anyone thought that maybe, just maybe, this has something to do with the crap in our foods, the processed “chemicals” that the USDA and FDA deem to be safe and healthy? We can’t drink raw milk because it’s not “safe” but does anyone know what’s in a McDonald’s hamburger or chicken mcnugget? Have any of you ever visited a factory farm that raises livestock, seen the conditions, the torture of the animals, the hormones and antibiotics they shoot into the animals to cure the diseases they’ve caused by overbreeding and disgusting conditions? You eat an angry and scared animal, you become that. All that crap is released into the muscle fibers of the animal and is delivered onto your plate. And we feed our children that….if your child is fine at 2, 3, 4 and even 5 and then suddenly starts calling you names (where did they hear the word bitch? And why would they even think it’s okay to say it? Where is the discipline?) and acting out violently you might want to take a deeper look into the causes. We all ago through teenage angst, we all have hormonal imbalances, but if we keep making excuses and keep doping kids up every time they act out, instead of truly disciplining them, leading by example, making sure their nutritional needs are met, we are doomed as a society and as a species.

          • http://www.facebook.com/aanatami Tami Jean

            Thanks for caring about your mom. You are a hero!

          • Nu Viet Global Info

            What he did was wrong. It was the act of a coward. In stead of solving the problem, he gave up and sent the “bomb” away. How did he know the brother will be at a shelter or the brother may not have gone there and gone to other places? What if the shelter refused the brother? Think about the community of the destination.

          • MrLidkey

            This is a tragic act of desperation! Also note that 95% of those in prison will be released in much worse condition than when they went in. I have volunteered in both county and state prisons were many mentally ill spend much of their lives because Americans are not willing to share the burden to treat them properly. These places only make it worse, and mostly house the mentally slow as well. Money is only part of the solution, time and compassion are also required by ALL, not just those with mentally ill family members. The burden must be shared across the country, not just in warm weather areas.

          • Outtahereasap

            You are a pig. He protected his mother. There was no solution to solving the problem of the pig in his house. Screw your community.

          • Linda Redmond

            Why all the judging and name-calling? It’s okay (and very effective imo) to simply say you disagree with someone, and that what they said makes you feel upset. Calling someone a pig or something seems ineffective and like poor communication to me… and not helpful, fwiw. Thx.

          • Nu Viet Global Info

            PLEASE DON’T DO THAT! You, like many other people, have saved your own lives by sending the
            danger away, to other innocent people who have no idea about the
            illness.Hawaii is filled with mental people walking around as a result of irresponsible, selfish people acting like you. Come to Hawaii to see our public parks, beaches, areas near schools and libraries filled with mental homeless people sent by 1-way tickets. Kids and adults in Hawaii (who pay tax to the State) deserve safe environment to play and hang out. Please don’t share what you did on Internet. It’s unethical.

          • Outtahereasap

            Ohhhhhhh poor Hawaii. Give me a break….land of entitlements to the ‘natives’. They don’t have to work for anything. Hawaii is a big liberal pit.

          • AMW

            HAVE A HEART!!!
            What a thoughtless response!!
            Hawaii is full of people just like the rest of us. I know people who have or are living there that are barely making it. And, if you lived there when all the mentally ill people got off the planes, you would not have liked it.
            I do not believe your statement is true. Yet, even if Hawaii were a “land of entitlement” the people there don’t deserve to be saddled with a whole city worth of mentally ill folk. So, I agree it is not a good idea to send a problem off to be a problem to others. BUT, we need to be compassionate toward those who are innocent sufferers through their family member’s mental illness. WHAT are they supposed to do? What would you do, if it was your mother, or family, suffering at the hand of an out of control person???

          • Chem Kringle

            What in the world are you saying here? Hawaii is some sort of dumping ground for the mentally ill?

          • Chem Kringle

            Wayne, was contacting state mental health in your area not an option? If someone is violent there are resources you could have called…

          • http://www.facebook.com/john.dougherty.904108 John Dougherty

            David,

            Until recently, paranoid schizophrenia was considered incurable, but now there is hope: a Swiss company called Geneuro has discovered that schizophrenia is caused by a retrovirus, and they are only a few years away from marketing an antivirus which promises a total cure. Their website is http://www.geneuro.com. Meanwhile, many schizophrenics have put their
            symptoms into remission by improving the health of their immune system, by
            means of diet and exercise and avoiding stress. The stronger your immune
            system, the better, because your body can suppress the retorvirus on its own to
            a large degree. In fact, 20 percent of schizophrenics go into remission on their
            own, without medical treatment. The drugs that are used to ‘treat’ the disease
            are merely tranquilizers and do not stop the virus, so I would stay away from
            them and focus on healthy diet and exercise to improve the immune system. And avoid arguing with your brother, it does no good and only puts more stress on on already stressed out immune system. He needs peace and quiet, and financial support through SSI Disability system. But get rid of the psychiatric meds, they do him no good at all. I have two friends who are in remission due to healthy living, it’s the only thing that works, until the antivirus hits the market.

            Please also read this article in Discover Magazine, “The Insanity Virus:”
            http://discovermagazine.com/2010/jun/03-the-insanity-virus

          • Doctor-Mom

            Dear cousin (I am a Dougherty, as well): Schizophrenia, as well as many, many other illnesses can & do have complex, multiple causes. I will read the article later, but in the meantime, I think it is rather simplistic to say that *one* person/company/whatever has the answer for all…’just saying (as a psychologist, btw).

      • RealityCheck

        In that case for the love of all that is good, do not pump him full of chemicals… ESPECIALLY while not knowing what is “wrong” And for pete’s sake, do not take medical advice from Probation officers and the like. 13 years old and this kid has been placed on legal LSD.. No wonder he is screwed..

        • durbustweeb

          For the love of all that is good, do not spout on situations you know nothing about. ESPECIALLY while not having a clue about this type of mental illness. And for pete’s sake, please take medical advice from the psychiatrists and neurosurgeons who may have a fighting chance at giving your child a shot at getting through the day, week, and month. 2 threads I’ve seen your “advice” on “legal LSD”. And anyone listening to YOUR advice is screwed.

          • disqus_cNrotoV2fC

            So, the article above could very well have been written about me by my own mother 20 years ago.If this kid is like me, then everything she is doing is wrong.

            I had to sue my own mother at 13, to keep myself out of a mental institution. Now, 20 years later, I have very limited contact with my mother, and I am a happy, healthy, professional, educated husband and father.

            Kids with EMOTIONAL issues (notice I didn’t use MENTAL issues because according to the article he has NEVER been diagnosed as having ANY mental deficiencies by a psychiatrist) need encouragement, and nurturing, not pills and threats of being locked up.

            Obviously, no one here really know what is going on in this case, but there are enough red flags in the mothers story to give me pause, and reflect on my own situation and how very bad my childhood was.

            Someone please evaluate them BOTH.

          • Cristy

            I agree with both mother and child needing assistance with coping through it all and most psychological issues are genetic. My daughter hasn’t been around her father since the age of 3, but behaves just like him. It wasn’t easy turning to medication to help her, I only did because she wanted to commit suicide at the age of 7. It was like a switch and you can tell when they wearing off. All I can say the medication is a temporary help till we can find the real truth. As for the article, she did the best she could, with the help she could find.

          • http://www.facebook.com/colleen.woodcock Colleen Van Schubert- Woodcock

            I agree with you looks like a lot of parents are resorting to drugs or locking them up. Seems maybe the child is crying out for love? Not getting the attention he/she needs or just not being disciplined properly. First thing I would do is take away those video games for good get him in some type of team sport and keep him busy so he stays out of trouble.

          • http://www.facebook.com/poochypooch Susan Borchert

            you are a clueless idiot who has her head in the clouds and NO IDEA what it’s like having a mentally ill family member terrorize the rest of the family. We’re not talking about mentally balanced kids that occasionally act out and respond to discipline and being kept busy and ‘out of trouble’. We’re talking about kids that have chemical imbalances making it impossible for them to feel and act normal. These disorders NEED drugs to regulate their brain chemistry. It is no different than diabetes or heart disease. It needs MEDICAL ATTENTION! I am the sister of a bipolar brother that refused treatment. I went to sleep many nights hearing him scream and yell, punching holes in walls and threatening to torture and burn us all alive in our home. I endured psysical and mental torture at his hands. I assure you my parents gave him enough love and attention- So much so that they ignored what this monster was doing to their only daughter. Love doesn’t register in the mind of someone like this. Yes, the police came and he was locked up. He got out and 30 yrs later is still causing my now elderly parents a life of pure hell. He keeps illegal automatic guns in his room. He keeps my parents on eggshells waiting for the next ‘dark spell’ to come out of him. I still live in fear he will someday come to my home and kill my husband, children, and myself. Your clueless post struck a nerve in me, and people in this country need to wake up and get the facts about mental illness and the lack of good support available.

          • dlcamp

            You’ve described a classic case of demon possession. This kid and all like him need deliverance. They need Jesus Christ and His Holy Word, the Bible. They need Christian parents and lots of prayer, love and casting out those demons that are out to kill, steal and destroy both him and his family. (John 10:10)

            That’s the Truth! Accept it or reject it. It’s the Truth!

          • mary

            Jesus has nothing to do with this…..please go somewhere else with your ignorant bible thumping!

          • We do need help!

            Amen!

          • http://www.facebook.com/EasySqueezy David Gentile

            Please see a counselor to banish your delusions of God.

          • http://www.facebook.com/sarah.a.ramos Sarah Ann Ramos

            I suppose you believe that “god” ALLOWS those suffering from “demonic possession” to harm, torture, even kill their innocent victims including the 20 babies…babies!! in Sandy Hook because it was his will. Your ignorance has made me wish I could reach through this screen and shake some sense into you. I mean, honestly, god has no place in this conversation.

          • http://www.facebook.com/victoria.johnson.714 Victoria Johnson

            Your truth. This is the dumbest post I’ve seen..

          • Theresa Keating

            Your so right and its too bad that we have been taught about Christ the wrong way and that is why people so confused. The churchs mix the old & new testament and we need to teach about christ in the new testament only and when we do we can get answers.

          • AMW

            I understand that this is how you feel. I am not angry that this is what you believe. Nor am I angry that this is the advice you are giving to help Susan, Liza, and/ or others that so desperately want help. But, though I am a christian, I do not agree with you.

            I am only replying to your comment because I want you to know that when people dealing with mental/ emotional illnesses in their families say they’ve tried everything, they mean they have tried e v e r y t h i n g.

            My brother started having an extremely difficult time around age 9. My parents tried it all: counselors, teachers, multiple psychiatrists trained in anything and everything, allergists, juvenile detention centers, relatives, friends, out of state “experts”, special-perfectly-mixed-vitamin dealers, social workers, youth programs, case workers, cops, top-of-their-field pediatricians, lawyers, child advocates, healers, and yes, dlcamp, exorcism.

            My mother is an amazing researcher. She researched any possible cure for her suffering child. She tried every glimmer that gave off the faintest glow of hope. Nothing worked. 20 years later nothing has worked.

            It is not, what you may consider, the “lost” or the “damned” that are emotionally/mentally suffering. It is anyone. It is your bag boy’s cousin, it is your doctor’s father, it is your preacher’s niece.

            If prayer and belief were all it took, I have no doubt that emotional/ mental illness would cease to exist because every single one of the people that are walking around tortured inside have at least one “balanced” person praying every day for their respite and sanity.

          • teacher

            I believe in God, but really are you crazy? There is a such a thing as mental illness. Yes, pray for those who suffer from it, but please…again, are you crazy? Cast out the demons?

          • Raichu

            This is a good comment. I’m a Christian and prayer is definitely a good and important thing to do, but don’t neglect the resources we have available to help people who are ill. I don’t think for one second that God wants us to ignore the benefits of medicine and science. It’s irresponsible and hurts the people who need help – and by extension, is not the Christian thing to do.

          • teacher

            Much better said than I had put it and I agree with you

          • Raichu

            Thanks :)

          • JetsetTech

            no such thing as jesus….. next

          • Raichu

            Nobody is forcing you to believe anything. Bringing religion wank into this discussion is not helpful.

          • JetsetTech

            you brought it up…guess your not being helpful

          • Raichu

            Actually, I’m not the one who brought it up. Did you bother to read the thread? And we were having a discussion, not wank. Don’t bring in unnecessary and irrelevant conflict.

            Also, *you’re

          • JetsetTech

            sorry…but you’re not being helpful…That better? Also, no such thing as Jesus :D

          • Raichu

            lol, ok. And you are. Clearly.

            I think you just have a major bone with religion and are trying to make this the forum to have that argument. It’s not. Go on believing or disbelieving whatever you wish.

          • heatherj10

            So, if mental illness is genetically linked, I wonder if the mentally ill people in my family are also related to demons? And thus ME too?? LMAO

          • JetsetTech

            jesus is not real…next

          • Dara Shapiro

            So, mental illness should be treated via… exorcism? I openly reject your so-called “truth” as I feel your statements convey that you are significantly out of touch with modern day society. Without trying to steer the topic of conversation here from mental illness to religion, I’d just like to point out that quoting the bible in response to the lack of diagnostic and treatment options for mental illness in today’s society provides nothing more than an irrelevant solution (or rather lack of a solution) to a very relevant concern.

          • Doctor-Mom

            Even The Church rules out psychological problems before deciding whether or not to go down the possession road…

          • AudreyA

            HIde from him–cut off all contact, move, leave the state, get new legal names. You can’t save your parents and if he has any idea where you are, he can come after you. If you think he might come kill you, then think of your children and move. Canada is a nice place…I’d rather live in poverty in a foreign land than in fear in the U.S.

          • Kelly Green

            You know, you’re ‘clueless idiot’ comment really struck a nerve with me.

            So now, to prove to me that it’s not you that’s the clueless idiot or pharmaceutical shill, please provide me with the names of the chemicals that are out of balance in these individuals and the names of the medical tests that are used to check their levels. Diabetes is easy and simple. It’s a blood glucose test.

            Thanks.

          • http://www.facebook.com/lauren.davistodd Lauren Davis-Todd

            They are neurotransmitters in the brain – chemicals that transmit signals and regulate all kinds of things, like mood, anxiety, depression, activity levels, etc.
            There are many of them but the ones I know about are serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. There is a lot of information about brain chemistry and mental and emotional health.

          • J Gentleman

            I think she meant what specific quantitative measurements can we use to to diagnose people with a mental illness. There are fMRI/PET scan studies that can show prototypicalyl depressed brains for instance, but it probably wouldn’t work for everyone. She’s right, the standard DSM-V criteria to assess mental illness is a laughing stock.

          • Kelly Green

            Ok. So how does a doctor go about checking the level of these neurotransmitters in someones brain to make sure they’re balanced?

          • http://www.facebook.com/lauren.davistodd Lauren Davis-Todd

            What the mainstream public seems to be coming up with in regard to the tragedy in Newtown is that our government needs to have more mental health services available, as well as looking at gun control options. You clearly exemplify the need for information on mental illness in our country. SSRI’s have been around for thirty years. You obviously have a computer, so rather than continuing to ask questions like a cynical smart ass, educate yourself. And, don’t stop with one or two articles, because there are legions.

          • McElvis

            There are a lot of good people who are camouflaged by their mental illness. They deserve a chance at a good life and medication and treatment can help in many situations. I have personal experience with someone who has bipolar disorder and he has had tremendous success with medication. Much like other medication, there is a need to monitor the doses to make sure that they are correct particularly in the beginning. This person behaved unpredictably for years and was eventually completely psychotic. He now holds a very responsible job and is a very, productive and amiable member of society. Friends who know him feel that he is the ultimate “poster child” for the successful treatment of bipolar disorder. Unfortunately, we live in a society that still stigmatizes mental illness and thus people never talk about it and consequently never treat it. Matters are made worse when people preach to others about the subject when they are clearly naive about the true nature of mental illness and how it should be treated. It is dangerous to give others advice about medication when you are not qualified to do so. It’s like telling a diabetic they should never take insulin. This is an illness.

          • Lisa

            Thank you for saying all of that McElvis. I have bipolar disorder in my family. I’ve dealt with this condition in 3 members in my family for over 27 years. What some don’t seem to understand is there is not a “test” for every medical problem under the sun. The healthcare system simply doesn’t work that way. I’ve witnessed the classic rapid cycling torturing an individual to insanity. There is no test to prove what is happening. Only your eyes, ears, and experience tell you and the doctor it is rapid cycling classic only to bipolar. Statistics prove 1 out of 3 will commit suicide during a rapid cycling event. So according to the lack of wisdom of some, we should stand by and not give a medication and risk a suicide because the AMA hasn’t invented a test yet that can measure what is going wrong in the brain.

            And then a medication is given and the rapid cycling stops. No tests, just plain old fashioned common sense.

          • ArkMom

            You are quoting “idiot” and you don’t know…

          • J Gentleman

            Measurable out of range lithium levels can cause depression and mania.

          • Kelly Green

            Lithium doesn’t occur naturally in the human body.

          • J Gentleman

            Thank God lithium doesn’t occur naturally.

            So what’s you’re point anyway? Even using your example of diabetes, it is simple to diagnose but generally very difficult to correct the problem. That’s why we do research on all of these complex diseases (diabetes, heart disease, neuropsychiatric illnesses) because we don’t have the answers YET.

          • http://www.facebook.com/lauren.davistodd Lauren Davis-Todd

            Neither does penicillin, aspirin, and a host of other very beneficial medications. Mental illness is a physical illness with mental manifestations. Because it has been misunderstood for most of human existence, research and therefore remedies, have lagged behind other ailments. Also, in part, because there is a stigma on mental illness and many people have stayed in denial, preferring to think an affected person could control their odd or destructive behavior, or to blame their parents.

          • Doctor-Mom

            Sorry, Lauren–not ALL psychological illnesses are “physical illness with mental manifestations…” some are just, well, psychological. Not ALL psychological disorders require medication. Good ole’ fashioned therapy still does wonders &, according to MUCH research, is often as effective, if not more so & has longer lasting effects (stop the drugs, the symptoms reappear)…

          • Raichu

            All science is not perfectly understood by laypeople. Do you expect me to be able to tell you all about the genetics of cancer cells and why they divide uncontrollably (something that is not completely understood even by the medical community!) for you to believe that cancer exists?

            The “clueless idiot” comment was more hostile than necessary, I agree, but when a person who has direct experience with this situation and has been directly affected and hurt by it gets offended by someone else’s flippant comment, trying to talk over them and tell them they are still oh so wrong is kind of bad form.

            My parents love me very much, but I can assure you them giving me more TLC did not and will not cure my depression. I need medication.

          • http://www.facebook.com/lauren.davistodd Lauren Davis-Todd

            Great comments! You are so right in saying some people need medication to regulate their brain chemistry in order to behave sanely. I taught school for 30 years and got sick of parents who were just flat out against the idea of medication for any reason, no matter what the doctors thought. I have heard how some of these kids fare when they get older. Some of them are in jail, some are still sitting on their parents’ couches at 35 or 40 years old, unable to hold down a job, some are homeless, and some are drug addicts, and two that I know of are dead from overdoses. Medical intervention can save lives if done responsibly.

          • Raichu

            Thank you, and to everyone else who has said this. I have clinical depression and it IS a chemical, physiological disorder that needs to be treated. I can’t imagine what it’s like to have bipolar or something worse, something that actually makes you dangerous to the people around you, like the child in this blog post. If medication can fix some of the problems, it should be tried. These aren’t normal people just choosing to be different. There is something wrong with them on a physiological level.

          • Kelly Green

            There is no definitive test for ‘mental illness’. It’s all a matter of another persons opinion.

          • auroraspirit

            TRUTH It is an on going guessing game with danerous medications!

          • Raichu

            Are you actually serious? Do you propose we just do nothing???

          • http://www.facebook.com/lauren.davistodd Lauren Davis-Todd

            What??????You’ve never heard of Behavioral Science????? Clinical Behavioral Analysis????? You think psychotic behavior is a matter of opinion? Mental illness is still more abstract than physical illness in studies and tests, but it way surpasses a matter of opinion. You are sounding so defensive, I think you have a child or another relative, or maybe its yourself with very questionable behavior and maybe teachers or others have suggested you check it out.

          • AMW

            When you come in contact with it Kelly you will know.

          • Doctor-Mom

            True. Fortunately & unfortunately…

          • AMW

            Bless you, and your family, Susan.

          • Doctor-Mom

            I’m very sorry for what your brother puts you–and your parents–through. However, rage is NOT mania/bipolar. And 30 years later it seems as if your parents continue to enable him?? I don’t mean that in a mean way; if he is still living with them & doing all these things, it might be time for them to get help in ‘letting him go’ (i.e., putting him out; moving & selling the house, if necessary)…

          • heatherj10

            I agree and sympathize, having had to endure a violent, bi-polar daughter for the past 33 years. She has threatened the safety of my older daughter and myself. We walk on eggshells…. Please report the guns but have the police say it came from a source outside the family. Best to you.

          • Gail

            My 7th child received the same attention, discipline, love, etc as her previous 6 siblings, yet she has a ton of issues, some similar to what has been described above. Please be careful about placing blame on parents- sometimes it is warranted, but we have spent 15 years trying to figure out what makes this kid tick, and know only that it is likely neurological in origin.

          • Doctor-Mom

            It is physically impossible to say that 2 children received “exactly” the same “attention, discipline, love, etc.” given that birth order, itself, plays a role on who we become. One is the ‘older’ & the other, the ‘younger;’ boy does that receive LOTS of attention from those outside the family.

            We also come hard-wired uniquely, & if you were to treat them all exactly the same, with their different set of genes, you’d be doing no one ANY favors! We all have different experiences in life (think of the different teachers, classmates, parents’ station in life; for example: I was much more patient & less anxious with my 2nd that I was my 1st child) that are directly related to who/where we are in the birth order, the place we occupy in our school, town, etc.

            True, I’m a mom & don’t want to go blaming all moms for their children’s behavior. But what sets this author apart from the parents in CO, for example, is that they seemed…clueless? How is it all kinds of other people KNEW these boys were stockpiling guns & they didn’t even SEE it on their OWN property? (That’s my understanding of it, anyway.)

            All I say is: everyone must be assessed; if for no other reason, other family members may need support (just look at the comments from the siblings, grandparent, & yes–parents, above).

          • http://www.facebook.com/jen.bunger.9 Jen Bunger

            My son is a 3-sport athlete in high school. He plays soccer, wrestles, and is in gymnastics. I have given my son EVERY ounce of love he could possibly require.

          • http://www.facebook.com/cherykm44 Cheryl Kay Miller

            colleen you are in need of education..you are way over simplifying.I am an RN and these issues were happening before video games..mass media now spreads information but mental disease is more than discipline problems..I doubt the games help but schizophrenia today can be treated if diagnosed..the issues of the traumatic brain need studied and treated….guns aside MENTAL health needs rebooted…treatment in the 50′s and 60′s were barbaric institutions .Humane help needs to become available.Read the issues we need to open our eyes.Every one of the situations show individuals involved were acting out with extremes in behavior exhibited prior to the shootings. It is more than a discipline issue…it is a mental health issue. WHEN WE QUIT FIGHTING ABOUT GUNS and look to CAUSE hopefully things will change. It is very hard to study these behavior issues ,psychotropic drug effects both good and bad.Colleen I wish you could have followed me to see the behavior change in young men between 16 and 30 that were institutionalized and stabilized on drug therapies. Many returned off their drugs in the same state that brought them originally. Some with loving families on medication regimans led fairly normal lives others were locked up in institutions for safety still fighting demons and nightmares in their heads. The mentally ill can’t survive forced into teamsports and video games didn’t exist in the 60′s…discipline can’t work alone on a mind that has demons and visions you and I don’t see .{ Reality not existing in their brain.]I pray a psychology or psychiatric team might develop some helpful options. Guns shouldn’t be the therapy or in the picture. MENTAL HEALTH needs be at the top of the list and the totally irrational comments on discipline ,parenting skills and denial of mental illness needs be recognized. Professional care is difficult in the mental health field…especially with cases of irrational behavior,schizophrenia, and other deviant behavior issues. Ever see a child with nightmares and irrational behavior with a high fever….all the love in the world didn’t fix it but medication did…I hate to see unkind comments cause I watched so many loving parents try everything and Schizophrenia onset in mid twenty yr olds,highly intelligent gifted kids happened
            …WHY???

          • AMW

            Give me a break! What grand assumptions people come to with a brief snapshot at another’s life. No one knows what they would do in the same circumstanses unless they are there already. Even then, one dare not judge another because it tells a great deal about the one who is judging.

          • mary

            Thank u…..children should not be put on psychoactive drugs!!!!!!! period these are designed for adults not developing minds…in the end drugs will cripple them for life…..i would not be supprised ifAdam Lanza was on some sort of meds for his mental issues just like most of the other mass shootings!! wake up people!!

          • Kelly Green

            Peace and happiness to you. It’s sad how many children are abused and then put on dangerous, mind altering drugs when their abuser tells a psychiatrist that the child is out of control and they (the abuser) can’t figure out why.

          • http://www.facebook.com/natalie.i.granger Natalie Granger

            If you threaten to kill people, and/or attempt to do so, you deserve to be in prison.

          • disqus_cNrotoV2fC

            Read the post before replying next time. Thanks.

          • Doctor-Mom

            I would argue they need psychological help…

          • Doctor-Mom

            Agree on diagnosing/assessing the family. However, it need NOT be JUST a psychiatrist. Did you know that psychologists receive much more training in mental (or emotional, if you like) health than psychiatrists? Yep, because they’re busy taking all the medical/chemical (as in: prescription drugs) classes, etc. How do I know this, you ask? I’m a psychologist myself. I can speak to the rigor of the program from which I graduated. Anyone competent in working with children (my specialty) KNOWS you MUST look at the systems in which the child is embedded.

          • heatherj10

            But I wonder, Dr Mom, if you have been trained to diagnose? Just a question about psychology in general. (I do appreciate that psychologists have much training in emotional health.)

          • http://twitter.com/stfuniemiller Stephanie

            Ha! Anyone who allows people to put tons of DRUGS in their child is a fool!!

          • mary

            Agreed, we really need to look at what these kids are eating…people pump there kids full of high fructose corn syrup and then let doctors and teachers tell them they have ADHD and them pump them full of psychoactive drugs…so many fools out there!

          • http://www.facebook.com/lauren.davistodd Lauren Davis-Todd

            Your thinking on the causes of ADHD have been disproven for decades! Do some research on how many young men in jail have untreated ADHD, are self medicated drug addicts and alcoholics, chronically unemployed, total their cars, lose their licenses for DUI’s, have multiple destructive relationships and divorces, become homeless, or are just grossly immature and dysfunctional well into adulthood. I don’t know whether or not you are a fool, Mary, but you are grossly uneducated and ignorant.

          • mary

            personally i think ADHD is not even a real illness and maybe you should educate yourself….And who do you think paid for these studies??? the same people who want us to buy there drugs!!! In america we have the highest amount of mental illness and people in prison….Also the fact that people who are not exposed to our western diets have little to no mental illness tells me a lot!!! makes sense to me we eat like garbage and our minds turn to garbage….we are not smarter than nature and the answers are starring us in the face but we just can’t except the simplicity of it!! Oh and i educate myself all the time….and i make sure that i look and both sides and use the common sense!

          • Doctor-Mom

            While I’m all for looking at our diets (see my comment above), there is no evidence I’ve seen that ” people who are not exposed to our western diets have little to no mental illness…” I’m a psychologist & am on the cusp of taking my licensing exam, so studying like a fiend & that has NOT come up in the research/study materials…

          • Doctor-Mom

            You can check out Feingold.org…named after Dr. Ben Feingold who connected behavioral issues to all the artificial things in our food & other supplies (anything they can inhale or absorb thru their skin)…

          • auroraspirit

            Stephanie I wasn’t a FOOL I was FOOLED!!

          • Gina

            Without these DRUGS, many of us who live with family members suffering from mental illness, would not be here to talk about it. Get a grip!

          • Raichu

            I hope you’re not talking about medications for mental illnesses and disorders.

        • Hazel

          Clearly you have never taken LSD. :P Neither have I, but I have friends who have. LSD is nothing like any other drug and certainly nothing like anti-psychotics.

        • princev4liant

          LSD is actually pretty therapeutic, in safe doses and the right environment. Don’t compare pharmaceuticals to drugs you have no experience with, you’re slandering things you don’t know about.

          • GeorgeL

            you can’t slander a “thing”… idiot

          • princev4liant

            Go look at a dictionary and then come back and have a civilized conversation. Thank you.

          • http://www.facebook.com/sharon.wilkins.526 Sharon Wilkins

            I have taken LSD before and it was horrible. It was a very small amount but it made me feel out of control and not able to stop how it makes you feel is horrible.

        • Linda Redmond

          We have to fight against the system sometimes, as it is corrupt. Prayers for this child and any like him!

      • brngbck80s
      • http://www.facebook.com/iriseileen Iris Day

        Would like to speak with you about this subject. I have a daughter 13 you can contact me thru fb.

      • ct

        Read the book Disconnected kids. We had our son do a program through The Brain Balance Achievement Center and he is a different child now.

      • Shay

        This article describes my son as well…. he is 7. He’s been in counseling since he was 5. Thank you to Liza Long for starting a conversation that’s been long overdue. These children deserve a better future than going in and out of a broken system. Something needs to be done.

        • auroraspirit

          I am praying for you and your son.

      • http://www.facebook.com/peterwmelnik Peter Melnik

        Give him concrete, sturdy, consistent and maybe harsh structure. Stability of the environment and people around them can allow unstable people to conform.

      • Momof5

        I feel your pain. I wish there were a support group for mothers like us.

    • http://twitter.com/pjlm84 Laura Burke

      Thank you for writing this. I’m glad you were able to cope and I hope you will consider writing more – your insight and experience is invaluable. It’s a heartbreaking problem.

    • http://www.facebook.com/terry.t.ballard Terry Todaro Ballard Schaferme

      i agree, my daughter survived shes 31 now. She will tell you she got lucky. Those were hard years, my heart goes out to other parents dealing with it…..but they can get through it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/marian.rubin Marian Seid Rubin

      I would seriously like to know specifically what helped you “live through this”? I suggest that the “pill-popping” approach is because we don’t have other answers. I think it’s less avoiding the issue as a lack of knowledge. I have known children like this and their parents who were terrified of what they might do!

      • CVK

        I don’t really know, a lot of luck? I spent a long time looking through religions, psychology, science, the nature of thought, being with people, experiencing as much as I could, seeing friends or friends of friends get destroyed, and I don’t know why I couldn’t and can’t escape the fact that I feel fundamentally different. It’s just gone on so long that it’s part of me now, and I don’t ignore it, I just don’t give it weight in my decision making and living. I will say this though, it’s not demonic possession, as some people think, but maybe at times it feels that way. But it’s not. I read below someone saying that, and I don’t mean to infringe on people’s beliefs.. but it isn’t.

        Unwinding things before they become part of someone’s thought processes – I can’t even imagine what would be required of a parent to do that, that was not my case. Going through enough people to see that no one really shared that experience at all, I just turned it all inward to fight because I had to say that I wasn’t going to be controlled by basically, an error. It wasn’t good enough for me to think that I was an error in the world, or a monster, and though there were times I was tempted, I backed off and threw fury at myself to stop and figure it out. Why? Because one way ended up being dead, and the other way ended up being alive. That was about it. I’m sorry that’s not a very good answer. I could only deal with it that way once it reached a very long, critical time. And I’m not without the additional need of self or external therapy, friends, and family, so I’m not ‘okay’, but as far as I can tell, who is ever, without those?

        Personally, I think it starts with the idea that no one is the same. I see and have seen people on medication, and know that they’re just waiting for it to wear off so they can rampage or do whatever it is they feel that is their ‘true’ state. There’s so much more needed than pills or observational therapy. I don’t know how things like that are communicated verbally.. maybe it lies in shared path life experience with someone so that the person knows they’re being understood by someone else, having shared experience on an unspoken level. I don’t know.

        • Alice Young

          I think it is a lot of luck too. And I think you are right in saying that it starts with the idea that no one is the same. That there were ppl who are willing to accept u just that. The next will be hope. Yes, hope and faith that you will learn how to cope with this, and don’t give up. It wasn’t that I felt hopeful. I ‘m not sure whether anybody can feel hope in that but I was shown that there is hope. And that you are never alone, that there will be someone out there willing to accept you for who you are, even though you are destructive on the outside or inside. I don’t know. So simple the words seem, yet to show and experience it. I don’t know how to explain it either.

          • CVK

            Yeah, you can see hope take hold in other people, I know it’s out there. I’ve felt it in flashes, enough over a long enough time period that you have to believe it’s there. Honestly, I did stop thinking about the idea that there is someone out there, because I don’t want a false hope. Things come close – but always seem to unravel. I just end up having to be ok for me, and if I do meet people that offers any support mutually, then I take it for what it is, no matter how long it lasts. I’m glad you were shown it was there, it really is no matter it’s length or quality.

        • durbustweeb

          What you’ve written shows you’ve worked very hard and picked up a lot of the coping skills that do not come natural to you. For most people “the rules” are assimilated without problem. For you, and for my 18-year-old son, these things are a constant choice that has to be thought about and analyzed. You seem to be making the right choices, and it must get so tiresome for you. That you can write about your experiences and choices as you have says a lot about the person you want yourself to be. Don’t give up during those dark moments. There are those of us out here who understand just how brutal your moments can be, and recognize the strength required to keep standing.

          • CrochetMama

            I love the way you worded that: “making a constant choice.” I, myself, have not had near the experiences as he or your son have, but have the inability to make that choice at that critical moment, and have resorted to medications. Thankfully the medications have helped me in coping, and I no longer have random outbursts or extreme fits of anger and rage.
            Perhaps you (through your son’s own experiences) or CKV could describe to me this specific thought process and decision-making strategy. I don’t want to be on medication for life, though the doses are relatively low at this point in time and they do help a tremendous amount. I have often wondered if mental health could be managed without medications, and in hearing CKV’s experiences as well as your son’s I see that it can happen. Do you suppose that this can happen for everyone in the mental health community, given the right “tools” and coping strategies, or are there actually some cases where medication is the only option? I have been on and off different medications since my teenage years, as many mental health patients often are. No one truly wants to be medicated, save for the addict seeking their next high. I managed to kick substance abuse issues over 8 years ago, and quit drinking a few months back. So now I feel as if I owe it to myself to try and figure out how to manage my temperament on its own. I’d like to live a drug-free life and one that doesn’t require a built-in alarm on my phone reminding me to take my medications. However, I’m not entirely sure that it is possible. I only recently went back on medication and sought help again. Turning 30 this past summer was a pivotal moment in my life. I realized that my outbursts were no longer acceptable to me, and extremely unfair to my children, and I decided it was time again to seek treatment. I did not enter into a program expecting medication, but when it was offered, I also did not turn down the option either.

            Anyhow, I digress. Summarizing the questions posed above:
            1. I’m wanting to know if you believe that this conscious decision-making strategy can be implemented and effective in the lives of some, few, many or all people struggling with mental health issues?
            2. Can you ask your son to describe the “constant choice” in detail? Or perhaps CKV will chime in here, too. I want to know specifically what the thought process is like. Is there a point at which a trigger is realized or recognized and the decision making has to be pulled out and utilized? Are there always triggers, or if not, then how is an outburst signaled? Are there recognizable warning signs? I’m asking this mainly because in myself I don’t notice any type of warning and don’t seem to know when I’m about to “go off.”
            Any answers or advice you, your son, or CKV could give would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

          • CVK

            I don’t want to take away from Liza Long’s much more indepth perspective, but I will say that I don’t think that there’s any one way. Just as brutal and dark sometimes things get, I just turn that back and say no. It’s kind of a selfish, egoish act on my part, I didn’t find any real answers out there regarding ‘why’ to say no – have just made a choice to say no. I prefer to be alive. I understand not that it’s a problem for everyone else, but it’s a problem for me. It doesn’t do any good, for me, to hear that it’s not good to act or think a certain way for everybody else, that just builds up my resentment that I have to quietly scream and puts me on a rollercoaster. But, that’s me, much older than her son. At the time of his age, I’m not sure what I was thinking exactly. I didn’t have the ability to verbalize episodes so I’m not sure of reactions/justifcations going on. I just know the response of absolute quiet and silence doesn’t really allow people get out of their own head to think.

          • auroraspirit

            I admire your honesty and truth, I so wish you could talk to my soon to be 21 year old son. Bless you!

          • Kowabunga

            Everyone is different and responds to therapies/treatments differently but I believe that focusing on learning how to control the initial intense flow of emotions, specifically the anger, paired with an in-depth analysis of the situation can really help a lot of people stop depending on medications. It might take some time and practice to master but it is definitely doable. I try to avoid any kind of confrontational situations or things that I have recognized as triggers on the bad days. I also focus on calming myself down the second I start to feel the influx of energy and anger, even if it means literally removing myself from the scenario. Once I know the anger is under control, I focus on why I became angry to begin with and try to rationalize my way through it. Usually it is just one of my quirks, that has no reasoning behind it, that sets me off and thankfully (and luckily), my family has become aware of most of them and try to avoid them to help me remain calm. If you have certain triggers that you recognize, share them. If a person is not aware of the fact that they are doing something that drives you nuts, they will never stop. I have made an effort to communicate everything that I know will upset me with my immediate family members. Another thing I think is important is learning how to just let go. Controlling yourself, especially on a bad day, can build up some serious stress so finding an outlet that works to alleviate some of it was crucial for me in the long run. Again, everyone is different so what works for me might not help anyone else but I recommend yoga because it is slow, quiet and calming. Having to concentrate on the positions and balance help clear the mind of anything else (essential for me) and the stretching also helps with the physical stress. Hope this helps a little and good luck!

          • CVK

            Thank you. That actually meant alot.

          • No name

            I Soo agree, very proud and supportive of you that you have found your way!! Congrats! Hope my son can do the same. :/)

        • http://www.facebook.com/aaarif Arif Michael Vega

          I take it you have studied aspergers syndrome? If not it would be good to have that knowledge to bring to the conversation anyways.

          • CVK

            I did, though at the time when I started my personal work towards getting better that wasn’t as mainstream of a diagnosis and wasn’t aware of it. Having to work outside of labels for a while, I just concentrated on coping first, and to slowly make things easier got into self diagnosis and what outside resources I could get for professional opinoins. That’s an ongoing process.

        • Kowabunga

          Wow, thank you for sharing all of this. You have described things so clearly. My problems started when I was really young and I put my whole family through hell for more than 10 years. I tried antidepressant medication and for me, it made things a lot worse. It was like walking around in a melancholy fog but with a forced smile on my face. Having all of the same feelings but keeping them locked inside against my will. I felt like a prisoner in my own body. I guess it works for some people, but I could never even consider it an option. Things were always unpredictable in my life but they got really out of control around puberty. It makes me think there was maybe a possible hormonal imbalance that contributed to my rage, especially since I have poly cystic ovarian syndrome. I was diagnosed with depression but I’m pretty sure that was a secondary condition caused by an undiagnosed mild autism and always knowing that I was different. I have extremely sensitive senses, specifically vision and hearing, and get migraines often from it. They often contributed to the rage because no one understood that I needed to be left alone when suffering with one and they are often excruciating to the point I can’t concentrate on anything, even answering a simple question. Another thing that always set me off is being touched. It is the most peculiar thing because I honestly crave contact but often flinch away from it or get overwhelmed at the thought of communicable diseases (admitting this makes me feel a little crazy). Fear and paranoia contributed to the rage as well because it would keep me from sleeping and I was always uncomfortable and looking over my shoulders. I am typically an outgoing person and also learned how to manipulate people from a young age so most people never realized that I was struggling to even get out of bed everyday. At home it was a different story, I would become so enraged and unpredictable that my mother was afraid of me during my outbursts and my brother would be constantly ready to call the cops. I ended up eventually directing the anger and frustration towards myself and turned to self mutilation. It took a lot of patience from my family and friends to get me through this. I don’t know about anyone else but finding outlets, like sports and working out, for the rage really helped me physically deal with the episodes. I found a lot of mental comfort in meditation and yoga. I’m not a Buddhist but that religion really helped me because it emphasizes that everything a person does, is that person’s choice and everything that happens is a direct reflection of the person’s personal energy. It helped me to recognize my role in the impulsiveness and consequences and to find an inner peace and balance. I also began studying sciences and direct my energy to searching for answers, instead of settling for and dealing with what was around me. Don’t get me wrong, things aren’t perfect. I still know I’m very different from the majority of people around me and it does get extremely frustrating and lonely but it’s manageable. Being in large groups still overwhelms me and simple things, like interacting with people, completely exhaust me. Everyday is an effort to maintain the positivity and stability.
          It is so good to be able to finally share all of this without being judged or called crazy for it. It’s nice to know that even with all of these constant struggles, we are not alone.

          • Daniel

            This sounds like a good description of borderline personality disorder. There’s a response to it called dialectical behavioral therapy that is often helpful. I saw a close friend go through this over a number of years and it made a huge difference for her.

          • Kowabunga

            Thanks for the suggestion. I don’t really know what label I fit under but thankfully, I’m able to make continual progress. I’m glad to hear your friend has been able to work things out and even happier that you have stuck by her through the troubled times to see the difference. Not very many friends are willing to tough it out through the difficulties. You have made my day and given me more hope for the future. Thanks :)

          • Alex

            I have spent many years teaching religious studies at a Canadian university, especially traditions that teach folks to calm their egos to achieve a greater spiritual understanding. Over the years I have met and studied many of the practitioners of these traditions, but never heard people describe such a gargantuan struggles with such simplicity, clarity and humility. Thanks Kowabunga and CVK for your candor and willingness to offer help to others in similar situations. Bless you both!

          • auroraspirit

            Thank you!

      • http://twitter.com/rkwrkb Rachel Barnett

        It’s hard! I’ve successfully managed mental illness (as have several of my friends) with meds as a ‘first line’ of defence, but what really helped me manage things long term was a massive amount of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). Interestingly, CBT teaches exactly what CVK explains. I wouldn’t be where I am now, a fully employed lawyer, with a lovely husband and home, if I wasn’t lucky enough to be born in New Zealand, a democratic country that provides free health care for all.

        • CrochetMama

          That is amazing! Not to mention inspiring to those of us who are currently living with, struggling with, and somehow finding ways to cope with out own mental health issues.

          For someone in the US who doesn’t have the advantages of free health care and access to the services that you have received, could you please elaborate on CBT a bit? I’ve read up on it some, being a student in Human Services (with a concentration in mental health and substance abuse), but there is only so much a text book can tell a person. If you wouldn’t mind, both for my schooling purposes but more so for my own mental illness that I’m battling, I’d like to know the process of CBT. I understand that it is dealing with reshaping the thought process, but how exactly does it work?

          • Nor

            There are a lot of good books on the subject, and workbooks, and videos. I’m sure your profs can recommend. Also they can probably get you in (or you can get yourself in) as a student observer at CBT/DBT sessions for group outpatient (or inpatient) therapy, which wouldn’t be as invasive as if you were in on a one on one session. This is the lady who is the guru of DBT:

            http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/23/health/23lives.html

            Worth a read.

          • disqus_O4OwQJ4sws

            One name that stands out in this field is Dr. Albert Ellis who developed “Rational Emotive Therapy” or RET. His work stresses “logical thinking” and he has developed tactics to challenge yourself when you have these negative or self downing types of thoughts. He has written many books on this subject and has inspired an RET movement of many practioners. Whether its RET, or CBT or talk therapy…..this type of rational approach seems to help people with active minds and high cognitive abilities

        • CVK

          That’s awesome that worked out, and congrats. I didn’t hear about CBT until recently, and it’s got some interesting points.

          • Amy Flower

            Their is also DBT – Dialectical Behavior Therapy similar to CBT. Focus is on learning coping skills. Me I have Borderline Personality Disorder which my family refuses to acknowledge despite them seeing my mood swings, anger and putting me in therapy when I was 12. I moved out when I was 17, and managed to survive and not end up in jail or dead (despite 3 attempts). I did not find out I had BPD until I was in my 30′s and then I finally knew and could look into help. I will be 44 and I wonder what my life would have been like if I had been properly treated for my illness. My family still chooses to brush off my issues, and I have recently cut them out of my life because they are not there for me and I refuse to play a facade of everything is great, perfect family, we don’t want to know any issues. I feel like a stranger in my own family and have for years tried to keep them from knowing what life is like for me because I know they refuse to even try to understand or learn. To them I am the ungrateful daughter who will most likely one day end this pain that is “living” and they will wonder how I could do that, when what they should be wondering is how I have made it this long despite their lack of support.

          • CVK

            There’s a bittersweet liberation in discovering more and more about yourself, that if had just known earlier… but can’t live a life of regret. I had to cut out the family and the pretend life a long time ago too, it’s not easy. But as I’m starting to see more people post on the comments here, you’re not alone.

          • wickedprincessk

            I to had to cut out the family and the pretend life to survive and get my sanity and keep it. I really know how you feel CVK, and had the horrible family life to. I do understand completely, its hard but you need to do what you have to, to survive. I can say I am a survivor, but its hard.

        • Doctor-Mom

          Please just remember that as we are all wired differently, we all react differently to the various forms of therapy & to the therapists. CBT has TONS of research behind it & DBT is probably not far behind, but ALL therapies have their limitations.

          One also needs to interview the therapist, as you are hiring that person! I am, personally, psychodynamic (some Freud, some others whose theory expanded/grew out of Freud’s), mostly Attachment-oriented; it has worked very well for my clients in the past! There is also research (by Shedler & others, I believe) that shows that psychodynamic (be it Freudian or otherwise) is more effective & has longer-lasting effects than CBT, fyi…

      • Tempest Storm

        As a nurse I can say that the “pill popping” approach is largely due to the fact that mental illness is thought (by the medical community) to be chemical imbalances in the brain that they try to balance or at least stabalise with pharmaceuticals. Some are tranquilized by the meds they take, that is true, but the problem is that these meds (all meds really) have so many side effects and affect each person differently. Often times it’s trial and error. Patients usually are prescribed many different meds over time until they find one that seems to work. Like I said, it is very time consuming, it can take weeks and possibly even months before you can tell if that particular drug will work or not and more often than not people give up before they are able to find a medication that actually helps. These meds do not work immediately like say a pain reliever or something like that. These types of medications have to build up in the blood stream over a series of days, weeks or months before you can see whether or not they are helping or not and many people get frustrated and think they’re not working and will give up before really knowing. Also, many people stop taking them because of the side effects. Then there’s the cost, without insurance many can’t afford them. Yes, there are side effects, but all meds have side effects. You have to ask yourself if the side effects outweigh the behavior and quality of life of the person suffering from the mental illness. As far as the counseling goes, well, I guess the school of thought there is usually to try and teach coping mechanisms to people who may be lacking them among other things. But I will be the first to admit that our mental health system and treatments are seriously lacking.

        • Nor

          Also, on a basic human level, there’s got to be a huge inner push to prescribe medication. Because you have to do something. Because we don’t know how to treat a lot of these things effectively, or more precisely the money isn’t there for that level of care. And plenty of people don’t follow up with therapy any more than they follow up with medication, so it’s best to throw as much treatment at the patient as possible in the hope that some will be adhered to, and that some of it will help. We are still only at the beginning of learning how to deal with this stuff, our society is unwilling to fund it, and these things show.

    • TexasJay

      CVK, you seem to hold the key to a solution since you seem to be beating the problem. How are you accomplishing this, and do you think your solution can be replicated with others? If not, maybe it’s a starting point. Thank you for posting, and God bless you.

      • CVK

        I don’t think there’s a cure-all solution.

        Pills? A little difficult when free services are provided by the state because you committed a crime and they’re not looking at your root causes or being able to diagnose correctly. There were plenty of times I’d take a new pill and find myself wandering on a corner seeing nothing but a red haze (literally, not a metaphor). Or get hallucinations induced, seemingly. Try convincing yourself that your psychotic world view is wrong, then.

        Therapy? Again, state ordered and just concentrated on selling the idea of ‘well why don’t you want the American dream of white picket fence house, et al?’ (literal conversation). I don’t blame the effort either, but let’s be honest, when you’re talking to a therapist you are limited in that discussion to time and in depthness, and the system just wants to make sure you’re not immediate danger, not really pointed to long term help. You just eventually answer what they would like to hear, because there’s not enough time for them to understand. A lot of people also give you a look like ‘well you seem smart enough to figure this out’. I wish that had been the case.

