We have been in contact, and I am truly impressed with her professionalism and her concern for children. We have written the following statement that we would like to share:
“We would like to release a public statement on the need for a respectful national conversation on mental health. Whatever our prior disagreements, we both believe that the stigma attached to mental illness needs to end. We need to provide affordable, quality mental health care for families. We need to provide support for families who have a relative who is struggling.
“We both agree that privacy for family members, especially children, is important. Neither of us anticipated the viral response to our posts. We love our children and hope you will respect their privacy.
“Our nation has suffered enough in the aftermath of Newtown. We are not interested in being part of a ‘mommy war’. We are interested in opening a serious conversation on what can be done for families in need. Let’s work together and make our country better.”
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Do you have a personal email I can send you a message to? I just want to share something with you regarding your previous story and to hear what I did for someone to listen when no one would. I couldn't figure out how to send a message through here, so I'm putting it on your comments.
Go to the website www.truehope.com. It is a brain supplement product website and it works on everything from mild depression, me, to sever bipolar, ADHD, etc.
I'm glad you two were able to talk. The entire thing seemed like it got blown out of proportion due to all the reader comments on both sides.
I've had to deal with a great deal of mental illnesses in my family and know a little bit about the struggle first hand. I often use the internet to vent and to relate so I don't feel alone, which is therapeutic. But it's tricky when people assume they know you and all your circumstances based on a few blog posts and then make judgments.
Regardless of the exact circumstances and details, I know what you're going through is not easy and I wish you well.
Honestly, I think Sarah was spot on about you. You're an attention seeker and a profiteer. Hope your media tour works helps you spend more time with your troubled son (unlikely). Hope your book deal fulfills you more as an aspiring writer than this blog did.
Has it been established that Adam Lanza had mental health problems?
So far all I've seen is that his brother said that he had "problems" which could mean anything.
December 17, 2012 -- One week ago today, I attended a taping of Dr. Phil as an audience member. He covered a situation with the parents of a 15 year-old boy that mirrors your situation almost exactly. I don't know when this episode will air, but the title of the episode is "Teenage Rage". Some enlightening information. Hopefully this issue is getting some much needed national media attention.
Hello, I have a longer comment, so I will post part 1 and part 2 .. and maybe 3
I am really deeply touched by this article and by the argument on mental illness in general, believing and seeing that in the present world there is no country that is not heavily affected by it... Why? (By the way, I would very much like to know if this is the real mother of Michael's writing, or this is the story that gives voice to Adam Lanza' s dead mother and all other mothers who had sons like Adam? Thanks ) I will try to give you a helping hand on the question, share a point of view that I hope may be useful in throwing more light on what is going on with such heavy and tragic situations that we may all even personally encounter... First of all, I think that the family is inseparable unity, so I guess that both mother and child are affected with some disorder. Actually, it may happen that the mother's and father's "hidden" suffering and disorders reflect on their children, just because they are such a close unity, the body and soul... Linked to this thought is something I wonder about in this mother's article : the father is never mentioned... Also Adam didn't have a father any more... First he did then he didn't have him ... That can be the cause of a major disorder, both for the mum, for the child and other brothers and sisters, etc... These are unresolved things and situations, that cut deeply in the emotional part of the person and existential one as well, where the loss of a loved one (even if he/she is not dead) may induce a person to become potentially insecure, desperate or violent (unawares of what hes/she can do actually...)...
Another point, I believe equally important is something you gave me a clue to write out and it is in your very last sentence : "God help me. God help Michael. God help us all." Yes, it seems from what is happening to Michael and to Adam Lanza and all other kids like them that God is very slow to answer the prayers, like he almost doesn't care. But He does. His answer is very clear and very medicational... First of all, He said that it's useless that we pray if we do not listen and obey him. We give out our prayers, but do not listen and do not do what is good for us. What is good for us and how things stand is written on all the pages of the Bible, but especially in the Gospel, that very News that we celebrate during each and every Christmas. So, it is the most appropriate time to read and hear what he says during Christmas time! He said and revealed very clearly in the Gospel that there is SIN and that sin is the cause of all the human illnesses and even opens the door to demoniac possessions, which are terribly destructive. There is no way we can continue in the sin, whether awares or unawares and that we will not be affected by some kind of suffering. The longer this situation lasts, the worse it gets: we cannot find the cure for the illnesses, because we do not go to the very root, to the cause. It is as simple as that, know what is sin (it's written, it is pictured and shown so well what it is and how we can get rid of it!)and get rid of it. If you really want to help yourself and your dear ones. Let the sincere love, based on what is most powerful : and that is the love and wisdom of God win. If you decide to listen to someone who knows more than you, you stand a good chance and can help many. I'm telling you that from my own experience and from the great wish to see people liberated from this horrible pain. Be sincere with yourself and God will help you. Also teach your children the prayer "Our Father" and don't break your families.
Just one more last thing : the suffering of the single person immediately expands to the nearest surrounding, close family, then neighborhood, the school, and eventually the whole society. So you are right, this is The Question to resolve, because then we know we can look to the brighter future without illnesses, otherwise into a very gloomy future of mental disorders all around. I am sure that each and every one of us has a power to change this situation, no matter who we are.
Love, hope & strength,
How sad that the comments incited by your post seemed to prove your point. Very few take the time to truly try to understand what mental illness can do to a person... until it affects them personally. I have avoided much, if not all, of the media coverage about the shooting because it makes my mind feel fragile. But some of my first thoughts were for the family of the shooter. How they must have struggled with other things and probably for a long time before an incident like this. I have a daughter with special needs who has all kinds of services because she has so many visible disabilities... Cerebral Palsy, Deafblindness, she is Nonverbal... all pretty obvious. When someone doesn't LOOK like something is wrong, they get ignored. So not okay. I don't know what kind of movement we will need, but you can count on lots of Moms raising kids with all kinds of disabilities rising up to help. So many of our brain damaged and delayed kids also have behaviors that you described seeing in your son. There would be strong voices surrounding you if you are the one to champion this cause. There are so many dealing with this behind closed doors because they're terrified of what would happen if people truly knew. So many more that could write "I need help" and truly need it. Thank you for your brave post! I read it because one of my disability Mom friends shared it. We are there for you. Much love to you and Michael and his courageous siblings.
Interesting and I am glad you two have been able to talk. I have read a bit into both of your blogs and must admit, I fall into more of the Liza side as a mother. However, I am the one dealing with mental illness. Thank God, only depression, for which I am treated. My children are both successful college students, but grew up with me sounding JUST LIKE LIZA!!! I'm with you. I sincerely hope and pray your viral blog will bring help to those dealing with issues such as yours. God bless!
“We both agree that privacy for family members, especially children, is important.(...) We love our children and hope you will respect their privacy."
Please, if you really mean it, delete the picture of your son.
This is amazingly classy of you. Kudos.
Brilliant and courageous posts (I read several). Hats off to all you have endured, and for speaking up. As a parent of a special needs kid, I share your concern. Thank you for bringing this conversation to the fore.
I am very saddened by your original post about your son. As a father, I cannot imagine going through something like this, but I would hope that someone out there would hear my story and want to help. I will do whatever I can, as little as it could be, to talk about this to as many as I can. Please hang in there.
My son is a mirror image of your son, his behavior is identical to your sons behavior. Like you, I have been through all the diagnosis of ADHD,ODD,and Intermittent explosive disorder. I have also been though the behavior plans that just don't work. I'd like to share my son with you in the hopes we can join forces and change the system when it concerns mental illness! Please email me@ Elizabeth.Ford.email@example.com
Zach's parents went on Oprah about their son, and I bet thousands of mothers thank her. Do not feel bad about going public with your situation. If we keep everything in the closet, then how will we ever help anyone else? I'm sure you've probably already seen her website, but it's here. http://www.savingzach.org/ It's a very similar story to your own, but one with a happy ending-in-progress.
Don't feel bad for going public. Zach's parents went on Oprah with their son's story and helped thousands of people in the process. http://www.savingzach.org/ If we keep this in the closet, then the stigma of mental illness keeps people from getting help.
I know you have far more advice from strangers than you could possibly attend to, but Neal Lozano's work on spiritual deliverance could, it seems, be very helpful. That probably sounds archaic and witch-doctor-esque, but in my experience, it works.
My prayers are with you and your son.
Not to oversimplify, but has anyone considered treating this with drugs that block testosterone? It seems to me that might help some of these young men with impulse control.
I just want to say thank you. And to reach out to you with a cyber (((hug))). My heart breaks for you and for "Michael".
Hi Liza. I applaud you for your courage and willingness to bring your family's story to light, and I empathize. I work at Children's Home Society of Idaho, a non-profit organization with an on-site counseling center in Boise. We treat children and their families despite ability to pay. Let me know if we might be of help... or if you just want to talk.
Thank-you. I'm a child and adolescent psychiatrist and I was horrified to see a child's medical history put on the internet with an accompanying photo. It doesn't matter if 2 or 2 million people see it, it's belongs to the child.
I welcome any action toward better mental health, but we must all remember that medical history can only be given with consent. And yes, children can give consent in a medical context.
I will continue to pray for your family and all families touched by mental health issues. Protecting your children of course must be your first priority. Cyber ((hugs)) here for you.
Hi, you and I have a LOT in common. My son has PANDAS/PANS, which is an autoimmune disorder that causes OCD and various irrational/oppositional behaviors. Maybe your son would benefit from antibiotics too. Augmentin XR is commonly used. My son is amazingly recovered.
Just wanted to mention that were it not for the stigma of mental illness, there would be no issue with going public. Instead of stopping the stigma, people still want us to lock our mentally ill family member in a closet or basement? To protect them? Really?
This will split into multiple parts.
I don't agree with Sarah's approach.
And I am typically thankful for anyone willing to start a productive conversation on mental health. It's important. It should not be hidden.
But, as someone diagnosed with a variety of mental health disabilities (since childhood, with my most difficult period being between ages 12 and 14), your stripping of your son's privacy bothered me deeply. You have a right to express yourself, but you do not have the right to take from someone what is not yours to give.
If you truly think your son's privacy is important, remove his picture. I'm not sure you can do anything about the fact you used your full name, linking him to you -- that damage has been done. But I think an acknowledgment that it wasn't OK would be a start. Asking -- and trusting -- the internet to respect it for you is naive and dangerous.
I hope mental illness one day does not have a stigma. Truly, I do. But right now, it does. It is a stigma that impacts employment prospects, educational opportunity and social and romantic fulfillment. It is a stigma that 'others' those suffering. It is a stigma that causes people to view someone as somehow un-human. While unfair, your son should not be forced to be a martyr of that or a poster child for change.
He's 13. At 13, I was terribly insecure and self-conscious. Most 13 year olds are. When you added my mental illness -- the moods that wouldn't quell, the anxiety that would not rest, the rage that wasn't containable, the classrooms that weren't attainable, the medication that just seemed to never work and the hospital wards that were unavoidable -- to that, I was a ball of shame, self-hatred and isolation. I wanted to be normal. I wanted to be seen as normal.
I can't even imagine what seeing myself compared to a mass murderer would have done to me. I can't imagine that it would have been positive. I imagine that it would have punctured the fragile self-esteem and small sense of self-worth I was holding onto. I imagine the hatred of myself would have grown. I imagine the belief that I was inherently bad, undeserving and a burden for the storms that thundered in my mind would have grown stronger. I would have sunk. I would have thought, If my own mother thinks that of me, I must be truly awful. I imagine that I would have expressed all of that in a rain of rage, depression and instability.
I know that wasn't your intent -- to do wrong by your son. I know you wrote out of desperation and, I imagine, that it was a desperation born of love. I imagine that you were scared; so scared that your child, your son, may fall through the cracks and you would lose him. To his own hand. To the hands of police. To the hands of others. To the prison system. I can only imagine the terror and pain those thoughts brought you.
So, know that I'm not trying to attack, judge or demonize when I say that, at the end of the day, it doesn't matter how good your intentions were. Because you aren't the one who has to live with the fall out. Your son does.
And he needs you. He needs you to believe in him. He needs you to see the good in him. He needs you to protect him when he can't protect himself. He needs you to look out for his present and for his future. He needs you to protect him from a world that, quite frankly, doesn't understand him. He needs you to fight for him.
If nothing else, apologize to him. Explain why you did what you did, but do not excuse it. Tell him you know he's a good kid. Promise to not underestimate the viral nature of the internet again. You owe us, the strangers, nothing; but you do owe him something.
Know, as well, that it does get better. There is hope. The storms of puberty mix violently with the beasts of mental illness; when one calms, the other will begin to, as well. Know that treatment, even when less than ideal and fragmented, can and does work. People do get better. People do recover. Do not lose hope, as it will sometimes be all that sustains you.
And tell your son that I love his tastes. Dr. Who, Greek Mythology? Pretty awesome kid.
I definitely don't agree with all the people harassing you with comments and telling you how to parent, especially when they make no mention of having been through similar experiences themselves. I do however appreciate and support your decision to take the high road, be the bigger person, and avoid the "mommy wars". Bravo! Yes, let's keep this about awareness for mental illness services and hopefully ignorant commenters can turn it around and think of something helpful for a change. Best of luck to you and your family,
Well, I have known a highly dysfunctional family where the father is a nasty attorney and the mom is also off-kilter. She once confessed to me that she chose her husband because by comparison nobody would think she was odd.
That woman is an extreme yoga-girl. She is so controlling, so over the top that she literally screams. In her mind, any and all problems with her children have one cure - they got out of her control.
So she home schooled them. Her father, who is a serious head case himself, did do them the favor of ending home schooling for all but one kid.
I looked at your blog dear. Given the love for Che Guevara, a man who liked to kill people and thought women should be servants, I have to wonder a bit. But when i find out you are a survivalist prepping for the end of the world?
Sorry Liza. I think you are a nutjob. I think you are an extreme control freak and mentally ill yourself.
I can't judge your son dear. But I can judge you. And I strongly suspect the best thing for your son would be for him to be taken away from you and raised by sane and sensible people.
Maybe that kid is as crazy as you say. Maybe he's a genius psychopath. It's possible. But I have serious problems taking what you have to say about him at face value given the rest of it. And using the legal system to discipline an 8 year old kid? Sorry Liza, you lost me on that one.
Your family needs mental health intervention Liza. You need it as much as he does honey.
I think you're a tad too forgiving of Ms. Sarah, who did a real hatchet job on you.
Clearly you put some time into your blog posts to give them some punch. Possibly some situations are enhanced a bit, or some inconvenient/irrelevant details omitted. This is variously known as artistic license or effective writing.
Keep it up. And good luck with Michael. Bear in mind that he's going to read all this stuff, if he hasn't already.
I read your first post and was very moved by your eye opening account of the challenges you face raising a child with mental illness. I also went on to read the rest of your blog and did not come to anywhere near the same conclusion as Sarah. I just read her post (hadn't seen it before) and was shocked to read her interpretation of your entries. I just wanted to say that I never once judged your parenting as I read your entries, but appreciated the frank and honest (and obviously hyperbolizing, at times) voice with which you described the challenges in your life as a parent and as a person. Parenting, relationships, life--none of it is black and white, and I for one, found your honestly eye-opening, thought provoking, and an enriching contribution to national discourse.
Thank you for your bravery, and best of luck in everything.
I just wanted to say I admire your honesty - I think the piece on Sarah's blog did you a huge dis-service. I'm fed up of reading blogs where everything is perfect, where children hand crochet their own organic bedlinen while eating nothing but steamed veggies. I have two boys with ADHD. I feel the way you feel a lot of the time. Writing it all down is sometimes a good way to vent. I know you're a great mother and I appreciate your honesty. Thank you
I would take a brief moment to say "Thank You!" Thank you for sharing your story and shedding light on mental health issues. This is a very real issue and people really need to take notice. I have several family members who suffer from Bipolar, and a nephew whom my mother (his grandmother)is raising. I see her constant struggles with him and the reality is she needs help. She receives only state funded health care for him and his care and benefits are seriously lacking. She has begged and pleaded for help and no one will help her. They basically throw their hands in the air and say they don't know how she does it. The answer isn't just simply locking up these kids and throwing away the key.. I can't beleive some of the comments I have been reading. People can speculate and make accusations. I saw some people say that you are a bad mother and should be ashamed. What?! No you are a hero and hero in your childs life and only those who live this or know someone like this can truly understand. Something really needs to change in our broken system. Thank you again for shedding light on that.
Holy shit! You're on CNN!
Liza, thanks for sharing your family's story. I had a nervous breakdown in college; then lived in Viet-Nam 68-70 until my Air America pilot husband was killed flying in Viet-Nam 18 Feb 70. I returned to Dallas, a widow with PTSD; did bio-feedback and began writing. I retired from 43 years teaching, & now volunteer at the VA teaching creative writing and computers in their Vet Recovery Center. We need serious health care reform. Good luck with your journey.
"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."
I found the above comment dripping with racism. So when a white suburban kid kills, we have a mental health issue. Because whites don't kill. How ridiculous.
This piece went viral because of the timing and the emotional approach. It has a shoddy hypothesis: we know so little about Adam Lanza that grouping him with other suburban killers and saying one is his mother is ridiculous. So you keep unlocked guns within reach of an unstable man? Right.
I am so impressed with the honest and thoughtful way the recent article was written 'I am Adam Lanza's Mother'. As a mother of a child on the spectrum, your thoughts and expressions were a beautitul voice all should consider in the wake of this tragedy. My first reaction to this horrific event was that this young man was not okay and the 'why' behind these actions needs to be understood. My heart aches for the challenging situations we all find ourselves in with unique kiddos to understand and teach. Thank you for your bravery, for representing an honest opening to a candid conversation with media about what non-typical children (and fmailies) struggle with.
Find out why Dr. Ron Paul is crusading to STOP mandatory mental screening and forced drugging of our children. This video highlights the link between psychiatric drugs and acts of senseless violence, including nearly all recent mass-shootings and school shootings.
I had a student with the exact same behaviors when I was a teacher in Florida. The only solution that was given was to drug the kid to the point that he could barely stand on his feet or stay awake during the day. He didn't belong in a classroom where he could harm other kids unmedicated and he didn't need to become bullied because he was so drugged that he could barely function. He had lost everyone in his family so he was orphaned when his mother died and again when his grandmother died so everyone thought his behaviors resulted from this loss.
I thought the problems ran deeper than that as he had a case history of problem behaviors going back to first grade. There was nowhere for him to go except to live in a Privatized Juvenile Detention Center until he was 18. Eventually he killed someone when he was released and was locked up for good. Someone innocent had to suffer because we have nowhere to put people with dangerous behaviors until they harm someone irreparably.
I live in the dark shadows of the decaying and shuttered State of Connecticut Fairfield Hills Mental Institution in Newtown, CT, just 12 miles south and the Sandy Hook School about 8 miles south as the crow flies. Institutions like Fairfield Hills were closed in support of the "Human Rights Movement" a thinly veiled movement disguised as such for the purposes of "Union Busting" and opened a door to the "Privatization" of Social Services, allowing Social Service Entrepreneurs to build huge fortunes while employing lower paid non-unionized employees. Legislators will argue that these institutions provide the services more efficiently, but this is not true. It is true that the employees are paid considerably less and have no union protection from the dangers and extreme responsibilities of their jobs. The service providers bill the states considerably more for the hourly services than the employees are paid, and are allowed to amass huge fortunes in the form of foundations, draw huge salaries way out of proportion to what State Administrators would be paid and accumulate interests in large parcels of real estate previously owned by the State, all under the disguise of Charity and Non-Profit Corporations.
I worked for Goodwill Industries of Western Connecticut in Social Services. Goodwill Industries is a "Social Services Franchise." If one has enough money, one can obtain one of these franchises and live very high on the hog, after all, they take in millions of dollars in donations in each franchise yearly and they all have huge foundations, GWWC having the wealthiest franchise in the entire chain. I was paid about 15 bucks an hour when I worked there as a higher up with Master's level education and was billing the State of CT between 80 and 250 dollars per hour for my services as allowed by the state. You see, the laws are rigged so that these institutions can suck the states dry, provide a lower level of services and you, the taxpayer, are footing the bill!