        In my case, it was simply going so far and so long down a long twisted path with enough disasters on the side of the road that I ran out of gas. I just stopped and looked around. Things weren’t shocking at the time, how can things really be if you’re already distorted at times? You avoid punishment, sure, so there is plenty of rational decision making thoughts going on, but at those times you’re not dealing with a full deck (not that you could be told that at the time). I realized that some things were compressed down into brick form and had been turned into foundations that ‘me’ was built on. If you think something crazy enough for long enough, it becomes part of you. And I’m using the term ‘crazy’ loosely. Simply a thought that defies the average mix of feelings, thoughts, and values that most people seem to share as a whole. I still don’t know exactly what that is, but I just adapted.

        I gave up on the idea of removing it, like a virus or infection or a disease or something. It’s just part of me. You have to own it, convince yourself in spite of it. Take away its control so you’re basically not living in opposition to everything. And do it so it doesn’t feel like a lie you’re living just to avoid punishment or letting people down. A lot of searching and thinking was involved. Second guessing was sometimes a life saver, at least for me.

        Bursts of very painful, distorted.. I can’t even really describe it. The danger lies in rationalizing it. If someone can’t reach through to someone enough and point out why this or that seems a certain way – someone is going to come up with their own answers. Maybe a guide sometimes is needed. There’s no off switch, just a direction. And no real easy way to just verbalize it. Shared experiences, a different kind of bond/trust.. I wish I knew, I’m just poking at what I didn’t have, to try to say something useful.

        • TexasJay

          I appreciate your insight. This is useful to me to help me understand. If you don’t mind my saying, I think you have a calling to be that guide to others that you would have liked to have had. Not having lived the experience I couldn’t speak to someone like you with authority, although I would certainly be willing to listen and offer whatever rational ideas occurred to me.

          Other than a guide, what would have been useful to you, do you think? Different setting? Group or individual work? A regimented day or “free range”? I’m just looking for your ideas.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=511451229 Elizabeth Andkylie

            in most cases structure is very important for people who are unstable. i worked in a psychiatric clinic for kids many years ago before reagan shut them down and i think the structure of having set meal times, bed times, exercise time, and activities were more helpful than i ever realized.

            one of the reasons why people would relapse once they went home was due to the anxiety and uncertainty that having a less structured life offers. at childrenofthenight.org, the kids’ weeks are very structured but they have saturdays off so that they learn how to cope with and handle free time while they are still able to be watched a bit.

        • Crystal Durham

          I’m blown away by your ability to explain this. A lot of it we all do, but perhaps in ways that are less noticeable. But as a mother of someone mentally ill, I recognize everything about which you speak. Thank you for this.

        • shyloudwe

          thank you, this describes it perfectly and i hope that we can avoid this…thanks for putting my feelings into words. when i try i end up sounding really confusing. practice makes perfect? this may still be hard to understand for some, but i hope that they can understand me and others better. and i just hope…i just hope.

        • Chara

          This is so well said. Please, consider writing a book about your experiences so that any people can read it. It would be of great help to individuals dealing with the problem and the ones taking care of them.
          Your descriptions of therapy sessions remind me of Good Will Hunting. Of course, you are smarter than most therapists. You’ve touched my heart. Think of how many more you can touch with a book! Please!

          • a moms cry for help

            I have considered for years writing a book regarding living the with a challenged & lost child but figured no one would want to read such a sad hopeless story -

          • CVK

            I’m thinking about that, without it becoming a rambling mess. Thank you for that suggestion, maybe it would help someone at least.

        • http://www.facebook.com/brenda.lawson.507 Brenda Lawson

          You sound like my son… things he would say in those odd moments of sharing that would pop out… in the middle of nowhere… and I would stay so quiet to hear what he would say. I even caught myself holding my breath, so tense… once I gripped the steering wheel so tight I couldn’t get them to let go… so tight I couldn’t let go… Listening so hard for ??? something, anything… what to do? just trying to get a clue as to how to help him, He was in so much Pain… we loved him so much, but he wouldn’t… so we couldn’tfix it…. God’s Got him… he’s at peace now, I wish that I was. But in these things, the Should a, could a, would a’s can and will hurt later on… If one lets them. I turn it over to the Savior to carry for me. He does a fine job.

          • CVK

            I can’t even begin to know what to say, It’s hard for a lot of people to make the words. The only thing I know is during those times, I am always aware when someone cared to listen whether I could get words out or not, and it meant a lot to me, frustrating or not. I’m very sorry for your loss.

          • auroraspirit

            Bless you Brenda.

          • Lisa

            Brenda, I’m so sorry for your loss. I know that pain as I have experienced that loss, too. Only Jesus gets me through it.

        • disqus_O4OwQJ4sws

          CVK, your story is very moving and your comments are so insightful and heart-felt. I want to commend you, Liza and others who are contributing to this discussion for being so honest. I’m learning that one trait that seems to be common among people living with these feelings is that they are unusually intelligent. You certainly are. Your comments about “getting through” are right on target. I hope your courage will be an inspiration to others to share their stories

        • http://www.facebook.com/eileen.laskowski.9 Eileen Laskowski

          I can also empathize 15years

        • http://www.facebook.com/nicole.gordonanderson Nicole Gordon Anderson

          Thank you CVK for your insight. I have an 11 year old daughter who is autistic. I know she struggles and I know things are hard for her. I only know what I know from her father and I caring for her everyday but even as much as we know about her, we really don’t know. And we probably will never know. We try to talk to her about how she is feeling but we had only gotten as far as her saying that sometimes it’s like her brain is all scrambled sometimes and that it’s like it’s really noisy when it’s really not noisy. I wish I could completely understand it because I always have this thought that if I could, I could take it all away. Not just because we go through just about the same thing as Liza who wrote this article does and sometimes we too get scared, but more for the fact that I don’t want her to feel the way she does about herself. She’s at the age where she’s starting to realize something isn’t quite right. We do everything we can to make her feel like there is nothing wrong with her. And what I mean by that is that I want her to know that she is who she is. She’s just as special as everyone else. Just as important as everyone else. Sometimes we are at a loss and don’t know what else to do. Certain things work for a while and then they stop working. Then you have to try something else, and it goes on and on. Again, thank you so much for your insight.

          • AZ

            I understand what your daughter means about the noise in her head…I went through that a lot as a child. Most of the noise was from the TV shows I watched or music. It would sometimes make me react in weird ways because my head would be spinning because of it. It’s good that you try to help your daughter figure out and express what she’s feeling. I think my parents didn’t know what to make of my behavior and just ignored the weird parts. I was never emotionally connected to my family even though at times I can remember wanting to be. Now, at the age of 30, I often feel an aching loneliness because I wasn’t able to form emotional bonds with the people in my life.

            Anyway, I used to keep a diary–not only was it very therapeutic (reduced the noise so much that I was actually conscious of it), it helped me sort out the mess in my head. I was never able to talk much with people because I was and still am awkward in verbal communication and that made me very self-conscious. Keeping a diary also helped me improve in verbal communication because as I wrote, I would obsessively cross out and reword everything until I was absolutely satisfied that my words conveyed completely and exactly what I wanted. I actually started keeping a diary when I was the same age as your daughter. I don’t do it anymore because as an adult there’s less time for such things and I do suffer because of it. I find myself thinking about things that bother me all the time–while driving, cooking, etc–all those things that keep the body busy but the mind free to go on its destructive path. And it results in rage which at times can be difficult to control. But I have learned to deal with it so most of the time, no one can tell how furiously angry I am. It helps that logically I know the rage is unreasonable. It’s hell to go through though and I wish it didnt’ have to be that way. Sometimes when I find a spare minute, I’ll write out all the things that are bothering me and that helps me figure out how to solve my problems. I usually pray after I’m done writing because once the noise is gone, I can focus on other things. Prayer gives me peace about the other “ordinary” problems I have. I hope your daughter gets better.

    • http://twitter.com/LesleyatConsys LesleyK

      CVK- I really commend your courage for saying this. And I am glad you were able to navigate yourself through it, with or without any help you did or did not have. I hope you keep telling your story and letting any young people in your community that may be struggling similarly find hope in your story.

    • m. Vertin

      You are a brave young man and I respect you tremendously.
      ~a mom~~~~

    • Danna Garabedian

      It took a lot of courage for you to write this & I applaude you for it. Maybe what you said will help some other parent find the way to get help for their child. I hope you are OK now & will continue to be well all your life & that you are happy.

    • AJB

      It’s sad that there is such a stigma to admitting to struggling with these types of issues. Over the years I’ve learned coping mechanisms and I’ve made conscious changes to the way I view certain issues so as to avoid the sometimes debilitating “episodes” that led to being ostracized as a child. The idea that anyone that suffers from mental health issues is broken is a very big problem in this country. We seem to want to take anyone who isn’t the perfect shining example of physical and mental well being and shove them in a corner so the normal people don’t have to look at them.

      Stop treating people like us like a ticking time bomb and we’re far less likely to become one. Thankfully I found coping mechanisms that work for me. No one that I tell believes that I have struggled my entire life with mental stability. I was diagnosed with a number of different disorders none of which was likely right but the bottom line is I was much like Michael as a child and I have turned in to relatively stable and responsible adult. But not everyone gets there on their own. Some people need help and until we stop treating mental health treatment as taboo.

      But for the love of God stop treating your son like you’re “terrified” of him. Stop teaching him that he is broken and sick because he already feels like he doesn’t belong. At this point it’s not an all the time thing but as he grows older it will become more persistent. Right now he likely doesn’t understand social structure well enough to know how poorly he fits it. As he get’s older he will and if you’ve taught him his whole like that he is broken then at that point he really will be. Yes we need better mental healthcare in this country but more than anything we need people to stop looking at kids like Michael as if they need to be “fixed” and made “normal”. Teach him to control or cope with his outbursts when they happen and instead of a child that terrifies you you will have a child that amazes you.

      • CVK

        I know it’s scary for people, but really, we’re not monsters. Something’s going on and yeah, you should do what you can to avoid people or self being hurt, but do it knowing that it’s something we have to deal with too. It’s an experience to live through – I don’t think most sincerely want it that way – but that doesn’t change the fact that i’s a long road, and we appreciate any kindness or understanding. That goes a long way towards building a better internal support in coping.

        I do understand where Liza is coming from – it’s ok to admit to coming up short sometimes and not knowing what how to deal with it. She reaches out to the world looking for understanding and help the same way we do. It’s taken me a very, very long time to come to terms with that from my own mom and her response… but they’re probably feeling as isolated about it too.

        I know what you mean when no one believes you, AJB. I don’t know if it’s because I wear a social mask, or it’s because, like most, we’re all kind of smart, and people can’t share/comprehend. I spent a lot of time looking at how other repressed parts of society live and how they feel – I see some similarities. Carrying around a personal hell can be a lot easier with some understanding.

        • Lisa

          …..”we appreciate any kindness or understanding. That goes a long way towards building a better internal support in coping. Carrying around a personal hell can be a lot easier with some understanding.”

          Well said CVK. I’ve heard my loved ones express the same sentiment.

      • KVC

        Not every troubled or disturbed person is a ticking time bomb, but the ones that are must absolutely be treated as such.

    • http://hellaheaven-ana.blogspot.com Ana Luiza

      CVK where are the evidences showing that Adam Lanza shot the kids? Where are the bodies of these kids?
      You might think that I’m delusional but you’re not paying attention.

      • CVK

        I think that’s a separate question from this discussion.

    • SusanH

      Thank you for posting.

      There are many more individuals like yourself . People just do not know the everyday struggles that some go through to live with some semblance of comfort if not happiness.

      Living a life wishing for or regretting a different past is disheartening both to the individual living it as well as to those around them. Comes a time when the malignancy takes it’s toll on people and fears outweigh the love and hopes for the individual who has a problem…

      As a parent of an angry child who has grown up and become adjusted to herself, I sorrow for the missed opportunities her life could have held. I love her still unconditionally. I also realize that she still holds the ability to disrupt my life with her issues and lifestyle even if she does not see it that way. I will always love her and be there for her but with respect for my life and space as well BECAUSE if I am no longer here then she has no one..

    • Nancy Kirkendall

      CVK, How do we get help for our kids? I am struggling with a 13 year old grandson (I will call him Michael also) that my husband and I adopted when he was four. We’ve been to numerous psychiatrists and psychologists that have NOT helped one bit. Michael will not talk and the doctors aren’t listening/hearing us.
      After one rage, the psychiatrist told us that Michael was just a bad kid and he’s going to end up in jail! I refuse to give up but don’t know where to turn. Every time we’ve had to call the police, they just file a report and tell us that after so many reports he will have to go in front of a judge. He’s been in front of the judge only once and she ordered more counseling!
      I don’t know where else to turn. Michael has turned to experimenting with drugs and we’ve found knives hidden in his mattress…
      There has to be help out there somewhere that can help with these kids! I am desperate!

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Marianne-Lyvers/1445870178 Marianne Lyvers

        Nancy, I too adopted a troubled relative; a nephew, after both parents passed away within 3 months of each other. At 14 he was diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder, exhibiting much of the same behavior you describe. Numerous hospitalizations; violent outbursts, lying, destruction of my home (broken dishes, windows, TV, walls) and stealing. We ran out of options especially since my insurance severely limited what they would pay for. After denying to cover 30 days in a hospital (twice), we were told by the insurance company, that next time he ‘acts up’ to call 911. I wish I could tell you how to get help, but I know it helps to talk to folks in the same boat. I found talking to others in my situation helps. Find a support group in your area or online. You could email me if you need a friendly ear.
        I found someone at church. She said these kids are broken, and parents can’t fix them. Only God can. All we can do is love them.

        • Anonymous

          That’s a bunch of crap about kids being broken. These kids need love and listening NON-JUDGING ear. It may NOT be you… These kids are not THE problem, and need to be reminded of that. They may have problems, and may need to seek help for them. Frankly, I found help here: http://www.undergrace.org/undergrace.org/Grace_Ministries.html

        • Anonymous

          They are angry, and like a shaken up soda bottle, need someone to lovingly and S-L-O-W-L-Y help them release/process the anger.

        • Lisa

          Marianne,
          I have a friend who adopted several children with RAD. After watching the living hell she is going through for several years and having exhausted every available resource and loving those children to her own destruction…….I’m in agreement with you.

    • Vivian Stockwell

      I read this, and some of the replies, and couldn’t help but remember how I was growing up. I lived in an abusive home, where my dad frequently got drunk and beat my mom, or sister or brother – never me, because he “couldn’t hit another man’s kid” yeah, that’s how I found out he wasn’t my dad. I had violent outbursts, some I still don’t remember, as I saw red, or black, when I’d get that mad, only the target of my anger would be clear. I eventually moved on to self-hate, and became anorexic, and suicidal. The sad thing is, I have never been one to stay quiet. I told. I told everyone. Teachers, counselors, principals, cops, strangers. I’d tell anyone that things were horrible at home, that I was drinking my dad’s beer, and popping his pills, trying to end it. None of them did anything. I was committed once, for the anorexia, and they did a few personality tests, prescribed Prozac, but never said what they found, or did any follow up. Fifteen years later, I’m married, with two kids, one Autistic, and, while I have my moments, I have learned to control them. I hope something good comes of this tragedy, like better mental health care, and that parents are able to get equipped with the help to get them through it, and into a more balanced adulthood.

    • No name

      Thank you so much for your insight. I just don’t know how to deal with it as a parent. I try to understand because I was also diagnosed with ADHD in 1968. But everyone just thought I was a hyper active bad student who couldn’t pay attention and always interrupted. Bit I NEVER

    • Lorelei’s Dad.

      Over think it much?

    • http://www.facebook.com/preames1 Paula Reames

      CVK thank you for giving us a look into the life of someone that has actully suffered with these problems. I am so glad that you were able to obtain help and are living life to the fullest. It gives me hope that my own son may find help, even though I was unable to find it for him.

    • ehredrain@gmail.com

      CVK you are so right. Our society does not support families. Instead families that need help are targeted for the system in a very dangerous and negative way. Surviving these childhood mental health issues is very challenging. Thank you for your courage and strength.

    • http://www.facebook.com/deborah.cool.18 Deborah Cool

      I suggest Functional Medicine testing. Although I’m still a med student (in my fourth and final year before residency begins), I offer my help for free because I’m still not licensed to practice medicine. I believe chronic conditions like mental illness needs to begin with thorough biochemical, physiological, genetic polymorphism detection, etc. first. I’m working on a MD, PhD in Public Health, and Master Clinician Certificate in Functional Medicine. I’m about to launch NCD research in St. Kitts. Mental illness is considered a NCD. God Bless You All.

      • Lisa

        I would love to learn more and correspond with you about this

    • We do need help!

      Thank you for telling your personal story. My son is exactly like you! He not only needs help but so does our family who have all tried several different approaches to his care and guidance. It is not easy. Every day is a new day and a new struggle. I know he and many others like yourself have a hard path. Congratulations for your extreme efforts here to share your truth. Love and hope and patience and living in the now is all we can do!

    • http://www.facebook.com/carrie.m.reeve Carrie Mendenhall Reeve

      TY it is tough and can be done. Selfless loving network of listners not star gatherers

    • Linda Redmond

      Great and huge blessings on you for sharing all this… I find you to be strong, wise and courageous, a valuable member of society, and I support you in your journey. I have tears coming now, from deep inside, because of your story and your words. I pray your life is filled with richness beyond what you could ever imagine or hope, and that it feels like what you need it to be… free, safe, clear inside, or whatever. I agree with all you say here, and I like how you said things don’t have to be so stark for people in this situation — yes, exactly. I pray for your family to lose their judgments and fears, and to open to you more fully, freely and closely, and in ways that feel safe and healing for you as well as for them, and not more than you all can handle (or in any way which could leave you feeling too oppressed or pressured). Living through this is indeed an amazing and a tough accomplishment, and imo you deserve to be lauded and *valued* for that, not stigmatized. I hope we can all get together and create an effective safe zone for sufferers and families both, so that understanding and healing can grow, and more people can say what you have said here. All the best.

    • Giselle Dennis

      Thank you for sharing this difficult situation, I am the mother of 2 sons , one has language learning disability and the other has ADHD. they are 30 and 31 years old. I thought when they get older things will get better, but it has affected our relationship, mostly my son with ADHD.

    • Bob

      I went through this and just posted my story under bob. Please watch the meds, its the first thing the Drs want to start and we went through Hell from it.

    • Melanie

      ~ Your writing truly touched my heart…
      The wuuuuay you have shared your truth…your private, most intimate reflection of pure honesty…which is so very rare for so many…is a unique gift that you have shared with selfishness that I respect as well greatly admire…
      You have a Wonderful Gift in the way you express yourself, the Beauty of your writing, your ability to be forthright, honest and pure.
      It takes a strong individual to recognize and be honest with oneself …of the challenges that we all face in life…It is a truly amazing human being who holds such strength and courage within oneself ….to stand up alone, and to share with others their own intimate story

  • Celine Havard

    Could you please tell me what medication your son has been on? And has it ever occurred to you that some of the aggressive behavior could be due to the medication? Did he exhibit violence and Oppositional disorder BEFORE medication?

    • Ladifuckinda

      Personally, if I were the author I would rather consult with a doctor on medication rather than some random Internet commenter with an anti-medication agenda. How do you know she hasn’t carefully examined her son’s medications already?

  • http://www.facebook.com/rebecca.phelps.54 Rebecca Phelps

    Dear God, what a living hell. Thank you for sharing, and of course you’re completely right. It’s a problem this country has been ignoring for too long. And yes, jail is not the answer.

  • http://twitter.com/LoriSuthar Lori Suthar

    Our son too, was violent and went into rages nothing short of the exorcist. He had dilated pupils, anorexia, insomnia…no diagnosis..he was crazy. We then learned about PANDAS and discovered an underlying asymptomatic strep infection. 3 days on antibiotics and our house was almost normal, we could breathe. Long story short, we got intensive, accurate,treatment. I now have a 3rd grader w straight As, sweet, gentle temperment, and a future. No more rages or hallucinations. I don’t think its rare. http://www.joshuasmissingpeace.com

    • http://www.facebook.com/jennwolke Jennifer Wolke

      Will have to Google PANDAS

    • Nor

      Pretty sure it’s rare. Mental illness is not. And you were very lucky.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kathleen-Eickwort/1223105447 Kathleen Eickwort

      It’s not rare, and I watched my grandson go through it. We caught it early. It was very effective–a z-pak.

      • Nor

        It’s not even been determined to be a real disease. There are no numbers on it’s frequency because it does not yet officially exist. Severe mental illness is 1-2% of the population. It’s unlikely that there are more cases of PANDAS, if it is proven to exist, than there are of mental illness. It doesn’t hurt to treat for it, we throw antibiotics at kids all the time, but it is much less likely to be the cause.

  • toto

    I’m just a nobody who knows nothing, but what I do know that increase of mental health issues continue to rise at an inexplicable rate. What I also know is that if we go back in time before Monsanto got their hooks into every conceivable thing that touches our lives (from the genetically modified foods, growth hormones, etc, to agriculture to cleaning products, pesticides and chemicals in just about everything in our household) I think we’d see that mental health issues increased steadily as Monsanto’s evil hand increased steadily.

    What I also know is that the reality your son lives in, and the one you live in, are universes apart. We cannot comprehend his universe any more than he can comprehend ours. We need to stop trying to rewire brains that Monsanto has destroyed and start trying to find ways that allow people like your son to function in both worlds in relative calm.

    Bless you and all you deal with.

    • LMM22

      My great-grandfather murdered my great-grandmother. Humans have had mental health issues for millennia. The only difference now is that we’ve been starting to treat them as such — and, perhaps, that, in our modern society, children who might otherwise have died are living to adulthood.

    • Ladifuckinda

      There is a reason that we have more diagnoses now, and it’s a very simple one: we know about a lot of mental health issues now that we didn’t know about a century or half a century ago. No need to resort to conspiracy theories. Push your agenda elsewhere.

      • Nor

        Yeah we used to just warehouse people, or put them in jail. Now we actually try to treat them. Not a conspiracy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1632616235 Shawn Barnett

    Thank you Liza for such an important insight into our biggest health care crisis… I hope your son will get the help he so desperately needs and you some peace… along with happiness~

  • 4mercy

    Matt.11:28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Fill his mind with God’s Word and pray over him for healing. My heart broke as I read of your pain.May you know God’s presence and grace.

  • http://twitter.com/melanievotaw MelanieVotaw

    Thank you for being brave enough to disclose all of this. My heart goes out to you and your family. I agree that our society does not handle mental illness well. While there’s much we don’t yet understand, we must do better in providing the best care we can.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=507659352 Mahala Dixson

    Reading this post struck me to the core. I have a son who is only 3 years old…and he’s already been through so much (diagnosed with cancer at 3 months old) He scares me a lot of the time, and I don’t know how to help him, he gets so angry about everything, and just goes, as I describe it…crazy. Everyone just says “oh it’s just a temper tantrum” These are not tantrums. The way he looks at me during these times, it’s frightening. And nothing “suggested” by all those knowing people…is helping. I worry about his future, constantly. I pray that this behavior is just a phase for him..but most of the time I’m just at a loss. Something does need to be done, mental health needs to be very closely examined.

    • http://twitter.com/momtograndma Gladys S Parker

      Let’s pray that some, somewhere has had enough of the killings and realizes then children need help BEFORE A MAJOR crime is committed!

    • http://www.facebook.com/abrofford Amanda Brofford

      Is it possible your son has ptsd? Cancer treatments can be traumatizing. There is treatment for toddlers. Good luck.

    • http://www.facebook.com/terri.petz Terri Petz

      Mahala, my daughter is now 13, and she started at about 3 as well. She has been diagnosed with intermittent explosive disorder. Brilliant in math and sciencce, honor student. These violent outbursts are now less frequent, but still have the same terrifying intensity. I thpught I was a bad mother until someone encouraged me to reach out for help. We need to bring this out of the dark and start a national conversation about these disorders.

    • revgerry

      Have a SPECT Scan of your child’s brain at an DR. AMEN clinic, to see which parts are misfiring or not working properly, and get the followup targeted treatment program. Your child is still young enough to save. Hold a fundraiser of you can’t afford it.

      • Nor

        Unless the kid is mid-fit at the time, and able to remain absolutely still for the scan, how is this helpful?

  • grandmotherwillow

    As a young woman who once experienced sudden screaming fits of rage when I was around your son’s age, I just want to thank you for opening up and sharing your story. Although I did not threaten to harm others, I was very aggressive towards myself and I stand in solidarity with you in the call to action. I guess you could say I “grew out of it” – my issues never became quite this intense, although I am still very quick to a lesser degree of anger – but the mental health system has done little to support me and I find it easier to just deal with my problems on my own than ask for help and be sent to an institution. I’ve found the best therapy for me is to speak out about what’s wrong with the system. I commend you for joining in.

    (FWIW, I was eventually diagnosed with major depression, anxiety, and ADHD. I don’t think these labels really explain everything that goes on in my head, but it gave me a little bit of comfort to put a name to my enemy’s face.)

    • http://aminerecipes.com/ Michelle Ferris

      If you don’t already know about the link to these disorders and pyroluria, and the possibility of solving it through vitamins, please see my post (it’s one of the first). I hope it helps you. <3

      • grandmotherwillow

        Thank you Michelle! A lot of the physical symptoms add up, so I think I will ask my doctor the next time I go in. It seems worth looking into.

        • http://aminerecipes.com/ Michelle Ferris

          Doctors have proven to be mostly useless to me. You will find a WEALTH of information here, though, if you join the group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/pyroluria/?fref=ts

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Oline-Wright/772108468 Oline Wright

            Just remember that doctors are only licensed to practice medicine. They don’t know everything and what works for one client may not for another. I decided on the basis of my then fiancée telling me his doctor said to him something like that it was better for me to join him in Australia than for him to try to join me in the US as he had a good doctor and I had lots fewer health problems.

      • http://twitter.com/pppatticake patricia

        Thank you for posting this–I had never heard of this!

    • http://twitter.com/pppatticake patricia

      This is true for those dealing with family violence, as well. You are on your own and the ONLY services are victim compensation AFTER you are, quite predictably, re-assaulted. Of course you must survive to collect them. THere’s nothing to be done preventively, and the police are as upset about this as are the targets of personality disordered spouses/ex-spouses.

  • http://www.facebook.com/alan.w.rose Alan W. Rose

    You’ve hit the nail on the head. To a great degree, you’ve described my experiences with my son, the fears I keep in my heart, and absolutely the abysmal state of (pediatric) mental health in the US today. My son is diagnosed with post traumatic frontal lobe injury and bipolar disorder, and once went completely nuts when a Physician improperly prescribed a medication to him (Clonipine or Clonidine, I forget which). We went through hell getting him help, mostly due to flat out incorrect information from the supposed professionals. The government would rather incarcerate than treat our children.

  • http://RedTash.com Red Tash

    Thank you for sharing this. Praying for you and your family. I wish all the best for your son.

  • http://aminerecipes.com/ Michelle Ferris

    A peculiar connection I have found with my own food allergies is also tied to many mental illnesses and ADD, ADHD, OCD, anxiety, and more. Please look into it. Often, mental illnesses are a symptom of nutritional deficiencies. Especially zinc, magnesium, and B vitamins. My own mother suffers from what appears to be stress-induced schizophrenia, which I believe comes on because of a hidden pyroluria issue that she will not address (as she lives in Japan and mental illness is so looked down upon, she fears going to the doctor because her family would probably lock her up and throw away the key if she were found to be “mentally deficient” in some way).

    Look into amine allergies and pyroluria. Perhaps you will find something that will help you. I certainly did.

    <3 Michelle Ferris
    Low Amine Recipes
    http://aminerecipes.com

    • Brenda J

      Michelle, I’m so glad you brought up mineral/nutritional deficiencies and pyroluria.

    • http://www.facebook.com/kim.crowdis Kim Crowdis

      I have to take HUGE amount of vitamins and minerals to stay some place normal.

      I was 18, had the mumps and had a dream that told me to take B complex. I told my mother about my dream and she bought me a bottle of high potency B vitamins. Since then, I have found my own vitamin and other nutritional supplement way. I also have numerous food allergies and to fragrance. Any doctor that tells me I don’t need as much as I take will be dismissed instantly. It shows they know nothing about diet or chemicals.

      I hope this mother and others will look into nutrition, and allergies to help. Other sources of problems can be found in the assault of chemicals in our daily lives like soap, fragrance products, food, etc. I wish her luck in finding the path to help her son be healthy in all ways.

      • http://aminerecipes.com/ Michelle Ferris

        Also, if you’re not already taking coenzymated B vitamins, switch to that. B vitamins can be made through “food” B vitamins or synthesized through a toxin. You don’t want to eat those. Coenzymated B vitamins are best, as your body knows what to do with them instantly. My food allergy symptoms reduced by 75% with the change in my B vitamins and addition of Iodoral (look up Dr. Brownstien on iodine) and 100g selenium per day.

        • http://aminerecipes.com/ Michelle Ferris

          Also also… If you think you might have pyroluria and want to learn more, the BEST source I’ve found so far is a facebook group. Very helpful, informative, and supportive community. https://www.facebook.com/groups/pyroluria/?fref=ts

  • http://www.facebook.com/adriana.leal.520 Adriana Leal

    I’m sorry for your situation. In 1999 there is a report saying that 1.4 million people in U.S has severe untreated mental illnesses. The government should do something about it… Educate parents too about not having guns when your kid isn’t “normal” etc

    • http://www.facebook.com/rick.archer.58 Rick Archer

      Today as much as 25% of the population has a mental disorder at any given time.

      • Ladifuckinda

        Yeah, but “mental disorder” is a wide category – encompassing everyone from people with mild anxiety or depression to the violently mentally ill. Adriana is talking specifically about people who are severe cases.

  • http://twitter.com/TracyVanity Tracy Vanity

    Incredible article! Thank you so much for sharing your experience. This gun control debate is totally pointless and is straying from the actually issue of poor health care and especially poor mental health care in America. You are a strong and dedicated mother and I applaud you for doing everything you can possibly do to do right by your son. I wish you the best in trying to find some peace in such a chaotic situation.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000706523961 Billy Higgins

      You don’t get it do you, if a gun was readily available to him, his mother and siblings would be dead. This wonderful intelligent woman has the insight to make sure none are available to him and tries to remove any other weapons from his reach. Most mental “moments” can be overcome, the effects of what they do when they have one of those “moments” if they have weapons like guns readily available cannot be undone.

    • http://pissedoffwoman.wordpress.com Pissed Off Woman

      I hardly consider predicting in a very public forum that your son will grow up to be a mass murderer to be doing right for him.

  • Brenda J

    Liza, before responding I read a comment by Michelle Ferris mentioning pyroluria and the connection between mental illness and nutritional deficiencies. As Michelle suggested, I also suggest you look into that. I, as well as my son, have pyroluria as well as issues with histamine, copper levels, and malabsorption. While my symptoms lean to the depressive side, my son’s symptoms include anger/frustration control, outbursts (verbal and physical), etc. I began treating at Pfeiffer Treatment Center (now called Pfeiffer Medical Center) in the Chicago suburbs in 1992, and my son has recently began treating there. Let me tell you – the difference is phenomenal. Just tonight, my son was in a very stressful “trigger” situation and he handled it calmly, rationally, appropriately. I actually cried with joy.

    Please consider Pfeiffer for your son. I’ll be happy to answer any questions you have from a patient point of view as well as a parent point of view.

    • http://aminerecipes.com/ Michelle Ferris

      Fantastic source, Brenda, and I’m so glad you found something that helped you and your son!

      • http://aminerecipes.com/ Michelle Ferris

        Also, for info on pyroluria, this facebook group has been INCREDIBLY helpful. https://www.facebook.com/groups/pyroluria/?fref=ts

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Linda-Skempris/502936331 Linda Skempris

        I wish I knew about this 15 months ago. It is too late for me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/arwenu Arwen Undómiel

    My experience isn’t much different. My son is now 17.5. I am trying to get him on SSI so that he has the services he needs as an adult. I’m getting full out lies for rejection letters (“We spoke to [insert my name] on November 14th and she said she didn’t want services). I never spoke to anyone at the SSA. I completed the forms and mailed them. I am as worried as you about his adult life and what could come of him failing to obtain the medications and services he needs. That being said, I have other children and have to protect them from his abuse. They’ve suffered enough. He isn’t living here with us as an adult. We have to change this all before another tragedy occurs of even worse proportions.

    • http://www.facebook.com/dawndaroo123 Dawn Vesperman

      Arwen, if you have not already done so you need to get an attorney that specializes in dealing with the SSA. I know a number of persons who have battled with them getting SSDI benefits, and most have had to get an attorney because of the BS.

    • ConcernForHumanRights

      Call your state Department of Mental Health and ask how you or a treating doctor can apply for services for him. He will get more than money. He will get services, possibly housing.

    • ConcernForHumanRights

      Also, if he is turned down for SSDI, file an appeal, do not file the application again. Once they approve an application, they pay retroactively to the date it was first submitted. They often deny benefits until after several appeals.

  • http://www.facebook.com/amber.r.valenzuela Amber Rose Valenzuela

    Thank you for writing this. Thank you so much for opening your life up and speaking truthfully about this. I’m sure it must break your heart to have to admit you’re scared of your child, and to put it out so very publicly is so so brave. I agree, something really seriously needs to be done about mental illness.

  • Leila

    I agree completely that correctly diagnosing , treating and loving a family with GREAT mental health services is the way to avoid these and so many tragedies. Hang in there, I have had my troubles with challenged children too.

  • Jen Onymous

    I truly feel for you. It all begs the question though; if people are untreatable and violent, what DO we do with them?

    What?

    What is the solution if nothing works? Wait until they kill someone?

    • Jane

      Maybe if we tried to treat them instead of just strapping them down and pushing meds on them a treatment that works would emerge. Just sayin.

    • revgerry

      Each one is different, but SPECT Scans to see exactly where the brain is malfunctioning, combined with a targeted long-term inpatient/outpatient treatment program was what I could not get for my grandson. I simply did not have the tools to deal with it by myself.

      • http://www.facebook.com/tedicrawford Theodora Crawford

        I too had a grandchild with learning issues (dysgraphia), my own analysis since 3nd grade that the school and their “specialists” completely rejected. (This brain malfunction is not unlike dyslexia.) I could not afford to pay for expensive testing and therapy and I’d never heard of SPECT Scans. I live with fear was that, now denied the positive social and creative opportunities of high school like music, technology and sports and he new reality of his life in special education — being labeled a failure, uncooperative, bad person — could eventually bring him to despair, anger and possibly worse.

        While this is absolutely insignificant compared to what so many suffer, it is a huge reality for millions of children…and we deny it at our peril. We must redirect our military insatiability toward a demand for social services, educational opportunity and from the very beginning, security of life for everyone. Adding a touch of creative opportunity would help…Argentina’s La Systema has proved that a large government program can make a difference.

        • Nor

          I’d really question that we are at the point where any scan of any kind is particularly helpful. We just don’t know very much about the brain.

        • http://pissedoffwoman.wordpress.com Pissed Off Woman

          I don’t know where you live, but I know that in New York there are some really good private special ed schools, and that it’s possible for parents to get the tuitions there paid for by the government if they raise a big stink about other schools not being suited to their kid’s special needs. These schools have small classes and plenty of art and music. I would try to find either legal advice about how you can best advocate for getting your grandkid into one of these schools, or legal and non-legal advice on how to get the kid’s regular school to make the necessary accomadations for his learning problem without having to change his classes, or possibly get the kid transferred to another regular school where the teachers are more understanding. It’s tough going but if you are pushy and dedicated enough you can do it.

  • http://twitter.com/fingered Harrison

    The piece is well worth reading for the points it raises concerning mental health, but the (apparent) fact remains that the real mother of Lanza was a serious gun enthusiast and, apparently, raised her emotionally disturbed son to be one as well and then gave him access to a full arsenal. Probably parenting no no #1. Who knows, maybe this Rand-reading, Reagan-loving, daughter of a marine mom is guilty of a few parenting no no’s herself over the years?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1603113528 Manal Khalife

    Please look into emotional freedom technique for these ‘triggers’. Eft can clear these triggers and calm them down within minutes. And you can work on the issues during a calm time and not have to wait to be triggered. It has changed my life and many others’.

  • jrterrier

    This is heartbreaking. But sending someone like your son to prison would be a crime in itself.

  • disqus_gUkE1r0ZbG

    Liza, when I read your story I thought of PANDAS, and I see another commenter did as well. Learn more here: http://intramural.nimh.nih.gov/pdn/web.htm
    Your son may not have this, but apparently it’s not yet widely recognized or understood so it still gets misdiagnosed. A good friend went through this with her daughter last year – she had gotten to the point where her behavior was so unpredictable that she couldn’t go to school anymore, and none of the doctors could figure out what was wrong. Finally someone made the strep connection, she started on antibiotics and began getting better. It’s worth looking into.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Acebass1 Ron Moore

    Bless you dear lady!

  • disqus_SvC7Ny43Hv

    I truly think its all because parents cant punish like they use to they go to jail for it or just get there kids taken from them i dont mean abuse just punish and some just dont pay enough attention to there child at critical times they just ignore them i also think we use to many drugs this day in age to control people you will never see my kids on any meds if i have anything to do with it and if punishing doesnt work there is always milatery school or boot camp and im sure alot more and i dont think it should become a gun rights issue and some people are just crazy im not saying in this case just some and if your crazy i dont really care where you go as long as you cant hurt your self or others

    • http://msannomalley.com/ Kathy Kramer

      I grew up when people could “punish their kids like they used to” and I have mental illness. My grandmother was agoraphobic and had an anxiety disorder. My grandmother was born in 1914. Your argument is invalid. Mental illness has nothing to do with how a person is raised. Mental illness is a medical condition that is caused by a combination of genetic, environmental and biological factors. . You wouldn’t tell a person with cancer that they got cancer because their parents couldn’t discipline them like “they used to”. So why is it okay to tell a person with a mental disorder the same thing? All you’re doing is stigmatizing them and making them feel ashamed of a legitimate medical condition. Would you shame a person with cancer?

      I just read that the mother of this shooter knew that he was mentally unstable but decided that she would “handle it herself” instead of seeking help for him. We know how that ended up.

    • http://twitter.com/boysinbikinis hey apathy

      Please, there is a huge difference between spanking and abuse.

  • Tony’s Mom Forever

    You are describing my son as well. From the age of 13 he started having problems. He was loving and kind one day, and explosive and angry the next. He got into drugs. It calmed him down – unless he took the wrong thing. He also pulled a knife on me a few times. Hit me, broke things, broke walls, kicked out my windshield…I could go on. I tried to get him help, but you are right – the only option is to have your kid locked up i jail, and I didn’t want that. My son died by suicide at age 20 – he couldn’t take it anymore. It was only by the Grace of God that he never hurt anyone in his rages. But I will always miss and love him. He is resting now.

    • http://www.facebook.com/afsp.memphis Lisa Morris

      Tony’s mom, I also lost my son to suicide at the age of 20; that was almost 12 years ago. He battled bipolar disorder for the last six years of his life, self-medicating with alcohol and drugs. Affordable mental health care is important to saving these young lives.

    • buttrfli60

      My son died Sept 1 of a drug overdose. It took two months for the report because the coroner had to say whether or not it was intentional (she put undetermined after I talked to her personally). I’ll never know. He also was this kid as a young teen. He was a heroin addict when he died at age 23. He had been on so many psych meds I lost track (cannabis helped him best, but we live in Ohio). I worried that he would go into a rage and kill people before he took himself out. I grieve him every day, but at the same time, I am grateful that his suffering has ended.

      We went through the mental health system with him, but they ultimately ended up not helping. He also had spent some time in jail. It was torturous for him. In this country, our prisons serve as our mental health institutions. Right cruel ones they are, too.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=120810443 Tedra Osell

        I am so deeply sorry for your loss.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000672933809 Christina Boyce Allman

    Thank you so much for your article. I said something similar in a post earlier today connecting autism with the incident of violence since I read that the brother told police that the shooter was autistic. My own son is 5 now and we have been around and around with diagnosis for several years. He has terrible outbursts and can’t seem to control himself about some of the most mundane things, but most of the time he is the sweetest most loving cuddle bug you have ever known and he is often remorseful after he has had an outburst and tells us he can’t control it and that he hates himself because he can’t control himself. It is heartbreaking to me to hear him talk like that. He is truly a Jeckell and Hyde type of person. He exhibits signs of ADHD and by the time they actually tested him for Autism he only had “Autsim like behaviors” but not Autism. He is asthmatic and has bowel problems which he takes maintenance meds for and these medicines especially the asthma ones can be enough to set him off. I love my son so much and since he has been borderline on diagnosis and was less violent than he was last year at his special pre school class I still have hope that he will lead a normal life one day and pull through this, but my absolute fear is that he would one day spin out of control and that I will no longer be able to just hold him back.
    I know that my son was damaged by vaccines because he has had significant regressions only after vaccines and since he stopped having vaccines two years ago he has had NO more regressions, but he does have residual mental and physical damage to his system that we deal with every day. It frustrates me to no end when someone who only sees him for short times tells me it is all in MY head and that there is nothing wrong with my son’s behavior. Those people don’t have to deal with him when he is flying off the handle or when his over sensitive hearing has overwhelmed him and his body going full speed and all ability to reason has completely left him and it takes what seems forever to settle him down. If he doesn’t grow out of this how am I supposed to settle down a full grown adult who behaves like this????? I hold out hope because I love him and I still have dreams of holding my grand kids and seeing my son graduate and take his place in life finding a wife and a job he likes and just living a meaningful life, but I am very scared for my child and his uncertain future.
    Truly, those with mainstream children who blindly take the doctor’s word for everything have no idea what it is like for us who have children like this and it is just too easy for them to just say we aren’t good parents and that it is ALL our fault. The system has given us help luckily since my son is so young yet, but it was the system in my eyes that broke my son in the first place. I pray that one day everyone will open their eyes and fight together but until then it is just one family at a time falling and everyone around them doesn’t believe them including the doctors. It is just maddening how society keeps up it’s false sense of safety and comfort in the midst of such an epidemic of crazy. I think it is the mainsteam people who turn a blind eye who are the crazy ones, they FAIL to cope and deal with the TRUTH.
    No doctor can ever tell me this is genetics, that is just one more way they have found to fault the parents, but this epidemic didn’t exist in generations past so if genetics does play a part then it is because our genetics must have changed. Hmmm, maybe it is time to stop with the mad science of splicing genetically altered human and animal DNA into our food and injecting it directly into our babies via shots. As our scientists rewrite the basic human code are we truly writing the demise of our entire race? The most recent numbers of Autism is 1 in 88 and that does not include children who are only officially boarderline but didn’t make the cut like my son who is clearly damaged and still needs help. We literally have a generation with an over abundance of physical, social emotional and downright psychiatric issues growing up and I am not sure we are prepared for 1 in 88 autistic children to become autistic adults that can not be controlled.

    • LMM22

      This epidemic never happened in previous eras: we just had abusive parents, a ridiculously high rate of violence, and demon possession.

      As for this:

      this epidemic didn’t exist in generations past so if genetics does play a part then it is because our genetics must have changed

      In “generations past” (those of your great-grandparents’), probably about fifty percent of the children would have died. If you don’t think that changes the gene pool, you’re fooling yourself.

      I’ve seen a lot of people lash out at “modern” practices claiming that they’re responsible for their child’s psychosis. Maybe modern medicine is — because, in another era, your child (and a few other of your ‘normal’ children and, quite possibly, you as a mother) would be dead long before anyone could tell whether or not they were sane.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000672933809 Christina Boyce Allman

        There are consequences to every medicine and every medical practice. The point is that I feel we have not been properly weighing the pros and cons because we have not been given all the facts before making a decision and have been coerced by people who call themselves “professionals” into thinking they know our children better than we do. When my son regressed after each set of vaccines and when he was 3 and my talking boy regressed the very next day after a mere flu vaccine all the way back to baby babble and it took him a week to relearn his language, then YES modern practices ARE responsible for much of my child’s condition. I can’t say it is all that is responsible but it was the TRIGGER. Even after this very obvious reaction the doctors still told me it was a “coincidence” that my son had lost his speech after the vaccines. When my child reacts with his vaccines each time for the first three years of life then I would say it is no longer a “coincidence” but a FACT that the vaccines have been damaging my child. You are apparently one of the people who will never understand until it happens to someone you love. You have no idea what it is like because for you this is a passing subject you just happened to read today. For us, this is our LIVES EVERY DAY!

        • Ladifuckinda

          No, you just think they do because the issues that your son has happened to show up around the same time vaccines are usually administered! Correlation is not causation. And there is literally zero reliable research that points to any cause between vaccines and stuff like autism (which you’ve made it clear anyway, in previous posts, that your son doesn’t have). There’s a reason that Andrew Wakefield lost his medical license. All the riled-up emotions in the world do not undo scientific fact.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000672933809 Christina Boyce Allman

            http://www.naturalnews.com/033425_BMJ_Andrew_Wakefield.html
            Actually do you really think you can inject mercury, aluminum, arsenic, formaldyhyde etc into babies with no consequences? The entire premise behind vaccines also is to trigger your own immune system to create antibodies to make you immune, so how does that work when we vaccinate babies fresh from the womb who’s immune systems have not even completely developed yet? Really I can tell you what I have found but maybe you should look into it yourself because until you do you won’t believe me. 80% of the people who have come down with Whooping cough were completely vaccinated from it leaving the last 20% to be not just unvaccinated people but also partially vaccinated people. Fact is actually against vaccines, you just won’t hear that from the people making money off of them.

          • Jon Hendry

            Wakefield is a corrupt fraud who performed unnecessary medical procedures on children for profit. Natural News is a cesspool of quackery.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000672933809 Christina Boyce Allman

            I posted a link about Wakefield. Actually is was fraud that was used to discredit his research. If you would rather believe research done my the vaccine companies who sell the product then be my guest but maybe you should read about how some of Merck’s own scientists sued them because they were being bullied and coerced into falsifying studies on the efficiency and safety of their product. I believe there was at least one other vaccine company who was caught doing the same thing I just can’t remember the name right now, you can look it up if you want.
            How about that Guardasil vaccine that is being pushed on young girls? The last I have heard the death toll on that one is 115 and it was PROVEN that these girl’s died of the vaccine because upon examination antibodies triggered by the vaccine were found in the brains of the girl’s and no antibodies should ever be in a person’s brain.

          • Ladifuckinda

            I would rather believe scientists, and there is literally nothing coming from reliable experiments (as opposed to unreliable ones, or shit that’s been dreamed up by “naturopathy” or anti-vaccine conspiracy sites) than points to any link between autism and vaccines.

            Also, while we’re talking about body counts, why not take a look at this? http://antivaccinebodycount.com/Anti-Vaccine_Body_Count/Home.html Parents refusing to vaccinate their kids are resulting in resurgences of vaccine-preventable illnesses such as measles and whooping cough – and most of the diseases are far, far worse than anything that’s being blamed on the vaccines.

          • Ladifuckinda

            I was asking for evidence from reliable sources on actual studies. “Natural News” is a well-known hack site. And there is just as much, if not more, money in the alt-med industry as there are in vaccines…

        • LMM22

          When it comes to regression, there is absolutely no evidence it is caused by vaccines — and, in fact, there’s a massive amount of evidence that (in almost all cases) it is something that was going to happen from the start. Children who regress exhibit (in retrospect) clear signs of autism in home videos taken *before* they regress. They flap. They don’t make eye contact. They don’t interact with people. It’s just that it’s not evident to parents until regression happens.

          And this is not just “a passing subject” to me — I am (very much unwillingly) on the spectrum. I’d cure it if I could in a heartbeat. But I can’t; it’s not even clear that a cure would be possible — brain wiring or damage can’t be reversed in that way. The only thing I can do is what I would recommend a lot of parents in such conditions do: Prevent the genes from spreading onto the next generation.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000672933809 Christina Boyce Allman

            No my son had many vaccines and he regressed after all of them and when we stopped allowing him vaccines after 3 years of that he has had no further regressions for two years. If you get burned after touching a hot stove every time you touch the stove then there is little doubt that the stove burned your hand. It isn’t coincidence. I have read many many accounts and know some people who’s personal experiences are very similar to my own and contradict what you say.