Now perhaps you understand why there are so few places for these people to go. If you have a kid with a problem you are stuck, yet you pay higher than normal taxes to support a system that will not support you!
I didn't think the privacy issue was that big of a deal because you didn't use his real name. But I can see how some stuff that was published wouldn't be very difficult to verify if someone wished to really cause harm or humiliation. Everything else, and I mean EVERYTHING that Sarah accused you of is absolute bullocks! She clearly has NO sense of humor. Sad.
Thank you for furthering the dialogue on a difficult and deeply personal issue. I am a better writer for having read your points of view, and I trust my readers will also grow from opening their minds and their hearts in response to your openness and vulnerability.
I also wrote a blog about being Adam Lanz's mother in hopes to spread awareness about mental illness.
Why don't you Baker Act your son? It will not be permanent but will give doctors time to try to understand what his issues are in a safer environment.
Hello. I am feeling your pain. I would love to communicate with you privately, if you don't mind sharing an email.
I like what you have to say. I lost my son at age 20. From suicide! He was always struggling with mental health issue. We did cousling from a very young age he was a wonderul boy. That was a friend to everyone. He was popular and was always for the under dog. But no one really knew his struggles. Please if I can be a part of this movement. I have been saying this all along. The stigma is far to great in this society to be labeled mentally ill. Beside the cost of getting real affective mental heath help. I have been wanting to make this an issue for years!!!! Thanks for sharing your story!! Kerrie
Hi, in your story, I am Adam Larza's mom, Adam mirrors my son, Cory who has disabled both of my arms. I take injections regularly. I've discovered that to keep him from escallating, Cory has autism, I take away his electronics without comfronting him, since autistic individuals see things differently and our work does torture them. We have to learn to see inside their heads by reading articles written by autistic individuals. I don't reply to a number of Cory's comments because it will cause him to escalate. The key is to help him to calm down. My son's been arrested, he's pulled knives on me, and threatened to kill me a number of times. If you live in a small to moderate size city, seek your medical care at the closest large city available.
As a mother who has dealt with a child just like yours, I was irritated that Sarah's attitude seems to be instead of being open and honest about the difficulties we face, we should shove it in the back of the closet, never to be heard of again. What kind of help does that give those of us struggling on a daily basis? Are we not allowed an outlet for our frustrations and concerns, for fear of being vilified ourselves?
And, speaking of vilified ...
How ironic, that in her concern for your son's privacy and 'safety', Sarah further endangered him by vilifying his mother, giving even more people an outlet to call you out and to name and shame him. I won't even mention the irony of her piggybacking off the media attention your article gained for you.
Because of that, I'm a little disappointed that you collaborated on any kind of joint statement. But, I guess that makes you a bigger person than me. I'd have wanted to (figuratively!) throttle her.
When I was growing up there was no autism, asbergers syndrome, ADHD. People that exhibited that type of behaviour were called trouble makers, and were treated as such.
We live in such a blameless society where EVERY bad action is associated with some diagnosed syndrome. The fact of the matter is, some people, are mean, have no heart and that is the way they are.
Stand up parents and if you kid is a little $h!t head then say he is. Dont blame the "disease", blame them and blame yourself. And trying a little discipline. A belt and switch go along way.
using belts on autistic individuals doesn't work. they don't see the world like we see the world. A diagnosis gives us a roadmap on how to deal with the individual
Hello dear, please contact me if you feel, so we can talk.
I'm on a spiritual path, Kabbalah. I've seeing so many miracles happen, I've experienced many of them in my own life.
We have many tools we use that can give you a better understanding of what is your specific situation and how to make it better.
If you prefer you can gather information on your own, http://www.kabbalah.com
You can speak with a teacher directly or if you prefer, I can put you in contact with someone that will help.
All the light and love for you and your family <3
You are 100% right in your analysis of the need for better mental health care in the USA. I do not fault you at all. I do wonder what the effect of less restrictive atmosphere would be on Michael. My children attended a school that said, if they want to come to school in their pajamas let them. Peer pressure will teach them not to do it again more effectively than a parent's voice.
This would work on most children, perhaps not on Michael.
Thank you so much for sharing your story!
It is my goal to collect stories from parents and bring these anonymous stories to professional workers and government. I do this under the name 'Epeka' and it stands for 'Every Parent has Experience and Expertise'.
With my European knowledge and experience as a mother and a professional, I can help in the search for a better childcare in the US.
I want to contact you about my work and to put a link to my blog. www.Epeka.wordpress.com
Please don't hesitate to contact me.
Citizens Commission on Human Rights International:
School Shooters Under the Influence of Psychiatric Drugs
At least 14 school shooters were under the influence of psychiatric drugs documented to cause mania, psychosis, hostility, aggression and homicidal ideation.
Don't put your son on any SSRI drugs, research the history of suicidal and homocidal beahvior stemming from these drugs, then research the connection with these drugs and the mass shooters, lanza,holmes, the columbine shooters, Now ask yourself why every one in the media is pointing the finger at guns and video games, why doesn't any mainstream media provide extensive coverage of this?why aren't these prescription drugs being scrutinized just as heavily?Now go from there.
Can't seem to find out how to contact you, but it seems like your child represents my brother very well. He would fly into fits of rage, and no one would believe us that something was going on. He went in and out of psychiatric hospitals starting at age 8. You child may be having partial complex seizures. He may not even remember the incidents, or may know whats going on but can't control himself.
This one simple question should be asked about your son: Has he ever hit his head? You may not know about whether he did or not..it might have even been at school, or horsing around with his siblings.
Please note, that anti psychotics may help for a little bit, but after a certain period of time (usually about a year), that they will actually make it worse. Doctors will not listen when it comes to Brain Injury, they often will stick with a diangostic (especially schizophrenia) as the sysmptoms can often be very similar or the same. Please note that an MRI of the brain will NOT show up the damage, especially if it is minimal or invisible. An EKG may help when a seizure is being induced.
Do you have flourescent light bulbs? If so, GET RID OF THEM. These have been shown to cause seizures. My brother was put on Depakote (an anti-seizure medicine)and it has been working miracles! I'd LOVE to get a chance to talk to you, you can email me at c o n f e s s 3 2 1 @ y a h o o . c o m -- just remove all of these spaces and that is my email address. Together we can find a cure for your son!
True Source of Random Shootings and Violence is Often Psychotropic Drugs
Quite often the true source of random mass shootings and violence, such as the Sandy Hook Elementary school massacre, is psychiatric medication which could well include Adam Lanza who was likely on meds and labeled as having a personality disorder
Im sorry, not EKG but EEG.
This brings down my blood pressure a tad; I'm glad you could communicate with each other, and us. I would like to link to this post at my blog.
I'd just like to write that I admire you. By writing about your situation you are doing exactly what is needed - starting a discussion about mental illness and trying to remove the stigma that surrounds it. I mean, if it's an illness "just like any other," we should be able to talk about it in the same way that we talk about heart disease or cancer. If you wrote about your son having cancer, no one would react like this. The fact that so many people react this horrible way to mental illness shows that we're not even ready to start a serious, rational discussion! Honestly, this scares the shit out of me.
I think you're wonderful, strong and inspirational. Hang in there!
Dear Anarchist Soccer Mom, I write you in name of one of Holland's largest websites. We would like to ask for your permission to translate your piece about Lanza's mother, to make it accessible to a Dutch public. You can respond through this comment feed; we'll make the translation and forward you a link if you like. Thanks a lot in advance!
I believe in what you are doing I would like to be apart of the change to help other parents understand what this is and what it is like. To have kids like ours in our lives. to abolish the stigma of mental illness as well as other mental issuses. My mom has mental illness, myself too to a degree, one of my sons, my dad.
Anyone that is willing to help Liza and myself with the mental health illness issues or just someone to talk to please email me @ Elizabeth.Ford.firstname.lastname@example.org because I am also Adam Lanza's mother!
My name is also Liza, and I, too, have a huge commitment to mental health. I am a licensed marriage and family therapist, and 15 years ago, when mental health services began systematically being removed from state and federal budgets, I knew we were in for a horrific outcome. Now I see us reaping what we have sowed, and I ache for the pain that has been caused due to our country's unwillingness to prioritize some of the most fragile people in our communities. The stigma associated with mental illness has been perpetuated due, in part, to a total unwillingness for us to take on this incredibly important issue and educate our citizens! There is nowhere for mentally ill people to receive care, and as long as we continue to ignore this glaring need, we will continue to have more tragedy on our hands.
There IS something you can do about it, though. You can sign the petition started on signon, to demand "mental health services for america now!" That is the name of the petition, and I am determined to get at least 200,000 signatures and to deliver the petition to Washington myself. You can get to the petition by going to the signon site, "signon" and then add a dot symbol and then the abbreviation for the word organization. Thank you for not sitting still another second. Please share this everywhere you can, and ask others to sign on and share it on facebook and twitter too.
If you want to start this conversation rolling in a bigger way...Lars Larson the radio talk show host would like to have you on...He just said so on his show...and from another Mom who has been there....my thoughts and prayers are with you.
For what it's worth, I read Ms. Kendzior's post about you and it seems to me that she was way off base. The examples that she sited illustrated a certain lack of imagination on her part, as she seemed to take everything you wrote as completely literal. In fact, I quite enjoyed reading the examples she provided and thought that the only thing they revealed was your talent as a writer!
I am not a parent, but I have known enough parents well enough to know that if your kids DON'T make you want to throttle them from time to time, then that's probably more indicative of a problem. In no way did I construe what you wrote as at all delusional or illustrative of your homicidal tendencies. To the contrary, they were interesting flourishes that were entertaining and colorful.
I am impressed, however, how even after such an accusatory piece you were both able to come together and resolve your differences to the point where you could write this response. Although, it would be nice if Ms. Kendzior would retract some of the things she said now that you've had a chance to discuss these things.
I am sorry for the troubles that you've had with your son, but I think that the piece you wrote will resonate with readers and play an important part of the dialogue that needs to happen in our country. I know that you didn't expect your piece to take off in the way that it did, and that, indeed it may have an impact on your families privacy, but I can only hope that in the end it will help to bring forth change in our mental health system so that families like yours can get the help they need.
I was really disturbed by the vitriol leveled at you in Sarah's blog. Sadly, this attack on you has removed a lot of her credibility. When I read her highlighted text that she'd grifted from your blog, I wasn't shocked or alarmed. And I'm a parent. We all have that inside - insanity is denying that it exists. Your essay really touched me and educated me on what it's like to have a high-needs child. I wish you best and PLEASE keep on writing!
I absolutely agree with what you have to say Liza. People are being so cruel and blowing it out of proportion. My son suffers from ODD and severe ADHD, and all this is so interesting for me cause I am glad to know that I am not the only one going through this. We need to find ways to help children control their anger and we need to find a way that we can keep their mind and bodies busy in activities that are positive for them. All these programs cost tons yearly though. We need to find a way and a solution!
I wrote a post of my own after resonating with your call to open a dialog about mental healthcare. One of my main concerns how to discuss the challenges we face without disclosing privacy information about our children.
Seeing the firestorm you are enduring has made me have second thoughts about posting a response post.
I'll save it, however, and share with with my kids when they are older.
Thank you for opening the discussion. I hope it lasts past the next news story.
Peace be with you and your family this holiday season.
As the daughter and a sister of two brilliant men with mental illness (now both deceased of cancer), a soccer mom and a researcher in health and environmental factors (primarily water chemistry), I thank you for your post. I have 3 boys of my own, and knowing my family history, I used my extensive education to (micro)manage the "Genetics loads the gun, environment pulls the trigger" relationship with very good results, although my youngest cannot tolerate Wi-Fi at all and gets a little agitated during space weather storms caused by solar flares. As you and I know, the government is completely incapable of formulating an effective response to problems like you're experiencing, and so individual caregivers and communities are left to their own devices. I have been researching the possible connection between these types of seemingly random acts of violence with exposure to psychoactive substances via the water supply and residence history (conception to present day). I would appreciate it if you could contact me at email@example.com (my name is Heather) to discuss the development of software and smart-phone apps that help families sort out their own medical mysteries. As encouragement, I often read Judges 4 and I recommend it to all women. As I scientist, I feel like Deborah but every mother I know is Jael and I think Barak just might help us now.
thank you so much for your words. As a mother of a "would be/ could be shooter", no one knows what it is like to live daily with this kind of mental illness. & as they get older it gets worse. I am ready to go to Washington & would gladly be a voice of the struggle. We must change how school & health professionals look & evaluate our kids.
Hello, I'm a blogger as well. Emmabush.com could you email me at emma bush at y mail dot com? I would love to connect with you...please email.
i read your article and i would like to cry, that was me, for 36 years no one could figure out what was wrong until i finally found the right doctor who literally SAVED MY LIFE. I recognize and identify your son's behavior as my own. Can you email me so I can discuss this with privately, it would mean the world to me. thank you so much for writing this.
Is there any way I could write you a personal email? I have an idea about a project I would like to start to open up the conversation on mental health, and I was hoping you would be willing to share your story and possibly get involved. Or else you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for being willing to share, it takes a lot.
I read your recent post on http://gawker.com/5968818/i-am-adam-lanzas-mother
I am in a similar situation. I would like to correspond with you.
Mender Lou, Anarchist Soccer Mom,
I am a soon to be step mom of a similar girl. The system has been appalling: 1.5 years for diagnosis (which we are not convinced it is correct), at least 2 months to get into psychiatrist, having to get ombudsman involved for school admin issues, the list goes on.
Is there anyway to connect somewhere safe online to share experiences, record them, and work collaboratively to get our voices heard (and maybe some positive movement) for children's mental health?
All my best to all of you,
Dearest Liza, as a former domestic violence advocate and now mental health therapist, I've seen and heard many scary and bizarre cases. As an advocate, I had a client in shelter with her three children, the oldest being a 14 yr old boy who was severely mentally ill. Five years ago, when I worked with this family, the mother faced similar hurdles in trying to obtain treatment for her son. These hurdles seemed unfathomable to me at the time. One being that she would have to charge him with a crime so he could be placed in a juvenile facility that could THEN help. Reading your post, I honestly thought it was my client. From the child threatening to jump out of the moving car, tormenting his siblings, disrespecting his mother, then flipping into the model child are all your experiences that mirrored her life. Unfortunately, at the time, I did not have my current knowledge or experience regarding mental health diagnoses and therapy to assist her, so she had to turn her mentally ill son over to the state and was required to be listed as a mother who abandoned and neglected her child, though I can attest to observing the complete opposite. Sadly, many states have significantly cut funding to mental health care and facilities. A year ago when this issue was debated by lobbyists in my field, politicians refused to see the foretelling of the impact that such cuts would have on treating the mentally ill. It is a mute point of whether Adam Lanza's parents could afford top notch health care for him, because many parents can't or their options are significantly limited. You're absolutely right that this is not a gun issue, but an issue about mental illness. Rarely do guns kill people without it first being shot by another person. Let's deal with the issues plaguing the shooters not the gun makers.
God Bless you and your family. I have gone through much of the similar...I want to just scream when people judge. They have no idea what it's like to raise a mentally ill child. Lot's of love to you and your son.
I support you. It is so much more difficult to parent a child with mental health. You have judged yourself much more than any others every could. We who know personally...are with you.
Thanks for a very important contribution -clearly there are many who share your frustration and concerns about adequate treatment plans that actually work. Good solid diagnosis is very difficult to find- and it's sometime very frustrating to find drug therapy that will work without traditional talk therapy as well. For the record I have a son who exhibited similar behaviors...he is much older now and lives in a group home.
NAMI has support groups for parents..and have offices most states..see link below
Best of luck to you. You might mention NAMI as a resource on your blog.
I support you and I believe everything you say. Adam Lanza was a victim also, yet everyone is so angry with him. You are a brave woman.
I give you my complete support, understanding, gratitude (and sympathy for what the idiotic media limelight will no doubt put you through). LOVE
Thank you for bringing this issue into the open. I, too, know the agony of having a child with mental health issues who doesn't respond to medication, behavioral therapy, or the normal route of punishments and rewards. I won't give you any advice because I know the agony of that too. Best wishes to you and all the mothers (and dads) out there who fight this daily battle. May we soon find the answers to what is causing our kids to have these severe, debilitating problems.
Thank you for sharing your story I saw on CNN, my child doesn't have as many issues but he is only 10 it's reassuring to know there are other parents out there dealing with a troubled child and have the courage to bring this issue to light. I wish you and your family the best as I deal with my own troubled child I will be thinking of your words.
God bless you & your son & family. Having a child with Autism or other neuro-developmental disorder that affects behavior is heart-breaking. As a single mom to an autistic 12 year old, I sympathize with your fears, I am stronger than him now, but what about when I am not? 1 in every 110 kids is autistic, 4 to 1 is ratio of boys to girls. We are a band of awesome moms trying to protect our kids & our world and we need help. Please
Liza: You are so brave to have shared your story with the nation. My youngest son has Aspergers Disorder, along with anxiety and depression. He was Baker Acted at the ages of 6, 10 and 12 for trying to harm himself. He is now 22 years old and he graduated high school at 18 with Honors. Life hasn't been perfect and when he got angry when he was younger, it scared me. Fortunately, we have overcome that. Keep your chin up, know that there is always hope and may you and your family be blessed.
We have a neighbor who is 31 who has had a whole alphabet soup of diagnoses, from LD to Schizophrenia to Autism. He has been off his meds for months, convinced his mom is plotting against him. Everyone eventually becomes part of the plot. He skulks around the neighborhood at night wearing his black home made ninja clothes. A few months ago he left. His mom had remarried one of her former husbands, who had spent years in jail after his conviction as a sex offender of his 3 year old daughter and her 6 year old daughter. I think he may have molested her son, too. So, the son leaves home, and is sleeping in the park. We hook him up with a social worker, he doesnt like that place; we find another, he leaves because he's getting flash backs. Now he looks like a medieval fasting saint. The last time he showed up at our doorstep it was getting on to winter, so we gave him a blanket and some food, and called the police. A nice officer came and hung out listening to his rantings until the Terros van came to take him back to his housing. The kid disappeared, convinced that even more people had joined the plot. He needs to be involuntarily committed and forced to take meds and get some counseling. His mom, who lives with the child molester husband and her mom, says if he tried to get back in the door her husband would shoot him. There you have it. Gun control. Lack of services for Mentally ill. Ignorance. My sympathies. I worry about this guy and I'm not his mom.
I think the question of privacy is important, but I think to vilify a mom who is essentially at her wit's end and asking for help is unacceptable. Her decision to share this info could help hundreds. I am awakened now to the idea that it could make things worse for her son, but she did not intend that and was seeking help that many of us in this position also seek. Would it be better for her to sit in silence and wait for something tragic to happen to her son or others, or is it better that she is asking for help? I haven't read her other posts, but I see her as a mother who wants to help her child the best she can and doesn't know where to go. If you have someone in your life with mental illness, you know that things can't be so black and white. Those who do not have daily exposure to mental illness, can judge, but we are the same ones who sit back and say "someone should have done something." And this mother didn't handle things perfectly, but she is asking for help. She is being the person who "did something" and she is asking for help from the people who want to "do something." She would have used more discretion if she knew millions would read her blog, but the exchange of information that could come from her blog may save her son's life and the life of others. We need to talk about this. Did she handle it perfectly? No. But do any of us? Most of us don't know b/c we aren't yet faced with it. This dialogue is incredibly important. Let's keep up the discussion. I commend Sarah and Liza for a joint statement.
I often wonder how much time has been spent behind/in front of electronic stimuli & TV? Also what is the made source of food that has been consumed from Mother before during and after the birth of said child/children? When the brain is nourished with wholesome food and wholesome entertainment it can & does effect it's well being. I have experienced mental issue up close and know that there is more to the story than just the "mental issues". Have you tried any hands on therapy that helps calm the central nervous system? There are a couple of treatments that truly do work.
Above and beyond any human intervention there is the spiritual side that is the key to any healing, trust in God Almighty for strength and guidance.