          • Ladifuckinda

            Personal accounts =/= actual, reliable medical studies.

      • CVK

        One of the first things people need to do to turn things around is stop with the ‘demonic possession’ thing. It seems more prolific now because of more communication awareness, and higher density population with oversaturation of information. And it’s on the rise because we delegate all mental issues to prescribing a cure to it like it’s the flu. Sorry, as someone like her kid, it wasn’t demonic possession, even if it felt like it.

        • LMM22

          I never said it was — as someone else who was kind of like her kid, it definitely has never been demonic possession. But that *is* how people saw it, and that’s a factor you have to consider before declaring that this is new. (We didn’t use to have anaphylaxis-inducing allergies, either. We just had a lot of people who died young for no good reason.)

          • CVK

            Ah true. Sorry, I see what you’re saying. I don’t think people should lash out at modern practices, it’s just that they stop when they should keep going. Complex problems need complex solutions.

    • Ladifuckinda

      That 1 in 88 covers a huge spectrum, from people with mild Aspergers who might be a bit scatter-brained and socially awkward but are otherwise “normal,” to people who are so severely disabled that they can’t talk or use the toilet. The idea that every autistic adult is someone who “cannot be controlled” is misinformed and insulting. I have mild Aspergers; I’ve never done anything violent, and I’m perfectly capable of taking care of myself – hence why I’m in grad school, living alone, several states away from my parents. I’m not a threat to anyone. I have my issues, for sure, but violence and lack of self-sufficiency are not among them.

      The fact that your son is dangerous and didn’t mean the criteria for autism doesn’t mean “omg then even people with mild autism must be REALLY dangerous!” No, it means your son probably doesn’t have autism, but some other disorder with a few criteria in common. Even if he does have it, that doesn’t mean every person on the spectrum has the potential for violence he does. The aspects of the disorder present themselves differently in every person. I’ve met other people who are far more socially awkward than I am yet have much better time management skills than I do, for example. Autistic people are often known for their lack of motor skills and balance, and yet there have been famous musicians and athletes with the syndrome on the spectrum, so they clearly didn’t have those issues. It’s different in everyone, and meeting one person with autism only means you know ONE person with autism.

      TL;DR – Stop being so judgmental about something that you barely understand.

      (and also, everything everyone else said about how this is only an “epidemic” because we understand it better and are able to catch more people. For example, I didn’t get diagnosed until adulthood because I’m a woman and researchers are only starting to understand how AS is different in females – but that doesn’t mean I haven’t always had it)

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000672933809 Christina Boyce Allman

        I am sorry that is sounded like that and perhaps my phrasing was not the best choice. Of course I do not believe that every person on the spectrum is going to be violent and I applaud you for your accomplishments. Yes I am worried about my son’s outbursts and I am aware that many people who are autistic also have those out bursts and such outbursts are a common theme in today’s discussion. I am sorry if my words lumped things together too simplistically when things are in fact more diverse than that which is something I am aware of. Would it be more acceptable if I had said “We literally have a generation with an over abundance of physical, social emotional and some with downright psychiatric issues growing up and I am not sure we are prepared for 1 in 88 autistic children to become autistic adults, many of whom will need more help than society is willing to give at this present time.”
        I do believe that diagnosis is part of our amount of so many people considered “autistic” but I also believe that there is a fundamental problem that is not being addressed and is being worsened by many of the modern practices such as vaccination which contain some of the more deadly substances known to man in them and yet doctors seem to think that any amount of vaccines in one sitting is completely safe, and other factors that have likely caused or worsened this epidemic.

        • Ladifuckinda

          I’m glad that you responded respectfully to me, I was a bit worried people were going to dismiss my opinions because I’m someone on the spectrum. With regard to the fact that we have a generation with “issues,” I still think this is more because of additional diagnosing than anything. We also have a lot more people with depression and anxiety disorders (which I also have), with bipolar disorder, and with other things. In past years, these people would have just slipped through the cracks. In the past, I would have been dismissed as a “lazy genius” or an “absent-minded professor” who is brilliant but just not motivated by school; I’ve even had some people suggest that to me, even though I actually love reading, studying and writing papers and I’m good at them, simply because I have trouble with deadlines. But now I can know that my difficulties with time management are a neurological difference, and knowing about that difference makes it easier for me to moderate it.

          If you think vaccination is an issue, then I’d still say this is an issue that you know nothing about. There is literally nothing (reliable – as I said below, hack sites like “Natural News” will post what they like, but that doesn’t count as real evidence) pointing to any link between vaccines and autism or related disorders. Since anecdotes seem to work better for you than statistics or facts, I’ll say that my little sister received all the same vaccines I did and she’s not on the autism spectrum. Autism is a genetic disorder; I have it because my bio dad likely has it (he doesn’t have a diagnosis, but exhibits all the tell-tale signs). I don’t know what your son has, but it is, statistically, far more likely that he has something else than is a very rare case of an adverse reaction to vaccines. He could also just be a rowdy little kid, and will grow out of it sooner or later.

          • Nor

            Yeah, the vaccine theory guy outright lied. They don’t know what causes autism, it’s actually likely a mix of things and a mix of actual disorders, but most do seem to have a genetic component or susceptibility.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000672933809 Christina Boyce Allman

        Besides, I wouldn’t exactly put a “dangerous” label on my 5 year old just yet. He hasn’t actually hurt anyone and well, he is also 5. I am merely expressing that my worst fear is that these tantrums would continue and make him unmanageable as he gets older.

  • http://msannomalley.com/ Kathy Kramer

    I feel your pain and frustration. My mother-in-law is mentally unstable and she’s even gone so far to stalk my husband. Her behavior can run on bizarre sometimes, too. Yet our hands are tied because we can’t do anything unless she actually harms herself or someone else. By then, it’s too late. Meanwhile, she can go about and do whatever she pleases and we can send out no contact letters (which she ignores), and we can’t do a damned thing. It’s so frustrating. We’re so tired of having to look over our shoulders all the time.

    I’ve dealt with my own mental issues, too. I suffer from severe anxiety/panic disorder, depression (including seasonal affective disorder) and Adult ADD and I currently take a cocktail of four different medications so I can feel like a normal human being. The meds are a godsend, but I know that there are people who look down on me because I take them instead of bucking up. I advocate for mental health issues and I started because of my own dealings with insurance companies who wouldn’t cover the meds I should have been on while I spent a year on an inadequate dosage because it was better than nothing.

    Thank you for posting this. We need better mental health treatment in this country and we need to educate the public on what mental illness and mental disorders really are. The ignorance I see is appalling.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Oline-Wright/772108468 Oline Wright

      if you get a restraining order on her and she then breaks that restraining order you can have her picked up. Yes this is taking legal recourse rather than medical but it may be the only option for you.

      • Steph D.

        Restraining orders only work for celebrities. I was stalked, my home broken into, my cat had his teeth kicked out and my ex bragged about all of it. When I filed for restraining order at the urging of the cops he filed against me, had a couple of his friends file against me too. I had to get a lawyer. The whole thing brought drama and hell to my life. I got my restraining order and he didn’t get his but the only one it restrained was me. The cops didn’t do crap when he violated it repeatedly and eventually places we used to go to together contacted me and said I couldn’t go because I had the order against him.
        Save yourself the drama, headache, costs, and nightmare of getting one.

      • revgerry

        Having gotten restraining orders, I can tell you that many police do not seriously act to protect you. And when they do respond they say something like, I can take him in, but he’ll be out tomorrow and even angrier at you than he is today.”

      • http://msannomalley.com/ Kathy Kramer

        We tried that. It was denied based upon gender bias. In fact, the court commissioner refused to even look at the stacks of evidence and affidavits he had to prove she was stalking and harassing him. He denied the order because he said it was a “family spat”. Unless you’re a female leaving an abusive spouse or boyfriend and have physical marks on you, good luck getting a restraining order. The courts are biased against men who are on the receiving end of abuse at the hands of a female. So we’re stuck.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1650691550 Psy-Ko Smiley

    Wow! This reminds me so much of when I was young. My brother as very much like Michael and my mom at her wits end as you are. I remember having to leave and go outside with my sister because my brother was tearing apart the house or threatening us. We knew to go across the street to the neighbors house. back then there weren’t all these labels for kids, they were just “troubled” Through his teen years he had run ins with the police, he went away to different schools, which I think was more for my sisters and my safety then any help for him. There was one place that seemed to be able to work with him though and helped him a bit. It was called Green Valley, somewhere in FL. and the guy who ran it was George Vonhilshimer (I may be spelling that wrong) I’m not even sure what they did there that was different but maybe it’s something to look at for Michael if it’s still around. Or maybe another place with the same treatment they used.

    My brother will never be quite what society calls normal but he’s found his own place in society. He’s a good person and people like him. I don’t worry that he’s going to harm anyone anymore. I know my mom like you worried what he might do as he grew and those worries went away. I just want you to know theres hope for Michael and for you!

  • http://mendaciousbeing.tumblr.com/ typhoeus

    A very well-written article, and I don’t intend to detract from it, but why does the author say that it’s easy to talk about guns? And why does the editor’s note repeat that? It’s not at all easy to talk about guns in this country. Guns are part of the problem and roughly half of the population doesn’t want to hear it. The defense of guns began as soon as media coverage of the tragedy began.

    • Ladifuckinda

      If anything, I’ve heard “mental illness” trotted out as an excuse for not talking about guns a lot – though almost always from people, unlike this author, who had no desire to do anything real about that, either. They just wanted to dismiss the killer as a lone crazy so they can move on with their lives without any meaningful change.

      • Denver778

        yes, because weapons walk out on their own and just start shooting, or you always hear about sane people taking out innocent children at random. What a moron!

        • geno57

          Ah, the good ol’ “Guns don’t kill people, PEOPLE kill people” saw. Well … Nobody is suggesting that guns take mandatory safety courses. We want PEOPLE to do that. We want more thorough background checks for PEOPLE, not guns. And we want stricter negligence penalties imposed on PEOPLE, not guns.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Oline-Wright/772108468 Oline Wright

            First off the mother here is not quite like the mother of this last killer. Instead she removes weapons and takes the child to a mental facility trying to get help. The mother of this last disturbed/mentally ill child (yes 20 is still a child sometimes) actually taught the child to use a gun and took him to shooting ranges. The mandatory safety course may have not helped here either as the mother likely knew about gun safety, she may have even been able to pass psychological testing.
            This mother is right however most of the recent mass killers have psycho-social problems that are not being treated. Some don’t get medications because they are too young for them and they struggle the best they can after all there is no safe place for them to be but in their homes and that might not even be safe.
            There have been many legally obtained weapons used in killings so yes there seems to be an ongoing problem.
            My suggestion is more studies into psycho-social problems and diseases. Return to having mental services/institutions where people can be committed possibly returning to involuntary commitment if they are proving to be a danger to themselves and others.
            My youngest boy was having some issues relating to suicidal or even murderous tendencies (at least once I know of because he called me at work telling me of this feeling he should kill his brother but he knew it was wrong to do so. Fortunately he was strong enough to avoid acting on those feelings. He also once asked his brother to kill him.
            This type stuff stopped after we got him off a medication that he was hitting all but one of the side effects for for both adults and children.

            My advice to parents when a doctor prescribes a medication for you or you child is look the medication up on the Internet be aware of the side effects and observe your child as the medication is added to his routine. Watch for signs of allergic reactions as well as the listed side effects. Especially any of the possible psychological side effects. For that matter if the possibility of those side effects is listed ask his doctor if there is a medication that has less severe side effects.

            Keep aware there is no one size fits all diagnosis or medication. Each of our bodies react differently to different substances. There may be some similarities enough to get them approved by the government for use but there is always the chance the medication may not work, or may make matters worse.
            My thanks to the mother who wrote this your courage is astounding and your desperation is palatable. I can only hope that people will stop this guns no guns debate and start looking at what may be the real problem the upswing of mental illnesses and the lack of facilities and treatment centres to deal with them

          • http://twitter.com/pppatticake patricia

            So true–this mom is doing everything she can to keep herself and others safe from violence and to help her son and it is a stark contrast to the dead mother whose adult child (sorry, 20 is NOT a child nor is 25 nor 30 nor 35 nor 40, nor 45 , nor 50 and part and parcel of the mass denial in this country is the astounding acceptance of adult children being allowed to live in homes they do not support financially and being given lives full of entitlements AS IF they are permanent toddlers–how did this become acceptable?) has so starkly revealed the natural consequences of the second mother’s denial and dysfunctional choices in exposing this man to guns and allowing him to play violent videogames while knowing he was anti social.

          • Nor

            No one has ever tied video games to violent behavior. Or movies. Or music. Assault weapons in the house? Yes.

          • Lisa

            I disagree. There have been several cases where kids have feasted on violent video games that desensitize them and some have acted it out in reality.

          • Nor

            Well, in order to say that, you have to prove it. By looking at more than anecdotal cases. You could say that of anyone who has watches TV. Cite some scientific studies please. It isn’t a matter of opinion, not when there are facts out there.

          • Nor

            If he has a developmental disorder, 20 is effectively a child. If a person, even an adult, cannot self-care, then yes, they are usually best off at home rather than in an institution if it is possible. And there is nothing inherently wrong with an adult living at their parents house, especially in this economy.

          • http://www.facebook.com/shculbreth Susan Culbreth

            I’d like to add that if your child is on any type of med that you share that with his or her teacher. It has been my experience that they will be a willing partner in watching for side effects, etc. They have the child in their care 7+ hours a day, so confide in them for your child’s sake.

          • Nor

            This is not a bad idea. I work in a psych lab and we often ask for teacher evaluations of child participants because they tend to be more accurate than parental accounts. The teachers have seen a lot more child behavior in general (can compare against a much larger library of child behavior) than the parents have access to (having only seen their own kids), as well as the advantage of seeing the kid in a different environment. Not to mention your kid will get better support from the teacher if the teacher actually knows what’s going on.

          • http://pissedoffwoman.wordpress.com Pissed Off Woman

            I agree that Liza Long is desperate, but I hardly think she’s courageous in writing that her son is doomed to be a killer and that she wants him institutionalized. How would you feel if your mom wrote that she’d rather haul you off to a treatment centre than live with you?

          • Nor

            If he can get help in a treatment center that he can’t get at home (for example, 24-7 suicide watch), then yes, it is better for him to be in a treatment center. You go to the hospital when you are too sick for care at home, right? Why is this different?

          • http://www.facebook.com/nancy.ryer Nancy Ryer

            Well. Guns don’t kill people. People do. The fact that his parents left semi-automatic weapons laying around the house when they knew he had” a personaity disorder” is that what they called it? Somebody dropped the ball on this one. Yeah people who want guns can get them, but they were in his house. This doesn’t sound premeditated.

          • zoe99

            He was wearing a bullet-proof vest. That *does* sound pre-meditated.

          • Nor

            And hundreds of rounds of cop-killer bullets. So yeah, pre-meditated. People don’t do this kind of thing on impulse, generally.

          • http://twitter.com/pppatticake patricia

            That is all well and good, but a person devoid of human empathy will then look up on the internet how to create bombs in order to annihilate innocent human beings. The issue to be solved is what to do about the growing number of personality disordered people who simply do not regard others at all. Like this extremely pro active mother, I deal daily with the stress, harassment, and terrorism of an ex spouse who, by his every word and deed reveals quite clearly he is a controlling abuser without any conscience nor empathy, yet, until he next assaults me, I cannot do ANYTHING to get the courts to protect the privacy and the right I and my children should be able to enjoy our own lives peacefully without this man’s constant unhinged attempts to control us financially, to inspire fear in us and to interfere with and control our lives and schedules. Even handed AHEAD OF TIME blueprints of EVERY single move this man would undertake, the court DID NOT LISTEN to me, did not even try to talk to my children–not even once in 6 years of divorce proceedings designed (as predicted in the article I gave the court at the outset) to bankrupt me. The truth is that women and kids are not safe and are not afforded ANY protection from personality disordered men, you just have to hope, like this mother, to survive the violence long enough for the denial about the epidemic of largely male violence in this country gets faced and dealt with. I fear, as I am sure this mother does, that I will be killed and my children will then be raised by the personality disordered dad and his family who created the anti social, conscienceless being he is. Yet, I have been unable to protect myself from this outcome.

          • Holly

            *ahem* Researching how to make bombs and gathering the restricted materials alerts the attention of law enforcement and forces investigation. Correlation fail.

          • Lisa

            But owning a bathtub doesn’t. Just ask Andrea Yates. Guns don’t kill. People do.

          • guesty

            arse you are. lanza had tried to buy guns legally and did NOT go through with it because of required background check. he killed his mother and stole her guns! It is not the guns it is clearly intention to use them to kill children that is the problem. The problem you turning your arse towards by trying to hijack the tragedy with your anti gun agenda. and then you are going to go F the entire nation by cutting out more of their liberties but problem of mental healthcare will stay the same. Applauds to you, NOT!

          • Nor

            I dunno. If he hadn’t had an automatic assault rifle, fewer people would have died. Why do you think people need automatic assault rifles in their homes? I really would like an answer.

          • guesty

            I also wish that he hadn’t been able to get to an assault rifle. but unless you get rid of them all (ones that are currently owned, ones stashed away, and the ones owned by current and future govmnts) you will only be limiting civil liberties that could amount to much greater loss if let’s say a tyranny arises at some pt. it’s not unheard of mountain men with rifles waging a long war of attrition with a super power. I am NOT against all sorts of gun control… and chances are that local culture will dictate the degree to which guns are accesible in communities in US. Just keep in mind that our guns (and bombs) kill way more children overseas than they do here.

          • Nor

            So you think regular people need assault weapons so they can shoot US soldiers? Honestly, given the sheer amount of money we throw at the defense budget in this country, you’re going to need a lot more than that. Nukes, for example. And why stop with assault rifles? You’re going to need grenades, rocket launchers, anti-aircraft weapons, tanks. Where does it stop? And don’t you have to question your morals when you are ranking the safety of children and innocent bystanders below your right to (ineffectively, untrained, and only maybe someday) start a civil war?
            And you don’t need to get rid of them all. Just follow Scotland and Australia’s example (and the entirety of the developed world), and reduce the numbers.

          • guesty

            what you said is BS! Did Afghanistan have nukes, for example? If we learned anything from our 10yr war in Afghanistan and the war they had with soviets is stingers make the war end faster (Mujahadeen won) but without stingers it can still last a decade.

            As I said, more children die from US guns and bombs in Afghanistan and Iraq than anywhere in the South. US had F-ing patriots act which was taken straight out of Stalin’s playbook. Is it very likely that the gov’t (or whatever govmnt happens to be in posession of the stockpile of weapon already out there) will turn total bat shit on Americans?… hope not, but it is NOT as far fetched as one might imagine. Soviet citizens in 1990 and 1991 did not at all expect the tanks to literally roll onto people… but yet they did… and squeesh they did hundreds and hundreds by standers (including children). So pardon the rifle owners who want to hang on to their rifles despite some unstable people doing crazy things once in a while.

            Sir your stats are also out of your arse. You seem to be missing that We are the biggest first world country by a head count and gun count (unless u count China in there too). And also we probably poses the strongest military of all the developed countries. A military that is suppose to obey civilian rule. And as citizens of this nation and the world we have the primary responsibility to keep our gov’t at check. The same govt that send its japanese citizens to concentration camps mid last century, and holds secret prison where people are held w/out trial for ages and apparently the citizens are not off limits either. So yes some unstable violent people do kill civilians, and other accidents do occur as well, but no amount of guns will kill as many people as heart deseas in this country, yet eating unhealthy or selling unhealthy food is cool with us… but guns, “oh no!”. We rather our guns kill women and children somewhere overseas where we do not see it, and then we shall only look at the statistics of our guns used on ourselves and compare to other countries who are NOT invading other nations nearly on the scale that we do. And then we are going to curb our civil liberties, so we are never reminded what havoc our guns can cause and further reducing the value of civilian lives lost to our guns everywhere else in the world.

            the gun control I’m thinking of is people locking up their guns such that it is not trivial for someone to just kill you and take them. the gun control where where violent unstable poeple do not get to buy guns. If my gun’s used to kill a civilian, I am willing to take full responsibility for that. But do not take my gun for the crime i have not committed, while you as a nation killing plenty of children and civilians with your guns!

          • desert tortoise

            Sorry, I am not going to give you the chance to take “full responsibility” after the fact. You do not have that “right”.

          • Nor

            If by “full responsibility” he means death penalty (or at least sharing the same sentence as the perpetrator) then I could agree with his position on poorly secured weapons.

          • Nor

            If, as you believe, we are someday going to have to rise up against the US government and shoot all the soldiers and cops, then I think all bets are off and yes if you think you need to fight that fight nukes are on the table. You had best get some.

            And yes we had internment camps. That the majority of the US population was ok with and felt no need to incite a civil war over it. Much like we seem to be tolerating Gitmo. Is it a massive moral failing and a deep lack of courage? Yes. So is our failure to regulate firearms in anything like a responsible manner.

            Guns are not comparable to french fries. Guns are for killing. French fries are delicious.

            I don’t know what you are talking about for most of this post because you get pretty incoherent, but you do feel that your right to carry guns (in case of civil war?) is more important than the safety of children in this country? You didn’t answer that question.

            You also didn’t say what kind of gun control you were for in any concrete terms. People are supposed to lock up their guns now. But locked up in a house does not mean secure, obviously. Locked up in an armory you have to sign them out of per use, yes. No one wants to take your guns, partially because it sounds to me like if someone did you’d start making bombs. We would love to test you to get them (months of classes, lots of fees, psych evaluation, peer recommendations, etc) and tax you to have them though. The money could go toward victims funds. Also, it’s not “me as a nation that is kiling children” as you seem to live here too. And vote. I assume straight Democrat, since you are so extremely anti-war and anti-violence.

          • Nor
          • guesty
        • Burzghash

          In your desperation to be an idealist, you miss the entire point. It’s a number of factors, and a number of factors need to be addressed. Better access to mental health facilities is one part. More common sense to gun restrictions and controls is another. There are better ways to handle these things. And your inability to discuss them, like a rational adult, without descending into condescending and trite rhetoric, does nothing to advance those causes, and simply makes you look like the stereotypical constitution waving bible-thumping idealist mouthbreather.

      • http://twitter.com/pppatticake patricia

        exactly so–let’s talk about the epidemic of violence and why so many people refuse to look at it and act to end it.

        • Nor

          Because they are suckers for the NRAs spiel, without stopping to think that the NRA is not a gun-owners lobby. It is a gun manufacturers lobby. It’s job is to sell guns and ammunition, by any means possible, not to represent actual gun owners. Part of that mission is to trick the unquestioning gun-owning masses into thinking the NRA represents them, when it clearly does not.

    • PainfullyUnaware

      Because it is easy to begin a conversation about guns, and their horrible effects. What isn’t easy is changing the laws regarding regulation of guns.

      However, starting a genuine and legitimate conversation on mental health, mental illness, and mental disorders is nearly impossible. The stigma surrounding mental health is suffocating, the shaming of people with mental issues is overwhelming, the abandonment of people who need mental health care is disgraceful. The majority of people would rather push aside and ignore any legitimate conversation about mental health because it makes them uncomfortable.

      As someone who suffers from a personality disorder you have no idea how many times I try to talk about it with people with whom I consider myself friends, and their response is short and dismissive. “Oh, that must be rough. So, what’d you do today?” or, “that’s too long to read” after instead of trying to talk to them about it (since it fails) I give them a short article about what I have and its conditions/symptoms.

      It is much, much easier to talk about guns than it is about mental health.

      • http://twitter.com/pppatticake patricia

        I so agree it seems near to impossible to get people to face the violence and act to end it. It isn’t the stigma at work here, though, it is denial, pure and simple. It takes very healthy people to actually identify with the victims of most violence and look squarely at the perpetrators of such crimes rather than look for easy scapegoats: the guns, steroids, concussions, video games, etc, shake their heads and then move on without ever addressing THE VIOLENCE.

      • http://pissedoffwoman.wordpress.com Pissed Off Woman

        It is very easy to talk about mental health–provided that you do it in a way that stigmatizes people. Look at all the idiots rushing to say that Adam Lanza was “personality disordered” or “schizophrenic” and that everyone else who’s “mentally ill” needs to be locked up because it’s only a matter of time before they murder someone, too.

        I feel for you and I’m sorry that your friends are being asses about what you’re going through. I would like to see an intelligent discussion around mental health in this country, too, but I think that the worst possible time to do it is when people are reeling from a horrific mass murder and looking for more people to blame.

    • Squirmy_Wirmy

      Um…because it is easy to talk about guns. Guns, guns, guns. Everyone has an opinion and they are emblazoned across ever major news outlet and on every other facebook/twitter status. Oh…what? Looky there! You have an opinion about guns! Zowie! That must have been difficult for you to come forward with…I mean pulling a statistic like ‘roughly half’ outta your ass like that. She meant that it is easy to blame or defend guns in the wake of these tragedies. You proved her point by getting on your anti-gun soap box. We need to discuss WHY these things are happening. Not how. We know how.

    • http://twitter.com/pppatticake patricia

      Why? Because the author, quite astutely, acknowledges the predictable media response to these tragedies–the American public and media will look at ANYTHING: guns, meds, steroids, concussions, video games–so to NOT look at the epidemic of violence. Why? because to look at it, name it, and face it then REQUIRES ACTION and people do not want to get involved. So if they can find ANY excuse/justification for shaking their head and moving their attention right along until an average of 20 days passes and we have the next mass shooting of innocents or 1 day passes and we have tell of an additional murder of women and kids at the hands of the father/partner, where they again name a scapegoat in the form of guns, blaming the victims of intimate violence for their own murders, the steroids some of these men may or may not have taken, etc. and shake their head and do not a single thing.

      • http://mendaciousbeing.tumblr.com/ typhoeus

        You correctly imply that the American media is part of the problem. And you mention many factors that are ALL part of the problem. Inadequate mental health services and a kind of taboo regarding mental health are part of the problem too. There is no one thing. The “epidemic of violence” you mention, I’m sorry to say, has a lot to do with the prevalence of guns in US society. It is so incredibly obvious that it shouldn’t need to be said.

        But that leads to my earlier point, that yes, roughly half of Americans don’t want to hear that glorification of guns and violence are part of this epidemic of violence. Should be obvious but apparently not. Yes, I’ve pulled that “roughly half” figure out of my ass, but people should know what I mean: there is a lot of crossover, but I’m implying generally Republicans vs. Democrats here. People in this forum for christssakes don’t want to talk about guns. So yes, it is hard to talk about guns. The most important and glaring case in point: We can’t seem to do anything about regulating these weapons despite these terrible shootings. That means, in other words, that TALKING ABOUT GUNS ISN’T EASY IN THIS COUNTRY, which is my main counterpoint on the writer’s excellent article.

        No intelligent person is trying to say one factor is leading to these mass shootings. Mental health services are woeful, but without this country’s glorification of guns and violence, I don’t think we’d have mentally ill people committing these terrible crimes–they would be mentally unstable but committing other crimes or doing other things.

    • http://www.facebook.com/kathy.renbarger Kathy Renbarger

      The thing that never gets mentioned is that (at that point in time) the one single thing that could’ve saved many of the lives that were lost would’ve been for the teachers and/or (at least) the principle to have been armed. An armed society doesn’t scare me – a police state does! Neither criminals nor folks who have “gone off the deep end” care what the laws are. As free citizens, it’s both our right and our responsibility to protect ourselves and those we care about. If an illiterate goat herder in the middle-east can figure out how to build an IED, do you really doubt that this kid couldn’t have??? Imagine how many more folks would’ve been victims if he’d used something along the lines of a pipe bomb… An already horrific tragedy could’ve been even worse. The defense of guns began because gun-grabbers always try to exploit tragedies like this, instead of addressing the real causes.

      • http://twitter.com/pppatticake patricia

        The principal was immediately mowed down by a skilled marksman trained by his mother, the principal, even with a gun, would have been no match and likely would have simply provided another loaded weapon for him to have killed more beautiful little children with.

        • Lisa

          A person with a license to carry is more likely a skilled marksman than a random shooter aiming at little kids.

      • http://mendaciousbeing.tumblr.com/ typhoeus

        What you’re suggesting is, I’m sorry, completely insane. Suggestions like yours prove what I’m saying–that it is not “easy” to speak about guns in this country in any logical way. Not when we have seemingly normal people who advocate arming grade school teachers. It’s a suggestion straight from the gun-obsessed and violence-obsessed culture that is THE major problem leading to these shootings. Mental health is part of it, yes, part of it that is exacerbated by gun and violent culture.

      • Nor

        So you want teachers to have assault rifles. Machine guns? Grenades? What would have enough firepower to take this guy out? And how much would you have to pay them to do this? Cops get paid $100,000+. Teachers get paid less than half that. We can’t supposedly afford to pay for enough teachers now. You want to double the salary of every teacher in the country? Pay for their combat training? Arm them with huge guns and body armor? What about daycare facilities? You arm the teachers, crazy shooters will go elsewhere. There’s a daycare right out in front of Sandy Hook Elementary. He could easily have just gone there. What about public playgrounds? Disney movies? McDonalds? Ice cream trucks? Summer camp? Where do you stop arming people?

        • Marie

          Why do you want to let him have an advantage over you? The criminal isn’t afraid of guns nor illegal activity, clearly. Why make it easier for him to overcome you? Whether teachers should be forced to be armed or not is one question, but whether guns should be illegal or not is a completely different issue. So far, no teacher has been required to shoot a gun, so there is no need to be up in arms (no pun intended) over that question. However, to say that to allow one (very likely) psychotic man two advantages, both the will/desire to murder as well as the only firearms on the campus, is better than having sane people armed and ready to defend the innocent takes a bit more of a sound refute than questions of practicality and finances or easy, empty rhetorical questions.
          If you allow criminals to make the rules, then this will happen even more often. Take responsibility for yourself AND for the good of society by being willing to stand up to violence. Guns will not stop being made, and I say that we best have as good weapons as our enemy, not because Adam Lanza was the devil incarnate, but because what he did is hurtful to everyone, himself included. (And yes, I believe mental illness is a very important factor and it should be focused on more than it has been in this case and the similar past cases.) If you are afraid of guns then you will only be less able to stop such criminals, and a weaker target. I am not afraid of answering force with force, when it comes to saving lives. If you would choose to be killed over killing, that is a personal choice, good as long as it does not involve children or anyone else’s life for that matter. In the end, we, society, those teachers, those children, are NOT this man’s parents and can only be expected to “cope” up to a certain point, not allowing him to continue while shirking our duty. At that point, our and especially teachers’ duty lies in protecting the innocent (and yes, these teachers acted very heroically!) And, as we can see in this article, even parents have their limits in coping, too.

          • Nor

            I feel like standing up to violence means trying to reduce the number of deaths by gun violence in this country. The way to do that, proven over and over again in the rest of the developed world, is to reduce the number of guns. It is effective. It is proven to work. No one is saying eliminate guns entirely. No one is saying make all guns illegal. People are calling for regulation. Rules. Laws. That is the opposite of allowing criminals to make the rules.

            The people of Scotland and Australia voluntarily gave up their guns – walked to the police station and gave them up, no one came to their houses, no one searched their belongings, they were not threatened. They gave them up because they saw children die, and they knew that reducing the number of weapons would keep kids from dying. And it worked. Are we such cowards that we cannot do the same? Are we so selfish?

            Please explain to me why a suburban mom needs an assault rifle.

            I don’t think any country has yet enacted the solution you propose, which sounds like you think everyone should be armed? We do have 90 guns for every 100 people so it sounds like we can arm everyone over the age of 7. Certainly that would end all crime as we know it. I wonder why no one has ever done this?

            I also don’t know that anyone, like those little kids and their teachers, can be accused of “choosing to be killed”. They got mowed down by an assault rifle. There was no chance to fight back. It does sound like from your argument that teachers should be forced to carry weapons because if they don’t they are just allowing children to die.

            I would also really like for you to define what you mean by “sane”, and how this is to be determined. This guy was never officially labeled mentally ill or in treatment as far as we know. Even if he had been the guns were his moms, he just had access. Also none of these big mass shootings have been by criminals. So more than just a basic screening for felonies is needed, right?

          • Nor

            All people want to do is this.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=yt-nEl55eXU#!

            People want more laws. That is the opposite of letting criminals make the decisions, is it not?

            I am not willing to walk around with an assault rifle 24-7. Are you?

            We have 90 guns for every 100 people. Lets arm everyone over the age of seven. I’m sure fewer people will be shot. All those other countries that reduced gun violence by reducing the number of guns will really have egg on their faces then, right?

            The people of Australia and Scotland gave up their guns – walked into the police station and gave them up. Voluntarily. No one went through their houses, no one forced them. They knew it would reduce the number of children who will die. And it worked. It’s the only thing that does work. Everyone else in the developed world has done it. Are we so cowardly, so selfish, that we cannot do the same?

            You sound like you are saying we should arm teachers. And by extension all others that work with or are around kids. Is this your plan?

            Define “sane”. Tell me how only allowing “sane” people to have guns would have stopped this from happening in CT.

            Explain to me why a suburban mom needs an assault rifle.

            Explain to me why anyone who isn’t in a war needs an assault rifle.

          • Nor

            By your argument, we should have no laws, because criminals still exist, and having to make laws to restrict criminals will also restrict non-criminals (see – all the laws we already have). And we should all be armed, because everyone else will be.

        • Lisa

          It works for Israel.

          • Nor

            Israel’s entire adult population is trained military.

      • princev4liant

        The fact you think “illiterate goat herders” are making bombs just compounds all the other ignorance rampant here.

        • Nor

          No no, I think she meant illiterate goat herders should have bombs, since obviously guns are too expensive for them, and they too have to defend themselves against criminals.

          • princev4liant

            LOL.

  • http://www.facebook.com/homeandhappy Christin Boyd Berger

    I want to thank you for your honesty. You have done an amazing job of describing what it is like dealing with these problems. We have been lucky so far to find a combination of medication and therapy that has helped but it can still be touchy sometimes. I worry about the changes ahead though and am always watching.

  • leo moon

    Stunning. Perfect. Thank you.

  • Holly

    My daughter raged from an early age, shattering a truck window by kicking it when she was three. That’s all I’ll say at this point, though she’s 20 now, but I know what it’s like to live in darkness with a child no one understands, unreachable, misdiagnosed, antisocial, paranoid, sociopathic. Family and friends distance themselves, shaking their heads in pity, unwilling to help or try to understand. Raising a child like this is very lonely, in a nutshell.

    • http://twitter.com/pppatticake patricia

      This is unfortunately so for most people dealing with personality disordered individuals–when you actually do choose to name and face it, the dysfunctional extended family “does not want to get involved, points fingers of blame at the one who is living in the truth of the situation, wipes their hands and abandons you utterly while telling everyone in the world they can get to listen to them: I tried to help, but they won’t listen to me–so that the number of people judging and blaming you for the violence you are actually trying to prevent becomes ten fold.

  • Lizzie

    This may sound crazy, but has your son been tested for strep via blood draw? My son acted so similarly, we hid knives and scissors, his sisters scattered up to their rooms when he raged. His eyes would become dilated and frantic as he threatened me or lashed out physically. For him, it turned out that strep antibodies were attacking his brain and causing his terrifying behavior. He had some obsessional behavior, separation anxiety, sensory defensiveness and movement issues as well.

    I send you all my love and healing. Please know you are not alone. You are a good mother and brave beyond words. Your honest insight in this piece will help many. All the best to you and your family.

  • Kim

    As has been mentioned by others, I also recommend looking into your son’s diet. I have heard wonderful things about the GAPS diet, and am in the midst of starting it with my family and myself. I hope you can find something that helps, because you most definitely need it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rick.archer.58 Rick Archer
  • dxp2718

    I see so many parenting failures in this article. For starters, the admission that he’s been on a bunch of different antipsychotic and other medications – WITHOUT A DIAGNOSIS. Since when did we start giving kids random drugs without knowing what’s actually wrong with them, and thus that the drug had a good chance of working. (She admits the drugs didn’t work, which to me, is unsurprising, given that she didn’t get a diagnosis first, so was basically trying them at random.) Those drugs mess with brains, and could very well have made the kid’s problems worse – a lot worse. Aside from the drugs, I see her reaction to her son to be fearful rather than definitive. It seems that from an early age, she was SCARED by her son. She wasn’t confident she could control or teach him. And because she doesn’t feel she has control, he doesn’t feel he is controlled, and thus he is out of control. It makes perfect sense to me. For example, in the car, when he said he was going to jump out and kill himself, why didn’t she just call his bluff? “No, you’re not.” End it at that. Don’t admit fear by threatening him if he says it again. Exert control. You’re the parent, he’s the child. Set boundaries. If he’s truly insane – if he’s hallucinating or does not comprehend reality, that’s a different matter. And for that, there’s probably a real diagnosis and reasonably-well-tested drugs. Or at least a nice padded white room with his name on it. But it seems to me that this kid, in particular, for whatever reason has extreme mood swings, and thinks it’s appropriate to make threats. But other than that he is a normal, bright kid. And that mostly he is acting out of fear. But if his parents are as scared as he is, they can’t reassure him, and thus cannot fix the problem. Supervision. Boundaries. Control. The kid’s smart, for sure, but his parents should be smarter. They admit he’s delightful when he’s in a good mood. So start with that. Keep him in a good mood as much as possible. Help him learn when he is going to go into a bad mood and make himself feel better before he gets to the point of making threats. And, when he’s in a good mood, address the issues of what happens when he’s not. Don’t make him promise. Just get him to understand what’s appropriate behavior and what isn’t, and why inappropriate behavior is inappropriate. WITHOUT SHOWING FEAR. Calm, rational, intelligent, loving parenting. When did that go out of style?

    • headache

      Did you even read the article? Padded white rooms don’t exist anymore. That is a huge part of the problem. Her son is insane and out of toych with reality but there are no psych hospitals They dintt exist in this country to take him. Read read read read and then comprehend.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1650691550 Psy-Ko Smiley

      Oh dxp. While I agree so many parents these days can’t/won’t discipline and exert control, it’s obvious you’ve never lived with a kid like this! This isn’t just a kid acting out. What if she had told him “no you won’t” and yes he did??

      as for the drugs without a diagnosis, well I remember with my brother the doctor said something like he didn’t want to put a label on it but if he had to he would say Schizophrenia. Everything can’t just be put in a nice little box with a label on it. Medicine has come a long way but theres still so much we don’t know. Doctors aren’t god, heck even when you have an infection, or a rash, or a flu, a lot of what they do is trial & error.

      • dxp2718

        Actually, I have a sibling who is very similar to this. However, he only got into trouble OUTSIDE the home, when he was with people who did not understand his quirks. My parents and I kept a close eye on him and protected him as best we could. He had some really traumatic incidents throughout his life, due to misunderstandings of his issues – in one case he was actually thrown out from his dorm onto the street because someone interpreted his statements as threats – but, miraculously, he got through all of his incidents – WITHOUT MEDS. He is now married and gainfully employed. Is he “normal”? Absolutely not. But he’s found his niche in society and is surrounded by people who understand and appreciate him for the way he is. I shudder to think what would have happened to him had he had parents who realized he was difficult and simply medicated him with random chemicals only tested on adults.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000672933809 Christina Boyce Allman

          I do give you credit for your brother finding a life for himself. All of these parents are scared and you would have to be a great actor to not show you are scared when you are. I am not yet afraid of my child but afraid for my child, but he is only 5. Should this behavior continue as he grows though I can see he would become very unmanageable in this state if he had the size and strength of an adult. Who wouldn’t be scared then and by that time all that patience you may have had while he was a kid, well, it didn’t work because now you have an adult that is the same. Don’t fault the mother. I can’t imagine the turmoil this mother had to go through that would bring her to take her child to such a place, but she had been dealing with him for 13 years. She loved him, but she knew she couldn’t handle him anymore and she had to think of the lives of others in his path. I can’t see her coming to such a decision lightly and I am sure she took that first 13 years and tried everything regarding parenting do’s and don’t she could think of to remedy the problem before coming to the harsh conclusion of the her story as she wrote it to us.

          • dxp2718

            The first step is to believe that you CAN help your child, and that you are in control of them. Being afraid doesn’t help anything, and it gives your child power over you if they can evoke fear with specific statements or actions. If you are afraid of your own child, you have already lost the battle.

      • dxp2718

        Also, if you can’t even put a label on it, how can you possibly believe that you could know what the proper medication to treat it would be? Psychiatric medications are serious business – they change brain chemistry. And in a developing child, we don’t even KNOW what the long-term effects are, but evidence is it’s not good. Nature had billions of years to develop all the hormones and other chemicals that make us go…and occasionally something goes wrong…you really think that in a few decades of biochemical research we’ve been able to figure out how to FIX it when it goes wrong? What’s for sure, though, is that parents have been dealing with kids of various difficulty levels as long as humans have been around, and lots of behavioral techniques have been tried and perfected over that time. It’s not millenia, for sure, but it’s a lot longer than a few decades! Childhood isn’t that long; I have a hard time believing that any parent could try EVERY possible approach and rule it out (plus, an approach that doesn’t work at one age could work later, so you’d have to try everything at every possible age), then believe they could do better with some chemical that’s only been shown to be effective on an adult with similar symptoms. Trial & error is great, but if you let doctors experiment on your kids, you should be prepared for things to be worse, not better if they got it wrong. Ideally the trial & error should be within explicit controlled experiments with parental consent. And with infections, rashes, the flu, etc…there are enough cases that they have a good idea what will be effective (plus they do studies periodically), AND it’s not likely to have horrible detrimental side effects. Plus the usual treatment if it’s not life-threatening and not permanently debilitating is to let nature solve the problem – not to medicate.

        • Nor

          Then we should never medicate or treat anything, as it affronts Nature’s perfect design. Behavioral treatments alter brain chemistry and structure too. Chronic stress hormones kill brain cells and alter brain function long term. Even if you don’t medicate, allowing the kid to suffer will result in developmental differences too. “Nature” can make things worse. Keeping him isolated from other children due to violent tendencies will also significantly affect his brain development, and even moreso his social skills. As will injury he could do to himself.
          I wonder why you are so angry about this subject. It just seems so off base for someone with no medical training to be so rabidly against anything this mother has done for her kid.

          • dxp2718

            Um, NO. Medication is GREAT – when it’s tested and proven to work. The fact is, medicating children with psychotropic meds is KNOWN to cause more problems than it fixes. “Michael” is a perfect example of that. Giving a kid anti-psychotics is not the same as giving them tylenol. We know what tylenol does, it’s for a very specific set of problems, there have been zillions of studies showing that it’s safe. Same thing with antibiotics. Brain meds are an entirely different story. They’ve only been tested on ADULTS – and there are adults who greatly benefit from them. But the problem with kids is that the same behaviors which, in ADULTS, would indicate a problem that requires medication, are totally normal for kids. People don’t seem to understand that kids can be difficult, but their brains are still developing. *We do not know what psychotropic medications do to a developing brain* but if you’ve ever seen a documentary about the subject, you’d see that many, many kids are medicated for ADHD or “bipolar” simply because they are moody or difficult – which many *healthy* kids are – because the parents or teachers don’t want to or can’t give them special resources to help them grow out of their difficulty. Problem is, years later they’re on 6, 7, 8 different medications, have visible tics that don’t go away even when they get off all their medications, and have been brain damaged for life. I have a sibling who was a “difficult” child. Brilliant, but absolutely would not behave in the regular classroom. The solution? Put him in a separate classroom with “special needs” (mostly particularly smart but with behavioral issues) kids who could not function in the normal classroom. It was called the “Resource Room.” He was there part of the day, and in the normal classroom part of the day. The Resource Room teachers worked with him to help him learn how to behave in the normal classroom. Gradually he spent more and more time in the normal classroom until, by high school, he was doing amazingly well – and ended up at a top-rate university, from which he graduated – not without some issues, which in another person might have been treated with meds, but again, it wasn’t considered, and instead we tried to *solve the problems directly* – and is now an adult, gainfully employed, and married. THIS is what happens if, instead of drugging a difficult child into oblivion, you are patient and work with them to solve their difficulties in a meaningful way, rather than just throwing chemicals at the problem and being scared of your own kid.

          • Nor

            You are using one paltry example to defend everything you are saying? Which isn’t even yourself? You have never parented a psychotic child, or even known a psychotic person? You also know before the 90′s, the “Resource Room” was only for kids with mild problems? That we warehoused kids like MIchael?

          • dxp2718

            Not one example. I’ve seen countless studies and documentaries about kids that are drugged unnecessarily. It’s not pretty. I suggest you watch “The Medicated Child” for starters, and then pass judgment.

    • Guest

      Thank God you are not the parent of this child.

      • http://twitter.com/DroppinBeef Droppin’ Beef

        Why? This Mother is failing as a parent.

      • rhonda cheney

        You have no idea what you are talking about. It is not bad parenting that causes these types of issues!!! There is not a place where she can just take him! What are you talking about?

        She wasn’t just given this tortured child at 13, she has been raising him all his life and trying to help him grow up in our messed up society. Doctors have been unable to diagnose him, and believe me their FIRST response to everything is pop a pill…”it might work.”

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000672933809 Christina Boyce Allman

      Are you suggesting that this mother was somehow able to illegally obtain these drugs on her own and tried them haphazardly without a doctor’s supervision? Wake up, it is the doctor’s who are pushing drugs on our kids and the parents who believe them because the doctors guilt trip you and make you feel like a bad parent if you don’t do everything they say. My son’s neuro doctor wants to put him on drugs for ADHD without a diagnosis and I haven’t taken him back to that doctor since because I want to solve this without those drugs. It is bad enough he has to have his asthma medicines twice every single day but without that he could stop breathing so my hands are absolutely tied on that one.

      • dxp2718

        No, I’m suggesting that the mother let the doctors bully her into medicating her kid. Parents should have ultimate control over their kids, not doctors. Doctors give parents bad advice all the time, from formula-feeding when breast-feeding is possible and preferable, to unnecessarily medicating. Unnecessary antibiotics are the cause of antibiotic-resistant infections. Doctors, especially mental health doctors, do NOT know everything, and often cause harm. That’s why they have malpractice insurance.

        As for the “every normal approach has been tried, doesn’t work,” I simply don’t believe that. There are SO many things that can be tried, and often things need to be tried many times before they work. Somehow parents managed before there were meds. And maybe there are cases where nothing will work, but until you have a diagnosis, and maybe even after, the currently available psychiatric medications are much more likely to cause harm than fix the problem. Certainly in this case they didn’t fix the problem, and I’m guessing they caused a great deal of harm – that basically, this kid had a chance until they started pumping him full of drugs. The way I see it, this mother basically gave up on the “normal” approaches and started trying drugs because she couldn’t think of anything else to do. But what if she’d simply said no?

        As for kids that “don’t think like normal kids,” you do know that thought processes can be changed with proper training, right? Especially if you start early, and especially if the kid is smart to begin with. You can appeal to his reason and logic. But this mother reacted emotionally – with fear – and basically waved the white flag before even having a chance to fight the battle.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jeanette.vankleeck Jeanette Van Kleeck

      I wish you wouldn’t judge this mother. You cannot know what it is like to live with a child with a mental illness. It is very difficult to describe to other people unless you live with it. I know, because my daughter is autistic, and we didn’t get a diagnosis until she was 12 years old, and it wasn’t because of a lack of trying to get help. I am a nurse, and you wouldn’t believe how I had to fight the system to get her the help she needed, and still needs. I used to try to describe to people things she did, and people would say, “that sounds like a normal child”. But unless you see it and live with it, they don’t understand. Techniques that work with “normal” children, don’t necessarily work with mentally ill children. Or they may work for a while, and then stop working. Believe me, I have a whole team of people working together for my daughter, and she still has severe tantrums, that get violent, unacceptable social behaviors, and severe hygiene issues. I applaud this mother for coming forward and writing this article. I know that wasn’t easy, and I am sure that there is so much more that she didn’t write in this article.