Thank you for your words. That's really all I want to say ...Thank you!
I guess we all missed something.
Kudos to both Women for their maturity. Thank you for putting your differences aside to make a point that is, very much, deeply needed to be heard and explored. I applaud both of you. The manner, in which you presented your thoughts and concerns, is exactly why you have become viral.
I am fighting everyday for my 8 year old to stay in residential because of his severe anger problems. I have been wanting to share my story because I felt alone. Your story and all the comments that followed has me in disbelief in how many families are struggling just like me. I really hope we can all come together and get the help we need. Thank you...
My son is dangerous. My son is 6'2 and dangerous. He has tried to burn down our house more than once.
I could go on forever, but you get the picture--he is the same as as the rest of them. One counselor of his told me "your son will kill a housefull of people one day. I live in horror of standing on my front porch with microphones shoved in my face explaining the obvious. We have no care for normal people and peaceful, law abiding people, all rights go to ticking time bombs.
Are you ever going to get through all your comments? I want you to see this one!
When he was in first grade, my son went through a couple episodes of bullying. His response was much like you describe your son. He tried to hurt himself, me, our environment... To keep him from staying in the psych ward for an undetermined amount of time, with whatever meds they wanted to give him, I had to sign that he was a danger to self and others. They thought he was on the path you describe, and if I had followed their advice, I believe he would be well down that path. The organization that helped us out, that got my precious boy back, that has given us a good life together, where disobedience means not brushing his teeth or sneaking some candy, is handinhandparenting.org. They also have a facebook page, hand in hand, and their blog is called something like the superprotective factor. I love my son fiercely--isn't that what a mother is?--but didn't know how to use that strength to bring him back. Please give Patty Wipfler a call.
Wishing you all the best.
This is in response to your post where you said "I am Adam Lanza's mother".
I realize that you love your son and you think that he needs help and that you are contributing to him getting help, but you are part of the problem. The boy is 13 years old and you are calling the police on him, forcing him to take medication, sending him to a special school, and even contemplating getting him charged with a crime, to a person of his age your behaviors come off as a great threat to his safety and only make the situation worse.
There is clearly a breakdown in communication between you and your son, one in which he behaves badly then you get frightened and he as a result behaves worse in response to your fears. I call this dynamic the "cage the beast" mentality in which an individual behaves poorly and then those around him get frightened and subsequently circle around him until the point where he is afraid and he reacts with worse behavior and then the people around him move in closer and he gets even more afraid.
The best solution to your family problem which is not just your son's problem but also yours (I suspect you have a history of mental illness yourself) is to enter into family therapy and to consider taking your son off of medication. Writing a blog about your family problems is not a good idea, especially when you are comparing you son who has been emotionally hurt by you very much to a mass murderer.
I have been dealing with a bipolar child for 42 years, the mental health system is a joke, the system is for heavily insured parties, if you are poor you get NO HELP,I have spent my life trying to cope with the frustration, anger and disspair for a life so torn by a disorder no one wants to acknowledge,especially the mental health sector,I do understand
I read your blog to my mom, who asked me, "Did you write that?" You were telling my story. Please know that I feel for, suffer, and grind my teeth with you.
Every family's story of mental illness is different and stories like Cheryl Blair's need to be heard.
"I Could Be the Mom of the Newtown, CT Shooter"
Sadly, YOU are the one who did not respect your own child's privacy!
YOU put your full name, his photo, and intimate details of his family and medical history on the internet! Your use of a fake first name for him is absolutely laughable, considering you used his real first name in other blog posts!
And now that information is on the internet FOREVER. I can only imagine how your son will feel when he realizes what you've done to him.
Whatever valid points you may have had about the sad state of mental health care in this country are completely overwhelmed by your betrayal of your OWN SON. Yes, mental health care is a conversation this country needs to have. But it should NOT be done the way you did it. Shame on you.
And to top it off, today you gave an interview to NBC news! Are you more concerned about your son, or your career?
This conversation is more evidence that the professionals just don't know enough about the developing brain. If you chart all the various diagnoses with the symptoms for each, the overlap is over whelming. It seems to be a guessing game. Some might be clear cut diagnoses but I have the impression that it's seldom that clear cut. Over the past 5 years we tried it all, doctors, medications, diets, and new treatment ideas. I was most surprised by the lack of knowledge. I truly thought some one would fix my son's defiance and aggression and we would move on. I read through this blog and took notes of helpful suggestions I have yet tried. This is a full time job. I quit my job so I could put my energy toward helping my son and thus help my family. It takes so much time, money, and energy. I was almost always disappointed after working with the professionals. The psychiatrist, pediatricians, therapist, teachers, schools, etc. could not help but I keep reaching out and talking and trying new things. Everyone is operating so independently. The professionals are not sharing information learned. I would love to create an agency that would start collecting data across all special needs spectrum, the conditions, the treatments, the results. I've been told there is no money in it.
The only things that produced some long term positive results for us were the Nurtured Heart Approach to discipline, the gluten and artificial free diet, and EmPower Plus supplements from TrueHope.com. The EmPower Plus produced the biggest change but every child will be different. One of our Denver doctors described it in a way I finally understood why this was so complex: "Your child could have ADHD and on top of that allergies and sensitivities, and on top of that can't metabolize and absorb vital nutrients for the brain well, and on top of that a build up of bad bacteria in his system, and on top of that his neurons may not fire properly. We have to peel away all the layers one by one in order to determine which variables are affecting his behavior." I understood this but how many people have the time, money and determination to peel back all the layers. We have been fortunate so far but I hope I don't put us in the poor house with my determination to help my son. I see tremendous potential for his future but I have to keep him pointed in the right direction. You have to manage EVERYTHING in a child like this; a strict routine so nothing upsets his system, strict diet, watching all his interactions with peers and intercepting as soon as you see any of the signs, hyper managing his tv and other screen time, trying to find an activity they can feel passionate about, never losing control yourself because that will surely snowball and then we're in big trouble, ignoring the looks of others who think you are letting your child get away with everything, staying in constant communication with school, being patient with well intentioned family and friends who think you just need better parenting skills. Nothing is easy about this situation which is why this dialog we are having is so important. I hope the parents and kids keep reaching out. Don't ever give up. You are not alone.
My son who has autism and bipolar went into crisis in 2010. We were in the er multiple times in a 6mos period. They blamed his aggression on the autism&puberty. They would load him up with tranquilizers, tell us they couldnt keep him and send him home. We became so frightened of him we put a lock on his door and padded his room. When we could stand it no longer they kept him for 5days before he was admitted to an inpt unit ONLY because we told social worker we refused to take him home in order to protect ourselves and our daughter. Why did it take that. The ER allows itself to be a revolving door for the mentally ill. So while my son's developmental delays prevent him from plotting something elaborate. outside the home or even manipulating a weapon he is good with his fist so for our household I AM Adam Lanza's mother.
HuffPo told me that your blog post had started a feud in the blogosphere. Immediately, I raced over to her post, wondering what the hell had gone on.
I'm calling bullshit. On her.
As the mother of two children with autism, having had a mental break of my own (unrelated to that), a brother who was violent (and almost certainly suffering from an undiagnosed mental illness as a child - in addition to what is now obviously Aspergers), I related.
My best friend had to give up her 13 year old son, for the safety of her two youngest children. I'm not in America, but sadly in my country it is seemingly impossible to get the kind of help needed. Every word you wrote rang true for me.
Thank you for the courage of writing this blog. I watched your CNN interview with Erin Burnett tonight and am both sad and agry that you came under such intense criticism from individuals who I do not believe were on target with their criticisms. This is my childhood home, the one I grew up in during the 1960's and early 1970's, which was one tremendously tumultuous time in American history. The terror of my childhood has followed me my entire life. The words you wrote will become a very important part of the national discussion because of its raw honestly. You are a couragous woman and a wonderful mother to love your troubled son as completely as you do. It is my deepest hope you receive much more support in the coming months and years.
I'm watching you now on CNN and I can smpathize with you. I'm the single mother of 2 children (a boy 14 and a girl 12) both with mental health issues. My son beat me up a few years ago. My daughter has been suicidal and homocidal. I sympathize! I would like to speak with you more. I believe our kids DO need help! My daughter has been in counseling for 7 yrs and hasn't received proper help. And I've been told there's nothing I can do abt it. Parents....children have more rights than us parents. I can't get my daughter help at all. Mental health said I can't have her admitted to a facility if she acts like that. Its discouraging. Thank God for Christ and Moms In Prayer.
Just saw you on CNN...you are brave and honest and I hope you can find the help you need for your son. Most of us cannot imagine what you have lived with over the years. I, for one, am paranoid, that one day something completely changes with a kid that may seem a "little different". I will keep you in my thoughts and I'm glad your story got a face and voice...I hope it's what you need to make a difference. Bless your family!
I read her talking points and I can confidently say at some point every parent regardless of their child's capacity, disability or needs has said the same things you have said - I have a darling friend who is desperate for a baby and I told her the same thing - a baby is FOREVER...my sweet girl has some physical/developmental issues - do I love her? hell yes - are some days harder than they should? hell yes - would i change my path? who knows i don't have that option...i truly believe God's plan for me - some days i do kinda give him a little bitch session but don't feel anything but what you feel just because somehow this went viral...i get it - you aren't alone!
I am not sure how to email you, and I feel as though my comment may get lost in the jumble of so many already posted... however, I may have some information to offer you that may be helpful in regards to your son. I would rather discuss it in the privacy of email as opposed to general public.
I am sure you have been given tons of advice on the topic, and I have none to offer you, however, I do have a brother who has been through exactly what you describe right up to this day, and he was just recently diagnosed with what the problem is... he will be 32 next year. I guess maybe I'm hoping that your son has the same medical problem that causes a mental illness, and you won't have to wait til something happens to have it fixed.
Please feel free to email me email@example.com and my name is Teri. Hope to hear from you soon and hope this does not get lost in the jumble.
I was looking for a personal email where I could send you a message of support. I just want you to know I am also one of those mothers and you are not alone.
My son is now older and has his rage (at least physical) under control.
I am working out 'Epeka', this is a bridge between the voice of parents and professionals and government. It is still developing and Epeka needs stories, testimonies of parents about their relation with professionals, working with their kids.