      • dxp2718

        All children are difficult, and any technique that works with one “normal” child may not work with a different “normal” child. If everything your kid does “sounds like a normal child,” then who are you to say your child ISN’T normal? “Normal” is a range…every child is different…and where do you draw the line between “normal” and “not normal”? Besides, does it matter? What’s important is that every child gets the appropriate attention and care THEY need for their own development. Psychiatric drugs are NOT advisable – they might be helpful for some children, but we simply do not understand them well enough yet to risk developing young minds, and the research shows we are actively harming children and their futures by medicating them. Also, when medicine is available, it discourages parents from trying the more difficult behavioral approaches as doggedly as they could, because they are tempted by the option of a quick fix – which then doesn’t work and exacerbates the problem. Raising children isn’t easy – especially when they are bright. It takes a LOT of effort, patience, and understanding. And part of it is just making sure that the parent is IN CONTROL and never lets the kid get the upper hand. This mother has obviously been letting her son control her for quite some time now, and it’s not good for anyone involved. I sincerely hope you are never in the same boat with your daughter.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=506472506 Fanny Dvorkin

      You don’t say “no you’re not” to someone who has expressed suicidal ideation, ESPECIALLY with past incidents, including actual attempts (grabbing a knife counts as a serious attempt). Going to the ER was the most responsible and caring thing she could have done in that situation. They were in a moving vehicle. He has severe history of violent outbursts. What would you have done? Oh yeah, the first thing they tell you NOT to do in any sort of mental health class. Always assume the threat is genuine. Always.

      • dxp2718

        Always assume the threat is genuine? Really? When you have control over the situation and can prevent it? If you are obviously afraid, and take the threats seriously, the kid learns that they can get attention/whatever they’re looking for by making such threats. It shouldn’t have been POSSIBLE for the kid to do what he was threatening to do – I’m assuming he was (as the guidelines would suggest) in the back seat, where the child lock could be enabled. Even if he took off his seatbelt, he wouldn’t be able to get out of the car. And if he tried to climb into the front seat (or really, as soon as he took off his seat belt), THEN mom could pull over the car. But reacting the way she did – with obvious fear – gave him the sense that he had power over her. And of course that’s reinforcing his behavior.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=506472506 Fanny Dvorkin

          I don’t think you read it properly. If she had responded in fear, she would have said, “Oh my god, you poor thing! Of course you get video games!” Instead, she drove straight to the hospital, as she had previously indicated she would.

        • dxp2718

          No, “Oh my god, you poor thing! Of course you get video games!” would not show fear, it would show sympathy. But neither that nor her response is good, because both were her letting his threat control her actions. Giving him power over her. And the more power she lets him have over her, the more he will exert it. Kids are immature; they are not supposed to have power over their parents. As soon as you give them the power, especially the power to hurt you (by making you afraid, for example), you are not properly parenting them.

        • Nor

          You can’t prevent someone from killing themselves. You can listen.

          • dxp2718

            Exactly! You don’t respond directly to the threats, because that reinforces the threats. Instead, you do other things to show the child you care about them and investigate if they truly need help. Responding to their threats with obvious fear ONLY reinforces threatening behavior. It makes it neither more nor less likely they will actually hurt themselves, but it makes it a lot more likely they will make threats again.

          • Nor

            No. By listen I meant LISTEN. And get them to care. Playing Russian Roulette with your child’s life is cruel. And illegal.

    • Laura

      I fear your comments are making too many people have to think. In America it is so much easier to blame, then accept responsibility. I am glad I am not the only one seeing through the woe is me as a mother of a potential killer, and seeing the threatening nature and judgemental tone of her own behavior/parenting. Educating ourselves on mental illness is important, but this article had nothing to do with that. I see no nurturing mother here, her name public a picture of her son public, and he is only 13. This article is sick.

    • http://twitter.com/boysinbikinis hey apathy

      THIS. THANK YOU.

    • Rachel

      I think the parenting described in this article is as calm, rational, intelligent, and loving as anyone could ask for, especially given the circumstances. Mood swings are one thing. Continued threats of harming oneself or others are another. And Michael wasn’t just threatening—he was actually attacking his mother AND the police. Biting, hitting, bruising, THREATENING WITH KNIVES? At a certain point, parents NEED to seek outside help. Michael’s mother should be commended for not trying to handle this purely on her own. As she pointed out, it won’t be long before Michael becomes stronger than her. Finding the resources she needs to be a supportive parent is exactly what she should be doing at this point.

      I’d also like to point out that this article is not describing Michael as “insane,” nor does he need to be classified as “truly insane” in order to receive some kind of help. As for the diagnosis/medication issue, I think the writer is trying to point out exactly the issue you’re getting at. Michael is sick. He needs medication. He needs a diagnosis. But what do you do when none of the diagnoses fit? What do you do when the medications that would normally be tried in a similar situation do not work? I am sure that Michael’s doctors and psychiatrists are doing everything they can to treat his symptoms. However, it’s not always that easy.

      It can be very easy to pass judgment on other parents. I’m sure Liza would never call herself a perfect parent—who would? I’m sure she has tried any and every tactic that you and anyone else has espoused. But I also think that the behaviors described here are beyond the scope of “normal” child development and need to be treated by professionals. Kudos to Liza for bringing her story into the conversation.

      I think a crucial thing to keep in mind is that every story is different. It’s incredibly hard to make generalizations on a topic like mental illness that differs so much from individual to individual. At the same time, when reading an article like this that does tell a specific story, it’s important to remember that this is ONE story. Try not to get caught up in the details about one mother’s parenting skills. Instead, let’s focus on the fact that mental illness exists, is prevalent, and is often untreated—or treated incorrectly or insufficiently. Let’s focus on what we can do to improve the situation, rather than shaming one mother who, I’m sure, already has enough on her plate.

      Liza, thank you so much for your story.

    • PainfullyUnaware

      This is one of the most ill-informed and outrageous responses I have ever seen. You are entirely uneducated. The idea that she doesn’t feel she has control and thus he doesn’t feel controlled so this is the cause for all the problems is laughable.

      My mother was very much in control of me. She disciplined me regularly if I did anything bad. Still didn’t help once I reached a certain age and my personality disorder started asserting itself. In fact, it very much caused more harm than good.

      My mother never showed any fear of me at all, never once, whenever she disciplined me. She was (still is) a calm, rational, intelligent and loving parent.

      Until the day I went apeshit, shattered the glass-top stove with one single pounding of my fist, and threatened to kill her when I was thirteen. Because she threatened to take away something that was very dear to me as punishment. Sound familiar? Then she showed fear. I think most people show fear in those situations. You would have. I hadn’t been on medicine at that point. It took them three years to figure out what was going on in my head.

      Your theories are flawed, and your display of declaring yourself an optimal and godly parenting figure are grossly misinformed and delusional.

    • Stacey

      Your comment makes no sense, listen to yourself. Don’t put him on drugs, you dont have a diagnosis! When he’s in a good mood, he;s delightful, start there, keep him in a good mood! DUH! Mental disorders are in the brain, typically a chemical imbalance of some sort and have no other way to be controlled other than BY DRUGS, unless in your tons of experience since you apparently have a child just like this, or your genius opinion we should use some good old shock therapy to shock those thoughts right out of them since we can’t abuse them anymore?!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=735360265 Liam Bean

      I see so many problems with your response. First and foremost the fact that you didn’t read it.

  • hughsbayou

    What I believe is that the mental health industry is run by people who only know how to prescribe drugs. They know nothing about the underlying experiences these poor people are having. Their study is of labeling conditions and the drugs to prescribe. It’s really really sad. I have absolutely nothing to say as to a solution in the present existing law enforcement mentality toward mental disturbances. I just know it’s wrong. The people running the system really seem to think that force and coercion is the only way to control these kids (and adults). My heart goes out to you.

    • Ladifuckinda

      Actually, in my experience, my psychiatrists have always been really hesitant to prescribe drugs. I only got on anti-depressants because I suggested that I thought that therapy alone wasn’t doing enough to deal with my anxiety. And when you think about it, it makes a shitload of sense why that is the case; psychiatrists don’t want to be threatened with malpractice suits if they get it wrong, which is what would happen if they really were as desperate to prescribe as the anti-medication crowd makes them out to be.

      I’m really sick of these massive generalizations, especially as (I don’t know you, but this is what I’ve observed as a general pattern) they so often come from people who have little to no experience with psychiatry themselves. I’ve been in and out of psychologists since I was little because of family issues. Mental health care has made my life infinitely better, and I’m so sick of hearing how my desire to not live with paralyzing anxiety means I am somehow “turning my brain to mush.” It’s easy to fall into the naturalistic fallacy of thinking that because something comes in the form of a pill rather than being behavioral or an herb or something, it must be “bad” for you. But in past generations, when people only used “natural” remedies because the technology for modern medicine wasn’t available yet, we also had people dying at much higher rates. “Natural” does not automatically equal “good,” and “artificial” does not automatically equal “bad.” Misdiagnoses and side effects can happen and can in some cases, be devastating. (I had to deal with some bad side effects from anti-depressants the first time I took them because I was on too high of a dose.) But the right pills, administered to the right person, at the right time, can be life-saving.

  • http://twitter.com/TIFFLS TIFFLS

    Thank you for having the courage to share this.

  • Jessica

    “Free public babysitting from 7:30-1:50 Monday through Friday until they turn 18.”
    Are you referring to your son’s teachers??? If they work with him for 30 hours a week as you suggest, I hope they deserve a better job title than “babysitter.”

  • BigDan57

    Gluten intolerance!

  • http://twitter.com/DroppinBeef Droppin’ Beef

    Sorry but you sound like a crap Mom. Send your kid to military school because obviously you cant handle it.

  • Linda Young

    God bless you! You are courageous and so strong. My son is mentally ill, now 38, and I have spent many years trying to help him, hoping he’d “mellow”, never getting proper diagnosis, being criticized for telling people he was mentally ill, being dropped by friends who didn’t understand and felt awkward. I got divorced also, and although it is not my child’s fault, coping with our difficult child certainly contributed to our chaotic homelife, and added incredible stress to our marriage.
    I have prayed and never given up, and years ago was in parent support groups, volunteered as a mental health advocate and served as a parent advocate(volunteer) on the county teams that plan and decide what to do with these kids, to try and find answers and get support for me! It’s a constant struggle, and a perpetual heartache and I’m convinced that the psychiatrists really don’t know what to do for people suffering with illness like your son’s and mine. I agree with you that our wealthy nation has neglected the mentally ill, and failed to do the research for better treatments. Jail, detention centers, are not the answers, but the sad outcome of lack of effective treatment!
    Yes, we need to talk about it, and unfortunately it always takes a crisis like this recent horrific incident to get serious attention and important dialog going. I am praying for you and your son. I hope you get him the right help. My heart aches for you, I understand and I hope you find loving support and sensitive, encouraging people to surround yourself with, and strong, caring people to spend time with your son and help him stay right-thinking and reasonably well-behaved. I hope he will realize how much you love him and trust you to guide him. I hope he will grow in self esteem, get his education and learn to control his impulses, and set goals for a more peaceful, satisfying life.
    I send you the peace and comfort and hope that only God can give, and my love and prayers!
    Linda

    • dee w d

      Wow! You have an amazing voice! Keep it up….be our voicebox too. People like you will make that difference. Because of of you, and your knowledge, there is hope. Realize your gift…we need you!!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/melisa.romanq Melisa Roman

    Wow your story breaks my heart. There are a lot of kids with autism or schizophrenia. That become sociopaths but others don’t…. and im not sure what makes the difference. I also believe bullying needs to stop … the fact that Adam came from and upper class family, a good neighborhood. And perfect grades makes it even more scary. I hope you get the help you need.

  • http://twitter.com/LadyCrow Gwyn McVay

    Good god. There are some incredible assholes in this comment thread. I don’t mean the ones who are sweetly, if perhaps misguidedly, suggesting no gluten, or no cooked food, or what have you. I mean the ones who are accusing the writer of “parenting failures.” I would love to see any of those assholes attempt to take care of a severely mentally ill kid for a week, if human experimentation like that were even ethical, just to see if both commenter and kid survived the week. (You don’t, for example, call a potential suicide’s bluff. You just don’t.) Just how much should the author and parents like her — and the other kids in the family — be expected to “cope” with? Some of you are angry at psychiatry. Armchair psychiatry is scarier.

    • Guest

      Thank you, thank you, thank you … being the mother of such a child, I’m sick and tired of hearing about food allergies, their need for discipline and the influence of video games. It’s a load of shite.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Linda-Skempris/502936331 Linda Skempris

        These drugs have no side effects? Do some research. Question authority. Don’t put your faith in “doctors” They don’t always know best. They rarely know best. It is your child. To the doctor, your child is just a check from your insurance.

        • http://www.facebook.com/jim.ellis.9693 Jim Ellis

          great point Linda. this needs to be hammered home. doctors are in business. business. it’s a mother’s duty, and a father’s honor to do what is in the best interest of the child, regardless of what is spoon-fed to them by the established drug dealers of the day.

          • niki123

            Diabetics take insulin along with diet modification. Without insulin, severe diabetics would die. Without antipsychotics my son would have given in to the voices that are present without the drugs and would have taken his own life. Before the drugs he was suicidal. at 8 years old. I promise you we did try everything natural we could find. There are good doctors out there. They don’t make money when they write a script. You’re right to suggest parents not blindly accept everything a physician says, but the medical community is not the enemy. That being said, some doctors are better than others.

          • Nor

            I don’t think the doctors are particularly blind to the needs of the patient. Nor are they heartless money grubbing ignorant bastards. All of them gave up a decade of their life to go to the most intense difficult life-eating school possible just to have this job where they are helping people. Most primary care doctors won’t be able to work themselves out of medical school debt for 20-30 years, which they know going in, and still choose that field. No one does it casually or just for fun. Not all are equal though, which is why you search around to find one you like. Also, most are perfectly willing to accept decisions not to medicate even with a dangerous patient like Michael. It’s just that psych meds are a shit shoot. You do not know what it will do to you, if it will help, etc. until you take it. It is always a good idea to question medical decision making, like it’s a good idea to question anyone else giving you any advice for any reason ever. It’s just that in situations like what this mother is going through, as a parent have other considerations. If I do not have the option to medicate my child, and rely entirely on talk therapy, and he harms another child, what then?

          • Holly

            You know what, your comments are really fucking offensive to people who have been helped by pharmaceuticals. Shove it.

        • http://www.facebook.com/darcie.bell Darcie Bell

          Sounds like you have some paranoia issues of your own.

          • Pennye

            Paranoid or not we do have to put our faith in “Doctors” because we are looking for answers for our children and loved ones with no resources or manuals on how to do it. I was determined that my son would have the best family life I could give him at home and no institution would ever fit that bill. Anger issues from an early teenager. diagnosed at age 3. I raised him until he graduated from a small highschool, he was one of 18 graduates, Believe it or not they made him their mascott to lead the parade that year. However there was still anger out of him that the school, local police and others knew about. I had to give up and let him go when he threatened my family and told me that he was 18 and could do what he wanted and that there wasn’t a darn thing I could do about it. Broke my heart to tell the police that night to take him away and he couldn’t come home again. However I had to do what I had to do in order to protect the rest of my family. My child has been on so many medications that he will hold 5 to 7 pills in his hand and just down them and some of these are horse pills to us and split them just to get them down. So when I hear Paranoid or not enough done to help I get very angry. The Mental Welfare only does what it is allowed to do with each of the people involved. Budget cuts? that is a friggin joke. Don’t allow money to teach, support or otherwise help these individuals make it in the outside world? I would love to see a statistic comparing prisons to mental hospitals. we have 2 choices and you have just read them. Hurts to be a mother of one that is sooo loving until he gets upset.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=725396075 Jan Falk

          Linda- exactly- I don’t understand parents giving their kids, regardless of the diagnoses tossed around irresponsibly. I see kid like this every day in therapy and the system screws them up way beyond where they present. Parents need to be advocates and DEFINATELY question authority.

        • Eddietude

          Linda, well said. Pharmaceuticals have their place, but often they should be a last resort. Everyone want the “easy” way out. take a pill, it will be better, but in fact, it’s not. there are numerous studies showing the detrimental effects of most anti-psychotic medications.

      • Ariana386

        I understand u r sick of hearing about food allergies. I did work with many many special needs children/adults–13 yrs’ worth. Food allergies are not the cause of all the issues. But it has been the apparent cause of many of them. One young girl I had in class that fits the description in this thread (to a “T”) was actually reacting to Tartrazine–or more commonly called–”yellow #5″. It was in foods. It was in candy. It was in some hygiene products( tho why, I still couldn’t tell u!)! She once sent a classroom aide to the hospital with a concussion, n bit another child at least 4times before we could cross the room n get to her! Then it would dissipate like it was never even an issue…..Removing the offender after a lot of guesswork def changed her whole persona. On two boys in the same class, it worked only marginally. Finding out what is triggering an episode is a convoluted mess. Half the crap that’s probably at fault (msg /dyes/ etc) do not have an “allergy test”.

        • Sheila

          I believe this. As the mother of 4, 1 with issues who is 6 years old but since he was 1 I have known something was different, some days are good, some days are bad, and I seriously think its food related. I couldnt tell you what. But sometimes for 3 days he is just melting down over everything. Then other days he is happy, helpful, sweet, funny and loving. Its like, something snaps, back and forth. He is 6. I am thinking of GF just to try. Sugar too. Something is making my precious boy not understand how to deal with himself and surroundings. He doesnt play video games and is disciplined. Its so hard.

          • http://twitter.com/MTsunshinegirl mtsunshinegirl

            Sheila, try to watch his intake of HFCS. My daughter is the same. We took out all high fructose corn syrup and reduce gluten and dairy and although it’s not a complete fix, it does help considerably. We don’t watch much TV or video games either. Every day is a detective game to try something new. Stay strong momma.

          • Sheila

            I know I need to. As of right now, he eats whatever. I honestly am lost on how to implement a diet. We have church functions, family functions… He is homeschooled so he eats all his meals here during the day which is helpful. But I just dont know how to implement something that drastic. My husband is being checked for Celiacs rigth now… He has a host of problems (including probable aspergers, he is 30) and the doctors right away said celiacs and said they will keep testing him because of his symptoms. My son is just like my husband except my husband is very calm and patient, where my son got my impatience lol. My son will cry for hours. and no matter what we do he will keep crying. His shirt or sock are turned the wrong way and he cries for an hour. Then some days his socks are crooked and tag in his shirt and he couldnt care less. He also sometimes feels things and sometimes doesnt. Doesnt cry with blood taken… Yesterday was pushing my niece on a skateboard and hit his head on my piano and screamed for a second… Then I gave them baths and walked in to wash him and there was blood everywhere…. His head was cut and bleeding everywhere and was taking a bath happy as can be…. He still like, spits when he talks and puts everything in his mouth. He was not delayed potty training or speech. He is probably a genius lol. My husband is also 135-140 IQ though. Since the doctors thing DH is gluten sensitive, I really believe it could be the same for my son….

          • Kalmia

            Sheila, look into the Specific Carbohydrate Diet or SCD. There is info for children at pecanbread.com about how to implement it and what it is all about. And there is info for adults at BreakingTheViciousCycle.info

          • Sheila

            Thank you! I will look at the links tomorrow! I should be in bed lol

          • Ann

            Sheila, a few friends of mine have found help with this information in regards to a child not “feeling” a bleeding wound or “putting everything in their mouth” to get enough stimulation. Look into “sensory deficit disorder” http://www.sensory-processing-disorder.com/sensory-processing-disorder-checklist.html One friend in the end had the child eventually diagnosed “very mild cerebral palsy” and gets therapy help.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=735360265 Liam Bean

        Those who make these suggestions are in deep denial about mental illness. They simply refuse to entertain the thought that it is possible to “lose one’s mind.” It no only is possible it happens frighteningly often. The worst part about this denial is that these are the very same people who will insist upon punishment for those who have great difficultly in distinguishing right from wrong and crime and punishment.

        • Leo

          As with all things, it takes time for a mind to reach a state where it snaps. A lot of things must happen preceding the event. Lots of grief, hurt, possible guilts and being victimized. My whole underline point on my previous post is, a mental illness is not really a mental illness until it grow into certain stage, where the person is too wrapped up in his own world and became extremely difficult to be worked with.

          That shouldn’t happen before a person reaches his age of maturity, because the way we grow. When you are younger, as a child, you are more prone to be affected by outside world. It is not just because you are small and fragile, in comparison with an adult. It is because of the stage of growth your brain is in. We all know how hard learning can be as an adult and how children on average has better memories than us. It is the way we are.

          So all I am saying is, children CAN be worked with, and if anything, that is mostly likely WHEN they can be worked with. By the time they reach maturity, you can no longer get through to them without serious outside help.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alexsandra-Rehlinger/731753806 Alexsandra Rehlinger

            I wholly sympathise. its shocking how the mental issue is, and is not, perceived and dealt with- a worldwide blindspot. At the moment though, reading through this thread there’s another cleft that confounds me here; some insisting that addressing mental imbalances has no relevance to physical imbalances. It’s just not possible, there is no door between the mind and the body, c’mon folks. One cannot ‘lose one’s mind’ without the fundamental structures and environment that holds that to be haywire first…the biochemistry has to be addressed. And I’m not suggesting medication- unless it is used to manage acute states while deep repair is being administered. Adequate and appropriate testing can help understand what and where to address – not necessarily allergies or food/substance sensitivities- which are purely symptomatic of deeper metabolic insufficiencies and imbalances. Of course, more poignantly we are reaping what we’ve sown and this is what is so painful to witness. These young people are at the tail end of incredible evolutionary degradation due to our insulting ignorance to what sustains and fortifies our optimal nature…most pervasively environmental factors that have polluted and denatured our food chain, from the air to the water, fruit and vegetables, meats. It’s appalling. We all have to take stands to address this in our communities and in our own lives, and take it up with those people effecting our food and environments. The mental health issue is a reflection of how far away we’ve come from sustainable nature. Moma Nature is definitely losing her mind…and sadly her children- our children – are painfully acting it out, because they and their parents have been slowly but definitively poisoned and malnourished.

          • Lisa

            I think that is a part of it, but not ALL of it.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alexsandra-Rehlinger/731753806 Alexsandra Rehlinger

        I wholly sympathise. I have my own personal experiences. And it really is shocking how the mental issue is, and is not, perceived and dealt with- a worldwide blindspot. At the moment though, reading through this whole thread there’s another cleft that confounds me here; some insisting that addressing mental imbalances has no relevance to physical imbalances. It’s just not possible, there is no door between the mind and the body, c’mon folks. One cannot ‘lose one’s mind’ without the fundamental structures and environment that holds that mind to be haywire first…the biochemistry has to be addressed or the situation will never be truly resolved. And I’m not suggesting medication- unless it is used to manage acute states while deep repair is being administered. Adequate and appropriate testing does help understand what and where to address – not necessarily allergies or food/substance sensitivities- which are purely symptomatic of deeper metabolic insufficiencies and imbalances. I have plenty of experience with cases from children to adults who when nourished to optimal balance turn around….and yes, most have to manage this – but naturally- for their lives. Yet having this level of self knowledge and self control back can also make a huge difference.
        Of course, more poignantly we are reaping what we’ve sown and this is what is so painful to witness. These young people are at the tail end of incredible evolutionary degradation due to our insulting ignorance to what sustains and fortifies our optimal nature…most pervasively environmental factors that have polluted and denatured our food chain, from the air to the water, fruit and vegetables, meats. It’s appalling. We all have to take stands to address this in our communities and in our own lives, and take it up with those people effecting our food and environments. The spiralling mental health issue is a reflection of how far away we’ve come from sustainable nature. Moma Nature is definitely losing her mind, and well should! Sadly her children- our children – are painfully acting it out, because they and their parents and our societies have been slowly but definitively poisoned and malnourished.

        I wish you luck and good will, Gwen.

        • Flordilis

          http://www.i-am.cc/therapies/Ho'oponopono.htm

          This is worth a shot! Does not cost a thing and Dr. Hew Len cleared a whole ward of psychiatric patients by taking the responsibility on himself and cleaning himself. Wish you all the best! Love & Peace

      • Eddietude

        Actually, it isn’t a “load of shite” A very dear friend of mine who is a nutritionist has treated MANY of these types of kids, with success. The problem usually is one or a combination of, the following things:

        1) nutrition. (or lack there-of in many cases) (Try eliminating all the sugar free poison many parents feed their kids and see what happens.) She’s had MANY patients who she got on an all natural, organic, super healthy diet, and found that within a couple of months, the behavior changed dramatically for the better.

        2) allergies to food or something else in their life they’re exposed to. (Could be as simple as the carpeting in the house for example…)

        3) Yes, sometimes lack of proper parenting skills has come into play.

        She’s also seen MANY parent who’d rather just “give the kid a pill” because that’s easier for them. (or because the school required it.)

    • dxp2718

      You don’t help anyone by telling parents that they’re “doing the best they can” when clearly they are getting nowhere. Sure it’s great to be sympathetic and supportive, but if you just shrug your shoulders and say “this is the way it is” then nobody will ever get help. Parenting IS difficult and, if done improperly, causes all sorts of problems, especially with particularly vulnerable children.The only way for things to get better is to identify problems and fix them. The point is this kid may not be “seriously mentally ill” – or may not have been before he was medicated haphazardly and unnecessarily. And clearly the way the mother is treating this child is not helping his situation, or hers. I would LOVE to take a shot at raising this kid. But I would need a lot more than a week to gain his respect enough to be able to attempt to control him. Unfortunately, I am not his mother. But if I WERE – I sure wouldn’t have let things get this out of hand. And I absolutely would NOT have given him anti-psychotic meds, especially without an explicit diagnosis and an understanding of the exact problem and how the medication was going to fix it.

      • PainfullyUnaware

        You live in a delusional world, where you think your special insight and ‘godly’ parenting can ‘fix’ something that is unfixable. You think you wouldn’t let things get this out of hand? You’re no god, dxp2718. You’re no “have all the right answers” person to be placed upon a pedestal. It is most likely you would be lost like any parent in this situation, one who has not experienced it first hand. How would you gain respect? Would you beat him? Restrain him, lock him up? I think that is likely, since you said “in an attempt to control him”. This does not earn respect. It creates fear, and loathing.

        I bet, after reading this article, you can’t even tell one of the foremost reasons for the way this child acts the way he does in situations, can you? Sometimes, people do need medicine. Sometimes, doing your best is exactly the right thing to do. But controlling someone, dxp2718? That is the exact worse thing you could do to this kid. You would be a horrible parent to this child, and your condescending response to these women is remarkable only in its delusional and offensive nature.

      • http://twitter.com/jenrose jenrose

        Until you’ve had a child hell bent on hurting you, you have no clue what you are talking about. And you have no idea what you would do in that parent’s shoes until you are there. None. We think that as parents, we shape our children, that we have some control over who they will be and what they will become.

        I am an amazingly good parent. My eldest child is a dream. We had a hard time when she was a preschooler, but we figured it out and her teen years were not spend in a blaze of adolescent rebellion. We navigated that storm together and are still close. I breastfeed my children. Feed them organic, nutritious foods. Pay attention to their allergies and sensitivities. Advocate for them at school. Strive for gentle parenting based on love, respect, and common sense.

        And my middle child terrifies me. She’s 7 years old. She is the size of an average kindergartner. And she has broken my nose, bitten, kicked, hit, head-butted and tried to choke me. She has a rare chromosome disorder. It is not well understood, but we are told by other parents that it gets much worse as they hit puberty. So despite my natural parenting bent, we are likely going to be inhibiting her puberty with drugs and then putting her through puberty in a controlled way due to the nature of what her chromosomes are missing. The alternative (and we may have to do it anyway) is antipsychotics. Kids with this disorder end up self-harming, going into violent rages and losing all their language. Did I think when I started parenting I would have to lock my 7 year old into her bedroom every night? That I would have to confine her during the day to a (large, spacious, comfortable) single room when she is not in school? That there would be times that I would have to leave her to bang her head on the wall because it would not be safe for me to stay in the room where she would bang her head on me? You have no idea until you have been there. Sometimes we cannot choose the path of greatest good. Sometimes we must choose the path of least harm, or at least no one getting maimed.

        There is no let here. Things don’t “get” out of hand, they simply ARE out of hand. Sometimes we can’t fix it. Sometimes no one can fix it. We are hoping that we will be able to keep our daughter with us long term, she will likely never be independent. But she’s so hard to handle at 7 years old, and the prognosis is so grim, that it is terrifying to contemplate what things will be like when she is 120 pounds rather than 48 pounds. When she is 55 inches rather than 42 inches. When we can no longer lift her bodily and put her in a locked room to spend her rage on her stuffed animals. I don’t know what we will do then. And neither do you.

        • http://www.facebook.com/janet.f.albert Janet Forbes Albért

          You are describing my daughter and our experience to a “T”. She has Smith-Magenis Syndrome. Is that your child’s diagnosis? My daughter is 24 and doing well, all things considered. Hang in there!

        • http://twitter.com/Inverness Inverness

          I don’t have children, but I am full of admiration for the selflessness good parents have. Stay strong, it sounds like you are very resourceful and hardworking. It isn’t easy being a parent, especially of a child with special needs.

        • http://www.facebook.com/shculbreth Susan Culbreth

          Well said jenrose.

        • Leo

          Jen,

          What does your 7 year old child feel when she let out those angry bursts? And afterwards?

          Has she ever told you why she is acting so volatile?

          I am sure you as a loving mother must have asked those questions. I am with a bit of experience and would like to help, so maybe we can discuss this if you are willing.

        • Julie

          People who don’t have children with mental illness have no idea what we deal with every single day of our lives and what it does to all family members some days it’s so bad it’s sheer torture, enjoy the good days and may God bless and help everyone

        • JAL Dallas

          Absolutely Correct!!!!!!!!

        • AppleJ

          well said

        • Lisa

          wow, I feel better just having read that.

      • Squirmy_Wirmy

        Gwyn,
        You have obviously NEVER been anywhere close to in this woman’s shoes, so you should have never responded., What you think you like to think you would have done in a similar situation and what you really would do…well…. What I am trying to say is; your post makes you read like an arrogant ass-hat. Maybe you should offer some advice instead of alluding to how awesome you think you are. Not everyone knows about the side effects of medication…and in the heat of terror during what must seem like a battle for life an death with the soul of your child at stake…not everyone has the presence of mind to fully comprehend what drugs can do. When a ‘Doctor’…a person we have been trained to trust since we were babies, pushes something at you; claiming it will help…how in the hell can you blame a distraught parent for following their ‘professional opinion’? So instead of being smug and self righteous, help this lady out. Hell, if you have the magic beans that can fix these kids…please, spill ‘em.

        • PainfullyUnaware

          Just a fyi Gwyn is the not the person to respond to, it is dxp2718 who was responding TO Gwyn with their hateful commentary.

      • http://www.facebook.com/darcie.bell Darcie Bell

        If this child is suicidal/homicidal, then he is severely mentally ill. Period. That is pretty much the definition. No one can live like that status quo and by removing gluten.

        TRY GETTING A DIAGNOSIS FOR A CHILD WITH MENTAL ILLNESS.
        They don’t have extensive studies in the Journal of Psychiatry for such cases.
        Good luck with that.

        • Nor

          Actually it’s really hard to get a solid diagnosis even in adults. You go to a different shrink, you’ll get a different diagnosis. And you are right, kids are even harder, partially because their brains are still undergoing massive changes in development, and because you can’t measure them using standards developed for adults. There are a lot of controversies about this stuff.

        • http://pissedoffwoman.wordpress.com Pissed Off Woman

          What about children who are abuse victims and suicidal/homicidal because of that?

          What about children who have severe anxiety attacks, or hallucinations, or are deeply depressed, but are not suicidal or homicidal? Should they be treated as future Adam Lanzas?

          Let’s not demonize the kids here.

      • Sirius Black

        I am going to assume you are not a psychologist, let alone a psychiatrist. Your lack of knowledge in the field clouds your understanding of therapy and healing. You should educate yourself on medication, therapy, and parenting while you are at it.
        Also, only until YOU have a child with a mental disorder and experience parenting under that circumstance, can you talk about right or wrong parenting of this child. Otherwise, you are just assuming you know what you’re talking about, which in this case you certainly got it wrong. Please look out for your own family, and save your nasty commentary to other equally ignorant parents.

      • unknown

        You are incredibly ignorant and extremely hurtful. It silly to make comments about issues that you don’t understand.

      • beeeez

        Yo, I’m not going to call you names because that gets us no where. But come on! Step outside your world and consider that something exists that you don’t understand. Your sentiments illuminate precisely what is detrimental to mental health awareness in our country. It’s a disease, it’s not completely understood. If your child had cancer, you wouldn’t have the magical answer to correct it as a strong mother. You also wouldn’t have the answer to a child who has the underpinnings of a sociopath. That’s just it – you can’t fix them with your tough love – just like you can’t fix cancer.

        I hope you can open your heart and mind to the possibility that you don’t have the answers. If you’re hellbent at taking a shot at raising one of these kids, I’m sure you could find someone who needs help.

      • Jennifer Smith

        You truly have no idea what it’s like to live with someone that out of reach, let alone how to help someone work through those issues. I would be interested to see what you think after just a month under the same roof with someone, child or adult, that unpredictable and sad and dangerous.

      • Patricia Wade

        I have 8 children. 7 of them are completely normal, stable children (which would indicate that I was probably a decent parent, rather than lucky), and 1 child who defies definition or explanation. He has been that way since he was an infant. Not that I or any other parent owes YOU any explanation for the situation we find ourselves in. Rather, to simply say that you might attempt a little less douche-baggery, and a whole lot more humility. Because you simply have NO idea. And your little fairy tale land methodology, at which you hint but reveal nothing, does not work in our reality.

        • dxp2718

          I don’t doubt that there are children with true mental illness. I don’t doubt that they need and deserve treatment. However, from the description in this article, THIS boy does not seem like he is seriously ill – or at least wasn’t until he was abused by his parents, including pumping him full of random drugs in an attempt to control him. His mother is obviously an attention-whore (have you seen her blog?) who is thinking more of herself than her child’s well-being. Meanwhile, mental health science is not at the point yet where we even know what is wrong with children let alone the appropriate way to medicate them. There are far more tragic stories of children being ruined for life by psychotropic medications than success stories of such “damaged” children growing up to be productive members of society. Watch any documentary about it. Google it. Look it up. You will see – we have a long way to go before we can successfully identify and treat mental illness in children. Until then, we must start by ASSUMING children have the potential of being controlled with enough patience, understanding, and effort on the part of the parents. This mom has to start with the assumption that SHE is the parent and SHE is in control, and her son is NOT a threat to her. Rationally think about the situation. In the car, when he threatened to jump out and kill himself? It wasn’t possible – child safety lock should have been on, and the moment he even unbuckled his seatbelt she must pull over. Pull over, lock the doors, wait for him to calm down. Maybe she wouldn’t get to wherever she was going that day, but the son would learn he had no power over her. He would learn to respect the authority of his mother, rather than learning that, if he was angry, all he had to do was threaten himself or her to get attention (which is really all he wants – do you think he REALLY cares about his video game privileges? What he wants is for his mother to pay attention to him!)

          • http://twitter.com/ZH34106087 ZH

            Oh God, I’m going to be sick. You’re actually accusing her of abuse? You’re beyond disgusting. Meds HAVE helped people. They don’t always. The difference is, you’re barging into a complicated issue with a big entitled ego and a need to tell everyone what’s best. The “authority” you want this kid to respect is merely a projection of the authority you seek to impose on us, and the attention-seeking child is you. It’s hideous. You can’t feel shame because you’ve already been handed a script and shown your own part in it, and you’re trying to assign the villain role. This isn’t about her or her child or the mental health system. It’s all you you you.

          • dxp2718

            She may or may not have abused him deliberately, but certainly putting him on untested meds was harmful and a form of non-intentional abuse. But besides that, if you read her blog, you will see that his FATHER abused him in more “traditional” ways.

          • Nor

            I’ve seen a kid grab the wheel and steer the car off the road, with no warning. Having the siblings in the car makes it worse. What if there is no calm down? For hours? What if he starts self harming, aggressively? What if he attacks her? And yes, I’m sure she uses no-electronics as a deterrent because it is the only effective one. Driving him to the mental hospital is pretty much the trump card in ending drama queen kid behavior, so I think she’s got that covered. Would you rather she ignore suicidal statements by her child?

          • dxp2718

            If you have properly secured your children in the vehicle, that should NOT BE POSSIBLE. They should not be in the front seat, because the air bag could kill them in a crash. In the back seat, they should be buckled in – if they’re small enough, in a booster or five-point harness. If they’re in the back seat, in a regular seat belt, then you listen for the seat belt buckle. If they take off their seatbelt, it is no longer legal for you to be driving. You pull over immediately. If they are inclined to do such things, you can get special seat belts that they cannot unbuckle on their own. Problem solved.

          • Nor

            Most people who commit suicide tell people beforehand. Often many times. Over months or years. And kids are more likely to talk about it than adults. You don’t ignore these statements in anyone, ever.

          • dxp2718

            It’s one thing to take it into account and keep watch on the child. It’s a whole different thing to let the child know that the threats are scaring you and thus encourage him to continue them in order to get attention. No, you don’t ignore them entirely – but you make the child believe you’re ignoring them. If you react strongly every time your child does something – ANYTHING – it will encourage that behavior. Reacting explosively or with fear to threats of violence is a good way to reinforce that sort of behavior.

          • Nor

            I don’t understand how showing your child that you don’t think their threats of suicide are important is going to do anything more than prove to them that they should die.
            And this mother isn’t reacting explosively. She is driving him to the mental hospital. As she told him she would. As we all should do, if we can, for anyone who tells us they want to die.
            I’d be afraid if my kid wanted to kill himself too. One of the things that keeps many suicidal people from dying is knowing that it would hurt their family. If she acts as if his threats are nothing, how is he going to believe she even cares if he lives or dies?
            Wouldn’t this plan encourage him to stop telling her? But not stop him feeling the emotion? So he will receive less care, and his death will come as a surprise? As did Adam Lanza’s?

          • dxp2718

            Wow. You are clearly not a parent. Kids look for a reaction – ANY reaction – as a cue to continue a behavior. They will continue it if they are coddled or punished…doesn’t matter, as long as they are getting attention. If you ignore their threats of suicide (or at least look like you’re ignoring them) what you’re showing them is that you don’t believe them, not that you want them to die. If they actively try to harm themselves, you intervene, of course, and you show them protection in other ways (such as holding their hand when you cross the street and making sure they’re buckled into the car). If you ignore their obnoxious behavior, it does not show them that you want them to get hurt. If you believe that, you will almost certainly be reinforcing their bad behavior, and end up with an out-of-control brat just like “Michael.”

          • Nor

            No, but I was a suicidal child.

          • Nor

            And unless someone is under 24-7 observation, there is not a damn thing a parent or anyone can do to save them. Other than listen to them when they say they want to die, and take it as seriously as they would for an adult.

          • dxp2718

            Obviously you didn’t succeed. Did you even try, or were you just looking for attention?

          • Nor

            My parents did what you recommended. It was friends and complete strangers who saved my life. Denying a sick child appropriate medical care because of a misguided disciplinary method is child abuse.

          • Nor

            And with that comment, I am now certain you have never known a suicidal person, child, or been suicidal yourself. Your ignorance (and your cruel callousness) is clear. If you had kids, and they made those threats to you, you can consider yourself lucky they survived.

        • dxp2718

          MOST kids turn out normally even if they are parented badly – kids are resilient; they have to be, because parenting is hard, and most parents get stressed out and make mistakes. Plenty of “normal” people come out of broken and even abusive homes. Don’t pull a muscle patting yourself on the back for your excellent parenting.

      • Nor

        You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. You should also know that a firm diagnosis of bipolar or schizophrenia is almost never achieved in childhood, and in an adult these diagnosis take 7+ years to typically diagnose. This kid is very clearly beyond simple behavioral problems. If you think you can be of help with psychotic children, you might wish to volunteer at your local pediatric psych unit, or local school for kids with severe psychiatric problems. Or foster a kid with these problems. Or be a (volunteer?) para/one-on-one for a similar kid in the school system. Or serve as a respite caretaker for kids like these (those last three positions are even paid!). I’m sure they could use your help, god knows around here they are always desperate for respite and foster people. I don’t think you get to say a damn word denigrating this mother, who obviously cares deeply about her child, if you haven’t lifted a finger to help similar children in your own community.

      • JAL Dallas

        You have No Clue Buddy. No clue. Ur Self Pretencious comments show ur ignorance.

    • http://www.facebook.com/darcie.bell Darcie Bell

      Amen to that, Gwyn. Amen to that.

    • http://www.facebook.com/misty.hopkins.12 Misty Hopkins

      Well said, Gwyn McVay! The problem I’m faced with is, I want to help, but I don’t know where to start. I don’t have a mentally ill child, although I do suffer bipolar type II myself (regulated well). What can we do?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=120810443 Tedra Osell

        I think the best thing those familiar with mental illness can do is to destigmatize it by being open about our conditions (depression & anxiety for me) and medications (pristiq).

        As this thread demonstrates, the belief that mental illness is “really” “just” something else (lack of discipline, bad parenting, a fantasy made up by greedy doctors or “big pharma”, the effect of bad foods, whatever) is still rampant. It is very hard for people to believe in an “illness” that they cannot see or understand, and our collective understanding of the brain as an organ is still very new. To most people who haven’t lived with it (or who have known mentally ill people whose problems were misidentified as simple “badness”), mentally ill people look like someone muttering to themselves in the street or locked in an institution.

        Those of us who don’t look like that, who can “pass” as “normal,” need to let people know some of the truths about mental illness. That it exists. That it can, in many cases–but not all, tragically–be well managed. That in fact it’s pretty “normal.”

        (And also, because I *do* have a child with a mental illness (anxiety, on Lexapro) when we talk about the process of figuring this stuff out, as this mother is bravely doing in this piece, that we are not lying or exaggerating or being self-serving. Figuring out one’s own problems is difficult. Figuring out the problems and needs of another person is herculean.)

        • Nor

          You know what always amazes me about mental health stigma? People seem to be a lot more lenient with addicts, alcoholics. It’s so strange to me. Not that addicts aren’t any less sick, and I know co-morbidity is a given, but it’s just that at least at one point, they made a decision. Mental patients didn’t, and yet there seems to be so much less understanding towards them. I never understood this.

          • roxyb

            After finding out that our insurance wouldn’t pay for residential treatment for my debilitating anxiety/depression (I was too sick to get out of the house to attend therapy but just barely well enough to restrain myself from acting on suicidal thoughts for my family’s sake) but would pay for 30 day rehab for addicts I told my husband that “maybe I should take up drinking “. I was joking but just barely. I haven’t taken up drinking but I can certainly see how tempting that form of self medication can be when nothing else seems to help. It makes a lot of things worse & doesn’t treat the cause but a least maybe it could help temporarily numb the pain.

          • Nor

            If it’s any consolation the function of inpatient treatment in this country (at this time, with our insurance system as it is) is simply to stabilize someone. You go in if you are in danger, to keep you from killing yourself through an acute episode, not because being inpatient is going to do anything to help you long term or cure you in any way. Usually they will start you on a rather strong medication regimen to see if that does you any good, knowing they’ve only got two weeks at best (depending on your insurance, but two weeks is pretty good if you aren’t violent+psychotic) and you’ll get booted out at the end of it by your insurance company. They will make sure you have a shrink on the outside if you don’t already, and a social worker if you are eligible, but that’s all they can do. There are intensive outpatient programs which tend to me more therapy oriented and participatory than actually being inpatient, did you look into them? I know you were having trouble getting there but if you have family could they not drive you? Sometimes depending on where you are they will come get you every day. Insurance tends to be more generous in funding those. Even when inpatient, generally there will be a good variety of addicts in there with you even in a straight psych ward, and the two to four hours of group therapy a day will be half directed at addiction as it is pervasive. So while it is a relief to be inpatient if you are in extreme danger, it doesn’t actually make you better or anything, it’s just a place to go if you are frightened of what you might do. And yes it is deeply unfair that a similar therapeutic environment doesn’t exist for the simply mentally ill, but the mental hospitals are currently ill-equipped to provide it and the insurance companies won’t pay. I wonder what it’s like in Canada? Also, if you are too sick to leave the house, every shrink I’ve ever heard of will do phone or Skype sessions. Not being able to leave the house is never a reason to not be able to access therapy.

          • http://pissedoffwoman.wordpress.com Pissed Off Woman

            And the kicker is, anybody who did the research would know that substance abuse is a MUCH bigger predictor for violence than any mental illness–and yet, after mass murders, it’s always the “mentally ill” who get blamed.

          • Nor

            That’s true. But everyone who is an addict also gets a mental illness diagnosis, which is usually totally justified, so that doesn’t bother me too much. Plus if these guys were on drugs, I think we’d hear about it, and that would be blamed as part of the reason. Mental illness isn’t actually a predictor for violence at all – mentally ill people are no more violent than the general population.

          • princev4liant

            People find addicts and alcoholics to be predictable. Especially as adults, they fall into very recognizable patterns.

            People are afraid of the mentally ill because they are not predictable. Especially as children, they are misunderstood.

          • Nor

            I think predictability depends greatly on their substance(s) of choice. I find the addicts in my life pretty surprising at times. Also, the reason why there is so much more understanding is that the idea that it is not the addicts fault is pervasive, as is a significant cultural familiarity with AA and rehab, etc. Intervention and other shows encourage that – there are few shows on mental illness other than Hoarders, or the relatively rare pica disorders, which again, shows the one-shot cure method which of course does not work most of the time. I agree with you we like things simple. And we like things easy to fix. Not that addiction is, but it looks like it is on TV. I’d bet that far more people recover from mental illness than addiction, you just never hear about it or see it. People aren’t public about it because the stigma is so great. Stigma on alcoholism has been lessened by familiarity. Wish it could be the same for mental illness.

          • princev4liant

            That’s a good point about the commercialization/media fascination with addiction. Alcohol addiction, food addiction, drug addiction, etc. All have shows. I worked at a place that did real life Hoarders-style clean ups and it is nothing like that show. No one who was living like that ever got better because their house was clean. They would call the office over and over insisting we “stole their clothes”, etc. Not as simple. But no one would watch that show. It was depressing.

          • Nor

            No one would watch it, you’re right. I also think there are a lot more addicts out there (5% of the population vs. 1-2% with a severe mental illness?). And addicts tend to be more obvious – I mean, who doesn’t know at least one? But I think mentally ill people can keep a lower profile (usually) so maybe it’s also just lack of familiarity in daily life. We all know mentally ill people. We just don’t know we know mentally ill people.

          • princev4liant

            Well said. Especially if high functioning mentally ill people are doing well- who would know? So people look at the worst cases and think that’s what it means to be mentally ill. It’s not.

        • http://pissedoffwoman.wordpress.com Pissed Off Woman

          Thank you for being brave and stepping forward. I must say, though, that some parents are being self-serving when they talk about their kids’ “mental illness”–it becomes an excuse for blaming problems on biology that are in fact caused by abuse, or an excuse to send their difficult children away to an institution–their kids begging them to not make them go, the parents lying to themselves (“they’re experts, they can help”) that they’re doing it for the child’s good, but secretly relieved that their ill-behaved kids are now someone else’s problem.

          This is exactly why people diagnosed with mental illness need to come out of the shadows, so to speak, and speak publicly about their lives. Because as long as we just have parents and psychologists speaking for us, however well-meaning they think of themselves as, we will be subject to stigma and vulnerable to abuse.

        • Lisa

          “Figuring out the problems and needs of another person is herculean.)”

          Thank you. I feel validated that it’s as hard as it seems.

      • Nor

        In order of increasing commitment:
        Volunteer at local school for troubled kids or pede mental health unit
        Big brother/big sister/ teen center volunteer
        Respite care for troubled kids
        Para educator
        Foster

    • vinny

      Ya…you keep feeding your kid drugs….they’ll end up just like this nut in CT.

      • niki123

        Without drugs my son would be dead. Drugs are not causing all these problems. A society that provides services to some diseases and not others is causing much heartache and tragedy.

      • Nor

        Would bet money that Adam Lanza was not medicated. And yes, denying appropriate medical treatment to mental patients will surely decrease the amount of violent deaths/suicides perpetrated by the mentally ill. Good idea vinny.

    • Nana3

      THANK YOU!! I AGREE!!

    • oh_dear_oh_dear

      Haha, I had a really long and personal response to this but I think Disqus leapt in and saved me from my own over-sharing. Just wanted to say you NEVER call the bluff of suicidal ideation. What the mother did was completely correct, and what any psychiatrist or therapist would do as well.

      But — “much should the author and parents like her — and the other kids in the family — be expected to “cope” with?” To me this is perpetuating the same stigma the article was about. Would you say this about a child with down’s syndrome or cancer? Maybe you would, I don’t know. But to my mind, when you sign on to be a parent, you sign on to be a parent. Period. You don’t get to choose whether you get a good kid, or a kid that’s not to much trouble. You are the only mother that child has, and yeah, you are expected to cope and love the kid, period. The last thing a kid with low fear or antisocial tendencies needs is a parent that completely checks out from their relationship.

    • Christopher Wojciechowski

      Gwen – I WAS “Michael.” Right down to the descriptions concerning his actions and what set them off. MY parents saw what a mental institution would do to me and at the last moment changed their minds. Instead of passing me off on an institution and penning articles crying for help – they did their job. They made me a functioning adult in this society, one that works with children and understands the need for a tight knit support system at home.

      I am accusing her of parenting failures. The only excuse she has is if she’s a single parent. In which case, I lament having no solution – that is a lot that I couldn’t imagine drawing. But my parents got me through it with patience, communication, and a LOT of their time and effort, sacrificing vast portions of their own potential “lives” outside of the world of being my parents. This woman chose to put her son away and spend scant minutes penning drivel like this instead of helping her son personally.

      Many can speak from experience as parents. Few can speak from having BEEN “Michael.” I can. I can tell you that what WE, as children with serious mental health issues, need are parents willing to sacrifice. Period. Not a national initiative. Not medication. Not an institution filled with (admittedly caring and devoted) strangers. We need parents.

      • http://twitter.com/Juice2640 Jessica Smith

        I agree! I have a “micheal” and I am treating him with LOVE and COMPASSION. It took me a lot of years to figure it out but now that I have he has turned a new leash on life and has changed SO much for the better!

      • planetstef

        I’m sorry but when an enraged teenager has a knife as a weapon and is threatening to kill, the time for “sacrificing” is over. Also, while I have read and sympathized with all those who are caring for their children at home due to the risks and failures of mental illness in-patient acute or long-term care (much less prison), I have to say that if your child is arming himself and threatening to kill and you have other children, you have as much of a duty and responsibility to your other children as you do to the aggressive child. The same if the aggressive child has rageful outbursts where he physically attacks and injures siblings, even if he isn’t literally threatening to kill. It pains me to call parents out on this, but: I believe that the siblings are being abused and should be taken away from that home. Or, the abuser, even if a 13-year old mentally ill child, should be taken away from his victims. I am fully aware how harsh this sounds and it may not even be possible but I feel the need to strongly emphasize that the responsibility of the parent to protect, foster and nurture their children doesn’t end with the mentally- or emotionally-ill child. No little kid should have to live in fear of their lives and have to run to the car and lock themselves in, unless that’s just a general “be safe in case of intruders” type of drill. Not your everyday or every week sort of occurrence with the traumatic stress of a war-zone. I also fully understand that options are limited, the child is usually non-aggressive, and parents do not want to appear to be giving up on their troubled children. But you have a duty to keep the other children Alive and Free From Harm, both physical and emotional harm. I am just calling this part of the broken picture out into the open as I have not yet seen it addressed. And yes, I have strong opinions but no real solutions. But the other children should not be living lives of domestic abuse and fear, even if it’s coming from a disturbed sibling.

    • http://pissedoffwoman.wordpress.com Pissed Off Woman

      I think the writer committed a major “parenting failure” by publishing this article. She effectively declared to the entire world that she thinks her son is destined to commit a massacre, and that she’s desperate to have him forcibly hospitalized. How can these words not deeply wound him?

      I know what it’s like to BE a “severely mentally ill” kid, and I can barely even imagine how desperate I’d feel if my mother said these things about me.

      Armchair psychiatry is indeed a frightening thing. That’s why I’ve had it up to here with people conflating “mental illness” with murdering 20 kids and 7 adults and diagnosing the murderer (who they never met) with this, that and the other post facto.

    • http://www.facebook.com/karin.wikoff Karin Wikoff

      Not to mention that, clearly, a mentally ill child who is out of control CAN be a real source of danger, as Adam Lanza was to his mother and others. How is the parent supposed to magically be able to know that her child just needs X and he won’t actually be one of the ones who go off and kill people? Even trained experts can’t always tell. So, it’s turning out that Adam Lanza may have killed his mother because he was so out of control that he scared her and she was having him committed to be sure he got help and was kept in a restrained and safe environment. Quite clearly, she was right! And she had volunteered at the kindergarten in Sandy Hook some years before and he was jealous and hurt, thinking she cared more about those strangers’ children than about him. He had a warped view of the world due to his mental illness, but you can’t say he was just a misunderstood child who wasn’t loved well enough by his mother and she was doing wrong to try to have him committed to a mental care institution.

      It can’t be easy for anyone in a situation like that – neither the person with the mental illness, nor the parents or other family members. I suspect it is often the case that the mental illness stems from a dysfunctional family (as several posters here have indicated), while other families may be more capable of caring but lacking the resources — money, education, access to appropriate health care — to be able to identify and obtain the right treatments.

      And, really, drugs may work as a first line of defense, or be the only solution in dire cases, but in the end, they are all TREATMENTS, most with some pretty bad side effects, and none of them are CURES — because the pharmaceutical industry doesn’t want to lose their life-long revenue stream from treating you, which it would if you could find a cure.

      I feel for all parties in situations like this and truly believe that we need to change our lives, all of us. We no longer have real communities, where people know and care about each other. We are taught that it’s none of our business and don’t get involved and take care of yourself first, as well as that you can’t be successful unless you chase a career and pack up your family and move them around and never put down roots, never truly invest yourself in a community, never make those basic and crucial human connections that provide a support network in hard times. I think what we all do online is a desperate attempt to recreate that community of connected individuals we have lost. People NEED other people — to care about and be cared about and to be there for each other before we become so detached and disconnected that we lose the ability to connect with others.

      Blessings on all here who are earnestly grappling with the real issues instead of spouting off the pros and cons of gun control and other band-aid approaches to the real problems we face.

      • Lisa

        I agree we have lost something very important when we lost the village.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Linda-Higgins/1624384421 Linda Higgins

    Thank you. We adopted three kids, two of whom have Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Our oldest, one of those two and on top of it he was molested and brutally abused by his step-father, threatened to kill my husband numerous times in the last few weeks he lived with us. He is now homeless because he threatens or attacks everyone who has cared for him. He needs help, but when he has been willing to acecpt that help, he cannot find anyone to help him. I fear he will only get tht help when he is in jail or prison. No one is there to help these kids – we love them, but love is not enough.

  • http://www.facebook.com/miek.deuninck Miek Deuninck

    Thanks for sharing this Liza, I’m sure it takes a lot of guts to do so. Raising a couple of (mostly) normal kids is a heck of a challenge so I have the utmost admiration for people such as yourself that have the added challenges a child with special needs brings. Know that there are a lot of people out there thinking of you and sending you “good vibes”. As they say in New Zealand kia kaha xo Miek

  • sjb

    so my son does not have Autism, but another mental disorder which has the potential for violent tendencies. The older he gets, the greater I fear being one of these mothers. I so feel you. One thing I have been looking for is a support group for parents with children of mental disablities. I st here one in your area?

  • http://twitter.com/RancidSorbet Rancid Sorbet

    All of you who are offering medical advice, alternative therapies and diets, etc. need to just stop. It is completely irresponsible to offer even benign vitamin therapy as a solution, even if it worked 100% for you. Nobody should take this sort of advice from the internet, even if the person offering advice claims to be a doctor/naturopath/healer/whatever. Just stop.

    • http://aminerecipes.com/ Michelle Ferris

      If you haven’t experienced it yourself, and haven’t had to experience doctors telling you “I don’t know” (and that’s if you’re lucky and don’t just prescribe you pharmaceutical garbage to further pollute your system and still not solve the problem…) or “you’re crazy,” or “there’s nothing I can do to help,” Well…. Really, you just need to sit back down and close your mouth. Because you have neither the professional experience nor the personal to justify your disdain for people who are trying to help and have seen first-hand, positive results.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Linda-Skempris/502936331 Linda Skempris

        Alternative medicine won’t kill you the way allopathic will. I have known people murdered by allopathic poison.

        • Jon Hendry

          Colloidal silver is an “alternative medicine” that will turn your skin permanently blue, do no good whatsoever, and waste your money.

          Steve Jobs may have died because he wasted time on alternative therapies instead of getting science-based treatment.

          Numerous people have died at Narconon fake drug-treatment facilities which actually use Scientology nonsense.

          British actress Sarah Parkinson used alternative medicine to treat her breast cancer. So it was essentially untreated. She died in 2003.

          The son of actress Hunter Tylo suffered seizures. Some quack advised that they were caused by stress, and could be treated with therapy and acupuncture. Later he suffered a seizure, fell in a pool, and drowned.

          Catherine Bresina’s family took her to a naturopath, who injected her with something that caused her heart to stop.

          In 2004 a 3 month old girl was given a Haitian folk remedy for fever and diarrhea. She died.

          13 month old Australian Isabella Denley had epilepsy, but her parents consulted an iridologist, an applied kinesiologist, a psychic, and an osteopath. Treatment with homeopathic medicine ended, predictably, in the child’s death.

    • Jane

      Dumb. We need to share our experiences so that we can learn from them. Just because a person on the internet suggested something doesn’t mean that it should be taken seriously OR brushed aside. It’s called TALKING TO YOUR DOCTOR. DER DER DER. If you think this mother would take advice about her son’s health and not run it by her son’s doctor do you really want to blame the person trying to help or the person who blindly followed a random stranger’s advice? It’s called taking responsibility, and from what this mother wrote she’s really good at it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michelle-Stewart/1260324946 Michelle Stewart

    my brother has a wrap sheet a 1,000 miles long, he’s 37 and in jail again. There isn’t treatment for offenders, it’s a catch and release cycle that never ends, until someone is dead or in jail.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rachel.dillin Rachel Mullins Dillin

    I’m here as the mother of another ‘brilliant’ son who does not fit in. And, no we don’t yet know what’s wrong with him. So far he has not been violent, but the is 7. I’m worried about what will happen as he continues to struggle and continues to not fit in and he realizes it and kids get meaner and he gets more withdrawn. On Monday I am going to our private counselor to get his “diagnosis.” Even so, is it really what is “different?” IDK. I just hope and pray that I am never Adam Lanza’s mom, and I have worried for several years that I could be. This just brought it home even more to me, and I am doing everything in my power to make sure my son doesn’t do this, but I’m not sure my power is enough.

    • dxp2718

      Best thing you can do is make sure he knows that he is loved and appreciated for who he is, but that there are things society expects of him that, if he can learn to emulate, he will do better in life. Make sure he understands that, if he is bullied, it is because the bullies are immature, and that as best he can, he should avoid letting them hurt him, but never try to hurt them back. Things will get better as his peers mature and learn to appreciate his gifts. Get help from authorities (you, teachers, etc.) if he feels he is in danger. There may be NOTHING wrong with your kid, but that he learns slightly differently from the average person. Diversity is what makes us strong as a society and as a species. Diversity makes it possible for us to do great things by letting a bunch of people each help in their own little way. If your son feels he has a valued place in society, he will never lash out against it. Whatever you do, don’t medicate him unless he has a specific issue that you know a specific medication will help with or cure. If doctors or teachers ask you to medicate him, ask THEM to work with you to deal with him without medication – and if they cannot, put him somewhere else. Homeschool him if you have to. But drugging him is just not worth the risk, unless you know for sure that it is necessary and will be effective.

      • http://twitter.com/sinaisara Kathryn Lobert

        You really need to stop talking because you do not have a clue!

    • http://pissedoffwoman.wordpress.com Pissed Off Woman

      Please don’t listen to the media hype that’s going on right now about the recent school massacre and “mental illness”. The chances are your son will not be violent–the idea that “mentally ill” people are more violent than “normal” people is a MYTH. Please hang in there and continue to show love for your son. You’re in a tough situation right now and I feel for you. Kids can be cruel, but I have faith that as long as you love him and have faith in him, he will come out stronger. There may be things you can do working with his school to forestall bullying, like having the teacher explain to the class what his problems are so they understand and have empathy, or getting him into a gifted program where the social environment is full of “weird” nerdy type kids or just more focused on learning than on cliques.

  • MV

    Wonderfully written and heartfelt, but my guess is that you don’t keep a closet full of firearms in your house given your son’s illness and propensity for violence. As much as this is an issue of mental illness, and it is, it truly is–it is also an issue of a proliferation of guns in places where they should not be.

    • JJ170

      Thank you – I so agree

  • http://www.facebook.com/peggy.lamberson Peggy Lamberson

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for your courage, honesty, and love for your child. I am so sorry you both are having to battle through this. Best wishes to you both.

  • Becca C

    I am a mental health specialist on a children’s inpatient psychiatric unit. You are the reason I do what I do. Thank you for sharing your voice.

    • http://twitter.com/ElbieHenning Elizabeth Henning

      Comments refer mostly to male children. Do girl children also suffer in the same way, or do they hurt themselves rather than others?

      • http://www.facebook.com/pmeara Patti Meara

        Elizabeth- I am female and I am bipolar. I was not diagnosed until my late 30′s. My childhood was a nightmare. I had uncontrollable rage. I pulled a knife on my Mother. I was tryed to hurt myself. It took a long time for me to get close to anyone because I was afraid to hurt them. When I was finally diagnosed it was a relief. The first meds gave me type II diabetis. The meds I am on now work well and I am maintaining a “normal” life.

    • Nor

      First, thank you from the bottom of my heart for doing an incredibly important and difficult job, helping the most vulnerable patient population. I was also wondering what you think about the mental health care system in the US?

  • Believer

    The so-called modern societies have forgottenor dismissed the spiritual warfare we are all engaged in. While science has its values, it cannot explain and solve the root of our life problems as this. I had encountered similar cases and found solution in Jesus Christ. Rebuke all evil spirits in Jesus name, and ask your beloved to call on Jesus name. It may not be instant but persevarance will deliver. Be blessed.

    • Nichole Wright

      …Not helpful. Seriously. This woman needs HELP, not an imaginary friend.

  • elsiep

    Does “Michael” have mental health problems during school holidays? Just wondering if the school environment might be a factor.

  • Laura

    I have to say I think it’s wrong for you to compare your son to killers. How horrible for him if he ever realizes you did. I also see certain red flags. One, The video games. And wonder what exactly you let him play. Also I see how you threàten him, saying I will take you to a mental hospital next time. Either do it or don’t but to threaten a 13 year old like you did, makes me question how your son has been parented. I think it is good to bring mental illness up. However you are not a licensed mental health, published and respected doctor. You are diagnosising your son a mental killer at 13. To me that is sick in itself and would advise the parent/author to look into help for herself and not only her son. In this nation it’s never our own fault always someone else’s. In this case the authors thirteen year old son. I pray this author gets help, and doesn’t try to continue glorify herself at the expense of her thirteen year old son and comparing him to killers. Disgusted.

    • Guest

      Did you actually read this article?

      • Laura

        Yes, I did. And I am guessing what you really meant was “I don’t agree with your comment” sorry if I made you think outside the box. I see bad parenting seeping through this article with an attempt to glorify herself. Who does she comment she needs help for first?? Herself of course. Though I don’t think she means in the fact there could be something wrong with her or her parenting.

    • Melykin

      I think the mother who wrote this article loves her son very much and is a good mother. This type of mental disturbance is probably something he was born with and is not her fault. You are the one who needs help.

      • Laura

        You are entitled to your opinion as I am to mine. I find it sad though that my opinion on this article leads you to jump to the conclusion I need help….But maybe you are a mental health proffesional who knows this boy and has cared for him and seen how his mother parents him outside this article?? So my assumptions based on the article must be wrong? I’m guessing the answer is no.

  • http://www.ADDandSoMuchMore.com/ Madelyn Griffith-Haynie

    Thank you for writing this very brave post.

    My heart is with you and EVERY mother like you – and with your children who live tortured lives when their brains betray them, and society betrays them – and “The greatest of these is love” turns to “unless you are mentally ill and then we won’t consider you worthy of our attention until you implode and explode — and THEN we will pay attention to you but there will be no tincture of love in that attention.”

    And ONLY THEN does society take note as the blogs and the Social Media go wild with buzz about “How does this happen?” and “This must be stopped!” and “Who can we blame?” — and one post in thousands ever looks at the SOURCE and asks the only question that makes any sense to ask, that must be asked, “What can we do to HELP make sure it doesn’t happen again, because well minds don’t kill.”

    Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CMC, SCAC, MCC
    - ADD Coaching Field co-founder -
    (blogs: ADDandSoMuchMore and ADDerWorld – dot com!)
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

  • Gilbert Pangyarihan

    Excellent writing. My advice for 13-year old genius Michael? Marry him to a beautiful babysitter. That’s better than putting him in jail.

  • Kaleb Kibler

    please contact Boys Town in Omaha nebraska and see if they can help you. thank you for writing this article. It is very true. You can not get mental health help since Reagan was president.

  • LovingMom41

    Thank you for sharing your current challenges with your son. I have a sixteen year old son who has told me he wants to kill me, destroyed all the pictures off the wall, broken all the dishes, and would have intense rages. When he was 14 years old, after a terrible episode I had to move him out of the house and sent him to live with his father while the sheriff was waiting in my driveway for the eight hours it took his dad to drive to our town. I would not have done that but I had two small children in the home to raise in an environment of safety and security. It was heartbreaking. I have an obligation to protect these young kids. A couple years later now, my son has returned to live with us and he has not displayed any of the above behaviors. Mom to mom, if you need to have this young son put into a group setting to get a new homeostasis in your home and so he can get treatment, no matter how heart-wrenching, do it. The siblings do not need to be traumatized.

  • Kathleen O’Neal

    If people tried to choose what color pants I wore, if my mother publicly
    compared me to mass killers, and if I were treated in general the way
    the young man in this article is clearly treated I would lash out too.
    Why can’t people see that so much supposedly “imbalanced” behavior among
    young people and people with disabilities is an entirely rational or at
    the very least understandable response to an environment where they are
    deprived of autonomy, dignity, and basic rights?

    • http://www.facebook.com/vandy.colman Vandy Dutton Colman

      With all due respect I am going to guess that you have never been in the position where you have been afraid of your own child. There are thousands upon thousands of children in uniforms who are told every single day what color pants to wear. And I am going to go out on a limb and guess that they do not react in the same manner that her son does. Suppose she had allowed him to break dress code. If he pulls a knife over an overdue library book, what do you think he might do to a school administrator who gives him detention for dress code violation?
      And I honestly cannot see how you see pulling a knife as, you put it, “an entirely rational response.”
      I am very fortunate that my children are very healthy mentally and physically. But I have worked with children whose parents are completely terrified of them. They have siblings that live in fear every day of their lives. And our mental health system is failing all of them.
      These children don’t act like this because they can’t break dress code. They don’t act like this because of an article their mother wrote. They act like this because they have an illness.

    • Olivia M

      Screaming and threatening to harm others or yourself is not a “normal” response to not being able to wear the color pants you want to wear. It is a clear overreaction at best. Typically overreactions are signs that something else is going on, either in that person’s life or there is a mental imbalance.

      Even if it’s not a mental illness but a response to a traumatic event, hopefully the mental health professionals will be able to identify it as such and give him the help and support he needs.

    • http://www.facebook.com/terri.petz Terri Petz

      Kathleen, you have no idea what you are talking about. This is exactly the issue that needs to be addressed. These types of disorders are not caused by bad parenting. My daughter’s rages began at the age of 3, and lasted until her diagnosis at 13. It is frightening, heartbreaking, and devastating to have a child with a mental disorder, and your comment was the result of lack of understanding of the issue.

    • http://www.ADDandSoMuchMore.com/ Madelyn Griffith-Haynie

      NO, Kathleen, you are missing a KEY point here: this woman is bleeding for her son and his rights — AND she has other children – 7 and 9 years old – who lock themselves in the car as part of a PRACTICED drill when this child’s brain goes nuts on him and he goes OFF.

      MANY schools have dress codes, Kathleen. Kid’s hate them, generally, but would YOU threated your families with murder and suicide — would YOU grab knives? Would YOU strike fear into the hearts of the other children in the family? Over the color of PANTS you wear?!

      YES, this child needs help and understanding – and so does this mother.

      She is trying to AVOID an explosion that will result in harm to others – and she is terrified because she realizes that when her son is unbalanced it is not out of the realm of possibility. She is heartbroken because she *knows* that her son is not a monster, but a brilliant little boy whose brain is unbalanced and she can’t get HELP for him. And she is terrified because there ARE no good choices for her in this situation.

      And THAT is what she is trying to change by publishing this article.

      Read the article again if you missed that. Read the rest of the comments – especially the one who identifies with “Michael” because he’s lived it. Then open your heart to the pain in the hearts of ALL involved. This is MUCH more than “lashing out.”

      You are making the SAME argument that the author is making – only you are making this child’s behavior his mother’s fault. Truly, you have NO idea what she deals with.

      I think God I have never had to walk a mile in her shoes, and I hope you never have to as well. But try to see the ENTIRE picture before you rub salt in a very raw wound of a VERY brave woman who is trying her best to do what the rest of the blogging universe is NOT doing: talk about what *really* needs to happen to stop the senseless violence.

      Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CMC, SCAC, MCC
      - ADD Coaching Field co-founder -
      (blogs: ADDandSoMuchMore – this article backlinked to my ODD post)
      “It takes a village to transform a world!”

      • Planner

        If someone insisted that I wear a certain color of pants, they may very well get the same response from me. The difference is that I am not a child. For that reason alone my response is acceptable. If someone then decided that because I accurately insisted on my rights as US citizen and was frustrated and called someone a name they could then take my property from me I would be super pissed. But I am an adult. I can be super pissed. I can totally understand how a person as who is absolutely cornered would resort to hurting himself or others.
        Have you read The Explosive Child by Ross Green?

      • http://pissedoffwoman.wordpress.com Pissed Off Woman

        But she is hurting people with her article. I read one comment on the article that really showed how much damage she is doing: a parent of a 7 year old described as “brilliant but doesn’t fit in”, who says he is not violent “yet”, and worries that he will grow up to be a mass murderer like Adam Lanza. By conflating “mental illness” with violence, by telling the world that she expects her kid to kill someone unless he’s locked away, she is sending the message to her son that his mother has given up on him, written him off as irredeemable sick and monstrous. She is also sending the message to other parents of troubled kids that their kids should be thought of as potential Adam Lanzas rather than potential teachers or artists or scientists. And she is sending the message to other troubled kids that their parents might feel this way about them.

        • Joe Nobody

          I understand your sensitivity about stigmatizing those with mental illness, and I completely agree with you – up to a point. Please understand, however, that what the author was describing were very serious warning signs of violent behavior – death threats, pulling a knife, etc. Those cannot be ignored or dismissed, mental illness or not, and doing so is not only bad parenting, but callous disregard for the well-being of those who aren’t your misunderstood little angel.

  • PriyaVassi

    The situations described in this article are very familiar to me. I saw them often in my teens from two of my siblings. There is reason for you to be hopeful; as impossible as it might seem now, sometimes these problems reach their worst in the preteen years and get better as the child gets older. That’s what happened with both of my siblings; they are both highly functional now and while the underlying mental illness might remain (at least in my brother’s case), the violent outbursts are gone. Oh yeah, and don’t pay attention to those who preach to you on their soapbox about how to be a perfect parent when they really have no clue about children with mental illness (there are a lot of those people). They have no idea how it feels to be in a situation like this, and how frustrating it is to see even your best efforts fail with an uncontrollable child.

  • revgerry

    Me too Liza. I raised my mentally ill grandson. Expelled from nursery schools. Expelled from first grade. Rubber room in second grade, special ed through high school. Rages. Threats. Biting, kicking, screaming, throwing, holes in walls. No inpatient treatment offered or available as a child, no help for our family except some pills for him, and now as an adult he is too scary to be around and he at 23 is on the run after failing to fulfill probation requirements following an assault. The PO has hundreds of cases, and certainly was no resource to get him help.

  • LLB

    I was raised by someone with severe untreated mental illness, who was molested by a parent who himself was severely abused as a child. The ramifications have reached far into my life and I will probably never be as secure or successful as someone raised in a healthy family. Also, my maternal grandmother and all five of her sisters are/were bipolar. How I dodged that bullet, I don’t know.

    I’m just here to say that so, so many families are suffering with these mentally ill people, and with many personality disorders, a parent may be able to pass as normal while out in the world, but then go home and abuse their minor child…for years, and years, and years. When I was a young adult, other people wondered what was wrong with me. I wondered for years what was wrong with myself. Not until I found the Randi Kreger books about BPD was I able to piece together what had happened to our family and to me.

    These days there is so much hatred out there for people who are struggling, for people who are underemployed, for people who can’t get/keep a job, for people who are “lazy, takers, moochers”. Some call them “the 47 percent”. I’m here to tell you that MANY OF THESE PEOPLE ARE MENTALLY ILL. Some of them are violent, in public, or in private with young children who are too scared to tell, who think it must be normal because Mommy or Daddy is doing it, and it must be them who is bad or their parent wouldn’t act that way.

    I’m here to tell you that restricting access to mental health care and defunding the weakest, the poorest, the most vulnerable people in our society, is the way we ask for more mass murders, not the way we start to prevent them. I am here to tell you that if we wait until a crime is committed before we can get someone into help, we are waiting wayyy too long.

    When are we just going to GET that we are all human beings, and human beings actually do have real needs, and that we’re all going to fare better when those who are hurting get their needs met, especially the mentally ill?

    • Steph D.

      We have very similar histories and I feel your pain. I was abused regularly by my mentally ill sibling but only when my mother wasn’t home. I couldn’t get out of that home fast enough and only later in life found out my mother was raped by her stepfather as a child. I now see quite clearly why my childhood was the way it was and why my mother is the way she is.

  • http://www.facebook.com/eileen.hale Eileen Hale

    Thank you so much for telling your heartbreaking story. My heart is with you and your son, and all of your children. The second of my two younger brothers was mentally ill in the 60s; he got pretty good treatment then; there was better treatment later than that; but now it seems like the options have regressed to 1940s-level.

    May we create truly humane and effective treatment and support for our mentally ill, and make it fully available.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dumbname Jim Coursey

    Thank you for writing this. Very bold and moving. Good luck to you and your family.

  • Keith Hale

    Thank you for this. It isn’t only the dangerously disturbed that need help, but certainly they are the priority. Thank you.

  • madisontruth

    This chilling account should be regarded as a “canary in a coal mine” with regard to the national collective understanding and proactive change in our country’s infrastructure to help those with these debilitating behavior issues.

  • http://www.facebook.com/terri.petz Terri Petz

    Oh. You have just perfectly described my daughter. i couldnt find any help. I was a bad mom. She was spoiled. It was temper tantrums. I cried for years behind closed doors. I finally found my answer on the internet. We now have the answers we needed. Thank you for shining a light on it, to help others understand.

  • disqus_dfJMNM4wnu

    thanks for this. Thanks for being brutally, painfully open and transparent.

  • guest

    I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your bravery in admitting this. We have our own struggles with our son, and we’re trying to change the way we parent to help him, in addition to treating him. We are astounded at the lack of options, even with health insurance and some discretionary funds. You really do feel as if you’re all alone, far too often. Good luck to you as you move forward, you and Michael both deserve happiness.

  • lucille

    Adam’s mother owned guns. Do you?

  • http://twitter.com/ElbieHenning Elizabeth Henning

    We know so little. This mom is bearing a weight that is almost inhuman.I weep for her.And all her children. Imagi9ne how the siblings live.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kathleen.neely Kathleen Elizabeth Neely

    I am your sister, your child, and your friend. I am confused and hurting, everything is frustrating and I cant handle anything right now. Please, please send me someplace quiet with a change of scenery and different people. Im so sad, my life sucks, I wish I was dead, no one really likes me.
    I dont know why I am feeling this way, but I need you to talk quietly to me, and dont put too much pressure on me, because it makes everything worse. I need to be someplace quiet, I need my medication and other people to talk to. People who understand what I am going through. Get me away from here Im feeling like the walls are closing in on me and I am oversensitive to sound, be quiet. Stop talking so loudly!!
    We need mental hospitals with people who are trained to help those who are ill.
    The in and out psychiatry programs are not working for anyone.
    This is a travesty and an embarrassment to our country,
    No human being should be without basic medical care, especially if they are mentally Ill.
    Mentally Ill people are often HOMELESS. what the hell are we paying taxes for if we are not getting the services that we need??? Some people need long term care, we need to help them.
    NOW.

    • revgerry

      I hope you find the help you need. Perhaps to contact the local mental health association to see if there are any resources for you?? It is so sad to not even be able to tell you where to turn.

    • http://pissedoffwoman.wordpress.com Pissed Off Woman

      “I am your best friend, your daughter, your girlfriend. I am confused and hurting and need someone to talk to. I am in despair and sometimes feel like I want to die. I need to be listened to and understood and just sat with so I know I’m not alone. Please don’t send me away! Please don’t just palm me off onto somebody else! Please, please, please don’t lock me up, I’m afraid of being locked up, the last time they did that they held me down and forced meds on me, I have no privacy there and I need a private secure place to be able to sleep.”

      We need a better alternative to mental hospitals and jails as places where people in deep emotional pain can recover. We need places where people can feel safe physically and emotionally and have the time and space to talk about what they are going through. Right now the best places I know of like this are the peer respites run by Voices of the Heart in upstate NY, and Afiya in western Massachusetts. These are quiet changes of scenery for people in need of such, but completely non-coercive.

  • Denver778

    OK, first let me say my heart aches for each and every one of you and your entire family if you have anyone in your family with mental illness. And I am not against medical treatment by any means, I know when most of you read this you will want to send me responses about how disagree, I will only tell you the truth and you can all do what you will with it. You need Jesus!!! you can say I am wrong, or something profound, like: I need real help…..but notice nothing you have done, no medical attention has helped your loved ones. What do you have to lose? I will put it another way……if someone you trust told you some terrible danger is coming your way, and they know there is only one thing that will save you and your family……would you listen? would you do whatever it takes to save your family from calamity? Then why not this? Why not get on your knees and ask the God of the Universe to heal your child…ahhhhhh but He will do whatever you ask on one condition, that you ask in the name above all names, Jesus our Lord and Savior. Sounds crazy? why? why does this sound crazy to people? Because you think it’s logical? He defies logic as we know it, HE BUILT THE UNIVERSE………Actually He SPOKE it into existence, talk about a bang! I am talking about a personal relationship for the same Jesus that shed His b*l*o*od for you and your child to be healed and saved. Harry Potter is not anything you should allow in your child’s life and mind. These are books written by someone that says she was possessed by demons, hence, she wrote these books, at what point should you allow your children to read that garbage? Do you encourage them to read the Bible? Do you read it yourself? Do you not know the power you have in the spirit because of Jesus and his sacrifice? Do you not know how much He loves you? Apply the blud on your children, nothing can touch the blud!!!!! Nothing!!!!! get all demonic garbage out of your house, and pray for your children. Or have you not noticed that since 1960 the rate of evil that has entered our nation? Have you stopped to think of how we threw God out and allowed evil in? Invited evil in! We are so accepting of everything these days, we stand for nothing. Please do not get offended, get mad enough to get your children saved and healed. I don’t want to be right, but I want your lives to be whole. I will pray for you all and hope you find peace in your decisions. You don’t need luck, you need Jesus.

    • Jon Hendry

      What kind of God worth obeying would allow a madman to kill 20 six and seven year olds? Couldn’t he cause the guns to jam? Where is the evidence that he loves *anyone*?

      I don’t see any such evidence.

    • http://www.facebook.com/joenpenny Penny Taylor

      Well try having a child who gets kicked out of Church due to his behaviors.

  • Denver778

    OK, first let me say my heart aches for each and every one of you and your entire family if you have anyone in your family with mental illness. And I am not against medical treatment by any means, I know when most of you read this you will want to send me responses about how disagree, I will only tell you the truth and you can all do what you will with it. You need Jesus!!! you can say I am wrong, or something profound, like: I need real help…..but notice nothing you have done, no medical attention has helped your loved ones. What do you have to lose? I will put it another way……if someone you trust told you some terrible danger is coming your way, and they know there is only one thing that will save you and your family……would you listen? would you do whatever it takes to save your family from calamity? Then why not this? Why not get on your knees and ask the God of the Universe to heal your child…ahhhhhh but He will do whatever you ask on one condition, that you ask in the name above all names, Jesus our Lord and Savior. Sounds crazy? why? why does this sound crazy to people? Because you think it’s logical? He defies logic as we know it, HE BUILT THE UNIVERSE………Actually He SPOKE it into existence, talk about a bang! I am talking about a personal relationship for the same Jesus that shed His b*l*o*od for you and your child to be healed and saved. Harry Potter is not anything you should allow in your child’s life and mind. These are books written by someone that says she was possessed by demons, hence, she wrote these books, at what point should you allow your children to read that garbage? Do you encourage them to read the Bible? Do you read it yourself? Do you not know the power you have in the spirit because of Jesus and his sacrifice? Do you not know how much He loves you? Apply the blud on your children, nothing can touch the blud!!!!! Nothing!!!!! get all demonic garbage out of your house, and pray for your children. Or have you not noticed that since 1960 the rate of evil that has entered our nation? Have you stopped to think of how we threw God out and allowed evil in? Invited evil in! We are so accepting of everything these days, we stand for nothing. Please do not get offended, get mad enough to get your children saved and healed. I don’t want to be right, but I want your lives to be whole. I will pray for you all and hope you find peace in your decisions. You don’t need luck, you need Jesus.

    • Jon Hendry

      “Or have you not noticed that since 1960 the rate of evil that has entered our nation?”

      Slavery was pretty evil. As was the treatment of Native Americans. And immigrants. And black people even after slavery was abolished.

      • Nor

        And the Inquisition. And Nazi Germany. And the European Witch Hunts (ours too). Just to mention some things supported by the Church.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dana-Stelting/1305701697 Dana Stelting

    I have been where you are and same disorders, same medications. I cry at night because of what they did to him, what he went through as a result. He is 24 and because we love each other so much, we have worked through it. there was a time I thought he could never have a normal life. We bought a home that has an 800sq ft house behind it. He has his own house where he can go left off steam. I forgot to mention, when he turned 18, he stopped taking medication. He struggles with depression and sometimes gets snooty and sometimes yells, but he is much, much better.

  • ab_indigo@iafrica.com

    This is one of the most honest, poignant, authentic and accurate pieces of writing that I have been exposed to in the longest time. It is also one of the bravest laying open of a mother’s heart and soul and the reality of a system that does not provide adequate services to deal with widespread mental health issues, even though mental health is now the 2nd or 3rd contributor to the Global Burden of Disease. In South Africa, we have similar problems. In our particular province, the Western Cape, we DO have a high-functioning public health system, BUT, hardly any capacity to deal with mental health screening, treatment and referrals. Given the deprivation that a large portion of the population are still forced to face, there is a communal depression in certain communities. Children are born into nearly pre-determined futures. One remarkable project, the Peri-Natal Maternal Health project, run by a remarkable woman [ Dr Simone Honikman and team - from the University of Cape Town] for the past 10 years, has been building capacity as much as possible, has developed a mental health screening tool that is more appropriate to the realities in our country – but what is really frightening, is that where the project is fully run, statistics show that more than 50% of young pregnant mothers are deeply depressed. This leads to under-development of the foetus in utero, developmental problems post birth, inadequate bonding between mother and baby – and so starts the child’s life at a further disadvantage. Mothers dump babies in dustbins or abandon them – imagine the level is despair. The world really does need to sit up – and have a global conversation about mental health as well as to develop sustainable methodologies and techniques to ensure early detection at school, appropriate treatment [ which may not have to involved psychiatrist and psychologists - but rather community-based counsellors and support] and deal with the underlying societal issues. Liza Long – I commend you for your bravery, for your courage and for actually standing up and bringing this into the popular conversation. Kudos! And wishing you much love and light as you navigate the path and journey with your son.

  • Kevin Wolfe

    I have a brother who has a mental illness. And while it has rarely came even close to what you have experienced, the fear of him has been there and I completely agree that something must be done to address the underlying problem that these individuals are having. Whenever I hear of another tragedy, I pray for them among the victims because I know how trying to get help more often than not falls short.
    From an early age, my brother exhibited abnormal behavior that was unlike and far beyond my own at any age (I myself have been diagnosed with ADD and Asperger’s) and contrary to any stimuli that he was exposed to at home. He was transferred away from several schools, eventually ending up at a charter school for kids with behavior problems. But the real struggle was with social services and psychologists. Most of them downplayed the severity of his problems, while many, especially so called child protective services, chose to blame my parents instead. When we were able to have him admitted for observation, it was through much struggle and of little benefit as he played the “sweet innocent” child during his stay. In truth, his behavior has included defiance, lying, lewd and obscene acts, threats and acts of violence, and theft, to name a few. At one critical point he tried to push our stepfather down a staircase when he didn’t want to go to bed, then followed by telling him to “go f*** that wh***,” referring to our mother. Whenever he was confronted with his behavior, we still remember his attempts to be sincere, only with a cold, empty expression. Today, I am told his acts have diminished somewhat, but he still tries to manipulate people to see things his way.

    This most recent tragedy has awoken those ghosts that I have tried to bury. One of the pictures of Adam that has been shown on the news reminds me so very much of the many pictures we have of my brother and the way he would often look at us. It scares me to think that, even now, he could find a way to commit an atrocity if he wanted to. My only comfort is in hoping that those days have passed and the small belief that he does not have access to any horrific tools of destruction.

  • cfo

    Where is the FATHER in all of this? No mention of the boy’s dad. Same with all the news about the Lanza boy. Where the hell is the father!? Why are these women fighting these battles alone?

    • Nor

      Lanza’s dad was around until he was 17. Mom got the house and was fully financially supported by the settlement, so I’m guessing Dad wasn’t deadbeat in that case.

  • Deanna

    Michelle Ferris,
    I was wondering it you could give me the website you where taking about the vitamins?
    Thanks, Deanna

    • Highbrow

      Try replying directly to one of her posts so that she’ll get a notification.

  • grgreene

    Well, this IS America and he DOES have rights. Maybe she should’ve tried putting him in a school that didn’t have an arbitrary and capricious dress code. People who are intelligent enough to know that the restrictions being placed on them and their freedom are not ethically or rationally justifiable are NOT mentally ill because of it! The country was founded via a revolution. This is one mother who could simply ask herself about all these restrictions and just commit herSELF to REMOVING the ones that she can’t JUSTIFY.

    • Denver778

      have you heard the saying………better to shut up and let people wonder if you are a fool, rather than open your mouth and remove all doubt???

    • Planner

      Exactly!

    • http://twitter.com/boysinbikinis hey apathy

      Kids have parents for a reason. It’s because their brains aren’t fully developed and are incapable of making good long lasting decisions for themselves. Like what school they should go to.

      As arbitrary as this kid’s school’s dress code may have seemed, it was in place for a reason, his parents *chose* to send him there, and when you go to school, you have to follow the rules.

  • http://www.facebook.com/margaret.swartzwolfe Margaret Swartz-Wolfe

    The story we all just read described my 23 yr old daughter when she was 16. I also have a son that is 18 months older than her who has Asberger’s. I found out that my daughter was having problems when I went to check on my children who were in there rooms sleeping for school. At least that’s what I thought until I opened my daughters door and smelled something burning and she exploded like a volcano. And told me she had been trying to kill herself and I was just in aww. The next 2 years would be a living hell literally. My daughter was a very bad cutter and also Bulemic. I left my job as a nurse and spent the next two years fighting to get my daughter the help she needed. I eventually found out she had bipolar, defiant behavior disorder, multiple personality trait and PTSD. There were numerous stays in psych units, multiple attempts at suicide, 911 calls for the Police, physical altercations, and barricading herself in her room. During all this my son was going through his Senior year with tremendous support from his learning support teachers. I still don’t know how he made it through his Senior year and graduated with all we were dealing with. There is so much more to my story that it would take hours to tell it all. I have and still advocate for Mental health. Because there are many that need to be educated about it to understand what we as parents deal with. People stereotype and feel they are all crazy or nuts and that’s simply not true. It could be your neighbor or a co-worker and you wouldn’t know if you weren’t looking for it. You have no idea what that person your looking at has been through. Was it rape, abuse, bullied, molested, or did they have parents that just didn’t care or love them. So never assume they are simply crazy or nuts. God Bless Newtown CT and the 20 Precious Angels that are now with God and there 6 helpers who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect the children

  • http://www.facebook.com/nosonovsky Michael Nosonovsky

    “I am Adam Lanza’s Mother”

    Adam Lanzi’s guns-loving mother is responsible for killing of 20 babies, who were killed from her guns by her son. She should burn in hell, and it is quite distasteful to identify yourself with the evil while the bodies have not been buried yet.

  • Mary Lin
  • http://twitter.com/jzenman James Inman

    I don’t know. When I was growing up if I went to a school that forced me to wear certain types of pants or cloths I would probably snap too. When I hear about all the things these kids today have to go through in school it’s crazy. When I went to school we were never forced to do homework. If you passed the test that’s all you had to worry about. School is five days a week from 8 in the morning till 3 in the afternoon. That’s almost a full time job plus they want you to take homework home with you and do that too and it’s required? Give me a break that’s overtime. For no pay? What does a kid actually get out of this? He’s being forced to do it. Most of it’s boring anyway especially for gifted kids that are smarter than the teachers.

  • Concerned

    Boy do I agree!!! My great aunt worked as a chief nurse at a state run mental hospital during the great depression up until the seventies and when Massachusetts closed the hospital she said that they did not know what they were doing. There is no place for the severely mentally ill. Parents cannot handle these types of children because it takes a system and a group of people to watch monitor work with and care for these children. Moreover the social stigma that faces many people who have a mentally ill child also plays a part.This is a mental health issue not a gun control issue. I am so happy that you wrote this article I wish that the people in U.S. would address this issue more than gun control.

  • Duncan

    Mental illness no doubt plays a significant part in these tragedies but I don’t believe it is the biggest issue that needs to be looked at the hope of preventing these incidents. Why are killing sprees so common in the US? Is mental illness more common in the US? Is it just the way mental illness is treated (or not) in the US? Or is it the absurd gun control laws (or lack thereof) that are unparalleled in the rest of the western world? If Adam Lanza had gone on this killing spree with a kitchen knife what would the death toll be? Would there even be one?

    People snap. It will always happen, but the weapons that are immediately available to them in that moment is what can turn an assault or homicide into a mass murder.

  • http://twitter.com/labgrrl Labgrrl

    I got lucky, my son hit puberty and the rare but terrifying violent fits pretty much vanished, just when his ‘normal’ migraines started. We went 8 years w/out a diagnosis, and now they assume the fits were Confusional Migraines in retrospect. It’s been 7 years since his last real super tantrum (plenty of migraines since then!), and being scared of him and embarrassed that I seemed to be failing as a parent….so, sometimes it does get better if you can hang on long enough.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bootslack James Newman

    Bless you for this powerful, honest piece of writing.

  • A Former Troubled Kid

    I haven’t read all the comments, so perhaps someone has addressed this, but Liza Long: what were you thinking?? I honestly feel for you in this situation. I was not terribly unlike your son when I was a teenager (I’m now 22). I was depressed and anxious and often had fits only slightly less extreme than your son, and my parents (alcoholics who did not really allow emotion in the house) did nothing but make the situation worse. I think you are handling the situation much better than my parents did. I think that the root of your son’s problems is much deeper and much different than mine.

    However, to put your name on this blog post is totally inappropriate. What happens when your son is curious about what you do as a freelance writer and Googles your name? I’m quite certain he will read this one day. And you may have changed his name, but surely people in your community know your name and know who your 13-year-old is. This is publicly humiliating for him. Had I read something like this on one of my dark days, I would have killed myself. Your son is probably afraid of himself (I know I was, and my mother never forced me to the hospital) and, if it were me, I would have read this as “Good God, my own MOTHER thinks I am a threat to society. I am worthless. What is the point?”. I was suicidal from about age 13 until I was 17. I would not be surprised if your son is as well.

    Furthermore, I beat my illness; I stopped lashing out violently, I stopped attacking my poor mother, I stopped feeling that the world would never get better for me. For your sake and for your son’s, I hope he does as well and I hope you find a way to scrub this from the internet. What happens when he beats it, if he decides to work in the public sphere and an enterprising reporter tries to dig up dirt on him, Googles his mother, and then finds this?? You are potentially ruining his future. I know it is important to talk about mental illness, but I always want to tell people about mine on MY terms and when I’M ready.

    I honestly applaud you for calling such attention to the issue. I myself work in politics and would really like to get involved in improving our nation’s ability to address mental health issues. But the correct way to address this was through an anonymous blog posting.

    • Sue

      this is a very valid point.

      • Nor

        His name was changed for the article, and she has the right to talk about her own life.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Linda-Skempris/502936331 Linda Skempris

    You have to keep him away from doctors who give poisonous drugs. Take him to a good nutritionist.All of these kids who shot up schools have been on these poisonous drugs. The doctor’s who prescibe this garbage get away with this with the blessings of big pharma.

  • Gleamer Sullivan

    If someone insisted that I wear a certain color of pants, they may very well get the same response from me. The difference is that I am not a child. For that reason alone my response is acceptable. If someone then decided that because I accurately insisted on my rights as US citizen and was frustrated and called someone a name they could then take my property from me I would be super pissed. But I am an adult. I can be super pissed. I can totally understand how a person as who is absolutely cornered would resort to hurting himself or others.
    Have you read The Explosive Child by Ross Green?

    • truth.

      are you a child psychologist?

  • kendar_of_the_north

    Good luck to you and yours! I send you strength in this time to get through what so many people ignore. Fantastic article and I hope this picks up and gets proper attention!

  • http://twitter.com/Born_Analog Born Analog

    Thank you so much for writing this – i couldn’t possibly agree more. I’ve been having the same conversation with my friends and colleagues since this latest tragedy occurred. I really do feel that what we need now is a real discussion about mental illness, and how we are failing so many people and families in need. To this end I created a White House petition, but right now it’s not taking off. If this piece resonates with you, please consider signing it.

    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/address-shortcomings-current-mental-health-system-prevent-risk-people-becoming-violent-offenders/3sRkLcj6?utm_source=wh.gov&utm_medium=shorturl&utm_campaign=shorturl

    I do hope that if anything positive can come from the horrors that we have been witnessing, it’s that we finally start treating mental illness as everyones’ problem, not just the territory of the families who try to care for their loved ones. No society can be healthy and whole that feels that it’s appropriate to allow these tormented individuals fall through the cracks until they either wind up in jail or worse.

  • Sussi Wilson

    Thank you for writing this article and sharing your pain. And I agree, the main issue is mental illness and our poor capacity of dealing with this. Former classmates and neighbors of Adam Lanza say they were not surprised. And we often see those comments, when these horrible events happen. So how do we learn to deal with our own instincts when we see something is wrong? And how do we get these children the help they need? How de we help the children who are hurting so badly that their souls are about to break – before they kill themselves or others? You as a mother try so hard and you are left with occasional police intervention, a selection of possible diagnosis and a choice of insufficient meds. Gun policy is still an issue, though. I live in Denmark, where we have a strict gun policy, so guns are not easily available. Obviously, criminals can get hold of guns, and a disaster like last summers slaughtering in Norway would not be prevented by gun policy. This was premeditated and this maniac would have gotten hold of his weapons no matter what gun policy you have. But you tell us that you have gathered all sharp objects because you cannot predict what will set your son off. Adam Lanza had easy access to the guns, he used, since they belonged to his mother. And maybe this would not have happened, if the guns were not conveniently around, when Adam Lanza was set off.
    I sincerely hope you and your son will get adequate help, and my heart goes out for you, living with this pain and fear, as well as for your son.

  • Planner

    If someone insisted that I wear a certain color of pants, they may very well get the same response from me. The difference is that I am not a child. For that reason alone my response is acceptable. If someone then decided that because I accurately insisted on my rights as US citizen and was frustrated and called someone a name they could then take my property from me I would be super pissed. But I am an adult. I can be super pissed. I can totally understand how a person as who is absolutely cornered would resort to hurting himself or others.
    Have you read The Explosive Child by Ross Green?