Epeka stands for "every parent has experience, knowledge and advice".
I collect stories and make them anonymous. After I have enough
stories, I will use them to discuss about the content with
professionals, or advise the government on certain issues. With this goal I try to contribute to a better structure and a better care
for children and families in general.
Liza, I'm very sorry that you received so many difficult comments. I don't know that the story of you and your son is a parallel to that of the Lanza family, but, as a former teacher, I have known children with serious rage problems. I know how hard most parents work with kids like this; I know that most of these parents have other children that are completely "normal". Believe me, you don't need "helpful comments" from others demeaning you, calling you an attention hound, telling you to spank your child, on and on, just to mention some of the despicable comments that I have read about your situation.
I hope that you do find some effective help for your son and I have no suggestions.. There is NO magic bullet for these kinds of behavioral disorders. Anybody who thinks there is is probably trying to sell something. I think that different things work for different children, and all parents can do is to try one thing or another until something clicks.
I'm sorry again for all of the ignorance that you have had to tolerate from people who really don't get it.
I am sorry that the negative opinion of few sometimes seems so much louder than the supportive ones. Please know myself as well as countless friends, who I believe are a good representative of normal (if that's possible) middle class educated moms, thank you for the bottom of our hearts for your bravery. There are thousands of women like us who don't take the time to write positive uplifting words in response to beautiful acts of bravery because we too are busy driving to "soccer". Please let me speak on their behalf. I pray you will find answers, as I pray that all of us affected by family members with mental illness find answers and begin to change the stigma associated with it.
I understand your blog entirely Liza....and I so appreciate that you are putting yourself out there. People who do not live with a mentally ill child have absolutely NO CLUE what it entails and have no right to comment. This ultimately IS the problem. People do not understand mental illness.
You didn't use these words, but I wouldn't be surprised if the terms "mountains out of molehills" and "World War 3 in the blink of an eye" don't ring some bells for you.
My loved one went through the living hell of not knowing how to manage her emotions. It took a 911 call to wake us up followed by many tense days and help from our families as we tried to figure out what should happen next. Finally, in a brief moment of clarity, she agreed to allow us to check her into the Menninger Clinic. It was expensive, only slightly covered by insurance, and at first...scary. Thirty days later she returned to us (we visited often) and for the past three years we have enjoyed a second life together.
There is hope. There are quality solutions. Drugs are part it. Education is a HUGE part of it. Sharing the hell and healing process with others going through similar things, it turns out, is intensely valuable. If you can manage it, please look into this option. You won't be turning your back on him and you aren't outsourcing your duty. From your blog posting it's clear that you have already come to this conclusion. Best wishes.
I have a son who had some issues however not nearly as aggrevated as your sons issues! I have a friend that has said exactly what you said "that could be my son", and truly it could have been. She has been fighting for years and now he is an adult and its worse! Your story sounds like many I have heard! How dare anyone be angry with you, they obviously have no idea how hard it is for a parent of a child with mental health issues, its easier to have them put in jail which is what usually happens with no mental health help! The judge will charge you and tell you what a cruddy parent you are and your right back where you started and THIS IS THE PROBLEM! Thank you for sharing because this is the very meat of it all!
If anybody is interested, Dr. Peter Levine seems to be on the vanguard of treatment for many of these illnesses. His book, "Trauma Through a Child's Eyes" looks to be most fitting here. As he states, a trauma is probably the root cause of most issues, which can be caused by something as seemingly benign as falling off a bike. This is the first man I've come across who understands the organic dynamics of this and knows how to treat this.
This is a link to his work and clinic: http://www.traumahealing.com/somatic-experiencing/peter-levine.html
How dare anyone be angry with you for this letter! Its a mirror that many with mentally ill children look in every day! I have a child who suffers issues and his were mild but it was horrible. I have a friend who has said "that could have been my son" every time this happens! It could have been! She has been fighting the system for years with him to no avail, and now he is an adult and its impossible! The mental health help you will recieve is having your son put in jail, for which you will charged court costs and admonished by a judge that your a poor parent and then you will back at square one! I am so glad you shared your story, anyone who has dealth with someone mentally ill knows your pain! I applaud you!
Just saw Liza's interview on CNN and she sounded just like my mother. For those that do not have children with a mental disorders it is extremely difficult to understand how they feel. My youngest brother was diagnosed with asperges at the age of 14. He is now 16 years of age and also suffers from anxiety, depression, anti-social, and has had suicidal tendencies. He's been hospitalized several of times. It scares me as write this because I feel as if I am describing AL (I do not want to say his name). My mother has done everything she can to help my brother out, she's even moved states. This year alone my brother has attended at least 4-5 different schools. As of about a month ago he was transferred to resident type facility. I can't say that this is the solution. It seems as if no one wants to help these kids, but rather ship them somewhere (get them out of their view). I am hoping someone will hear me out......I have children of my own and my brother shows nothing but love for them, but I can't deny that what if feeling about my brother. There must be something we can do if we all speak out. If all of us who are dealing with the same situation somehow network with one another. We can start. -chris firstname.lastname@example.org
This is a gripping situation. I have family issues that compelled me to reach out to my entire family, and it was a very tough decision. The idea of social media is just that - to be social. I do not think it is harmful to publish the name of your son or yourself, but I can understand those who think that discretion would be better. But, it's the frustration that is the motivator.
I recently began teaching in a school with children with severe emotional problems. Our Asperger's student is one of the most challenging cases. I believe there are many aspects to this disorder that are underplayed. The first is the intense need for verbal/emotional connection. (I have other experience with A's people in my life, too.) They must talk and connect every waking minute of the day, and if this does not happen, they will act out to ensure there is a connection, even a threatening or annoying one.
The next situation is that this syndrome seems to lack the concept of empathy, which is probably its most challenging aspect. For, that is what makes us human and able to become "better people."
Another aspect is physical sensitivity. There seems to be an overstimulation physically with hand-touching, fabrics, etc.
Finally, there is the high IQ. This is most admirable for those of us in the normal range. It's truly awesome to be in the company of great thinkers.
What can be done? I don't have complete solutions. However, these people seem to adore routine, positive reinforcement, and the concept of hope for their future. If we can engage their particular interest, such as automotives, we can continue to guide them towards something that WILL satisfy their lives and give them something to aim for - especially upon that particular day when Mom and others are no longer around because they have grown up.
Continuous guidance and positive reinforcement are highly recommended.
This extremely challenging personality is a complete drain upon caretakers and CAN be extremely dangerous. May all caretakers have some time and space for relaxation and rejuvenation, and may our society pitch in to help everyone adapt to their most complete and satisfying life.
Blessings to all.
I'm glad you shared your story.It is a very important message. I understand and my heart and prayers go out to you.
i own, though we own nothing, a homeless shelter for people who are mentally ill... i do this alone... as the system does not provide for those who have been deemed beyond state or local housing... the people who live here are the ones no one else would take.... there are 46 in two houses... most are schizophrenic.... all have stories.. of being in law school or julliard... or bakers... or all things that we do to see life... before schizophrenia struck... i know this world...i know how the system is breaking and how they fight against the very people who cry to be soothed... i do this 7 days a week... 24 hours per day.... making sure people take their medications... and go to their appointments... but, also to ensure they have barbecues and holidays and love and life.... there are few that have been violent.....for they are gentle and kind and long for the light to be where the darkness lies... right now as we ready for breakfast... i reach out to perhaps share with you the world of mental illness as most do not see it...it is lonely out here on the margins... for the cries are sometimes louder than the song... and yet, there is hope... always hope... that the people who sometimes appear to matter the least will be held with sky....
there are people here who are young and old.... the youngest 21 the oldest 89...newly diagnosed schizophrenic merely human beings...who flail against voices that come from where they know not... and with guidance and medications.. now starting college again... or sheltered workshops.... there is one with asperger's....he has completed two years of college and now numerical machining .... if you have a chance... come to see us.... not because we want anything... rather, because we give a face in the crowd that perhaps holds a reflection of how mental illness can look with the light on.....
we need, i believe more help... more awareness... more who wish to take a hand and softly touch the mentally ill with kindness...
attached a documentary about the house and an article
I wanted to reach out. There is medical treatment for these kids. Not traditional. I've gone out of the box and successfully treated w biomedical (it's a gut issue) also found a wonderful NAET practitioner to help my son over come autism spectrum disorder incl. ADHD and behavioral issues. Google NAET and read all the testimonials. It's amazing. Please contact me if you want more info.
The big problem is that NO "MOTHER" wants to lock uo their child. You worry that a similar thing will happen with your child but you refuse.to lock him up. Why? Because he will always be your "BABY." When do you say enough is enough. Is it going to be after. something tragic happens. It should be now! You worry about it happening but do nothing to prevent it. Picking up the sharp objects just isn't enough. Do the right thing, institutionalize him. BEFORE HE HURTS SOMEONE!!! It isn't just about you and your family, it is about society in general. I feel no pity for you. You see she signs and refuse to take action just like all the people that say they have the same problem. If some. thing similar happens with your son I honestly hope they lock you up for negligent homicide because you predicted it and refused to take action. YOU and OTHERS IN SIMILAR CIRCUMSTANCES can prevent this. YOU can make a difference. Lock up your BABY so the rest of us can be safe. Otherwise it will be the same as you pulling the trigger.
I too, would love to share something with you if you are willing to give me your personal email address. My 34-year son, who is now a father to a beautiful 1-year old daughter - was - and still is - a "Michael," an Adam, a Dylan, and all the other troubled, tortured souls who committed mayhem in an attempt to lessen their own pain. I read your latest blog long before it went viral and saw your interview on CNN. You are obviously a loving, giving, worried mom - just like me. I would like very much to "talk" to you about my experience and thoughts - and yes, even offer some hope.
Wow, you are so strong and so courageous. I think you're writing and courage will definitely help get the conversation going. I've seen it, and I'm sure others have seen it too, in people that you know "just have something not right" in them. Or have lived with the outright threats but tried to shrug them off. I wish I could help you or hug you! I can pray for you though! Its hard being a mom! Being a good mom is the best and toughest job in the world...mostly because of the judgement we put on ourselves. Love you from out here in cyberspace! I'm on your side!