    • Jon Hendry

      Since when is it acceptable for *anyone* to brandish a knife and threaten to kill someone?

  • http://twitter.com/boysinbikinis hey apathy

    You did the right thing. Your son is where he belongs.

    I have no doubt in the validity of mental illness. But I also believe kids are extremely manipulative and when you search for answers to your child’s behavioral problems before taking a look at perhaps how you raised them and maybe some of the parenting choices you made, you slap your kid with diagnoses that extremely limits their psyche, their possibilities.

    Your son is where he belongs. But stop making excuses for him…and yourself.

  • MacCrocodile

    When I was, myself, thirteen, my oldest sister was hospitalized with various disorders I didn’t understand at the time, and which no one has taken the time–even to this day–to explain to me in full. What I know of her illness has only been described in the third person, up to fifteen years down the line. Still, it has long been one of my greatest fears that I might someday be left responsible for my sister (whom, I feel ashamed to have to point out, I love dearly), and selfish thought it may be, mental healthcare has been forever one of my most heartfelt causes.

    If the mother of “Michael” is reading this, please know, for whatever it’s worth, that you are not alone, and I wish to see mental illness treated with the same respect and gravity as any other illness out there.

    Those who wish to blame this on modern society or video games or whatever scapegoat they choose, for shame. I can’t even bring myself to wish such hardship on you, but hope that someday you see what a wretched, horrible thing you’ve said to a mother in a time of true desperation. You will never understand. Nothing here was the easy way out.

    • http://pissedoffwoman.wordpress.com Pissed Off Woman

      I hope you are able to reach out to your sister and talk to her. I’m sure she’d really benefit from you being there for her and listening to what she has to say.

  • Another G Mum

    The root of many of these problems is the schooling environment. These genius kids are driven mad in classrooms not interested in extending or catering to them. Anyone forced to endure what these kids do would be lucky to escape without mental illness. My heart goes out to these mothers as much as the ones who lost their children.

    • truth.

      waaayyy oversimplified. duh.

  • http://www.facebook.com/stan.greene.14 Stan Greene

    John 10:10
    Jesus said……….The thief, the devil, comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full………..We are not talking here about a mental health issue that we know nothing about. What we are talking about is demon possession and/or oppression that has been going on for thousands of years. The only cure for the possessed person is for the demon to be cast out. Medication, of any kind, is not the answer. Jesus, when He lived on this earth, would cast out demons all the time by simply speaking to and commanding them to come out. When He left this earth He sent the Holy Spirit to empower us to cast demons out ourselves. Unfortunately very few people believe this. Our lack of belief does not negate or diminish the truth of the promise of Jesus for us to have access to the power to cast out these demons, If you don’t believe me, read and study God’s Word, The Holy Bible.

  • MacCrocodile

    A quick message to everyone coming here with tips on how to raise a child. HOW DARE YOU? Who do you think you are to tell someone else how they should have raised their child. With or without “chemicals” whatever that’s supposed to mean (seriously, look it up, and stop using that word), with or without a father, with or without Jesus, how dare you? None of us have even the slightest idea what it was like to live with “Michael”, and for you to come here and tell his mother what she did wrong makes you among the worst people in the world.

    • vinny

      Wow…how presumptious. How the hell do u know we don’t have kids?

      • Nor

        Have you ever appreciated someone else telling you how to raise your kids? Someone who didn’t know you and your kids? It’s a jerk move.

    • truth.

      maybe not the worst people. but bad ones. definitely bad ones.

    • SusanH

      As a single parent of a PDD NOS child and a family member of someone else with Mental Illness I have heard quite a lot…. Nothing more disturbing than my local school system dunning me as a single parent . My first child has no mental health issues and grew up quite well adjusted from this single parent family. My second child had her own issues and was quite a challenge. I never heard once from teachers or the system about my firstborn High Honors student that I was doing her a disservice being a single parent. It was not until my second born was in school and I attempted to acquire mandatory services for her that the school system started throwing around the single parent theory and how inadequate my home might be because of it. My two are only 5 years apart so they both basically grew in the same environment aside from the “Bad Girls” teams in the public schools my youngest had to endure.

    • http://pissedoffwoman.wordpress.com Pissed Off Woman

      I would agree for the most part–way too many people just use other people’s pain and confusion to push their own pet theories. But there are a few people who’ve posted here who actually know what it’s like to live with a mental disorder themselves, and I feel that this type of insight is exactly what parents raising a kid like that need to hear–because as frustrating as it can be to take care of someone dealing with this stuff, it is far more frustrating and painful to be the person who has all that turmoil and pain in their mind plus the stigma that comes from others thinking that they are “crazy = broken brain = ticking time bomb”.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=570633495 James Hawk Crutchfield

    God help not only you and Michael but your other children who also have to deal with all this and the possible danger to them. Michael and all the other children like him deserve proper help and no parent should be expect to have to find a way to get their child charged with a crime just to get them into the system. The Americans Medical system is failing all the Michael’s and Mary’s out there who deserve so much more.

  • Unknown Name

    It’s not just boys; my daughter has a heck of a time in school and has been like that since kindergarten. She has been tested for ADHD, Oppositional Defiance disorder, etc. She was recently categorized as having EBD (emotional behavior disorder) I think because the doctors just can’t come up with why, she does the things she does. She goes through honeymoon stages and by November/December the school is calling me asking me if anything has changed at home. I feel like she has no empathy for anything except animals – her pets. When you ask her to apologize she does it but not because she feels bad but because she has been instructed to. She is a brilliant child but I don’t know if she gets bored easy or what. When I called social services for help all they said to me was “welcome to parenting” – it was soul crushing.

    Thank you for sharing your story, I know there are many out there who are struggling and I hope that we don’t have to have our children charged with a crime to get the help both they need and we need. Thank you!

  • cheric

    Yes, yes, yes! As much as I would like to see better gun control laws, I couldn’t agree with you more. Addressing mental health issues is where we need to start!

  • another mom

    I too have a child with similar issues. We were fortunate to have insurance that covered Stanford’s parent training and therapy at their autism center. My son has now gone a year and a half without needing to be restrained. I pray for you, you will find a similar program that will help not only Michael but all of your family. Everyone should have access to good care like we did. I want to recommend two books our therapist had us read that helped us. When I read the first book I couldn’t stop crying because in it I recognized my child it is The Explosive Child by Ross Greene, the second is No More Melt Downs by Jed Baker. I applaud you for speaking out, until we are brave enough to come out and tell our stories there will not be solutions, and we remain isolated and alone with our struggles…

    • another mom

      Your child need not have autism to benefit, (My son has Aspergers) the diagnosis is unimportant. The books seek to address the behavior and help the child get control

    • NotCreativeEnough

      I’m relieved to see parent training mentioned, as I was just going to make a comment about that. I’m not in any way judging parental styles of anyone. Every child is a bit different so I think every parent needs to be a bit different, too. But I am wanting to express the amazing changes after learning parent/child communication skills. Like the say, if what you’re doing isn’t working, try something else :) I didn’t have any professional help but I did have the vast resources of the Internet. Please not only look for help for your kids but also help for yourself, too. I did.

      It takes a lot of time and stubbornness to find the answers that work for your situation but keep trying. I thought I was alone, too. I didn’t have the courage to ask strangers for help. I did it the hard way, but I did it & so can everyone else. Just don’t give up, it’s a long hard road but it’s worth it.

      ===

      Please if you can, accept one bit of advice, stop using the word “can’t” whenever possible. Can’t only exacerbates the struggles of the child. Try out cooperative communication instead of controlling or challenging communication.

      “I can wear these pants,” he said, his tone increasingly belligerent,
      the black-hole pupils of his eyes swallowing the blue irises.

      “They are navy blue,” I told him. “Your school’s dress code says black or khaki pants only.”

      – “they are navy blue, doesn’t your school’s dress code say black or khaki only?”

      “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.”

      – “Let’s go to the school and make sure. I don’t think you can wear those pants, but since you do, go ahead and wear those pants & we’ll take these other pants just in case.”

      – “It hurts my feelings when you call me a stupid bitch and I don’t want to be nice to you when you’re mean to me. You’re grounded from electronics until you can be nice to me. Why should I be nice to you when you’re not nice to me?”

      – “Now, let’s go to school and find out about the pants you want to wear.”

      – “This is America and you do have rights, like the right to go to school. When you’re at school you need to wear the color pants they say, just like everyone else.”

      – “If the school says you can’t wear those pants, then you can wear them when you get home.”

      Be in control of situations instead of by saying what “can’t” be done, by showing the consequences and rewards of doing what can be done. Of course he ‘can’ wear those pants, but the consequences are that he’s told to change them by the school. (maybe the school made an exception for him – find out!) Let him know you respect his choices of color preferences & his rights by giving him opportunity for wearing the pants he wants, when it’s appropriate. Of course he ‘can’ call you a stupid bitch and there are consequences of that, hurt feelings, lost privileges for being mean.

      I am not just some random person spouting advice, though it appears so. However I am a mom who had the very same conversations topics with the very same type of child. Yes, my son did not have colored uniform school codes, but he did wear shorts on the first freezing snowy day of the school year. I took him into the school office & explained the situation before school. And yes, I have indeed been called a stupid bitch by the same son. This too shall pass. And it did.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=761839082 Ramon Lazo

    Thank you for writing this. You are an extremely brave person to share this with the world. I am so sorry you are going through this. I can’t imagine how you can cope with this problem and words cannot describe the sadness I feel for your son. You have a tough life and I wish you all the best for the future.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Freddie-Howard/100000538742618 Freddie Howard

    Thank you Liza Long. Your story tell us about the power of Satan and how he seek to sift us like wheat.
    I pray for us as humanity. In your last words I Pray to…God help me. God help Michael. God help us all.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003564544632 Isa Ahl

    This mother and her son really needs help and support and a mature society will give it to them (or shall I say, share it with them), what I don’t understand is the God stuff that ends the text! I’m surfing around on American sites, trying to understand the school shooting culture and every where I get, I find signs of some sort of passive behaviour twisted with clichécomments about praying and God. Does people really belive that praying will do any change? Strange! Isn’t acting better?

  • http://www.facebook.com/stan.greene.14 Stan Greene

    John 10:10
    Jesus said……….The thief, the devil, comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full………..We are not talking here about a mental health issue that we know nothing about. What we are talking about is demon possession and/or oppression that has been going on for thousands of years. The only cure for the possessed person is for the demon to be cast out. Medication, of any kind, is not the answer. Jesus, when He lived on this earth, would cast out demons all the time by simply speaking to and commanding them to come out. When He left this earth He sent the Holy Spirit to empower us to cast demons out ourselves. Unfortunately very few people believe this. Our lack of belief does not negate or diminish the truth of the promise of Jesus for us to have access to the power to cast out these demons,

    • Jon Hendry

      The Newtown killings prove that there is no god, let alone one that gives a damn about human life.

  • http://twitter.com/Banafsigi Banafsigi

    why so much mental illness in the USA? why the phone book is filled with either therapists or attorneys?

  • Sputnik69

    Sorry but this obsessing about God is part of the problem. God and Guns are two sides of the same coin, at least that’s how we Brits view Americans. The fact that someone believes in God yet believes their other life decisions are rational is quite inconsistent and worrying.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Freddie-Howard/100000538742618 Freddie Howard

    Our last Radio/podcast/broadcast. Dec. 14th and Dec 15th The Day of and the day after the school children and teachers died. We hope it is a blessing to all listeners. http://blogtalk.vo.llnwd.net/o23/show/4/026/show_4026705.mp3

  • http://www.facebook.com/darcie.bell Darcie Bell

    I just have so much to say to you. This article hurts me so much because I know my own family’s journey and my brother who is, well, who knows what he is this week, but a sometimes violent paranoid schizophrenic.
    He’s incredibly, handsome, bright and funny- and when he is good, he is the greatest person you will ever meet and when he is bad, he is homicidal.

    I know you’re all the way out in Boise, but you aren’t alone. And if you feel like venting, please feel free to contact me.

    And thank you for this post.

    I hope you get some answers and the help you so rightfully deserve.

  • KateS

    Some of the comments on this thread terrify me. The dismissal of mental health problems as not being genuine is tragic.

    The clue is in the name – we are talking about illness. If this were a physical, visible, condition it would be met with sympathy and help from society. And yet illness of the mind is met with fear and suspicion.

    I live in the UK so dont know the details of the ‘system’ in the US, but I am sure a lot of my experiences are universal. I have and am treated for depression. It took me many years to realise what was wrong with me and why things were how they were. And many doctors I see have the attitude that what I am talking about either isn’t part of their job or that I dont have real problems. When I was feeling very desperate and I made an appointment because I was begging for help, one actually said to me “when you have figured out what the problem is and what we should do about it, get back to me”. Erm… if I came in saying my stomach hurt, would finding the diagnosis and how to treat it be HER job? This is a trained medical professional, and while there are good doctors around I am afraid this attitude is endemic within the profession.

    I don’t claim to go through anything like the difficulties this child is suffering, and many of the commenters with similar situations. But I do know that when I am made to feel like a freak by society (and even my own family), made to feel like I am being inconvenient and unemployable (despite being a trained pharmacy technician and a competent sensible human being), this can be only a fraction of what those with less understood issues than depression must meet.

    The guilt and judgement I felt when pregnant was huge. I am medicated (albeit mildly), and I feel awful that my beautiful son also may be receiving some of these drugs. But it is better than the dangers of not taking any.

    And as for the suggestion that people who have mental health issues just need to find Jesus – I was raised with God and I do have Jesus in my life. He has not saved me. Or my schizophrenic uncle. Or my autistic brother-in-law. How dare you make it sound so simple.

    This whole area needs to be discussed openly and without fear, and the population in general needs to be educated, and then we may finally start making progress.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1349753775 William Woodburn

    Outstanding article. Here’s hoping all mothers like her can get help both for themselves through support groups, and for their mentally ill or mentally imbalanced children.

  • http://twitter.com/zoequillan Zoe Chamberlain

    Thank you for having the courage to write this. I am the mother of a 29 yr old with ADHD and life has been so tough for him, he is coping well now but is still very dependant on us despite living away from home. We are also from the UK but face similar difficulties in getting any help. I/we have tried everything and anything but acknowledgement without predjudice are just not there. I feel for any families who face similar problems, a support network is so necessary especially when we are all judged as being “bad parents”. I remember the first time someone said to us that we were not bad parents, we nearly cried. Frustration coupled with love seem to be the motto for all families.

  • EducatedGuesser

    Beware Ms.Skempris. Look up her other comments, elsewhere (click on her name). Nuff said.
    Thank you, Ms. Long, for this astonishingly honest and moving article.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=702210734 Jeff Portlance

    A “meaningful, nation-wide conversation about mental health. That’s the only way our nation can ever truly heal” is NOT what we need, we need the ACTION now. We have these discussions after every event but nothing gets done. Why you say, because it starts with the financial resources. The individual doesn’t have it, the cities, counties, states don’t have it, the federal gov’t isn’t going to give it to you. It’s about money. But that’s ok, we can still send billions & billions to other countries to cure their ills but.. we can get by. Lets keep trying to fix other nations problems while our own people suffer through mental illness, poverty, being homeless. Will this be the trigger for action? In my 47 years of life experiences, I have to say no it will not. Nothing will ever be done until we finally prioritize issues. Our own homeland issues I’m sorry to say are near the bottom rung in that matter.

  • http://www.facebook.com/vicki.acquah Acquah Vicki

    MY FIRST QUESTION IS …WHERE IS HIS FATHER.? AND THE SECOND IS DOES MENTAL ILLNESS RUN IN EITHER SIDE OF THE FAMILY? HIS FATHER NEEDS TO HELP. AND WE NEED TO TAKE A LOOK AT FAMILY HISTORY- BEFORE WE MARRY,DATE, OR COPULATE
    .

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bill-Both/731742938 Bill Both

    We should pay more attention and devote more resources to problems like this but to say that it is “easy” to talk about guns denies reality. It seems, in fact, as if it is IMPOSSIBLE to talk about guns. It will continue to be as long as we allow the NRA & its allies to dominate the discussion.

    This woman is NOT Adam Lanza’s mother or any of the others mentioned. Those kids obtained guns and killed people with them. Michael, thankfully, did not. Is his story tragic and should we devote more resources to it? Absolutely. There is, however, no justification for using that issue as a way to deflect a long overdue discussion about guns.

    As Gail Collins wrote in the NY Times, “Every country has a sizable contingent of mentally ill citizens. We’re the one that gives them the technological power to play god.”

  • http://twitter.com/ramblingblings bigfoot

    maybe this is the consequences of the poor choices you made. drugs ? slutting ? filthy loads from rank cocks you guzzled?
    results
    “Liza” with that “z” is a slut name .

    look all this up . its all on that internet

  • http://www.facebook.com/joenpenny Penny Taylor

    I am Adam Lanza’s mother(step) too. The things you describe are the same things I went thru. At one point I called the state begging them to come and get him. I had exterior doors with deadbolts on my bedroom door as well as his sisters doors so that we could sleep at night without worry of him coming after us in one of his rages. Security cameras inside the house. He was kicked out of military school, a Baptist boys ranch, public schools, even churches. I lost count of the times he was expelled from school for threatening to kill kids in his classroom. Even after being hospitalized multiple times, counseling, psychiatrists and psychologists, he was never diagnosed with anything other than ADHD. I call it a psychotic personality. He’s extremely intelligent, but at the age of 16 he was still in the 8th grade due to all the expulsions. He was never accepted by any of his peers. He preferred to either play with much younger children or threaten them since he was so much bigger. As an 18 yr old he was expelled from 6 different Job Corps centers, during his last stint with them, he was finally permanently banned from all centers after turning on gas in the kitchen after blowing out the pilots, previous to this there was an incident with him being seen luring raccoons into a trash can with food so he could catch them on fire. When he was 20 he went on one of his rampages, and texted my husband and I for 10 hours nonstop death threats. Many different ways of killing us were detailed. Another comment included “going on an insane rampage and killing people”. I gave my cellphone to the police who forwarded my phone to the DA’s office who downloaded the texts. Even with such evidence right in front of him, the judge let him walk away with some fines and a 12 month deferred sentence. Six months ago that deferred sentence got activated and now he sits in jail after it was found out that he had been having a disgusting relationship with his girlfriends 9 yr old daughter. When he was 15 or 16 I found disgusting porn on his computer that did indicate his future sexual preferences and during all of the investigation over the 9yr old, I was asked why I didn’t turn him in at the time? Well I have turned in everything over the years and the only response I ever got is “We can’t do anything until he acts on it”. The fact is, we as mothers know our child should not walk the streets. We know what they are capable of. You can talk til you are blue in the face to anyone who will listen, but nothing will be done about it until he DOES something.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ashbashbeardy Ashley Dolan

    I was a violent child, and I am diagnosed with Aspergers. Doesn’t mean I’ll go out and shoot others. I’m now a completely non-violent person who wouldn’t dream of doing something as terrible as that.

    To be frank, while rearing a child who is abusive is incredibly hard, it is bad parenting to consider him the next “Adam Lanza”. He doesn’t have to be like that. Its your duty to ensure that, not act all “oh, hes diagnosed with this, he cant help it”. If my mother was like that, I wouldn’t have a college education or an active, healthy social life. I would have not overcome the problems I had as a child.

  • http://www.facebook.com/marysa.lynn.5 Marysa Lynn

    Although I feel great sympathy for you and your family’s struggles, I take issue with you calling his restrictive school a place where there is “free public babysitting from 7:30-1:50 Monday through Friday until they turn 18.” I am one of those “babysitters” who work in those restrictive schools for students who are deemed unable to function in a normal classroom environment. As an educator for students with emotional behavioral disorders, I can assure you that we do not babysit your children all day. We mentor them, counsel them, teach them about emotional literacy and make great attempts to create as much of a safe environment as possible. Please rethink the role of educators for the sake of all of us who work tirelessly with students with ODD, ADHD, IED and other behavioral disorders as we attempt to give them and you the tools needed to cope while providing the best education possible. Blanket statements about the quality of education received only serves to prolong a stereotype of special education classes and educators being a place for babysitting. May calm and hope be with your family this holiday season. I know I will try my hardest to ensure that for my students and their families.

  • Hope

    I hope my comments will help at least one person, especially you Lisa
    Long. There are people (like me) who have children exactly like yours. I also found zero help in mainstream medicine. All the psych drugs in the world didn’t really help. But they did cause immense weight gain, over 80 pounds in a 10 year old. Yikes. And in many cases, like Columbine, the antidepressants actually trigger more rage and end in tragedy. There is a cause for this seemingly illogical behavior. The cause is toxins. Look up and see what arsenic does to every cell in the body. Look up what mercury does. If you look up mercury overdose, you will find most if not all of your son’s symptoms right there – including uncontrollable rage. The only neurotoxin more dangerous than mercury is plutonium. They put arsenic in chicken feed, arsenic is in rice, and in some water supplies. Look it up if you don’t believe it. Mercury is in the flu shots we so blindly give our kids every year. Not to mention all the other toxins in the tons of shots our kids get. And 13 years ago there was still mercury in all the shots – creating even more exposure. The only genetic component in these mental symptoms, is in a person’s ability to filter out toxins. In kids who are exposed to all this and are fine, their bodies were able to remove the toxins. In kids who are ill, they weren’t able to rid themselves of the toxins, and it shows in their behavior. In their irrational thinking, depression, rages, digestive issues, and of course, autism spectrum disorders. Remove the toxins and the children heal. My child healed. So did many, many, many others. The way to healing has already been paved. The information and help is available, online. Take off the blinders. Stop listening to mainstream medicine that only wants to sell more drugs to make money. Or at best, offers false hope using methods that don’t work, and only serve to drug our children – not heal them. Google Andy Cutler low dose chelation. That is the true salvation for our kids. Join one of the facebook or yahoo groups that support AC chelation. It removes the toxins. When that happens, the kids heal. You have nothing to lose to investigate and try this. Nothing else is working. You have everything to gain. Note: AC chelation in my opinion, is the only safe method (there are many other methods). AC chelation involves low dose, over the counter supplements that remove toxins. Don’t wave this off. Research it. Learn the requirements and the protocol. Why would hundreds and hundreds of people say this works, if it didn’t. If you try this there is a good chance you will start to see improvements in a very short time. Good luck. I hope some of you out there will listen. Mainstream medicine should be shouting this from the rooftops, to help end all this suffering. But they aren’t. If enough people like me start shouting, maybe someone will hear.

  • http://twitter.com/dnaemerson Dina Emerson

    Where is the father in all of this, may I ask?

    • Nor

      See her blog.

  • Christie

    Liza, I cannot even put into words how deeply I feel for you… we MUST do more to help mothers and families like yours. Life with your son is an emotional roller coaster and I know how painful it must be to trying to help him (with little or no resources) while also feeling guilty that you may be hurting him (as he insists at those times). You are courageous and he is blessed to have you as his mother. I hope you will both find the support you deserve, that you will remain proud and strong and that your son will find some balance and relief from his psychological disturbances. It is so frustrating getting different opinions and diagnoses from various professionals. Who is right? Who can you trust? It is imperative you find the most competent person available to help with the right diagnosis and therapy as I am sure you well know. I wish you the best of luck. I was struck by how fortunate one of the commenters was here to have discovered an underlying asymptomatic strep infection was the cause of her son’s behavior problems and how they were resolved so quickly with “intensive, accurate treatment.” If only it could be that easy for everyone!

  • http://www.exiledstardust.com/ M. K. Hajdin

    So tired of the excuses women make for the violent men in their lives. Always “But when he isn’t abusing me, he’s so kind and gentle and smart!” Look up “trauma bonding” and you’ll see these excuses are typical.

    Please stop blaming mental illness for threatening male behavior. Mentally ill women don’t go around shooting up schools. What these violent males have is a sense of entitlement to hurt other people. This isn’t caused by mental illness, it’s caused by male privilege. There is no “cure” for it except to dismantle a society built on violent dominance.

    Individual men who can’t or won’t stop abusing others may need to be in a place where their freedom to act on those violent impulses is restricted. That suggestion will cause anger, I imagine, but I’d rather protect the innocent than give a bully the opportunity to hurt people again and again and again.

    • http://www.erikanapoletano.com/ Erika Napoletano

      You’re telling me that a 12-year-old boy has a “sense of entitlement to hurt other people?” I will not even bother to argue your ill-founded point, as it’s obvious you don’t understand how the health care system has failed the mentally ill. Social workers advised her to have her son *charged with a crime* to have him “put into the system.” The legal system. When he ever so clearly belongs in the *health care system* for observation, identification, and treatment of his mental illness. This is a woman in search of solutions for the betterment of her son, society, and her family. It’s statements like yours that further the stigma against mental illness, which our society has chosen to criminalize and marginalize instead of support, explore, educate about, and offer reasonable paths for treatment.

    • http://www.facebook.com/joenpenny Penny Taylor

      While I agree with your third paragraph, I will tell you as a mother of one of these children that you are 100% incorrect. My son’s future problems were evident to everyone at 2 years old. There is absolutely no joy in his actions for him while he is raging. Mine, at 15 ripped his bedroom door off his hinges and then spent hours shredding the door into no less than 50 pieces.. Unlike what some other mothers have reported, his sister was never in danger from him. Imagining some wrong towards his sister was certainly one of his triggers. He does better away from people. One on one he rarely rages. Alone, he don’t.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cam.mega Cam Mega

    http://www.blogtalkradio.com/askdrjohnbergman This man may be able to help. I pray for you and all of us who need solutions.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000046283678 Toni Katynski

    My heart goes out to people such as this one that wrote this article, that have to raise their children under these circumstances. However, one question does come to my mind after what happened the other day at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where all those innocent lives where taken…. Does she have an arsenal registered under her name that her child can get a hold of at any given time?

  • Bryan

    Dear liza, i pray that if there was a divorce you and your husband choose to right that wrong. No amount of meds or jail time could be as helpful to your children. Use this incident as an opportunity for your husband and you to demonstrate that love is a choice. This is where the devil quickly plants 100 excuses in your mind. Ignore them and choose self-sacrificial, Christ-like love. If your husband is deceased then consider a never before married faithful Catholic man for marriage. Your family is in my prayers.
    Bryan

  • Ree

    As a mom with a child with Bi-Polar disorder, this story really hit home..thank you.

  • az

    The author pointed out that the majority of the mass murderers were done by white people. How is that relevant? If a killer is white, he/she’s mentally ill, but if he’s black he’s a thug and if he’s brown he’s a terrorist. Mental illness isn’t based on race but the media sure makes it sound that way. Can you imagine the difference in coverage if the Norwegian mass murderer had a darker complexion

    • Nor

      Good point, but I really do think the kind of shootings we’re seeing here, with no political agenda, by suicidal young white guys, is kind of a thing. You don’t see anyone else doing it. But you are right, there’d be a very different slant if the guys race was different.

    • Minna

      I know it’s not always reliable to trust on statics but this absolutely increases the fear of her own son since he’s white.

  • putgodfirst123

    This article is awesome! She opened up her heart an let us in. Many parents suffer from a choice to put there children away or try to bare with them. She did the right thing to get him help because she cant fix him. We need to call on Jesus in times like this. As far as many comments i read. Some of you people need help yo. Instead of digesting her words an sharing positive feedback your debating an taring each other down. This is why the world is like this today. It hurtful and aggravating.

  • http://www.facebook.com/carl.ratner Carl Ratner

    I am so sorry that you have to face this struggle every day. Your son may be Adam Lanza (or maybe not; we really don’t know that much about him) but you are not Adam Lanza’s mother. You are putting sharp objects in a tupperware; she kept guns where he could get at them. (And no, I am not implying that she deserved what happened to her.) You are right that we as a community need to talk about mental illness, too.

  • http://twitter.com/Cookwitch Lisa F

    Thank you. Thank you for your words, and for taking the time to write. Thank you for all that you do, and for the love that you show, against unbelievable odds.

  • mom in new york

    Understanding that it’s easy for me to say from my perspective, but I would have handled “Michael” differently. The reality is that children, special needs or not, are powerless and they know it. The very least we can do, if nothing else, is HEAR them and be truthful with them. In this example, saying, “You can’t wear whatever pants you want to” and “You…can’t call me a stupid bitch,” these things are not true. He can and he did! The point is not whether he can; what’s important to him is how he feels about having that choice removed from him. How frustrating that is, how disempowering. And, how it might feel to say hurtful things out of anger to someone you love very much. People who are heard can more easily let go of things than those who are not. And, this is true whether there are “special needs” or not. In this example, the mother is culpable in this meltdown because she was not holding space for “Michael.” She, as the adult and the one without special needs, had a greater capacity to do this, and perhaps could have been diffused the situation before it got frightening. Were he being heard, he *perhaps* would not need to go to the hospital and he may not even need medications. He would still be special needs, and I’d still keep the sharp objects and AK47s out of reach, but he’d be less likely to see those things and suicide as his best options for feeling better. Just my thoughts. Parents need better training. All people need better training on how to be with each other. With a better understanding of how to hear people and help them not feel so powerless, I think this world could be a safer, happier place.

    • Nichole Wright

      Please. I’d like you TRY to be a parent to a child like this 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – lets see how you handle it then. You have no idea until you’re in her shoes.

      • mom in new york

        If this is not the place for suggestions, then where is? When is it the right time to have a conversation about different, possibly better options? If only one person reads this and gets an idea that will help them and their child, is that not considered support? Did you see my essay as finger-pointing? That is absolutely not how it was intended. Please re-read it without being defensive. And, in re-reading it, you will see how I “handle it.”

        • Frankly

          “You can’t” in parenting is “you can’t XYZ without facing consequences…” which she then spelled out and enforced. She gave him choices, he made choices, she enforced the predetermined consequences of his choices.

          • mom in new york

            Can you see that she engaged in a power struggle with this boy? With a power struggle, there are but 2 outcomes. I win or you win. Or, better, I lose or you lose. But, in shifting the focus away from the power struggle, there is a third possible outcome that transcends the power struggle and the originating issue entirely. And, in this scenario EVERYONE winning is at least a possibility! Can you see that? And, can you see how engaging in a power struggle with a boy with an emotional disability can never work out well? If power struggles end up with trips to the hospital and calls to 9-1-1, then this is a strategy that is NOT WORKING and needs to be changed! Can you see that?

          • Nor

            Um… do you have teenagers?

          • mom in new york

            Um… yes. Grown up all the way, actually. And, I am a parenting “coach.”

          • Nor

            Do you have a lot of experience working with mentally ill children? Because one of the main features of being mentally ill, as a child or adult, is being suicidal, needing hospitalization, etc. And when it’s bad, yes, interactions with law enforcement. By it’s nature it is unpredictable and to some extent uncontrollable. This kid is “powerless” in a way you may not be personally familiar with. He is powerless to control himself, at a fundamental level most of us are lucky enough to never have to experience. As you are giving advice I assume this is your main client population? What kind of training does one have to undergo to become a “coach”? And “coach” to whom? Drug addicted teenage moms or suburban white folks?

          • mom in new york

            I wish I had more time to write to you now. I definitely appreciate your thoughtful comments. My suggestion to you would be to read “The Explosive Child” by Ross W. Green, Ph.D. He talks specifically about “Michael,” why diagnoses fail to solve the problems children like Michael and his parent deal with and proactive ways of solving them. I stand by what I said, I have direct experience with this population, and have seen explosive children grow into children who gain the skills they have lacked to allow them to function well in their world. For coaching certification, there are a number of organizations to find for information. The International Coach Federation is one of the largest, and there are others, as well. Many universities also have coaching programs. I hope this helpful, and I wish you all the best.

      • mom in new york

        You said, ” I worked in mental health, took all these “techniques” to work every day – its a different situation when its your world and you don’t get to walk away at the end of the day, or ever.” And I would say, all the more reason to critically examine each of the tools in the tool kit, get rid of the ones that are not working, and replace them with better tools. “Here” is absolutely the place, and “now” is ABSOLUTELY the time for this discussion. There is no better time than now.

  • Toove

    Please set him on a diet : No gluten, no trace of dairy, no corn, no soy, no sugar, no artificial additives. Check out Aris website: http://www.autism.com/index.php/video
    Ask a parent, go to a conference. It is not too late. The size of his pupils is a sure sign that he has an opioid reaction to gluten/milk, and it might get worse now and then because it fills up. My daughter was just like that as a small child, before we took her off all of the above.

  • FTL

    Adam Lanza’s mother is dead and one of her sons killed many innocent people. Liza Long: your headline is offensive and misleading.

    Taking advantage of present media hype and using the CT incident as a way to gain readers is disgusting.

    Low expectations and self-prophesying is not what your son or society needs.

    Also, this subject has been discussed since the Luke Woodman shooting back in 1997.
    This is NOT new discussion.

    FYI

    One quote regarding drugs and school shootings:

    “Fact: Despite 22 international drug regulatory warnings on psychiatric drugs citing effects of mania, hostility, violence and even homicidal ideation, and dozens of high profile shootings/killings tied to psychiatric drug use, there has yet to be a federal investigation on the link between psychiatric drugs and acts of senseless violence.

    Fact: At least fourteen recent school shootings were committed by those taking or withdrawing from psychiatric drugs resulting in 109 wounded and 58 killed (in other school shootings, information about their drug use was never made public—neither confirming or refuting if they were under the influence of prescribed drugs.)”

    Fact: Between 2004 and 2011, there have been over 11,000 reports to the U.S. FDA’s MedWatch system of psychiatric drug side effects related to violence. These include 300 cases of homicide, nearly 3,000 cases of mania and over 7,000 cases of aggression. Note: By the FDA’s own admission, only 1-10% of side effects are ever reported to the FDA, so the actual number of side effects occurring are most certainly higher.

    • birdz

      I agree with you about her headline. This woman also has no idea if Adam was anything like her son. Adam sounds withdrawn and paranoid from those who have been interviewed, not overtly aggressive prior to this incident necessarily.
      As someone who works with severely disturbed children, many of whom are vIolent, I have to disagree. with you on the medication issue. Clearly those who committed these shootings were very mentally ill. Maybe they quit their meds cold turkey. Or maybe they weren’t following up with a therapist. But paranoia, aggression, and an external locus of control SO severe do not just go away without changing something chemical.

      • Tumble Weed

        It seems to me that she is making a general argument about mentally ill young children – whatever their symptoms. Constantly living with a volatile child who is a risk to his siblings is serious and she may eventually have to remove him from her home so CPS doesn’t taker her other two children. Perhaps you could share your experience with mentally ill children and the meds or other things that have helped them. A lot of the kids I know who suffer from these issues were born from a drug addicted mother and their long term prognosis is deplorable. Fact is that nobody knows how to treat them and very few are successfully treated.

        I agree about the chemical change. While I cringe at the thought of giving a child anti psychotics and anti depressants, it isn’t an unrealistic choice when they cannot function socially and they are a danger to themselves and others. My heart goes out to all parents who have to deal with this. The mental anguish these mentally ill people have to deal with is obviously horrendous and yet when one of them commits suicide they are callously labeled as selfish.

      • FTL

        birdz_ I hear you. I am not saying meds do not work. But for my own child, I would just be VERY careful about early diagnoses and meds. I would also exhaust all other possible solutions first; i.e.: spiritual, diet, attention…
        Early brain development, I believe, will be changed for life if a child is given meds. I personally recall my mother ‘passing’ on giving me RX as a child and quitting her job (creating some hardship) to stay home with me. In my case… I am thankful.

        • Nor

          Stress hormones also alter brain development. So medicate or not medicate, you’ve got the same risk either way.

    • Stacey

      When you have a child who suffers from these problems, then your opinion will be welcomed, until then, you should take you ignorance, your pencil pushing, non experienced theories and refrain on commenting on something your totally clueless about. All you know is what you read and apparently if it isn’t something warped from an ignorant person impersonating a dead woman, your ticked.

      • http://pissedoffwoman.wordpress.com Pissed Off Woman

        Regardless of your opinions on medication, FTL’s first point still stands:

        “Low expectations and self-prophesying is NOT what your son or society
        needs. He’s your son and you write as though you have already given up
        and he’s not even 18.”

        Kids need their parents to have faith that they can succeed, that no matter what they are going through, no matter how badly they behave, their parents will still see the best in them and never give up on them. I feel so horrible for this woman’s son if he is reading this article, seeing his mom compare him to a mass murderer. On a less drastic note, I’ve had friends whose parents didn’t see them as monsters but assumed that they would never make anything of themselves and would be on SSI all their lives and in and out of psych wards, and it’s really hurt those people and discouraged them from doing things to help themselves. I’m not trying to downplay what you’re going through as a parent, but I also feel that in the rush to commiserate “oh how hard it is for you to have to deal with a mentally ill child”, too many forget that it’s even harder to BE a mentally ill child, and that knowing the adults around you see you as a stone around their neck or even a potential mass murderer just adds to the pain.

    • vinny

      Exactly. No corporal punishment and the rush to drug our kids.

      • Nor

        I’m sure hitting children will teach them that violence is not the answer.

    • Stacey

      If you don;t like it, DONT READ IT. Its helpful to a lot of other people out there who HAVE kids like this, obviously YOU DONT all you have is your pencil pushing facts and no experience. Move on.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jlathem1 Jane Baird Lathem

    Thank you sharing your story. As I read your words I found myself praying for you and Michael with every sentence. You are absolutely correct that we need to do something about mental health. There are to many “Michaels” who fall through the cracks every day and who then become the Adam Lanzas we hear about on the news. I pray that God will bring peace to your home and to Michael’s mind. God bless you.

  • JKS

    Unfortunately, both my youngest brother and I had issues quite similar to Michael’s–my brother especially.

    I was enrolled in a gifted school at 5 (after testing at a 160+ IQ, unfortunately for me, but that’s an entirely different story) because my parents, for whatever reason, decided that public school couldn’t handle my apparently limitless brainpower. It was all fine and dandy… up until the school told them that I was too smart for the second grade, and needed to skip ahead to the third. Despite my having been the youngest in my grade (by a few months, actually), this didn’t seem to be a tough proposition; I was tall, relatively socially apt, and had been reading since two, so I theoretically should have made an easy transition. Of course, they forgot how mean eight- and nine-year-olds could be to someone two years younger. As a form of protest (at least, I think), I started acting out both at home and at school: getting in fights, choosing to use the cuss words my new classmates had taught me in the most inappropriate of situations, screaming at my family when I couldn’t get my way. My parents, ever fearful of mental illness ruining the future of their firstborn, decided to take me to see a supposedly world-renowned psychotherapist at a prestigious nearby university. Nothing came up on his tests. No ADHD, no Oppositional-Defiant, and I was way too comfortable with people to test on the autism spectrum. So, they ignored the issue. Of course, it got worse, especially after I transferred to a public middle school to continue my athletic career. Those were some mean, mean kids. I’d lock myself in my room with a knife or rope after an especially bad day, sitting on my bed for hours while trying to contemplate the pros and cons of an early death. I would have temper tantrums–even at the not-so-tender age of 14–and knock over bookshelves, clothes, or just about anything else that got in my way. Therapy alleviated most of those symptoms, but it really was a combination of that, my emotional maturation, and my having gained a normal, if socially scattered, set of friends. By the time I was ready to graduate from high school, I had a girlfriend who was way out of my league, had racked up acceptance letters from some great colleges, and was on my way to a pain-free, relatively easy life.

    Sadly, though, it’s taken quite a bit longer for my brother. He’s quite bright–though, to be truthful, he’s not as smart as I am–and really a sweetheart when he’s been placated and calmed, but he’s the high school version of seven-year-old me. On Thanksgiving, he threatened to kill me after I grabbed him for mouthing off to our mother, and my father ended up having to actually restrain and take him home before he could make good on that promise. Considering he’s 6’0 and a workout fiend, I’m more than a bit afraid of him doing so. He still throws plates and glasses at home, and still lies incessantly (a trait he may have picked up from me; compulsive lying seems to come second-nature to people who think that they’re smarter than everybody around them).

    He appears to be a lot like Michael. He’ll be perfectly sociable and genial when he needs something, but his mood will switch at any provocation, and he tends more towards the angry, nasty, vengeful end of that spectrum. He devours books, just like I did, but he hasn’t learned enough to stop him from brandishing a knife and chasing me or my sister around the house if he goes especially psycho. Since I’ve been at college and haven’t had as many opportunities to get him mad, he seems to have calmed down just a bit. I’m hoping he’s working on making such a state of mind more permanent, but there’s a reason you’re just as scared of your son as I am of my brother. Once a temper, always a temper–unless it turns out, as I pray and hope, to be just a phase.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1486442661 Tim Fountain

    I am so, so glad you wrote this. My wife and I have an autistic son – nowhere near what you are going through – but we blog about care giving (“Sometimes Care Giving Stinks”) and our post after the Connecticut shootings was pretty much what you are saying here: we expect families to provide 24/7/365 care to people whose needs are clearly clinical, in some cases institutional. Thank you for speaking up. Yours is the discussion that our country needs.

  • Leo

    Mothers. What are your children’s father doing to help?

    I don’t believe in mental disorders as forms of illness. They are just that, mental disorder that can be worked out. To start with, you need to acquire an appreciation of complexity and contradiction. There is not beaten path for you in the ways of “pill popping and paper trails”. That is a oversimplified system that relies on brutality over finesse.

    No one understands better your situation’s complexity than yourselves, I am sure, but I meant you need to appreciate the situation. Your child is a special person. His brain and inner workings are different from the socially accepted level of workings. You need to try to understand him, as hard as this may sound and try to see things his way because that is what the situation requires you to do.

    Don’t for a second harbor doubt that your child is damaged. He is just different, and possibly represent a higher level of human awareness should you unlock his mental potential by successfully coping with his “weirdness” or “differences”.

    To do that, to achieve that, your child will need to work a lot harder than çhildren of their similar age. They will need to eventually process their inner hurt or guilt or anger, and they also need to find a higher and noble

    • truth.

      oh god. so self righteous and so wrong.

      • Leo

        ?

        By saying difficult children can be worked with, but only with more finesse and insight on a parent’s part, it is wrong? Ten what is right? Drugs? Look where those are getting you.

        • Nor

          By denying mental illness is real. One of the reasons people have to fight so hard for insurance coverage and it still isn’t close to equal. Yet they demonstrate again and again that there are physical differences/electrical differences/chemical differences in the brains of mentally ill people. I don’t think you can tell people it’s possible to will away epileptic seizures, right? That’s what bipolar is, just in a different brain region. Schizophrenics can’t will away hallucinations. There is nothing higher or noble about it, unless you also think drug highs have nobility. It’s just brain malfunctions. And the price is steep. Don’t glorify an illness.

          • Leo

            I think what you are saying is exactly the point I am making. These mental challenges make the children DIFFERENT. That is first and foremost what we can agree on. To take a step furthur, I am syaing this is not equivalent to ILLNESS.

            Mental illness doesn’t not become serious until a certain number of factors take effect, years of abuse, neglect, a combination of grief, hurt or anger, and only when the person has reached a certain year of maturity when those so called illness actually manifest serious effects.

            Until that happen, these children can be worked with. But these is no point arguing with you, right? What is your stake in this?

          • Nor

            I would consider being suicidal serious.
            I would also consider being homicidal serious.
            (If these things are not serious, what do you consider serious?)
            Mental illness does not require years to develop.
            Like epilepsy, or brain damage, it can be present from birth.
            Environmental causes may or may not be a part of it.
            People of any age can be worked with. You don’t give up on them the day you decide they are mentally ill.
            Medications are a valid treatment.
            Argue with me all you want.
            I feel that you trivialize serious mental illness. Not a fan of that attitude and the harm it does to mentally ill people and the mental health care system. It hints to me that you haven’t dealt with this in your own life, and are talking from zero experience. What is your stake in this?

          • Leo

            How many younger children do you find are suicidal or homicidal? Is it not when they have matured into certain age do they become really difficult to be worked with? That is my point.

          • Nor

            Enough to fill the wards at the mental hospital. Enough so that the schools have psychiatrists in them. Enough for it to be a subdiscipline in psychiatry. Kids can be harder or easier, depends on the kid just as it depends on the adult. For one thing, they don’t tend to be good at articulating their problems, self-reflection, or self-discipline, and have relatively little personal control over their environment which can be challenging, so I don’t know why you think they’d be an easier population than adults. There is no age at which you throw up your hands and say “don’t bother”. They don’t mature into untreatable hopeless patients, if that’s your concern. Early intervention is great, for anyone, regardless of when illness first manifests. I don’t see why you advocate helping a child less than you would an adult.

          • Leo

            There is also nobility if the said challenged person finds a calling passionate to his life and makes a meaningful impact to his world or others, and not just carry throug the motions of life.

          • Nor

            Do you find people who have are confined to a wheelchair noble too? Try saying that the next time you see someone who is. I would advise remaining out of range of their fists. So deeply condescending.

          • Leo

            If we are discussing people on wheel chair, we can discuss people on wheel chair. I don’t know what you would call them, but it is not my business since we are not talking about them. Why don’t you stick to the point.

            Finally, I would think people finding inspiration and gaining strength is not a deeply condescending thing. You keep saying that finding strength in ways that only they can is a wrong thing to suggest. It seems to me you have a mentality that encourage people to stay in the mud. Pity then, it is like you are saying they deserve the suffering.

  • Rebecca

    Thank you for this. If you are Adam Lanza’s mother, I am his sister. My older brother is 35, and we’ve lived in fear and confusion since he was 10. It is an extremely delicate charge you have and I commend you for trudging through the uncertainty and not giving up being his parent. As parents we seek to do our best. It is all we can do and you are doing that. Sometimes right feels wrong and vice versa, but it all takes a back seat to seeking out what is best for your child.
    If I could share one thing, please do not process him criminally. He will learn things he cannot unlearn and in my opinion it is not worth what it will cost.

  • Debby

    Thank you for sharing this with us.

  • Leo

    Continued

    Calling in their life as they grow. That is how they will pick up confidence and find a passion to their life that befits their perhaps superior intelligence. Each of them could just be a gift unto mankind. Believe me, a father’s role as model or example will help greatly in him overcoming and coping with difficulties.

    That was my question, what your child’s father is doing to help.

    But it al starts with you as parents start appreciating e challenge before you. Have you thought that perhaps it is YOU who are not wise enough. Perhaps it is YOU that need to discover new perspectives and insights so that you may find ways to understand and communicate with your child? As loving parents, I am sure your love will ultimately be the factor that will aid you in getting through to your child, but never for a second doubt that you just might be a student to him as he is a student to you in life.

    Just by having him would have required more loving more patience and more kindness on you than any other average child would, and that is a blessing. For if a person stops growth, so stops his discovering of meaning and passions in life. We should never stop growing and expanding our views and now thanks to your child, you are forced to do just that.

  • http://twitter.com/craftsonsea Kate Williams

    Thank you for sharing this, I don’t have any guidance, help or any suggestions on what to do, but you do have my love and prayers coming your way x

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=735360265 Liam Bean

    Excellent.

    Attempting to assign blame to someone whose mind is betraying them randomly and unexpectedly is a pointless endeavor. There are really two problems here.

    One is the mental illness itself. Our inability to do anything meaningful for those suffering from it in this environment that they simply cannot deal with.

    The other is the abrogation of responsibility. Before the Reagan administration and the health care system decided that psychoactive drugs were the (only) answer, there were actually institutions that took care of people who had a difficult time with reality. These institutions were staffed by people with specialized training in dealing with mental illness. They are all but gone now.

    Granted there were abuses, but every organization has the occasional abuse. Prison is not an answer. Prison is for people who can reason and realize that they are being punished for wrongdoing. The mentally ill do not share the same concepts of “right and wrong” that the rest of us live by so putting them in prison no only does not help, it makes matters worse.

    But this is the state of the nation now. Attempting to assign reasonable blame to those who suffer from delusion is pointless. Their reasons make sense only to them. This is the hallmark of insanity. Attempting to find a rational reason for mass murder and/or suicide is also an exercise in futility.

    We need to reopen the institutions and insist that the mental health professionals do more than write prescriptions.

  • Leo

    So, start by really appreciate your child, because he is an angel and he is here to make YOU a better and wiser person.

    Only when you have achieved the necessary growth, will you find ways to help your child.

    That is my adivce to those willing to listen

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=735360265 Liam Bean

      @Leo, you do not understand the problem….at all.

      • Leo

        Enlighten me.

        • Nor

          Been watching too much Kung Fu?

  • http://www.facebook.com/SonFlower.daelynn Daelynn Williams

    I applaud you for doing whatever you needed to get your son the help he needs. I hope you are able to get a doctor who can accurately diagnose and treat him. So he can reach his full potential, he sounds like a very smart young man.

  • J. Nicol

    I am not sure I have ever been so moved by a mother’s expression of love for her child. I would like to see this story on the front page of every national paper, and international too as we need Canadians to read your story. We can protect innocent children from being killed by many an Adam Lanza by providing the killer with the help they need, he was sick as is your son. Let us help them; provide for the mental health care they need with more than jails, prisons and perscription antipsychotic drugs that no one monitors. Thank you Lisa Long for bravely stepping forward to do what you have to do to get help for your son and others.

  • http://www.facebook.com/antoinette.claypoole Antoinette Nora Claypoole

    fantastic, piece. i am also, your son’s mother. my daughter is now near forty years old. and because of medication and my ongoing REFUSAL to deny her violent outbursts and autism spectrum reality ( when she was 10, 30 years ago …we had NO help at all, no research, no grasp on WHAT she was dealing with)……..she is an amazing woman, who has to work hard EVERY SINGLE DAY to function on her own, without violence. but she is DOING IT! it is a better time now, than back when she was your son’s age. but STILL there is so much bad juju attached to admitting our children and OURSELVES need help, that yes. this culture needs to face truth: without counsellors AND treatment, including correct medications AND cognitive therapy, the violence prevails. still. on a side note….can someone explain how presidents can mourn 20 children and sleep at night knowing US drones, are killing children in the MIddle East, on a daily basis. VIolence, itself, is far too easily, tolerated. Thank you for writing this piece, and for not tolerating your son’s tendencies. Still…the road is long, incessant. Treacherous. I trust you will find counsellors for him, yourself, your other children. xoxo—antoinette nora claypoole

  • http://www.facebook.com/bridget.leroy.3 Bridget LeRoy

    Thank you for this. My son had violent tendencies when he was very young, toward others and himself. Although it is not The Answer, one answer was diet. We took him off Red Dye #40 (banned in other countries because in some children it can mimic the symptoms of ADHD and IED) and it helped. A lot. No sodas and limiting sugar intake also helped, plus a small-class school environment. I pray for you and Michael, and all the mothers and mentally-ill children in this country.

  • http://www.facebook.com/stanton.jessica Jessica Stanton

    Thank you,Liza. Whatever the cause, more and more parents and families are going through thiswhile the rest of society points fingers and humiliates and embarrasses instead of supporting.

    My cousin is now in his mid-twenties. When he is momentarily stable, he is the most caring, sweet, compassionate and curious person I’ve ever known. It is hard to reconcile him with the kid who had also pulled a knife on his mother, attacked and beat others, and cannot control any part of himself.

    He went into a group home a couple of years ago. The family is incredibly lucky to have gotten medical support and snagged an open slot.

    So many cannot and do not. And so I am just as sad and heartbroken for the shooters as their victims.

  • JJ170

    The one huge difference I see here is that when you were threatened you took precautions stating you put knives in Tupperware and carried them with you . If you had been threatened would you have semi automatic rifles in your home? I am baffled by this …

  • bethannchiles

    Wow-came here by way of someone else’s recommendation and could not leave with out leaving a comment. No one can really understand what folks with loved ones who have mental illness go through and your post was so heart wrenchingly real. There is no way anyone would “choose” to have a child endure what you described and the family dynamics are all focused around that mental illness, aren’t they? Thank you for the brave post and the endurance and love that you have for your son. You are my hero. You are not giving up and you continue to love and seek help and do all that you can do to make sure he gets the help. It was difficult to read this but it is a “must share” in my opinion. Keep strong.

  • Kelly

    Thank you. My brother was just such a tortured soul–brilliant and talented but very ill like Michael–and he took his life when he was 26 because he was scared to death of hurting someone. This didn’t have to happen. Thank you for your courage in talking publicly about your struggle; I can’t imagine how you’re doing this alone with 4 children, but God bless you, Michael, and them. An extremely important article.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=536505972 Nancy Peske

    What breaks my heart about stories like this is we truly have no answers, even when a responsible, never-in-denial, loving, dedicated Mom is working as hard as she can to find them. We don’t have appropriate facilities, or services, or schools. We don’t have appropriate medications–too many of the pills that are supposed to take away symptoms can just as easily cause suicide ideation or attempts, or violence, or other severe mental side effects. But at least this Mom understood that you keep a child like this away from objects that can harm himself and others. If only the other moms whose children were still at home, like this recent killer’s mother, could have broken through their denial and had Lisa Long’s clarity.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jennwolke Jennifer Wolke

    May Allah Bless you for writing this. It is needed. I wish you & your family peace.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sara.anderson1 Sara Engle Anderson

    I am sorry for your pain. I can only imagine what that must be like. I have a friend at church in a VERY similar situation. For the safety of them as parents and their other children, they just recently had to take some action. Here is her blog – she is very active in all of this (her daughter has FASD). I know you have had no shortage of suggestions – but if you want to read her blog, you might be encouraged or could even reach out to her as someone who is walking a similar road. http://lordgrantmeserenity.blogspot.com/

  • Steph D.

    This article is important and eye opening. I only wish you didn’t include the name of the attacker. I just can’t bring myself to repost his name anywhere.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1020710196 Teresa Morales

    I am so sorry for the struggles you are going through. I am the parent of a 20 year old bi-polar son. He was never physically violent but his mood swings were quick and very frightening. The first time he said “I’d be better off if I wasn’t here” I drove him straight to the emergency room during a snowstorm with a toddler in tow. (He was 13 at the time, and had not been diagnosed as bi-polar yet). They held him as a 5150 and he spent the next 2 weeks in a special out-patient school that deals with mentally ill children and teens. This was not to be his first stay there. He ended up graduating from high school by doing all of his classes online from home, as he had been expelled for defacing school property (and charged for which he had to pay a $500 fine. I made him pay it all himself from his min wage paychecks). Once he turned 18, he decided that he was no longer going to take his meds. That led to his moving out of the house.
    Although this sounds like the start of a tragic story, it is not. He is also extremely bright with a high IQ. His girlfriend that he lives with is also bipolar, so he has someone that can understand his mood swings (as her understands hers). He has a full time job as a laborer making $12 an hour. He has found a religion where he turns for strength and peace. I am very proud of him.
    He recently told me that is I hadn’t taken him to the emergency room that day, he probably would have committed suicide. Maybe not THAT day, but eventually. And he thanked me for always standing by him and being tough and vigilant. So there is a light at the end of that long dark tunnel.

  • Kelly

    Thank you so much for writing this… and thank you for all you do as a parent. My prayers are for you all.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Li.Fielding Alisha Rodgers-Turner

    I am scared for my 7yr old. I am at my wits end and I have no idea what is ‘wrong’ with him. No one does. He even had a brain scan. I have 5 children aged 11-2 and he is so very different from them. He is the sweetest and most sensitive of them as well as the most emotional and exhausting. I constantly feel like I need help with him even though I handle the other 4 fine.

  • khadra

    Thank you. I’m not able to say anything more meaningful than that at this time. I am the mother of a “michael” as well.

  • Guest

    Another voice of thanks. My son and I went through maybe ten percent of what you have experienced, but it was still one of the most harrowing and hopeless times of my life, enough that every time a tragedy like Newtown happens my thoughts quickly turn to the parents of the shooter. It takes incredible strength and love to be a good parent to a child with this kind of mental illness, and great courage to share the experience. Grace and peace to you and your family.

  • Cindy

    This could have been my story. The knives and other weapons, being expelled for assaulting teachers (and this was before the 3rd grade). I had to put him in a boys home because he was dangerous to the neighborhood kids. I had to move to Klamath Falls, OR. There’s an outpatient treatment program for kids all school ages. It was the best thing that ever happened to my Joe and me. I got the support I needed. Joe is now 38. He had struggles along the way, but without the support of KYDC (Klamath Youth Development Center) , I’m sure something tragic would have happened. Now I’m going to college and Joe has been supporting me financially. I see a little bit of temper here and there, but nothing more than a normal person. I communicate better with Joe than with my other kids because of all the therapy I had to go through with him. He is a good and compassionate man. It was worth it to sell my house and move across the country. There are facilities out there, you just have to find them. Call KYDC in Klamath Falls. I’m sure they can recommend out of state programs
    . Move no matter what it takes. I was poor, but my son was my baby. In Missouri, the only option to get help was to turn him over to the state. The day I moved home 10 years later there was an article in the paper about how turning your child over to the state was the only way people without insurance could get help for their kids. I’m sure nothing has changed.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jeanne-Dulaney-Andrus/1014415272 Jeanne Dulaney Andrus

    Three points are blatantly obvious in this post:
    1) You do not keep firearms in your house or allow Michael access to weapons of any kind (thank you for that!). Unfortunately, Adam Lanza’s mother did not do that. Until people stop asserting their rights to own multiple weapons and keeping them where people with anger and rage issues can get at them, it will be hard to stop things like this from happening. And it will be hard for families such as yours to ever be safe as long as guns are easy to obtain, since your son may have his rage issues for the rest of his life.
    2) Mental health is a critical problem in this country. In our rush to assure that we don’t abridge anyone’s “rights,” we have left hundreds of thousands with no recourse and no help. It is only after someone is hurt (usually beyond repair) that someone with these kinds of issues can be put into a residential program without their own consent, and these are usually warehouse programs, not treatment programs.
    3) Health insurance reform is critical to our society, as you so aptly pointed out – no “individual insurance program will cover you.” And if it did once, you would be dropped as soon as they could after you used those benefits once.

    Lisa, I am sorry you are dealing with this problem. I hope you can find a way to help your Michael. And I hope we, as a society, can find some way to help him.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chrissybrown77 Chrissy Brown

    Wow, my prayers are with you…I pray that we can find a way to help these patents and children to address and assess mental illness in our kids, so that we can maybe prevent more tragedies like this from happening

  • Stacey

    I have a 16 yr old a lot like this. I don’t discuss him or his problems with anyone other than family, very close friends, his therapist & psychiatrist. People with “normal” kids, have NO CLUE what its like having a child with these problems. Let me explain a bit by saying, my ex abused my 2 oldest kids and myself. I divorced him when my son was 12. I thought taking them away from his abuse was the best thing for our family. Since he is not there to terrorize my kids, my son doesn’t have that 6’3″ monster to answer to and beat when, now he does what he want and is out of control here at home. He was diagnosed with ADHD in 4th grade, then PTSD after my ex’s abuse was revealed. He has been on SO many different medications that if it doesn’t work, Drs just change it. One problem is he doesn’t like the way meds make him feel. He likes the on the edge out of control feeling because “he can be himself”. Meds make him feel like a zombie he says. We would stand and watch him take meds, he would somehow gag back up and hide. My husband and I went to put a new bed in his rm to surprise him and found over 100 pills between his bed and wall. He is now on liquid meds we had to get approved my our insurance co. and one IS Zyprexa. I’ve tried the change of diet, he goes to school and buys Monsters, Mountain Dews and other stimulating drinks. You can’t control everything they do and eat!
    In school, I have told some of his teachers and they are in total disbelief. I get told how he is a great student, a math genius, and he too can carry on conversations about scientific subjects that go right over my head. Electronics, he can build computers, fix them, and is an avid gamer, which I do not agree with, but if you take the gaming systems away, it sets off his rage, just as it does the boy in this story. My son is also a A student in ROTC and very proud to wear that uniform, he is also a Jr firefighter at our local fire station, has been through fire school, and hazmat training, and want to become an EMT.

    When I told my sons teachers about him at home, they didn’t believe me, they said he is “such a respectful kid” which I was also told by seniors at the Senior Center he volunteered at, how he was such a great kid! I did not tell his teachers by choice, I was practically forced to because my son told a “joke” of why he had an injury and he blamed me for it, which the school considered abuse. The school knew my sons history, which I will explain in a sec, but they had to call DFS, they showed up at my door that night. When they showed up, they learned I was actually attacked by him 2 days prior and he pinned me on the floor and punched me in my head 6x and arms several times. Note, he was extremely sorry, and crying after this incident. The “case” against my current husband and I was immediately closed, said they had NO concerns about our parenting, but were concerned about my sons and the safety of the others in the house because of him. We were told to have a safety plan in place for my 5 other children and myself. I was also told if I do not call the cops on his when he gets violent with us, they will take my other kids away and leave HIM with us!!! She then left my son here with us. My daughter was furious, she wanted him gone, and frankly I was hoping they would take him to Kids Peace or somewhere for residential treatment. They didn’t. They too are next to impossible to get into, I have tried several times now.
    My husband now, is in law enforcement. I thought being married to a cop would help. No, my son is good, while my husband is home, he acts up while hes at work. Work is a 12 hr shift, overnight and hour away. My husband is terrified we will be a family on tv who was murdered my the son one day. I took my son to a Mental Hospital, actually 2 where we live. He was rejected by them, we were told he wasn’t a danger to himself or others. My son also knows how to ACT calm, cool & collected and tell you or any Dr, EXACTLY what they want to hear. It was not until I was pregnant and he punched me in the face and I called police that something was finally done. The state pressed felony charges against him. I was told having charges put on him was the ONLY way to get him help. It is absolute BS a child has to commit a crime in order to get help when the signs are there and parents are desperate for help, but until they cross that line, parent have NO HELP. Now, 3 yrs later, he has spent time in a mental hospital, came out worse than when he went in, he went through mental health court, graduated the program, and because he wasn’t adjudicated he no longer has charges hanging over him. All he has is the threat of, that was a 1st offenders program, after that, any trouble and its straight to juvenile detention. Jail WON’T HELP. My son now has a diagnosis of ADHD, PTSD (from the abuse) ODD (oppositional defiance disorder) depression, and his most recent diagnosis added to him is Bipolar.
    My son hugs me all the time, tells me he loves me now that he’s on the liquid meds and is taking them, does chores, is part of the family and has been great. But, sometimes he is still set off. He has been seeing a psychiatrist and therapist since he was released from the mental hospital 3 yrs ago. He still sees the psychiatrist but I now have a family therapist who comes to my home weekly, 2 who go TO his school and see him there weekly, and he had finally been referred to mental health by the state (it has taken 4 yrs for this) and they are trying to get him into a day program at a mental health school, even though, he has NO PROBLEMS IN SCHOOL! This is our wonderful State working to help my son. Me, and my 5 other children here at home get no help other than being told “Have a safety plan in place”. My other children by the way, 2 are honors students, the other is 1 letter grade in science away from honor roll, my 4yr old and an amazing gymnast and excelled past her level in gymnastics, the other is an 18 mo old toddler. I don’t have a single problem with any of them.
    Is there something I am missing or not doing that these genius parents out there have a brilliant idea that will fix everything for me? I have done EVERYTHING in my power for my son and the state has been a brick wall the whole way. I’m sure you judgemental & opinionated, know it all parents will have rude things to say, but I know in my heart I have done and am doing everything I can for my son.

  • vinny

    This kid doesn’t have a mental disorder. He’s been influenced by society to act this way and you fail to correct it. You need to learn how to instill corporal punishment with this kid. Swift spanking will solve the problem. Unfortunately we live in a politically correct society where that’s “child abuse”. The kids are smart enough now because of society, media, etc, that they will report you too! In fact, the UN has encouraged countries to ban this form of punishment! WTF. “No electronics” is really not a punishment. And taking him to a shrink so he can get medicated will only make the problem worse! The world is screwed because of political correctness. We are reaping the results.

    • truth.

      you are so dumb.

    • Nor

      Nowhere is it considered child abuse to spank your kids. Your sources of information are lying to you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/valerie.ransomcoffey Valerie Coffey

    I am so sorry. I am Adam Lanza’s mother too. My ordeal ended 5 years ago with the suidice of our 17 year old Scott and I gained my own mental health labels stemming from the event.

    I hate that families must live in fear of their own children. Live in fear of the consequences of parenting a difficult ill child. Live in fear that a broken system either ignores blatant cries for help or uses steel cages to control a situation without regard for the root of the problem.

    Life with the mentally ill is exhausting, aggravating and depressing. “Help” is often not that. It is a bandaid or punishment that solves nothing and the cycle begins again once the child is released from detention or hospital.

    Years of advocacy and involvement in counseling, safety plans, educational meetings, court appearances (as parent and victim), mounting medical and court fine balances….well, I realized no one could hear me and Scott was not being served. But I was also stuck with the only “help” available.

    I said to my husband last night, as yet another television story asked ‘what needs to be done?’…”We need to start talking about mental illness! Discuss it as the real thing that it is or we will never have a clue where to start.”

    So it is my prayer that a dialogue will begin that allows your story a happier ending.

    Michael is lucky to have you and I wish you every success in helping him.

  • SensoryOT

    Thank you for your story. This really gets the message across of all those families coping with a relative with a disability and how fragile the situation really is. Everyone is mentioning “who would do something so horrific” but the truth is I don’t think these individuals truly know what they are doing in the midst of the act. As an occupational therapist who works with children who have sensory processing disorder I can understand the foundation of what can trigger such mood swings. Imagine being so uncomfortable in your own skin, literally- all of the auditory, tactile, and visual stimuli is overwhelming and makes you cringe to the point where you have to hit something to override the feeling. I am not defending Adam Lanza or any other person responsible for the crime, but I do feel sorrow that they could not get the help sooner. With the right supports, these children and adults could lead wonderful lives. I send my best to all the families out there who are struggling, and parents please reach out for help. It can save lives. Thanks for reading!

  • http://twitter.com/fuskiegirl21 fuskiegirl21

    This was a very insightful article. Thank you for your content and contribution.

  • Siglr0629

    OH my gosh! I just finished reading your article and this is me! I could have written this almost word for word…with a few adjustments. You are completely right……we need help and it just isn’t out there.

  • http://twitter.com/DudeGurlz Kris Kail

    Wonderful article, but one thing irked me. First, it’s James Holmes, not Jason Holmes, and second he’s just the SUSPECTED gunman in that situation, they haven’t proved anything. There’s a theory going around that the actual shooter was a black ops agent who framed it on Holmes because his father is a fraud investigator who stumbled upon one of the biggest banking schemes in the history of economics, one that helped destroy the economy, and he was going to testify against those who comitted the crime. People jump on the fact that Holmes saw a psychiatrist, but really, he’s no different from any kid. Everyone who knows him has said that he only just started acting up maybe a month before the incident, and that he wasn’t being anywhere near his normal stuff, which is believed to be because of a drug given to him that essentially removes you of your free will. You look and act like a normal human being, but there’s someone behind you pulling the strings (in this case said black ops agent).

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1002557801 Allison Falin

    I cannot tell you enough how much I appreciate you writing this. I was a school nurse for 7 years and I have seen children failed by our mental health options over and over again. No one wants to address the issues because it is a complex and expensive problem to tackle. It is far easier to legislate that guns go away for civilians. It is easier to believe that a child’s behavior is chalked up to bad parenting or some trauma that “caused” their illness. The lack of understanding and the outright turning the other way when parents are crying out for help is just staggering. Foster parents, biological parents and teachers have long sounded the alarm with the medical community sitting back and shoveling meds at children. Thank you for bravely telling your story. I know of at least 15 other parents that could have written exactly what you have. God bless you and your son. I pray that you get the help you need.

  • http://twitter.com/alvingongora Alvin Góngora

    Liza: You’re also talking about my son. I’m bankrupt with no other future than to pay off impossible debts and bills. Your son’s story is mine’s.

  • http://www.facebook.com/valerie.ransomcoffey Valerie Coffey

    Liza, I am so sorry. I am Adam Lanza’s mother too. My ordeal ended 5 years ago with the suidcide of our 17 year old Scott and I gained my own mental health labels stemming from the event.

    I hate that families must live in fear of their own children. Live in fear of the consequences of parenting a difficult and ill child. Live in fear that a broken system either ignores blatant cries for help or uses steel cages to control a situation without regard for the root of the problem.

    Life with the mentally ill is exhausting, aggravating and depressing. “Help” is often not that. It is a bandaid or punishment that solves nothing and the cycle begins again once the child is released from detention or hospital.

    Years of advocacy and involvement in counseling, safety plans, educational meetings, court appearances (as parent and victim), mounting medical and court fine balances….well, I realized no one could hear me and Scott was not being served. But I was also stuck with the only “help” available.

    I said to my husband last night, as yet another television story asked ‘what needs to be done?’…”We need to start talking about mental illness! Discuss it as the real thing that it is or we will never have a clue where to start.”

    So it is my prayer that a dialogue will begin that allows your story a happier ending.

    Michael is lucky to have you and I wish you every success in helping him.

  • disqus_O8jRrzenlH

    A brave post. My brother is 40 and, only since his illness has been neglected for decades, finally picked up a weapon in front of my mother. NOW my parents say he finally has to go to counseling (though he has had some sort of “explosive episodes” intermittently for years). Once, when we were driving to the movies, he started going into a rage, screaming and pounding the steering wheel, and pressing on the accelerator as we sped toward not-that-far-away oncoming traffic. I thought to myself, “Well…it’s not such a bad day to die today.” I made excuses too, even though I’d been through my own treatment for depression, as well as my mother, as well as her brother, sister and cousin….you see the trend. Even in families, sometimes we enable, sugar-coat, and create spaces that allow us to deny the seriousness of the matter. You were never afforded that opportunity, of course. The challenge confronted you head-on, and you have addressed it daily with courage, common-sense, and fierce love. Thank you so much for this post, which I am sharing as far as the blogosphere can see. Your words will not fall on deaf ears.

    • JanetMermaid

      I do not mean this sarcastically or snarky AT ALL but have you chosen to not have kids? Truly, some genetic lines need to discontinue and based on your description yours may be one of them. Once a “genetic trait” enters a family tree it can be impossible to eliminate. Your tree may have ended up with a violence/rage trait and the only way to stop it is to stop having kids.

      • disqus_O8jRrzenlH

        At first I thought you were talking to the original poster. My brother’s the only one that has rage. Actually, he is adopted. The cousin has Schizophrenia, and then Mom and I and her brother and sister had depression. The reason that I brought up the family line thing was because one would think, through our collective experience, that we would not take signs of mental illness so lightly. The main thing was people not addressing it. Although I went through many years of clinical depression and on-and-off disability, I’m currently weaning off of my last medication, have found some herbal/natural options that did more for me in a few months than a cornucopia of meds did in 14 (not saying that works for everyone, but sorry–it is true for me) and have a wonderful life. I’ve been stable, productive and working for the past 4 years straight, no depressive episodes, no suicidal ideations, nada. I’m even returning to my musical roots slowly, which I had frankly abandoned because the power I felt from playing, performing and/or listening to music was simply too strong–the highs could be manic, the lows could be crippling. That, for me, is a major sign. If I can handle music, then balance is pretty much restored. Now that I know what I’m dealing with, and how I could have cut it off at the pass, I wouldn’t want to deprive the child I bear of a life that is as amazing as mine. I did, however, think about adopting and not having biological children back when things were bad emotionally. I still might adopt anyway, but I’d also like to have biological kids. I mean, I don’t know how to put this…but….I’m kind of a big deal ;-p. I think my pros, now that I’m forewarned and forearmed, outweigh my cons. My psychologist would agree ;-)

        • JanetMermaid

          My apologies — I misread. I thought you were talking about “scary” rage in multiple generations of your family. I’m thrilled that you are happy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ellen.mccarryhopps Ellen McCarry Hopps

    And in situations where there is an unstable person in your home, You Don’t Have Guns in Your Home!
    These parents need to take responsibility.
    We can’t take cutlery out of our homes, but you don’t put guns & automatic weapons in your home either.
    Lanza’s mother was a gun enthusiast & so she collected guns – powerful guns. Guns you don’t need to hunt with or for protection!
    Sometimes when your a parent you give up things for your children’s protection! We cover electric outlets so our kids don’t get electrocuted. You remove or LOCKUP FIREARMS or in the case of mental illness in the home, YOU GET RID OF THEM!!
    So have your talk about mental illness, but first make sure your not putting you child, your family & others in danger, because you are putting yourself first!

  • MemereMalek

    God bless this mom. I am a mother of 4 adult children & 3 beautiful grandchildren. I grew up with a mom who suffered from mental illness her whole life. Consequently I was raised by my grandparents. I watched my grandmother struggle to care for my mom and us 3 kids and try to find services and help for my mother. Back then, mental health svcs were far worse than they are now but none ever helped. We were raised to hide our family secret & shame. As a parent, you have little help and less control over their behavior. It was archaic, but I see it still is. I always worried one of my own children would inherit the gene. I was lucky, and that’s all it was … luck. I lived with an adult with mental illness. I saw a parent try to find help. My heart breaks for anyone who has gone through or is going through what my gramma did with her only daughter. Exacerbated by the fact that she had enough lucid times to give birth to children. My gramma wound up raising 3 children and still caring for her adult mentally ill daughter. I saw the hopelessness. It’s heartbreaking.

  • shireen

    Liza, thank you for your honest, insightful and informative article. This helps us recognize problems that need to be addressed in our society. I really question the use of psychotic meds, especially on children. The side effects are so detrimental themselves. I hope we have stronger therapy outlets put in place, and resources for mentally ill. It is a common problem, nothing to be ashamed of. If we think about it, the brain is an organ like all others. There will be issues with the brain as any organ. Do we judge/shun people that have health issues with their kidney or heart? Why should mental health issues with the brain be any different?
    I will keep you and your family in my prayers, as I pray for peace for our world.
    Thanks.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dave-Russell/1642988753 Dave Russell

    When we ask what should we as a society do, the answers emerge. Our nation once cared in a much different way. I remember the epidemic of “dumping.” Do you? Compassionate society comes at a cost. Removing the responsibility we the people have for our fellow man degrades our collective morality leaving only the most reprehensible examples of injustice as our last binding thread. We can and we should demand that we do better.

  • greymalkin

    Thank you. Just, thank you for writing this, what really needs to be said. As someone with two nephews, one with autism who has to be in a group home, and one with Aspberger’s, and as a person who wrestles with her own mental demons, not always able to get help unless it’s a trip to the ER and a short stay in the psych ward, I applaud your courage in posting this.

  • kathy

    I am a grandmother raising three kids on the spectrum. You have just described the oldest one to a tee, he is 14 now and has been in and out of children’s mental places. They would keep him only about five days and return him back to me. Finally they said he has been here 9 times and to the other place several times, enough is enough and now he is in residential. He has come home for day visits and I am not seeing a whole lot of change in him. Yes, I know how much help you and I both need in raising these kids. Since the oldest one has been gone it is like the middle one seems as though he has gotten worse, but that could be puberty or I just concentrated on the older one so much that I did not see how bad he really was. We are all scared when the older one is enraged and violent. (Both of the older ones are boys). The oldest has picked up a butcher knife and was either going to throw it at me or come closer to stab me. My youngest daughter, not his mother, walked right up to him and told him to put the knife down. He proceeded to stab the microwave door three times with all his strength and then dropped the knife into the drawer. I immediately moved the knifes to a safer location. He also has caused his brother to have staples put in his head after hitting him with a toy. I have been bitten, hit, kicked, cussed at, threatened, etc. He threatened that every time I send him to that place he will come back worse. (And guess what–he does, it seems) It is something he concentrates on the whole time he is gone. Occasionally he will display his anger at the place but usually he doesn’t. There is no honeymoon any more after he gets back from there. Most of his rage is at his family. I have seen him get enraged at neighbor kids and have to intervene. He has bitten a kid at school and was suspended for this act. He was a straight A student until just before leaving for residential. I think he knew we all meant business and was worried. He always begged me that he was sorry and please don’t send him to that hell of a place. He would say “I’ll be good”. That promise would not last even a half of a day if I took him up on it.

    The police here will not do anything. They say it is “a parenting issue”. I come back with he is autistic and bipolar. This is not a parenting issue. “Well, we can’t do anything unless he commits a crime.” So I say “I am suppose to die or someone else in my family has to die before you will help us?” No comment received.

    Yes, God help me, God help my kids and God help us all.

    • http://pissedoffwoman.wordpress.com Pissed Off Woman

      Sorry, but…

      You’re mad at the police because they refuse to lock your kid up unless he commits a crime. You’ve repeatedly sent your kid away to a place he thinks of as “hell” and that he comes back worse from each time. You are frustrated that you can’t get them put there permanently. Are you sure that your kid’s rage is really just because he’s “autistic and bipolar”?

      • Nor

        They don’t take a kid into residential for no reason. They try very hard to keep them home in fact. I think, you not having been there, you have to give this woman the benefit of the doubt, at the very least. Of course the kid is upset at being in treatment. But there is no place he can be safe outside of it. Our mental health system is wildly inadequate for this kind of care. And the cops hands are tied too. The burden, as with much chronic disease care in this country (see Alzheimers and TBI’s) is disproportionately on the family, and it should not be.

  • TWK

    http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/751533
    I think its important to look at the relationship between diet and mental illness. We know we re not feeding our children very well over all, and this has some effect on mental illness as well..

  • Emily

    Thank you for your courage to get your son and yourself the help you need. Thank you for your selfless courage for sharing this with the rest of us. You are absolutely right.

  • Tiffany Scott

    After reading this, I am a “mother” to these boys myself. My 5 year old son was diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder at 4 years old, and was just diagnosed with ADHD earlier this year. He is on Adderall for his ADHD (after heavy consideration from my husband and I), and is currently enrolled a restricted school environment for his behaviors. He loves his school and receives outpatient counseling. One thing I do love about his school is that it works closely with his counseling agency, and closely with the child’s families to create a supportive circle. I am so afraid that my son will get out of my control when he is a teen, and possibly go on to do something like his. I am hoping that with us catching all of this early and doing what I can now to help him that he will grow to be a well adjusted “normal” teen. I know not everyone is fortunate enough to receive the kind of support that i have. That is one thing that makes me so angry about these incidents because why in this self-absorbed society can’t kids and adults with mental issues receive the support they need. Liza I love this article, and would love to speak with you further about it. You can contact me through Facebook.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1174815915 Kathy Verbiest Baldock

    thank you for getting naked and writing this.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for sharing your story. Mental illness a dibilitating disease that affects everyone involved. In that way, I agree, you bear a similar cross as Ms. Lanza. What I do not read here is where you took your son to a gun range or provided full access to an arsenal of firearms. We must work to detangle the issues and address them one by one; gun control, growing issues related to mental illness, over medicating children and manufacturing new disorders for ill behaved children. Granted, I grew up in a different era, but my medicine wasn’t given to me in the form of a pill, it was a dose of dicipline.

  • Katie

    My daughter is just like your son. Tormented by her own brain, with Pediatric Onset Bipolar Disorder. I know your pain and worry. Every new tragedy wrought at the hands of mentally ill makes me wonder if I’m going to be the parent of that person some day. I’ve seen the darkness take over at the very slightest trigger. I’ve felt afraid of my own child. I wish I knew a solution – I wish there was a more viable treatment than a constant stream of toxic meds that may or may not work – we’ll just wait and see. (Mother to mother I recommend thebalancedmind.org for more information. )

  • http://twitter.com/Laura_Wilkens Laura Wilkens

    Bless you and your family. The brain is the least understood organ. I believe we should divert funds from imprisoning drug offenders and other minor offenses toward studying brain disorders, since it’s the least understood organ. I wish you continued strength and courage.

  • LOR

    Besides medication, I hope non-pharmacologic interventions are also in place (family, individual therapy, cbt, social skills group, anger management)

  • angie mudd

    Wow…heartbreaking. But I will have to agree with some of these parents who say that if you know you have a child with mental illness, it’s better to drive them to the hospital to get help than it is to drive them to a shooting range for target practice. I don’t have a child that is mentally ill, but I would guess that if your child is mentally ill and shows signs of illness or violence, the last thing you want in your home are assault rifles. I’m not saying that this is all the fault of Adam Lanza’s mother — and there is a good chance that if he was sick enough to want to plan a crime like this, he was going to figure out a way to get guns and figure out a way to do it. However, having them in her own home only helped make it that much easier for him. So while we do need to talk about mental illness and we do need to have the country focus on more funding for it — the only thing we know for sure is this family had money and they had their own funds to get help for this young man if he needed it. Instead, she pulled him out of school and she took him to shooting ranges, and she stockpiled her house with guns. The mother who wrote the article may have some sympathy for Adam Lanza’s mother because she too has a child who is mentally unstable — but I bet she doesn’t have an artillery of guns in her room.

  • Jennifer g

    I honor you for writing this letter. As a social worker, I see this day in and day out. There is no help and this needs to change. They send these kids to hospitals for up to two weeks and when they are stable they send them right back to society. With adults and kids they tend not to take their medicine once they are released. They believe they feel better. Everyone don’t put the blame on the parents because kids are sneaky and hide the medicine to make their parents believed they swallowed it. I experience it first hand. Don’t judge these parents because I know first hand all of the parents that try to get help over and over and the society turns them down. There is no help out there, I pray every day that thousands of people would stick together and fight to get something done. My heart goes out to parents that experience this on a daily basis because they have no life, they walk on pins and needles every second of the day. Please don’t judge them, they did nothing wrong. It breaks my heart knowing the unconditional love that these parents give to these children and have to worry about being hurt or killed. Until you experience it or work with it, mental illness is devastating. Help get resources for these adults and children they depend on us but unless we fight this together they don’t have a chance.

  • Brit

    Thank you for sharing this. I have a brother who is 18 now and he still has days like your son. We have had to remove knives and such from around the house periodically and I have told him that if needed I will take him to the hospital as it scares me. I no longer live with my family, being 25, but while I was there, and when I visit sometimes, he has threatened not only himself, but my step-father as well as the whole family. Though the violence has toned down some, I can only hope we are getting though to him. I believe you are right and that this issue needs to be addressed.

  • Liz Pullen

    It sounds like you have done everything a caring parent can do and talked to both medical and psychological experts and their solutions were of limited help. I agree with you that “something must be done” but I’m not sure what that is when even medical professionals don’t have answers that fully explain or treatments that are fully effective. What is called for, more research into these problems? After reading your piece, I’m not sure what would help.

  • http://twitter.com/Julia29 Julia29

    I am so saddened that you are and others have gone through this. I have been fighting alone to change the system – maybe now it’s time to stand together… http://roxcell.wordpress.com

  • disqus_1C7TckbJ4x

    Have you seen study #3 on this link? Good, good folks here http://patientinfo.nimh.nih.gov/BipolarDisorderPediatric.aspx#220

  • http://www.facebook.com/karla.billman Karla Burkett Billman

    I can’t thank you enough for writing this. Your depiction of interaction with the mentally ill is so accurate. Continue to use your talent as a writer to ask for help. Bless you and your son.

  • M. Starr

    My younger sister had a similar problem. My mother’s legs still bear the scars of my sister’s nails tearing into them every time she had an episode. She destroyed half the kitchen cabinets, two walls, and a door. Once she nearly got us arrested by having a violent episode in a taxiing airplane. My parents tried everything; family counseling, a psychologist, medication; they had to call the police on her twice. One night I was over at a friend’s house and her parents got a call from my parents. My sister had had her worst episode ever, and they were taking her to the hospital, possibly having her committed. She calmed down that night, and my parents decided not to commit her. I spent middle school embarrassed by and fearful of my little sister and watching my parents marriage get tested in every way imaginable. As time went on, my sister’s behavior seemed to improve, though she spent an unusual amount of time sleeping, and her school work was shoddy at best. Several years later I went home after being at a friends house to see a police car parked in the driveway. I went inside, scared about what I might find. Fortunately, no one was hurt, but it turned out my sister had developed a new problem. Apparently she’d been sneaking out and doing drugs and dating guys in their 20s (she was 14 or 15 at the time.) My parents, who had allowed my sister a lot of freedom since they’d done the same for me and I’d always been well behaved, cracked down on her like she was in prison. After time and a lot of therapy, she started to actually get better. Her grades improved, and she graduated high school a semester early, and her last semester was spent doing a couple classes at the high school and the rest at the local college. She is now enrolled in college, and is doing really well. Thanks to the medication she was on, her middle school years are a blur, and she understands the pain she caused us, and is bothered by the fact that she remembers so little of it. We’ll never know just what it was that saved my sister from herself. Was it something we did, or didn’t do? Did she grow out of it? Did she fix herself? What would have happened if she hadn’t snapped out of it, so to speak?

  • ElPresidente

    Ever stop to think that the number of mentally ill inmates quadrupled from 2000-2006 because of misdiagnosis of bullshit illnesses like ADHD? This article shows how ignorant the writer is to this topic herself. “Liza” has done nothing to help this cause, if anything, this article will make the stigma worse. Oh and here’s an idea, maybe your child is just a spoiled little shit that’s being enabled by his ditz mother and just maybe he needs an ass-whooping. Call your mother a bitch and all he gets is no electronics for a day? BAD PARENTING

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=735360265 Liam Bean

      Denial is not a solution. Mental illness exists and blaming the parent is not an answer.

  • Kris

    thank you for posting this, I feel like you just wrote about our daughter. my family has been going through this for 22 years, now that she is an adult it is out of our hands but we worry everyday for our grandchildren. it is time that society take us seriously when we say something is wrong with our child. these types of situations are preventable when will health professionals see that?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1650567597 Tracy Caraker

    I used to work in a psych receiving hospital. I met many, many, many of your “sons”. I’m so glad you wrote this article, because they all need help. I’ll keep you and your family in my thoughts.

  • http://www.facebook.com/john.archer.9081 John Archer

    This article brings tears to my eyes. Thank you for writing this. It is necessary.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ajkhess Audrey Klinker-Hess

    Thank you for your candidness and shearing your story for reasons you explain so decisively.

  • Autism Liberation

    You will probably choose to ignore this, but honestly your post makes you look like a terrible parent.

    Why is your special needs child in such a strict environment that he can’t choose the color of his own pants? It is inappropriate. You call yourself an anarchist but are attached to the notion that children can’t make decisions for themselves and have to be dressed up like automoton-dolls.

    We live in an increasingly totalitarian society which forces children into like boxes and little categories and tells them not to think. It is not natural and some children cannot handle it.

    So instead of finding what works for your child, you are advocating the medication, forced hospitalization, and you admit you are thinking of the incarceration of your own child. All because you want him to only wear black or khaki pants.

    Such a tragedy that your child’s needs go last and the needs of the dress-code go first.

    • truth.

      omigosh. what in the hell is wrong with you.

    • CissyRenee

      I think your reading comprehension skills are severely lacking. If you think that a dress code (set by the SCHOOL and NOT the parent) has anything to do with this boy’s problems, you are a part of the problem.

      • Autism Liberation

        It turns out I was right. Long has been exposed in the blogs and the
        press. Long is a Con Job. This is literally a person who admits she had
        the police called on her own son because he didn’t do chores. This
        person is being exposed with her own history of violence and psychological abuse against her son. Autism
        Liberation – if not now then when?

        gawker.com/5968983/writer-of-i-am-adam-lanzas-mother-blog-post-criticized-as-unfit-mother-with-own-history-of-violent-tendencies-mental-illness

        • CissyRenee

          Yet you still didn’t get the point…..

    • Nor

      Um, maybe Catholic School? Or a prep school? A private school?

  • http://www.facebook.com/nursedeannarae Deanna Hebner

    As a nurse who works at a hospital that sees plenty of inmates, I see the end result of the lack of psychiatric care all too often. Rather than spend money on helping people get well, we waste government money putting people through the criminal system. People who could be loving family members or make great contributions to society or any variety of things. The lack of resources is mind boggling. Every person is worth our effort. Every person deserves a chance. Every parent deserves the resources to help their child reach their potential. Thank you for starting this conversation.

  • Colby

    Thank you, Ms. Long. For what you wrote, and for being a good mom. It takes courage (and an unbelievable tolerance for heartache) to stand by the right convictions in the face of your beloved child’s pleas to relent, take back the consequences, let him out of this “hellish” hospital. That kind of durable bravery isn’t rewarded by medals or ceremonies. It should be. In the absence of pomp and circumstance, though, I just hope that we as a society can do better by parents like you, and children like Michael.

  • CR

    Liza, incredible article! How do we rally the mother’s of this nation to get something done. I have a friend with a mentally ill brother now in his 40′s that is homeless. I understand it gets even harder if not impossible to get help for an adult. Your article is making the rounds, I hope you find the support and courage to continue to be a voice for change! Let us know if you have a Facebook page or website!

  • http://twitter.com/katy_del_moxie katy del moxie

    I work at a behavioral hospital and this is exactly what I’ve been saying to people since the Colorado shooting. No amount of gun control will keep a disturbed person from doing something of this magnitude if this is what they have worked their way up to. In China, a kitchen knife was used.

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I think we all need to talk more about this so that, even if people don’t know someone dealing with this personally, they can see that there exist people who are, at one time, both very smart and talented and mentally ill. There are very few places now where long term care is possible and it is a case where, at least in my area, it is harder to get long term care when you have private insurance because they are state hospitals with beds reserved for medicaid patients.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ashley.copland.9 Ashley Copland

    My son is 5 and is insanely bright as noted by multiple Dr’s since the age of 2. He has within the past year been diagnosed with ADHD is responding well with Concerta, but we keep needing to increase the dosage. The flip side of this is one Dr. has said she believes Oppositional Diffiant Disorder should be a diagnosis as well… And his Pyschiatrist has tried 3 other meds to work with the Concerta to fight the “tornado within” because he has a severe anger issue even while on the Concerta. Due to his age, we have not suspected suicide or such but I fear him getting older and dealing with this… As it is becoming increasing worse as he grows and I hear more and more of it, such as your Blog and others’ comments. My question is when you look back to your children at younger ages, do you now notice certain signs- anger, depression, sadness, what have you…. abnormal signs for a 4,5,6,7 yr old? Any positive input would be appreciated.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nora.eskew Nora Gibson Eskew

    I am a teacher and I have had children like yours and many of parents are in denial. I have a kindergarten wright now that is alrieady showing these behaves I am going to show this article to my principal and hopefully to his mom.Thank you for writing this!

  • http://www.facebook.com/debey.knapp Debey Ron Knapp

    has your son ever had a epilepsy study done? my husband suffers from a form of seizures called psychomotor seizures that can cause violent outbursts and psychotic like behavior..the seizures can last from minutes to hours and have behaviors before and after. a person can walk and talk while seizing..studies show most people are misdiagnosed as being bipolar or schizophrenic because it is not a well known disorder and also hard to catch on eeg..my husband was lucky for it to be captured on the eeg. he spent several times in the eeg study lab one time up to 2 weeks. the reason the person can still “function” while seizing is that it is only occuring in one area of the brain..their perception becomes distorted and their ability to make good choices becomes impared. they become much stronger than normal and alot time try to run away…my husband went misdiagnosed until he was an adult…he was labeled a bad kid when he was young and its a shame that he had to suffer for so many years with a medical condition and have to feel ashamed of behavior that was beyond his control. when not seizing he is the kindest most gentle man one could meet…just a thought but i would say if hasnt been looked at would be worth looking into.. god bless u and your family and thank you for sharing your story

  • eli will

    I can only imagine you must have tried it all. If ‘all’ restricts itself to traditional medicine and pharmaceuticals, please find a great orthomolecular medical practitioner. Apart from nutrition, treatment takes the form of high doses of specific vital amines, commonly referred to as vitamins. There is no monotherapy, no one pill, but mental illness typically calls for high doses of niacin (B3) or versions thereof like NADH. Ortho intervention is comparatively inexpensive, has no debilitating or toxic side effects contrary to antipsychotic medications, has proven more effective, and carries less of a social stigma and black mark with insurance carriers. It is less conventional, but with what you’re dealing with, my word, I’d try it. If you want more context, see the documentary, Food Matters, and read Dr. Andrew Saul and Dr. Abram Hoffer. I hope your family can get the help you need, and one that will be effective once and for all. Take care.

  • http://www.facebook.com/shculbreth Susan Culbreth

    Thank you for so eloquently expressing your family’s life and your son’s issues. I have been an educator for 20+ years. I agree with every word in your article. Our schools do not have the dollars or personnel to “handle” issues of this degree of mental illness. I can’t count the IEP’s I have sat through with parents begging for help. It is heartbreaking to say to them…”This is all we can do for you at the school level and we know it is not enough.”…and then watch them leave the meeting to live this kind of life. I have been a principal of an elementary school for 8 years. I am so weary of the pro-gun/gun control argument. Just a waste of energy and a soapbox for politicians to promote themselves. Every time I hear a politician say “We are ‘for’ the children”/”We must put our children first”/etc. I get so stomping mad. I sometimes think childhood mental illness will never be addressed until children can VOTE. Then, lawmakers will listen because the children have worth to them. I know that may sound silly, but your points are so well taken. I love children. That is why I do what I do everyday. But, frankly, I have silently thanked God some days when I send mentally sick children home for the day after struggling to meet their needs all day. I know I would have no better tools to deal with such in my home than anyone else. I pray for you, your child, and your family. I pray that there is a solution and that it won’t come too late.

  • disqus_BePcmESHLb

    Liza, I truly hope you read my comment:

    After reading this article, the first thing that occurs to me is that Michael does not seem to be getting continuous, long-term professional help from a *psychologist*. This child needs to learn how to help himself during Cognitive Behavioral Therapy sessions with the help of a psychologist. It can take years of this type of therapy to reach a place where one can function in school and society in general- but it’s the only thing that has been scientifically proven to work.

    Prescription medicine has a place in psychiatric treatment, but it does *not* help the child to learn how to manage his or her own emotions and reactions. Psychiatrists specialize in prescribing medicine, not addressing the behavioral problems of these children. I am utterly horrified if long-term CBT therapy with a PhD or PsyD psychologist has not been recommended by school officials. If I have read this story correctly and that is the case, then this is sadly illustrative of how the mentally ill are falling through the cracks.

    Please, to anyone with a child, if your child has or develops anxiety, depression, an Autism Spectrum Disorder, OCD or any other major, life-threatening mental illness- take your child to a psychologist who specializes in these disorders. Taking a child to a mental hospital does nothing to help him in the long-term. It teaches him only fear and not to trust anyone. It does not help him manage his own life so he can become a happy, productive member of society. The only way to prepare him for the rest of his life is to help him help himself. The right psychologist can do this.

    By the way, I speak as someone who suffered from anxiety and depression as a child and adolescent, and my parents never took me to see a psychologist. Growing up, I also had an Asperger/schizophrenic friend who was constantly being sent to mental institutions instead of being given a caring professional psychologist to work with. We suffered for so many years in such traumatic ways because our parents thought they could manage us on their own. Some children need more than their parents and/or drugs. There is no stigma when your child’s future is at stake: take your child to a good, caring psychologist.

  • Sue

    I recently had a series of episodes like this with my 16 year old. It was terrifying. As someone who is committed to helping individuals with mental health issues and traumatic stress, I can not express to you strongly enough the power of mindfulness practices for these individuals (see here: http://bmo.sagepub.com/content/31/3/313.short) PLEASE consider finding your son a program that can help him. At the very least you can help him learn how to breathe and this can begin to facilitate new ways of being on a cellular level. http://www.elephantjournal.com/2012/12/breathing-like-this-can-change-our-lives/

    sue

  • http://www.facebook.com/debra.castaldy Debra Castaldy

    I was this mother too. My son went crazy after his 21st birthday. It was impossible to get help for him because he was an adult and couldn’t be forced into treatment and h

    e was too old for my insurance. I feel your pain and your fear.

  • WTL

    Lisa, as a parent, my heart goes out to you. I have no idea if this is
    an answer for you, but has your son had a high resolution brain MRI with
    particular attention paid to the area around the hypothalamus? It’s a
    long shot, but a qualified surgeon or neurologist should look for a hypothalamic hamartoma
    which is a lesion associated with unusual behavior among other things. It can also trigger laughing fits (gelastic seizures) premature puberty and epilepsy, depending on its
    size and location. Most importantly, it can trigger rage behavior. This is a rare condition, and may not be related to Michael’s rages, but it is worth investigating. Our family wishes you and Michael the best success in finding the root cause of this disease.

  • TWK

    http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/751533
    I think its important to look at the relationship between diet and mental illness.