I applaud your blog story. I think as usual many people took what you were saying and blew it out of proportion. However, you must understand when people are scared and confused and have NEVER had to live with a child with mental illness, it is easy to point fingers and blame Parents. They want to skirt the REAL issue that you are calling for more advocacy and education on Mental Health. I am also writing my book and hoping to get it published. I have a 17 year daughter that is autistic, bipolar and has manic psychosis. I am a mother of 4 other children as well. We always knew something was off about her, but when she hit 14 all HELL broke loose. Long story short, she has been hospitalized 12 times and been on 18 diff meds. She has been to WACO Center for Youth and failed out. I have done all I can for her to no avail and it is still not enough.She has threatened to stab her siblings daily and the emotional toll it has taken on them has been hard. We also have lock on doors, and have collected all knifes for she used them to threaten her siblings and cut herself. She is a cutter. We own No Guns for I refuse to have one in the house with a mentally ill child. We have had Child protective services in our lives for too long, because of all the lies she has told. She has run a way. She has been in Juvee. She is in Special Education and up until recently attended a school called Holmgreen that was for kids with mental and behavioral problems. She was in a isolated class in Spec Ed that had 1-2 kids because she has auditory and visual hallucinations. I have folders on top of folders of info where I have run around doing everything I can to help her. We have seen therapist, and have had psychiatric appts weekly. I left my job as a teacher and sold our vehicle to help her, because I love her and she is my daughter. However, no matter how much I ran around and gave up on her behalf, it has not worked. There is not help. No REAL resources, just the ones they tell you about, that do not work for your child. We are exhausted. And that is only 1 quarter of the story and all we have been through. After ALL that I have been asked to sit on the board as a Parent Advocate for the Texas Health and Human Commission to discuss Mental Health options, tell my story and help other parents. I guess it is a start, But we need so much more!!I am now counting down til she is 18 in 2 months, so I can do not not have to do any of this anymore. We also live in fear, but have no help. When I read your story it totally mirrored our issue at home and what we deal with daily. I will continue to tell my story, and I hope you do to. Maybe we can collaborate on making some REAL changes in the healthcare system. Please feel free to e-mail me, if you need any help. I pray things start to change and that your story helped bring some awareness regardless of who likes it or not. Our stories and so many others need to be told. So we can stop the next Mother from having to say she is Adam Lanza's Mother too!! Good Luck and God Bless my Dear Friend!! I shall be praying for you <3
the Americans should understand that Obama Care and takeng care of all people has nothing to do with communism or socialism of which they are so afraid. They should get to understand that it is high time that for a capitalist, so called developed country, they need to provide affordable, quality mental health care for all sorts of families.
I too have a son who has schizophrenia he was fine to he was about 15. Then strange things happened he started seeing spiders that told him to kill people. He will be 25 on his next birthday, and his mom lives in a prison in her own home. She has to lock her own doors to her own room just because she fears for her life.. she has to lock her other children in their room with a pad lock so he cant get into the rooms. He has tried to kill about 4 people. The last time he tried to kill someone he lay in wait with a long piece of re-bar to kill his ex G/f .
My son Adam was a sweet smart young man before he got this mental problem. Smart intelligent. The drugs they work but to what expense it has made him into a lifeless fat lazy person.. Where is the help. At least the state after the last murder attempt made him a ward of the court for life. He is ordered to take his meds and the state pays for them. @talmadgewilliam Twitter talmadge willams
Whatever good points Sarah has, in the end you are right. Your story hits home, and it's more help than you know. Privacy? Shove mental illness into a corner again. You did the right thing, and I appreciate it very much. Keep doing it and don't listen to any critic--should an abusive child be held to such a different standard than an abusive husband? Should such a husband need privacy? Turn on all the lights and let the public see what you deal with. Keep going and don't look back. You've helped millions, including me, and that's something no critic will ever do. Thank you.
First, I do not know your son, but if he is the genius you claim he is, then I can probably relate to what he is going through and would like to help. Everybody would prefer to diagnose him with a condition, but some of the greatest minds have been considered clinically insane. As for myself, I believe I understand what your son is going through. Although there is far more with me then what I will share on this blog, growing up I was placed into the gifted program, took my first ACT in the 6th grade, and IQ was off of the charts. His problem might very well be hypersensitivity, where because he has such a high intellect, he perceives and analyzes things on a much different level then others. Most likely he sees things far more differently then anybody he knows, and has a higher understanding then any adults do. Things might get to him more, because his mind interprets every possible outcome at once. I growing up, lashed out at my mother, did many horrible things, but learned how to control my mind. His problem might be he does not know how to handle the brain he has, and since nobody can relate and guide him, he is more or less left on an island alone, with only himself to look to for guidance, because nobody else understands him. If we talked in private, I would share more about my life that would have left many to believe I should've been in jail. But I was strong enough to figure it out on my own, and served honorably in the Marine Corps, graduated Ohio State University, and have directed some political campaigns. He has to learn to harnass the powerful gift he has been given. I was very troubled growing up, but learned how to control my mind. If you would like to speak more, email me at email@example.com. I will share my phone number from there. He doesn't need to be part of the system, that will ruin his life.
I am in awe that my family is not alone. Just days ago I called the cops due to my son 13 screaming at my 16 year old he was going to kill him. The cops asked him if he said this and he says yes..they do nothing. They tell me to put him on medications. ..they cant do anything. We live in fear.....of what can happen. I feel your pain...your love...your frustration...humiliation...and your fear. I pray one day we parents and these kids will get the help we need for our protection, their protection and societys protection.
I listened to your interview last night with Erin on CNN. I also have a child that is 15 years old with mental illness. Although it has been a up and down rollercoaster with our family. My daughter has had intervention since age 5 and continues in this present time. The providers that service her date there are no services for Mental Health due to budget cuts. We fear our lives everyday she is in our home. DCF after multiple visits and questions feels sorry for us. Childrem Protection Services cried with me after the 4 hours interview. So what to do. The government keeps cutting where the services are needed. Guns donot commit the crime is the people that commit the crime due to poor processing of emotions. The children with mental illness need help and services to possibly prevent from them becoming dysfunctional adults. dblake Miami, Florida
I feel that you and I have been living the same story line. I am a father of 4 with the 2nd oldest of my kids going through the EXACT same scenario as your son. My son is older; in his early 20's. We have tried to follow the recommendations of other with the whole "paper trail" thing and been through all sorts of courts at early stages where judges just wrote him off as "bad behavior" and sent him to military camps, juvenile detention etc. none of these things helped him at all. Early on he tested off the charts with an IQ just short of 160, his original diagnosis was bi-polar disorder and as he aged and things got worse, every Dr. told us the same thing, that by 18 he would be in full blown schizophrenia; something I struggled with and my wife accepted. This led to many problems for the two of us including divorce. We have since found that the pressures of raising a child like this is cause for a lot of issues and found better ways to identify when they affecting us and others so as to better deal with them. We hoped that it would get easier as he matured and at some levels it has. The big obstacle we now face is the fact that since he spent so little time in actual social settings with others that he has very poor social skills, no friends, the maturity of a teen ager and limited desire to change most likely out of fear. I can tell you that through all of this we have finally found medication that seems to be working for him with very positive results. I am certain that one of the problems you either currently or soon will face is your son "cheeking" his meds and throwing them out. Not wanting to take meds is very common in these cases. For this reason it is of vital importance that you get him on injectable meds ASAP. There are once monthly injections that may help for your son as they have helped with ours. I would love to speak with you more and hear about your situation and see if we can help each other.
Your individual stories and your overall story remind me greatly of the relationship my Mother and I had. I too was a little genius. I think I know whats going on between you two and I think I can help. Please contact me and I'll try.
PS: I don't really appreciate you making me put my identity on this comment to try and help you, not to mention that RIDICULOUSLY hard captcha!
I read your post about your son after finishing an article by dr. daniel amen: http://www.amenclinics.com/ I am not a doctor, however, your sons behavior is all too familiar to many of dr. amens case studies. Please contact him, he may be able to help your son, and you.
this is uncalled for. anyone raising a child with mental illness can find many better ways to get attention.
Eliminate Stigmatization, End Political Lip Service, & Demand Real and Substantial Treatment.
After a tragedy such as this the Nation wonders how such a thing could happen. Asking why didn't this person receive mental healthcare. The answer, as I see it is simple. People want to pretend the problem doesn't exist, that it is a behavioral issue and not a medical condition, and they do not want to pay for the necessary treatment programs.
A study published in the Policy Journal Health Affairs, revealed that the U.S. had a higher prevalence of mental illness and yet a lower treatment rate,especially for those with a serious mental illness, than a number of other developed countries.
According to a study published in the Lancet 2012, the U.S. cut 3,000 state mental health inpatient beds in 2009—10, and further cuts were planned in 16 states and the District of Columbia.
Mental illness is not the problem of one person or one family but of a Nation. We must stop stigmatizing those with mental illness. We must treat it as the medical condition that it truly is, and we must demand action from our politicians.
Just sending love and compassion.
very interesting overview of some of the concrete reasons our mental health system is lacking. I hope you will continue to write about this and to raise these points to people who can do something about them. our mental health system needs a major overhaul and compassion and recognition of the "illness" aspect needs to be at the top of the equation. No one chooses to have their brain attack them from the inside. No one chooses to be alienated from all of the people who look at them with a sense that they are superior because they are "normal." Mental health should not be. Profitable commodity and those in need should not be exploited so others can live in luxury.
Thank you for the courage to publicly discuss your struggle and frustration. This is a very important conversation that NEEDS to had. I pray you are able to find the help you are so desperate for. As you said, God Bless Michael, God Bless you and God Bless us all!!!
Hi Liza Please contact me about your writing for several reasons I do not wish to discuss in an open forum
firstname.lastname@example.org I am absolutely in support of you and your struggles and have a horror/success story to share with u.
Did your son consent to you releasing his medical information? It strikes me as so odd that medical professionals can't disclose whether a person is even in a facility and yet you flashed his photo, medical history and your horrible thoughts about your children all over the news and web. We are to be our children's biggest cheerleaders. We all have difficult times. But you are ruining your son's reputation.