    • http://www.timandolive.com/ Tim Chan

      When a person shares a story like this, I find it’s not helpful to give advice
      easily. Giving quick advice makes it sound like the solution is easy
      and undermines the suffering the person is going through, and all the things
      they have tried to do.

      • TWK

        I in no way intend to minimize the suffering that these children and parents are going through. It just seems that none of the comments have mentioned the diets of american children being high in sugar , corn syrup, processed foods, hormones, GMO corn and soy, and saturated fats and etc etc. The article I posted only shows that this is often a factor. Something parents actually may have some control over, this aspect of their childs life. .

        • DirtyOldTown

          Take your moxibustion and quackery elsewhere please. We’ll burn some sage as you leave to rid the air of foul humors if you like.

  • Lianne Schneider

    What a tragic and far too common story. I’ve witnessed the despair of a mother who could not get the proper help for her son either because she is disabled and has no medical benefits for her son at all. I think you are very right – we can’t talk about gun control until we speak of the larger issue.

  • http://www.facebook.com/susan.e.roth1 Susan E Roth

    My thoughts are with you and your son. I am sick of the way mental illness is like the elephant in the room. No one wants to talk about it- especially for long term treatment plans for people such as your son. I have my own thoughts about the ways we need to approach treatment of mental illness beginning with diet ( certain foods can cause severe reactions to some individuals) but certainly not ending there. We need more health personnel in the field, we need better treatment facilities, we need more school counselors, better insurance coverage, but most of all, we need compassion and love for these tortured individual and their families. Whether there are guns or not, it won’t stop people from getting sick. Peace and Prayers.

  • Really_seriously_now

    Thank you for posting this wonderful article. Though I am blessed with two wonderful “normal” kids I do have friends and family struggling with children who have similar behavior. One had a genetic test done recently on their 14 year old and they discovered a mutation which prevented him from absorbing vitamin B-12, which helps with stress and keeps you calm. He is now taking a certain form of methalated B-12 supplement and its making a world of difference. While this might not be the diagnosis for your son, the test may be of help in determining if there is a genetic mutation that can cause the violent outburst and can also be helped with a more natural approach than psyhotropic drugs that just try to mask the symptoms and not address the cause.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1450694686 Lynn Atkinson

    Friend me on facebook Lisa….I think I can help.

  • Magdalena

    Have it ever occured to you that it might have all been the other way round ? Here is, how I and my kids (we discussed what you wrote) see it (I am a mother of two teenagers; Europe). Your son missed the bus because you havent´given him the freedom to wear the pants he wanted to. Even when he said that he was allowed to wear them – what if he dicussed it at school (my son´s argument), and if not why not let him do this little thing wrong and have him to cope with the implications (my daughter´s point). You were acting like a stupid bitch escalating a small disobedience into an issue. So your son told you that. That might be a bit harsh, but frank and straightforward. As you did not like to admit that (and the truth hurts most), you decided to use the modern parent´s high-caliber weapon of banning computer/games, etc. to shut him up and mark your authority/dominance. Your son then made an effort of trying to strech out a hand for compromise asking if you could “soften” your punishment. Instead of using the opportunity to talk the whole thing through with him and agree on mutual steps to avoid such issues in future, you decided to reject him with a radical “no way” . Again you stressed what YOU would not stand. You do not mention asking him about what bothers him, how he would like to change, what is it that HE does not stand. Thus you corner him into a feeling of self-remorse, he feels bad about the conflict, bad about not being able to “soften” you and get into communication, bad about not having his games, he feels rejected and unloved, he feels remorse, he feels bad about himself. But he seems to be an open child – so he is verbal about it saying he does not fell happy living this -” I will kill myself.” This threat is the ultimate plead. You do not take it, do not console him, do not stop to talk, do not say – oh let´s forget about school today, go to the movies, have a treat somewhere and just talk about the stupid pants, and rules and life in general, just PEACE. I do not mean a treat for dsiobedience, I mean that you do not do anything unexpected. You follow your pattern. And I bet he knows the pattern really well by now. So he tries to break it with really, really strong words. But that does not shock you into any change of pattern, it just gets worse. You U-turn to have him locked-up. I would scream like hell and hit you all over and bite as wild as i could if that happened to me. You can have him diagnosed whatever. You can call him “Adam Lanza” or some other serial killer (I only hope he does not read this article, at least not until he is a grown-up strong man, so that he´d be able to understand you and forgive you). It is your own life you are messing with. Think about it. I am sure your son will grow into a great, strong-minded and sensitive man, if only you let him.
    I have a son, too – 14 yo, IQ over 130, Mensa member. Very free spirited. Would only learn what interests him, so there is heavy manouvering at school for him not to drop out. He is briliant at some subjects, but there are some he just doesn´t care about at all.
    He just would not conform when he doesn´t see the point (that is not what society approves of, but it is just rational – as your son´s pants, the color of pants really has nothing to do with who you are ;-). It is sometimes hard to live with, as he will always go his own way – but my luck is that I myself was the same. I understand your son first hand. I havent grown into a criminal offender of any sort.
    I have no mental disorder (but I had many wild rows with my rigid mother in my teens ;-) and I had no mental health issues whatsoever in my grown up life so far. I am still nonconformist and, as you see, outspoken. Things you describe here as some utmost deviant behaviour do not seem so to me – most are a part of my daily life with the teen-agers (apart from the knife, which is on the edge – but that does not mean he is going to kill anyone, it just means that he must be really distressed; he probably has a reason to think you constantly point out his failures (overdue books) and hates you (for pointing-out) and even more he hates himself (for the failures) for that ). I also know your reactions, I used to react this way sometimes too ;-) and it took time – and usually my kids to tell me – to understand it was not the very best way. Remember, it is simple – repeated dissaproval (especially from the closest people) triggers self-hatred, self-hatered is really difficult to digest and might result in self-mutilation/self-punishment/suicide or violence towards outside world. That is valid no matter if you succeed in finding a medical sticker to put on your son.

    My kids reaction to your story was “OMG, she is even WORSE than you!” (my daughter, 16, currently unhappy about my old-fashioned strict aproach towards staying out after dark ;.) and “Oh, shit. So they could bust me so easy in America. I thought there was more freedom ;-)” (my son, 14, known for dreaming of moving to California, because of its climate and skateboarding community)
    I think your son desperately seeks your approval, but somehow fails each time. Step out of the circle please.
    You are not a mother of Adam Lanza, you are just a mother in need of some help.

    • Jeff

      Your kids seem to be healthy, smart, and sane people. Have they ever taken out a knife and threatened to kill you and themselves? You have no idea what this lady has gone through, stop assuming you do just because you have your own children. She has two well adjusted children and one that is mentally insane, so I don’t think it’s a parenting fail.

      • Magdalena

        I haven´t said it is a parenting fail. I am no one to judge. I have only expressed how the story reads to me. And suggested stepping back and a bit of self-reflection.

    • Sas

      Wow, you sound insufferable. You and your kids are fine because you don’t have a mental illness.

      You might as well post “Me and my kids just walk everywhere, stairs are no problem for us ;-)” under an article about wheelcahir-bound children and their struggles. You have no idea what you are talking about.

      • Magdalena

        Oh, I just said I have no formally diagnosed mental disorder (god knows what i have ;-), inspite of the fact that I used to have really wild rows with my mother when I was a teenager. Which is one of the reasons why this boys´ behaviour as decribed (apart from the knife threat) seems not at all so “scandalous” to me. Maybe that is why I am so insufferable. I have a quick temper and tend to say out loud what I think, especially to people who do not want to hear adverse opinion.
        As to my kids – my son is fine to me, but he is not always “fine” to other people/school authorities – and that is another reason why I relate to the article. What she describes actually sounds a lot as if taken out of our life. The point was not to say how we manage (an sometimes not manage) but to show the story from a different angle. Sorry that you dismiss it (your right), but I see the angle. And last, but not least – how can you know what do I have idea of ?

        • Sas

          Again, you have no idea what you are talking about because neither you nor your children are mentally ill. Liza has 2 other healthy and stable children, so unlike you, she already knows your angle. It’s not that hard to understand, unless of course you’re an insufferable know-it-all like you.

          This is not a matter of “adverse opinion”. You are just talking out of your ass.

          And from one European to another: Don’t write that you are European like that somehow qualifies you to talk about things you know nothing about, you’re making the rest of us look bad.

      • Nor

        No, he’s saying his kids skip everywhere. Sometimes they dance, for the sheer joy of being awesome.

    • http://www.facebook.com/RoniMommy Veronika Noble

      Oh my god “guest” you if in fact you are a parent, you are allowing your children to be the adults in their life you are doing them a dis-service! you clearly have a lot of anger and resentment within you. That chip on your shoulder will forever keep you divided. You are a (person) in need of help!

    • Nor

      It is pretty tasteless to compare taking away a kid’s video games to a “parent’s high caliber weapon” right now. Didn’t read the rest after that.

  • http://twitter.com/ScrodClambio Todd

    I’m not sure if you can group Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris into this. Those were two young men pushed to the brink by bullying and taunting. Not saying what they did was right but I don’t think it was a mental illness that drove them to do what they did.

    • another mom

      Todd you need to read Columbine. The narrative that emerged was totally not factual. These boys were not loners, were not bullies. Almost all of the narrative that emerged following the shootings was incorrect. Read the book and you will see, one of the boys was most probably a sociopath, the other deeply depressed

  • lizzire

    I really appreciate your writing this Liza. I worked in mental health for many years and your description of the broken system is frighteningly accurate. You are in an impossible situation. I hope you have people in your community that will rally around you thanks to this post. You deserve it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/daemun.dong.1 SAmple Lord

    Nobody and medicine can help you except for yourself and your family members. Understand and listen to him. The behaviors that the family does, like restricting him from doing something even in a nice way and escaping into a car, and and getting him diagnosed as a mental problem child, can only worsen the situation and relationship. these children do not like to be controlled even minimally but they need love, attention and reasons. ask them, listen to them, let them explain and understand them like they have no difference from other children can only save them. do not talk back when they are throwing their temper and let them calm down first like you are their friends. be their really good and trustable friends. parents have to be more flexible and understand their behaviours are scientific emotional reflections. be strong!

    • http://www.facebook.com/daemun.dong.1 SAmple Lord

      because they are extremely clever, and they know it, they do not like to be controlled over or defeated by anyone else. because of their intelligence, they are extremely sensitive. getting help from any strangers to him will not help him. strangers do not know him better than a parent. when i was reading this story, i felt sorry for michael because i think his family should have understand him better. sending him to police and hospital is such a selfish act. he is just 13, a child. even an adult, he can be fragile sometimes. you have to find way to let him trust you again instead of reminding him how wrong he was. i truly feel his trust and love to you from his words. help him gradually away from the electronics. remember, gradually. technology is the real culprit. you gave birth to him and you should take good care of him.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=735360265 Liam Bean

      You DO NOT understand the problem…at all.

  • smileez22

    Thank you so much for writing this. I believe that this is a huge issue that our nation refuses to address. And how does arguing about whether a drug can give you diabetes or not, have anything to do with mental illness, come on guys!

  • Carolyn Schuster

    He may not belong in Jail but he does not belong in the school system either. Mental illness is heartbreaking and needs to be addressed even better than it now is. It is a diverse and multi-faceted catch-all term for a broad spectrum of behaviors. Some treatable and even preventable but many not.

  • Gina Pera

    Getting into punitive battles with someone who is unable to think clearly or make rational choices can only exacerbate the problem.

    • another mom

      agreed, I was this mom and parent training taught us not to give consequences during the meltdown. They are not able to processes it. First calm then come up with a plan with your child for those times that trigger the rages

      • Gina Pera

        Exactly.

        I know this is an extremely difficult situation, to say the least. But parents who are grappling with severely troubled children need to educate themselves, as you did.

        They CANNOT depend on a passing parade of school officials, therapists, “educational specialists” and whatnot. Because every “specialist” has a different opinion, most of them WRONG if they do not take biochemistry into account.

        Even then, great care must be taken in visiting psychiatrists or other prescribing physicians. Many don’t take sufficient care in their prescribing, instead dispensing doses that are too high or practicing “additive” psychiatry of adding more Rx to treat the unnecessary side effects of the current Rx.

        Parents absolutely must educate themselves and must learn how to stop throwing fuel on a fire.

        I am HORRIFIED by this mother threatening her son with taking him to a mental hospital. NO excuses for that. None. No.

        The fact is, these conditions are often neurogenetic, meaning the parent is the genetic donor and often suffers similar problems. Sometimes to a lesser degree, so they are not obvious. But, for example, with ADHD, I always advise that the parent with ADHD “put on his or her own oxygen mask first” so they can better help their child with or without ADHD.

  • gopersareignorant

    Well you did not have guns in your house or you would probably have been dead by now. While I sympathize with your problem possession of weapons only exacerbates the problem as it clearly did at Sandy Hook. That cannot be refuted. Gun owners are by default paranoid and delusional when the severity of that mental illness increases by a 10 fold factor all of them are capable of murder. So why don’t you take some action on gun control and removal of the right from the political system? That would be a huge step in helping you and mentally ill patients.

  • http://www.facebook.com/magicfuzzies Tricia LymeMom

    It must have been very hard to write this. Thank you. My child was heading down this very road. He had these “tantrums” and had to be tightly restrained so no one would get hurt…at 5 I was getting nervous of my own child. It turns out he had Lyme Disease with co-infections. It took a lot of searching to find a doctor who believed me that there was something wrong and was capable of treating him. It’s been a long and hellish road but he is now a normal 9 year old boy who just doesn’t have that level of explosive behaviour anymore. Don’t ever give up…there just might be an explanation out there that the doctors aren’t looking for. Two resources that may help: http://drjoneskids.com/ (THE US and International Pediatric Lyme specialist) http://www.lymefamilies.com/ (Sandy Berenbaum, LCSW, BCD, Lyme-Literate Psychotherapist) http://www.lymefamilies.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/How_Lyme_Affects_Learning.pdf (an amazing lecture transcript describing many psychiatric problems in Pediatric Lyme patients)

  • Lorraine Tinney

    God bless you and your son, and hopefully with the intelligence to recognize your son’s illness, you will get peace, your son will get help and the readers here will know that they are not alone with a child like yours. I do not have a child with a mental illness and i thank god everyday for that blessing. But i can empathize with you and i will hope everyday that all will work out for you and your family.

  • JLM

    This is a great article and I agree with you that it’s time for meaningful discussion and action with regard to mental health. I would like to point out that Adam Lanza’s mother had an assaut rifle in her house knowing that her son was mentally ill. That is irresponsible as a parent. Yes, maybe with our lax gun control laws he would get one anyway but if she, like you, knew her son was capable of harming another human being, she would not have a semi-automatic rifle in her home.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jeff.coulter1 Jeff Coulter

    You are a courageous and amazing woman. My prayers are with you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dave.laroche Dave LaRoche

    A horrific picture, well painted. This story belongs on front pages all over the country.

  • http://www.facebook.com/asleepindelaware Lisa Leubin Smith

    God bless you and your four beautiful children.
    My heart cries for you and your son.
    Your words have never been more truer then now, two weeks before Christmas 2012.
    Please remember that you are not alone in this battle and as the days and week pass more and more people will read this and hopefully understand that if we start with helping these children and anyone with a mental disorder we will make a change for the better not only in their lives but in the world.
    You are a brave woman and a great mom don’t ever forget this.
    Yours respectfully, Lisa Smith

  • Karen Gimnig

    Thank you for your courage in posting this. As a mother with similar, though less severe experiences, I can relate, I can empathize and I can only imagine how hard that was to write. Thank you. (As an aside, my experiences were less severe probably because my child is younger and we were fortunate to find a health care provider who did figure out the underlying pathology. Supporting non-traditional medicine has to be part of the conversation.)

  • http://www.facebook.com/teddyejohnson Teddy Jackie Browning Johnson

    I feel your pain. I had a son with the same issues and had a team of people meeting with my husband and I to try to problem solve and noone could come up with any answers. He was to young 7-9 and over and over they said we have no programs for a kid his age or people who have insurance the only thing we can do is wait until he was 13 and then have him arrested before there was any programs that could help us. In the mean time we were on our own. Thank God We kept looking and taking classes that were not offered and he finally turned it around or I too could be a mom of Adam Lanza.

    • Nor

      There are state funded and private residential schools that exist for this purpose. See other posts. Also, Kurn Hattin is near where I used to live. It’s great, has a farm and animals, and a solid reputation. https://kurnhattin.org/

  • kneelbeforetigers

    Please, everyone! Send this to your elected officials! We need to wake up Washington, and get Mental Health Care reform back on the table!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/andy.mansfield.35 Andy Mansfield

    He’s ill because of his mother. Depression is basically de-pressed emotions there is always an emotional root cause behind the behaviour. Does this sound like the sort of woman who will allow her son to express anger, sadness, joy? She certainly doesn’t to me. He’s obviously an intelligent child, perhaps he’s too intelligent and energetic for the life his mother is forcing him to live, rather than encourage h

    • http://www.facebook.com/andy.mansfield.35 Andy Mansfield

      him she just seems to want to subdue him, it s a really sad story, interesting that there is no mention of the childs dad

      • http://www.facebook.com/andy.mansfield.35 Andy Mansfield

        The adults on here seem to have no idea what it feels like to be a child living in an environment your unhappy with, rather than drug him, try asking him what he’s angry about, you may be surprised at the answer

        • Nor

          She lets him express anger and frustration. She doesn’t let him call her a bitch or threaten her or his siblings with knives. Sounds reasonable to me.
          Your problems aren’t everyone’s problems.

  • madworld

    Why did you publish your son’s photograph and your full name?

  • G Bickert

    sending so much love to you and Michael and your family and many prayers for patience and strength in your situation. I have grown up around mental illness and have my challenges as well. It is an often ignored and untreated disease in our society. I applaud you for this splendid eye opening article and the courage it may have taken to speak out. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for starting a conversation about this this and getting people to start thinking.

  • pip

    I can only say that Nutritional Balancing and diet helped my child immensely. I understand your pain and I was lucky to find a program that understood about nutritional deficiencies and heavy metals and how they effect the brain… The phych meds will make him worse, You can be guaranteed that all the men who did these shootings were on phych meds of some description. Getting all the sugar, junk food, artificial additives, out of our childrens diet. Many are allergic to the foods they crave.. Nutrition was the way forward for me and I am seeing a lot of my friends being helped by just changing diet. But removing heavy metals is also sooo important. Check out the work of Carl Pffiefer and Joan Mathew Larson.

  • madworld

    Please read Ms. Long’s other post, dated January 2012, with the quote ::

    Confession:
    My teen is driving me nuts. Oh sure, the rest of you see this poised, self-confident, polite young man who always holds doors open and helps little old ladies cross the street and can magically make your iPad work. Sure, he’s a straight A Boy Scout who can play anything in the key
    of Coldplay on the piano and writes English essays that make his teacher weep for joy.

    http://anarchistsoccermom.blogspot.com/2012/01/room-of-doom.html

  • devotchka

    Please read about the GAPS diet and consider whether you should try it for your child. It was created specifically to address the issues you’ve described.

  • Guest

    There but for the grace of God go I. I have been there. A day does not go by that I don’t wake up saying we have made it through another day; and that’s what it is, one day at a time. The stabilize and ship attitude of our current system, the high cost of the best meds for treatment, the lack of insurance coverage and even with insurance coverage, mental health care providers who do not accept insurance because insurance carriers do not respect or value their services, all add to the problem. It’s very easy to blame lack of gun control (I am a supporter of the Brady bill), but there is a deeper issue that we continue to ignore. Sane people do not shoot up school districts. It’s easy to blame the guns, the parents, etc, but until you have walked the walk, that ends up with total dispair as to what the hell else you can do, I’m not sure anyone will understand. Thank you so much for sharing my story, because I am Adam’s mom too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ART2heARTist john one six

    Liza, a very difficult situation and I feel for you. Thank you for having the courage to share. I have worked with violent troubled, and autistic kids. There is no mention of a husband in your life or of a father in your children’s. If yours is a broken, home that could be reason number one for the emotional triggers setting your son off. Forgiveness, emotional and spiritual healing is so important. There is a spiritual component and Harry Potter can’t offer your son the help he needs. It is good for you to ask God for help. May you hear and get the help you need for yourself, your son and your family. And I agree, prison is no place for your son or others troubled mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

    • niki123

      I’m absolutely positive your prayers would be appreciated. I’m sure you’re not implying that she has not been prayerful or that her home has not been loving. My mentally ill son was raised in a loving two parent prayerful Christian home. I’m positive you mean well with your comments, but although I don’t personally now the author I can say it can be hurtful to have others imply you haven’t done all that you can do. I know that wasn’t your intent. God bless you and God bless this family.

  • Larry Tamkin

    .

  • http://www.facebook.com/achenbachp Paula Achenbach

    Thank you for writing this. This could have been my brother’s story 40 years ago. Although we have made some progress in destigmatizing mental health I still feel like there are huge gaps. When these young people reach 18 parents are told they can’t be involved because of confidentially. Yet many serious mental health issues have onset in young adulthood. In my state of Minnesota there are around 40 child psychiatrists, it is a crisis. Most residential facilities have been shut and one that have managed to stay open have waiting lists. When they go to hospitals if they have a bed they often are released in 24 hours. Parents are scarred, alone blamed and burnt out. Fortunately there are county mental health case managers however many middle class families don’t know this available. But to be honest what they provide is support and limited resources. It is a sad crisis situation. I believe that when we shut the state hospital system although that was not great we have developed a band aide solution using meds but little in terms of services.

  • http://www.facebook.com/donna.jackel.7 Donna Jackel

    My heart goes out to Ms. Long and the terrible problems she faces. However, she makes no mention of gun control in her blog. Every country has seriously mentally ill citizens, but the U.S. has by far the most killing sprees per capita of any other nation. That is why gun control is where we must first turn our attention.

    Secondly, the notion that “she is Adam Lanza’s Mother” is presumptuous. It makes a salacious headline–that’s why it was picked up by all the media. But it only serves to further stigmatize the severely mentally ill. Both Lanza, the Columbine shooters and the Colorado shooter made it into high school or beyond before their breakdowns, so they are not Michael. Every person with a mental illness has a different story. Her son is not Adam. We don’t know if Adam was receiving psychiatric care, how long he had been ill, or what led up to the massacre.

    Does this country need to have a national conversation on mental health care, insurance, de-institutionalization? Yes. Do I feel compassion for Ms. Lanza–hell yes. But we need to see each person with a severe mental illness as an individual. Most are extremely gentle and would never hurt anyone–except maybe themselves.

    Why did his mother keep guns in the house–for her protection? We don’t know. What we do know is that automatic weapons are in many homes. Why? Why? Why? We don’t know Mr. Lanza’s psychiatric background, but what we do know is that if he didn’t have access to automatic weapons, he wouldn’t have been able to kill 26 people–most of them 1st graders–in a matter of minutes.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nathan.veshecco.5 Nathan Veshecco

    I responded to this article here, not an anti sort of essay, just good for everyone’s thought: http://www.nathanveshecco.com/post/38078458309/everybody-is

    Love you all.

  • Ethel Marmont

    This is a good article and you are a brave parent. I would also suggest that putting a special needs child into a school with dress requirements is probably not the best environment. You have a bright child who will probably never just go along to get along. He will see things for what they are. At quiet moments with your child — get to know him and what is going on in his thinking. You can’t force a child into being what you want them to be. Sometimes children need medication or even a change in activity to let the brain cool down a little

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1058108925 Gregory Higgs

    Such a terrible tragedy! Guncontrol is very necessary! The hell with the NRA, children and innocent lives are being lost for no good reason!

  • http://www.facebook.com/nathan.veshecco.5 Nathan Veshecco

    I’m genuinely afraid for Michael’s mother. I want her to be safe more than I want to be right. And I agree that there’s a serious stigma about mental health in America and the entire world. But I’m troubled to see so many people over the past few days claiming that the key to ceasing our awful shooting trend in America is in better understanding and treating the mentally ill.

    Here’s the thing – I think the stigma of misunderstanding/ignoring mental health in America is SO pervasive and powerful that it’s actually reflected in saying “we don’t need gun control, we need to better treat the mentally ill.” The stigma tags right along with that stance, implying that there’s a misguided and ill .005% of the human population that needs to be better taken care of, and then the frequency of awful mass violence will decline. What we’re ignoring in talking that way is the fact that everyone is having trouble navigating life in 2012. Everyone is heart sick. Everyone is having trouble trusting others. Everyone is afraid to be vulnerable. Everyone is well-trained – through the media, and movies, and the lessening of face-to-face communication and acknowledgement of real life and death consequences – in the art of conflict.

    We’re coming to a time in human history when everyone is a little mentally ill. We’re so unwilling to address our secrets and our hypocrisies.

    In times like these, every gun owner dutifully defends the practical and protective uses of a gun. But not every gun owner will admit the rush of adrenaline and hypnotic sense of power and control that comes with owning a gun, because such an admission would “out” the absurdity of claiming that owning one gun, let alone many, is anything close to sane and safe.

    In times like these, every “normal person” is quick to send out their love to those who have struggled with suicide, depression and misguided rage. But so few of these “normal people” are willing to admit that they, too, have those dark nights of the soul – that they may even come close to the brink of being as dangerous to themselves and others as that .005% of poor souls, but they’re simply better at suppressing those feelings and thoughts.

    In times like these, everyone following a tragedy is willing to blame the news and violent pop culture for giving violent people attention and stoking the fire of obsession over every detail of a crime story. But so few are willing to actually turn off that news or that violent film or song. I’m sorry, but you can’t come home from seeing The Hobbit or Django Unchained and post on Facebook that guns shouldn’t exist. You just can’t.

    We are a heart-sick, love-deprived, emotionally malnourished nation in a world that is much the same. We do need better gun control, we do need to make improvements in mental health treatment and we do need a more responsible media and pop culture. But we also need to take ownership for the ways that each and every one of us fuel a violent world, an alienated world, a non-communicative world, an unloving world. We need to admit our own poor mental, heart and soul health. Let’s get that far, and then make changes from there.

  • http://profiles.google.com/commissionermnathan Melanie Nathan

    This article took a lot of courage; not to mention the desperation. I hope the President reads it as it goes viral. Our system lacks the solicitude needed. The Republican mindset of denigrating services and taking funds away must be overshadowed by a national outcry. We need special research and decent facilities to house and help kids in this situation. Indeed a full on protocol should be established for these disorders that involves, medication, housing, research. Families should not be stigmatized. They should be hailed for their courage. Kids with these issues should not be in mainstream schools where they are teased for being different – only exacerbates the condition and the potential for harm. HELP them now Congress!!!

  • Joan

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I’m sure you’ve helped many people. I wish you and your son the best.

  • http://matthewrosestudio.net/ MATTHEW ROSE

    What is so powerful here is the combination of mental illness, a culture of death and automatic weapons at easy arms length. Change or become the victim of inaction. Thank you for the article and being part of a army of peacemakers with intelligence.

  • Ethel Marmont

    Once a child is calm…talk with the child. Get to know who they are and what they think. Maybe the day you were trying to get your child to go to school with the “right” pants on you needed to both go home and take a breather … and talk. I think that while kids are growing up and parents are so busy … the parent just wants the child to conform so that the parent can go on with business as usual. Parents are sometimes embarrassed by the child’s behavior. But really we need to take a look at our own society and our expectations of children. Let’s slow down a little and think about what’s important. Let’s not foist a lot of phony expectations on kids. We need to get to know them as people and we need to admit when a child needs more time with a parent …and perhaps a different learning environment. We need to take a hard look at our society and see whether our values are impacting our kids negatively. We need to put the person first and the expectations second. However, I agree with the writer that we need comprehensive mental health care and that should be a part of comprehensive medical care. That’s the very first priority – getting access to good medical care for all children and adults.

  • rita m

    Sugar and all the chemicals in the food SERIOUSLY alter brain chemistry… add antidepressants and other drugs into that, and brain chemistry is so messed up. PLEASE seek holistic help for your wonderful children. They deserve to be healed from within. Prescription drugs and chemical laden foods are part of the problem. Many families have “cured” their children thru holistic food programs — when the cause is removed, the body will heal itself. This includes the brain. Wishing love & healing to all children and adults who suffer.

  • Myasara

    I realize this is an article about a mother’s struggle with a mentally ill child, but it doesn’t detract from the fact that guns are the problem. Mentally ill people *without* access to guns rarely kill people on the magnitude of the US’s recent shootings. If at all.

  • disqus_nP4tyTCgbG

    I’m so sorry for all of your pain and that of your family.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ellen.bowen1 Ellen Bowen

    There was a day when our Children’s home of Grosse Pointe saved many inner city children without parents. Then our politicians closed all our mental facilities and you guessed it…..those children came into our Children’s Home. Today, the Children’s home is closed, where those children went, I have no idea. But in the early 1990′s I had a student from that home who graduated from high school, went to Eastern Michigan, and is now a public school music teacher. That can never happen again. Yes Governor Engler, you were the beginning of all of this masaqures by closing those mental institutions. The damage to our system and our humanity is unfounded. WAKE UP.

  • sharonox

    i am sorry for the situation you are in. As a teacher and tutor of children I genuinely believe the increase in psychosis in young children can be directly linked to the use of electronic toys/video games. How many hours a day does he spend on them?

  • Stevie851

    My heart goes out to you. You’re a great mom – just playing the hand you were dealt to the best of your ability. And, while we’re at it – let’s all give a hearty shout out to Ronald Reagan – who single handedly dismantled the mental health system in this country in less than 3 years. Thanks Gipper!

  • Hemyola

    “The correlation between psychiatric drugs and acts of violence and homicide is well documented – both by international drug regulatory warnings and studies, as well as by hundreds of cases where high profile acts of violence/mass murder were committed by individuals under the influence of psychiatric drugs.

    In determining what would prompt a person to commit such brutal and senseless crimes, the press must ask the right questions, including: What, if any, prescribed psychotropic drugs the perpetrator may have been on (or in withdrawal from).

    Nearly every mass school shooting has involved a minor under the influence of psychiatric drugs, as well as many other highly cited cases, an example of which we have listed below.”

    - Citizens Commission on Human Rights International

    The reason the authorities don’t speaks of it any more is that there is profit in selling these drugs.

    This link bellow has more specific information and links to the lists that were officially published and showed that the shooters were on these prescription drugs (including Columbine and others.) Recently they stopped publishing this truth, I assume in order to protect the drugs industry. We must protect the children – not money.
    http://www.cchrint.org/2012/07/20/the-aurora-colorado-tragedy-another-senseless-shooting-another-psychotropic-drug/

    Read the list of prescription drugs and their violent side effects:
    http://healthimpactnews.com/2012/increase-in-school-shootings-linked-to-antidepressant-prescription-drugs/

    Alarmingly, 25% of our children receive mind altering drugs from health professionals. They become young adult and have no frame of reference to distinguish violent hallucinations (drug side effect) from reality. They act on it. If we want to stop the killings, we have to tell the truth and be willing for corporations to lose profit. We must do all we can to have the right priorities: Our children’s lives. We must bail the children, not the corporations.

    Our society is drugged (adults too) and we will see more of these brutalities as more drugged youth graduate (or while they are in school.) History is full of situations like this one, usually ending up with many years and many deaths before truth is acted on. I dread the thought of another twenty years of these tragedies before we stop the actual cause.

    Parents are counting on your courage and commitment to truth and to our children.

  • Pingback: I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother | Up to the hour news

  • niki123

    Your story is my story. My son Alex was first hospitalized at age 8 because he thought he could fly. He’s been diagnosed with everything and is currently Asperger’s and bipolar with psychotic disorder. Our story was published in the Phoenix New Times in 2009. (http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/2009-10-08/news/saving-alex-a-mother-finally-got-desperately-needed-help-for-her-troubled-son-by-calling-the-cops-on-him/)

    I was troubled by some of the comments uninformed people made about our family. I was accused of being a terrible mother. One person suggested my son be “put to sleep”.

    For those well-meaning folks who suggest that we need to avoid medications, try diets, homeopathy, parenting classes… we tried them all. I was entirely anti-drug. Until the all of the diets (we followed them religously), supplements, parenting books left us still without any relief. I am a registered nurse and a kind and loving mother. My son has a problem with his brain wiring and chemistry. It’s as organic as asthma or leukemia. But kids with cancer get services. Kids with mental illness do not. (I am a cancer nurse).

    To update our story, Alex turns 18 in March. In the structured environment of Texas Hill Country School (Maxwell TX) Alex has had the structured environment and medical management he’s needed. We’ve seen him every month and he has come home twice a year. We talk daily. He’s graduating high school early.

    Without intervention Alex’s future would have been dismal. We now believe Alex will be a productive member of society although he will always need supports. Supports for the mentally ill are less expensive than prison. And our kids don’t deserve prison anymore than kids with cancer do.

  • Guest

    I’m another Idahoan who was a kid like Michael with a great mom like you.

    I was bipolar as a kid. Although I never did much actual damage, I
    threatened my parents with knives, hit my sister, had major outbursts,
    threw things, and hurt myself. I’m much, much better now, thanks to
    therapy and medication, both of which my parents provided to me.

    I’m still struggling with the aftermath (only recently have I been
    able to feel anger without turning it to shame and self-hatred), but I’m
    as normal and functional a person as anyone else. I was lucky to have
    the mental health support I needed– not everyone does.

    My fear in this discussion is that people will focus too much on how
    dangerous the mentally ill are, rather than how we can better provide psychological and psychiatric services. At ten, I was close to institutionalization. Today, I’m a
    summa cum laude college graduate.

    It’s possible to be “normal”– all I ever dreamed of being.

  • IB

    In some ways you may be like Adam Lanza’s mom, but you are different from her in one important way: You are not taking your mentally ill child to a gun range to teach him how to shoots guns. I applaud you for being consistent with your son in a threatening, heartbreaking situation. Thank you for taking his illness seriously. And yes, you are right, mentally ill people need real help now, something that this country needs to work on immediately.

  • Luke

    What the hell is this? Throw him in the looney bin then. Who gives a fuck?

    • niki123

      There is no “loony bin”. There are no services. Please remember that the woman you are commenting about is reading these comments. Her pain is real. The mental illness is as real and tragic as any other life-threatening disease. I’m responding to you with respect. I hope you’ll consider what you would say to this woman if you were standing in front of her and her son.

  • Anonymous

    I lived with a brother just like michael. My parent were told very time he assaulted me that the only answer was to charge him with assault and send him to juvenile hall. They c hose to keep him in our home and I spent four years living in terror.

    There are no good choices for parents of these children, and I pray for all the siblings and parents who have to live like this.

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  • Cristina

    This article starts out concerning mental illness. Some how the comments conversation turned completely about the pros and cons of a certain psychotic drug taken and it’s side effects including numerous arguments related to whether or not it caused diabetes in patients who used it.
    Conversation completely off the mark and an insult to the very troubled mother who wrote it.

  • Polonius

    From your description of what is going on with your son, it sounds as though he may have Temporal Lobe Epilepsy. Antipsychotic medications such as Zyprexa could exacerbate his problems by lowering the seizure threshold. TLE is unfortunately difficult to diagnose because the seizures occur on the inside of the brain and often don’t show up with external EEG leads. Untreated, the illness can degenerate into something that looks like schizophrenia.

    It sounds like your son doesn’t remember these episodes. Look for a lesion in the temporal lobe on MRI and consider 24 hr sleep-deprived EEG with nasopharyngeal leads (though it sounds like he wouldn’t comply with this,) or just try treatment with Depakote, Tegretol or another seizure med (also prescribed for Bipolar Disorder) and see a neurologist and avoid anything that could induce seizures such s stimulants like caffeine, antidepressants, ADD meds, and sleep-deprivation. Best of luck. As a psychiatrist in rural Oregon, I know how difficult it is for patients to obtain good psychiatric care (even when they are in the system.

    The problem with the shootings relates in part to problems with access to competent and appropriate care. Even when patients do obtain prescribers, they are often under-trained. I think computer systems for diagnosis should be made available. Much better than having patients like your son go to under-skilled prescribers who have knee-jerk reactions like diagnosing with ADHD or Oppositional-Defiant and giving meds that accelerate the progression of the illness. These diagnoses don’t explane the dissociation that your son experiences and his lack of clear recall of these episodes. ‘Best of luck.

  • Yuki

    My heart goes out to every single person in the world who’s ever had to suffer through this emotional torment.

    Children suffering from these mental disabilities, as well as their families, are in a lot of pain. They feel isolated in their struggle. Because no one wants to talk about the problem openly, it gets swept under the rug, leaving unhappy people alone in their torment.

    Awareness of these conditions has been on the rise lately, and there are many projects that are independently funded by good-hearted people that are specifically aimed towards helping children of all ages overcome the challenges of fitting into their family and their society despite mental illness or disability.

    See Beneath Productions ( http://aikoandegor.com/ ) produces educational content that helps children with autism develop social skills early on so that they can easily integrate into social situations later in life. It started with a small group of volunteers working together to make something for these kids, and has since grown into a hugely influential and positive part of the UCSD Autism Center.

    There is another production in the works called Little Billy ( heslittlebilly.com ) that features a child with a neurological condition. Headed by Chance Raspberry, a talented animator who has worked on the Simpsons for years, and who also suffers from Tourette Syndrome, this animated series is intended to raise awareness of the challenges that a special needs child faces in their day-to-day life.

    These and many other projects are all moving forward thanks to many peoples’ positive desire to help strengthen the special needs community and provide some much-needed support. Let’s keep these small glimmers of hope in motion! Exposure breeds familiarity, and if enough people can see these positive things happening, their reactions will shift, and we can work towards helping people who need to be helped, and working towards a beautiful future where acceptance is widespread!

  • Pingback: Mental illness and guns: Powerful Op-Ed. | K.C.'s Stories

  • Polonius

    P.S. Whatever anyone says, if it were me, I would SLOWLY taper and d/c any med that lowers the seizure threshold such as stimulants or antidepressants and consider using a benzodiazepine when you see an episode coming on, but avoid benzos on a regular basis and keep blood sugars stable and avoid caffein (must be slowly tapered too if used regualrly – only, however as advised by your doctor.

  • wendy

    I had a similar situation with my daughter! Who is now an adult. The threats, the hate, the violence and the love!! I had her arrested!!! People were so mad at me. I only would say to them “I AM trying to save her life” and it did!!! She is a mom now, free of medication! Iwon’t say she is issue free, but rather has the tools to understand her self! Bi-polar disorder and scizo affective disorder is no joke! Health care in America is a joke!!! No matter how hard parents try help is NOT available except in this manner. I promise they will not hate you in the end as much as you will resent yourself for not doing everything….including jail!! They will always love you!!! They will love you more……with help!!

  • wendy

    Everyone should be a part of NAMI…..national awareness mental illness!! They are a wonderful support for families who live this everyday!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/dkkauwe Daniel Kauwe

    I’m sorry, I don’t mean to rain on the parade, but I have not actually seen any actual statements of clinical diagnosis for Lanza regarding a mental disorder(s), and thus I wonder if the discussion about mental illness is premature and/or misinformed.

    I _have_ seen lots of opinions by acquaintances which amount to essentially idle speculation that he was “autistic” or “prone to emotional outbursts.”

    Even if these opinions were true, to my knowledge autism is not associate with complex, pre-meditated forms of violence (autistic people can have violent outbursts but I’ve never seen reports of an autistic person pre-meditating and then executing a complicated act of violence as was done by Lanza), also “prone to emotional outbursts” isn’t necessarily a clinical disorder (although the American Psychiatric Association did recently place “Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder” into the upcoming DSM-V, which is the canonical standard and guide for making clinical assessments…so that could change quite soon).

    However, the point remains, that thus far, I have seen no ,mention of an actual diagnosis for Lanza so I continue to question why we are suddenly talking about mental illness when it is not clear that Lanza actually suffered from a true mental illness.

    Furthermore, it is entirely possible that Lanza was a sociopath (his supposedly high intelligence, coupled with his aberrant mental/emotional behavior certainly suggests such), _however_ even if Lanza was a sociopath, that does not mean that he was insane (psychopaths are “insane”, sociopaths have a fundamental disregard for the welfare or sanctity of other living beings).

    In addition, if Lanza was a sociopath, there is no actual treatment for sociopathy, certainly not in terms of medication (which is usually the front line defense against dangerous psychological disorders), and certainly not in terms of the typical forms of non-medication therapy (as far as I understand, neither classical psychotherapy nor cognitive behavioral therapy can actually lead a sociopath to care about the welfare/sanctity of others, although apparently a 2008 meta analysis found indication that some treatments can have positive effect however at the same time the authors found that antisocial personality disorder is highly resistant to treatment).

    Therefore, while it might seem very cynical or what have you, I don’t really see what could have been done even if he had be previously diagnosed as a sociopath.

    Having a background (undergrad and grad) in psychology, as well as a long personal history of severe mental disorder, I know for a fact that there is only one certain way to ensure that a mentally or emotionally disturbed person is neither a threat to self or others- institutionalization.

    Everything else is just icing on the cake. Medications can manage and suppress unwanted homicidal ideation, for example, to a certain point, however medication is no guarantee and medication cannot give a person the compassion or empathy they might lack (e.g. in regards to sociopathy). Therapy can modify cognition and behaviors, but therapy cannot actually stop, again, for example, homicidal ideation. Only the literal restriction that results with institutionalization can guarantee that a person will not physically manifest a dangerous mental disorder in their behavior.

    However, institutionalization, specifically indefinite institutionalization is both highly undesirable and furthermore, totally impractical. A person with a truly untreatable and highly dangerous mental disorder would require indefinite institutionalization in order to truly ensure their safety as well as that of others, because there is no way to ensure that such a person will not carry out grievous harm as a result of their disorder.

    The fact of the matter is that if you’ve ever gone through a prolonged, especially if an involuntary, stay within a mental health facility, you’ll know that mental health facilities are essentially prisons. You would not want to be in one indefinitely nor would you want anyone else to necessarily be there indefinitely either (certainly not as a blanket preventive measure). They’re just prisons dedicated to containing, diagnosing, and initiating preliminary treatment for individuals whose mental or emotional problems are such that either their safety, or the safety of others, or both, is in grave jeopardy until the individual is properly diagnosed and given a treatment plan. Mental health facilities these days are not designed to hold people indefinitely, they are designed to intake patients, diagnose them, aggressively treat with medications if possible, stabilize the patient, and then discharge. Long term placement in a mental health facility, nowadays, would be awful because they’re all pretty much just a “nicer” or more innocuous version of a criminal detention facility. Most mental health facilities are highly secure, locked facilities in which the patients have zero or highly restricted privileges, and presence in the facility is often not voluntary. People are pumped in and out at a pretty rapid pace, and anything more than a few weeks is pretty unusual.

    In addition to being highly undesirable, indefinite institutionalization would be highly impractical because we would need to institutionalize hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people who suffer from homicidal urges or tendencies. If you look at the Wikipedia article for “Homicidal Ideation” you will find that that a staggering amount of 10-17% of patient presentations to psychiatric facilities are accounted by homicidal ideation. Furthermore, psychosis accounts for the vast majority of homicidal ideation, and psychosis can result from many clinical disorders including personality disorder, schizophrenia, drug use, Even further yet, antisocial personality disorder (the actual clinical designation for “sociopathy”), is reportedly present in 3% of the male population, so given roughly 151 million male Americans, that’s essentially a staggering 4 million plus – men alone- that are probabilistically inflicted with antisocial personality disorder.

    That’s not even counting the individuals with homicidal ideation who are suffering from schizophrenia or one of the various schizoid disorders or those suffering from drug induced psychosis. I have schizo affective disorder, among other things, and I have had involuntary, disturbing urges to harm other people. I haven’t ever acted on these and I know techniques for disengaging from the urges, and I’m also on an anti-psychotic. However, technically speaking, I could at one day just lose inhibition and end up seriously hurting one or more individuals or myself or some combination therein. Other than indefinite institutionalization, there is nothing that I can do that will ensure that this doesn’t happen. It’s probably unlikely, but it is a reality and it is something that concerns me.

    In closing, as I stated before, I have yet to see a compelling reason as to why we should actually consider Lanza as being mentally ill, and thus, I strongly question and even criticize the seemingly premature and/or misinformed clamor regarding mental health care. Furthermore, even if Lanza was actually diagnosed with a genuine mental disorder, I still practically question whether anything could have really be done to prevent his actions, particularly if he happened to suffer from an essentially untreatable disorder like antisocial personality disorder (sociopathy).

  • Nor

    Better in jail at 13 with proper treatment afterwards than in jail at 18 (or younger) with an adult sentence and no treatment ever after that. I’ve got a paranoid schizophrenic relative who is in jail for life and will never get adequate medication or treatment because of it. I’d do what the social worker said to do to get what you need where you are. On something where he’d only be in for a few days. I hope you are in a high tax blue state in a non-rural region, with free healthcare for all kids if parental income is under a certain level. If not you may wish to move to one. State healthcare where I am is far better than private and there’s a large pediatric in-patient psych unit with a strong reputation too. Since you’ve been freelancing you can probably get your income down to the level needed, and freelancing means you can be home to deal with what you’ve got to deal with. I don’t think your kid is like Adam Lanza. Adam flew under the radar, was unremarkable in many ways, likely only depressive/anxious, and probably never would have gotten treatment even if it were available (given their income level I’m sure it would have been, had his mom not been so checked out she was going to a rifle range with her suicidal son). I think most kids like yours end up in jail. Please do all you can to get all help possible before he turns 18 and is completely out of your control, even if it means temporary incarceration. You’ve only got five years left, maybe less, this country is not forgiving to juvenile offenders, even and maybe especially those with a mental health history.

  • http://www.facebook.com/RoniMommy Veronika Noble

    Oh my…been there….done some of that..tears rolling down my face heart full of ache..agreed we gotta talk mental health! Thanks for begininng!

  • TLUF

    My heart goes out to Liza, to all the families who are dealing with the violence, and, to the children who have this affliction. I wonder if anyone has heard of the book by Robyn O’Brien, “The Unhealthy Truth – How Our Food is Making Us Sick and What We Can Do About It?” It shocking to read about how eating genetically modified foods, food additives, growth hormones, meat laden with antibiotics, etc., adversely affects not only our physical bodies, but also our minds! I’m not saying that this is the cause of violent behavior but, according to the author, autism rates and other issues have skyrocketed since the introduction of these poisons marketed as food!

    I would like to add that I suffered from “violence turned inward” – from major depressive disorder since I was a teenager (I’m in my late 50s now) and was later diagnosed bipolar. As a teenager, I turned to drugs and alcohol to escape the pain of my existence, which only made matter worse (I became an addict and an alcoholic). In my 20s, 30s and 40s, I was prone to suicide attempts, usually by overdoses, but also considered more drastic measures. I would cut on myself. Later, I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD) — but found out it is treatable through DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy). Because of my mental illness and addictions, I lost my marriage, custody of my children, and my home. I was destined to be institutionalized – but was led to an organization in Boulder, Colorado, that helped me get my life back — Windhorse Community Services. They provided a safe container for me to heal. I attended 1-1/2 years of Dialectical Behavorial Therapy (DBT) for the borderline personality disorder, attended a day treatment program through the mental health center to give me structure and to help me with my work skills, was put on the right medications, met with a therapist twice a week, and finally got sober from drugs and alcohol. I went from someone who had no hope to having a life worth living.

    I was also diagnosed 5 years ago with gluten intolerance and found out that it could cause a wide range of autoimmune disorders (arthritis, diabetes, lupus, etc) and, also cause depression, mood disorders and possibly autism. I ate bread and other gluten-filled products for over 50 years. What if all it took was to give up wheat, rye, barley and oats? I wish it were that simple.

    The moral of this story is – people with mental health issues need proper treatment. If someone has heart troubles, they get treatment, but our mental health system is woefully inadequate. I do not believe jails are the place for the children with violent tendencies. It is clear that these kids just can’t help themselves – and it’s kind of like how alcoholics can’t stop drinking. It’s a disease of the mind.

    Just please, never give up hope.

    I am sending my prayers to all of you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/NormalNot1 Norma Brown-Wright

    Please, tell me how to reach you? My daughter is 18, and I think this may be what she is dealing with. I am so terrified for her. She has been staying at different friends homes, (not family homes, no parents) because she doesn’t get along really well w