Seriously? How can you ask that? What sane person slaughters 6 and 7 year olds? I would say YES he had mental health problems.
MY earlier comment was at Honey Bear Kelly - sorry first time posting and thought hitting reply would only reply to that comment.
You have my complete non-judmental sympathy. I sincerely hope that you and your son get the help you so desperately need.
Hi. I would like to send private email message that I think is very important regarding article - I am Adam Lanzas mother. Please send me your email address. Thanks.
HI. I would also like to tell you something that i think is very important. Please send me your private email. Thanks
I would also like to send private email that I think is very important. May I have your private email? Thanks.
I am a grandmother who is guardian of a 13 year old grandson. I've written about him in a book available on Kindle. "That's Not the Ocean; Those Are My Tears" tells of our stuggles with our precious mentally ill child. I salute you for bringing this problem to the forefront so it can be discussed in a rational manner. I wish you the best.
Liza, your article is beautifully written, as a piece of creative nonfiction used to make a specific point. However, there are so many unanswered questions. You speak of multiple dx, but demonstrate no understanding of what they mean neurologically and what interventions can be tried for each -- long-term, ongoing interventions, not a weekend in an inpatient ward. You speak of school counselors, MDs prescribing drugs, behavioral plans, but no mention of an ongoing relationship (weekly, years, to establish trust) with a child therapist. Your son needs someone in his life to empathize with the emotions behind the rage and to help him learn to modulate and communicate them differently, even as you do what you must to protect yourself and your other kids. Stresses -- the messy divorce, single mom's angst, switch to new school, new teen hormones and testosterone coming online, desire for autonomy, being smarter/different from peers and teachers, now switch to school where his genius has no outlet -- have overwhelmed his ability to cope, which was neurologically limited to start with. His prefrontal lobes are not developed enough to modulate, regulate, and integrate emotions. They are slow to develop in ADHD and in some high-IQ kids whose brains show asynchronous development. They may yet develop, as he gets to his 20's, but meanwhile, there are techniques to help him cope and develop social skills. Meditation and breathing can help, not as a spiritual practice, but because it weakens the automatic reactivity and strengthens the mid-frontal circuit. You are now his adversary, and from that position, you can't help him anymore. He needs an advocate -- a therapist, long-term, weekly, who seeks to heal his psyche even as you seek to control his behavior. So much of what you say about him reveals there is still a precious Self there who can be reached.
Something is horribly wrong here. One out of every 100 children born in this country have some form of Autism. That statistic should really frighten everyone. What is causing this pheonomenon? Of course, not all children with Autism will need to be institutionalized but when will more brave parents like you come forward and admit they need help? Autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability with a 1,148% growth rate. Society will have to deal with this problem as a whole, sooner rather than later.
Typo: phenomenon. Sorry.
I commented yesterday about this blog, and out of curiosity I have been following the comments today. Wow. A good number of these are not helpful. Comments fall into the following categories:
1. I have / I was your son sympathy comment. You are a great mom!
2. You are not spanking / disciplining correctly. You are a horrible mom!
3. You're looking for attention by writing this blog - you are a horrible person!
4. Try this diet/read this book/see this website/try these magic mushrooms or other forms of "natural" interventions.
5. I am you or I can help! Contact me!
6. God is the answer - turn to Jesus! Accept Him as your Savior!
7. Your child is possessed by a demon or devil. (See #6 above.)
8. This medical center/doctor really helped us!
9. Where's dad in all this? You can’t do this by yourself as a single woman.
10. Deleted comments - I can't even imagine what these say. They must be pretty bad to be deleted.
Many of the commentators in this blog just do not have a clue as to what it is to have a child like Michael. While I don't have a child even close to how Michael behaves, my ADHD ASD son has his moments, so I can somewhat relate. A suggestion that I haven't seen mentioned here is a brain scan called SPECT. Dr. Daniel Amen developed this scan, and much of what he says makes sense. I haven't had a need to use him, but I did read his book on types of ADHD. Google Dr. Amen and perhaps this might be worth looking into for Michael. Good luck!
Liza, we are producing a TV & radio program on mental health and the justice system and would love to talk to you about it. If you could contact me, we would appreciate it. email@example.com Whitney Chirdon, Producer/Director, WPSU
I have worked at at residential mental health center for children and adolescents for 16 years. I applaud the author's candid and painfully honest portrayal of what living with a mentally ill child is like. The majority of my patients are a lot like "Michael" , and I hear stories like the parent's too often. Parents who have to put alarms on all the bedroom doors to alert them when their son is stalking his siblings at night. Parents whose daughter tried to poison the new baby's milk out of jealousy. Parents whose homes have literally been destroyed by hours long aggressive tantrums. Having a "safety plan" is often recommended by clinical professionals in situations like this. Liza did EXACTLY the right thing by putting Michael in psychiatric care when he became dangerous. She has an obligation to keep Michael and her other children safe, and that was a choice for SAFETY. It truly angers me that anyone would condemn her actions- both writing about her experiences and the choices she makes for her family. Every single one of us who chooses to comment should offer compassion and support for this woman and her children. Take your vitriol and self- righteousness elsewhere. Hooray for Liza for having the courage to so this, and SHAME on those who criticize her.
First, Thank you. It is so hard to express how all this makes me feel. Everytime something like these shootings happen I worry how it will affect my daughter who has mental health issues. Your comments were honest and maybe not pretty, but they were your feelings and thoughts. I think you are brave. Just writing a comment has taken about all the bravery I have. What most people don't understand is that your child may have the diagnosis, but everyone in his life lives with the illness. Don't start sensoring yourself. If we have no release we will be right in the same place as our children when they are lost in their own heads. Find the humor, shout the ugly comments into a poillow and then take a deep breathe and battle again.
Pray for Parity!
(Parity, an equal playing field for all participants, regardless of their economic circumstances)
If you had cancer the doctor would not tell you, this type of cancer takes about 15 sessions and if you still have it after that, oh well that is all your insurance will cover.
There are so many hot buttons when it comes to raising a child with special needs. I can't even organize my thoughts. Just know you are not alone.
Thank you for being brave enough to bare yourself. The conversation has started!
Wowwwww......You missed the ENTIRE POINT of the article, didn't you.
Sorry....the above post that I made was *SUPPOSED* to be a reply to someone else but I guess I did something wrong. Anyway....I just want to THANK YOU for giving me the courage to openly admit that I, too, am "Adam Lanza's mother." Your original post (re-published by Huffington Post) struck a cord with myself and my two elder children as we related, all too well, with your story. To us, whether the story is real or fabricated makes no difference...it is our life. My "Adam" is almost 15 and EVERY day is a challenge on some level. My husband often says, and I fear it is prophetic, that our son will one day find himself shooting a room full of innocent people and then himself. Sadly, with our mental health system being what it is today, there is nothing we can do but wait.... I appreciate the courage it has taken you to be so publicly honest, and vulnerable!
I watched you yesterday on CNN and I want to send you my support!
Thank you for posting. I hope you find the help your son needs.
Please, Ms. Soccer Mom,
Would you care glancing over this web page.
I care about you and I care about your son. I truly hope he gets the right help as soon as it is possible.
If this might be relevant; and the Internet giving its best: http://www.jbrf.org/page-for-families/faqs-2/
Marie-Eve Cossette from Matagami.
Are you interested in writing a book? I have taught ED kids for 5 years and I have witnessed the huge mental health crisis in this country. I would love to write a book.
I want to commend you on truly listening to each other. Not only is that one of the greatest gifts one human being can give another, but it is, as you have demonstrated, the only viable way to bridge what may seem like an insuperable gulf.
Liza I SO admire you. Before I even saw your 'I Am Adam Lunza's Mom", I'd been thinking all day about Adam. People who have never experienced true, deep mental illness themselves, or in those around them, have no idea. GOD BLESS YOU Liza! I sent you a friend request on FB, as I wasn't aware of this blog. Of course, I'd still love to be friends! :) Most sincerely, Lynne Norwood
Thank you for sharing the truth. I don't think you should have shared a statement with that other person though. She studied anthropology and history...I don't see psychology or child development in her CV. I bet she doesn't even have a child with the challenges that you have.
Hi, I am a MOM of a now 28yr old who was diagnosed with everything from physco/with a mood disorder, bipolar/mood disorder depression, you name it. The once little loving gentle Pooh-bear became someone whose eyes where fixed, black and cold. My heart would start racing with fear when I got as close as ten blocks from the house. It was a fear like something you see in a horror movie. When he turned 20, this loving "POOH Bear" became someone I didnt recognize anymore. When Id call the cops they treated me like a monster, when I met the doctors at the PHYSC/er they treated me like a monster all because they believed him.. But they would dope him up to quite him for the weekend then send him home angry because of where I had sent him. So sleeping was not even an option, with my heart racing, Id listen to hear any cracks in the stairs.. Until one time I told them if you dont keep him and obseve him and he pushes someone onto a train track or hurt someone "I WILL LET THE MEDIA KNOW YOU ARE THE ONES THAT KEEP SENDING HIM HOME!!! If I wasnt afraid of him, then I was praying he would not kill himself because he was sooo very depressed.. I am morning my son as if he where dead! All because he was over 21 and can refuse help, and I could not be his guardian. The guilt of having to get an order of protection to keep him out of my house, and the heart-break of not being able to comfort him when his is so down is overwhelming at times I surprise myself! I so mourn my little "POOH-bear" "The bright thoughtful caring teenager" who always loved and cared about everyone-Yet I too often carried all knives and sharps in a large duffle bag in the trunk of my car.. Why cant they find a way to help us?
You Sisters are awesome! My heart goes out to you and the issues you are dealing with. Thank you for starting the dialog...is is long overdue...and please continue it. The world needs to know what it is like living with a family member with mental illness and you are beautifully and honestly articulate. Hopefully, this will open eyes and minds to the struggles and fears that families deal with every day, and get politicians to move out of their comfort zones and get the help that is so desperately needed. Ignore the critics...they are always present when someone is courageous enough to stir the waters of discontent. Only risk takers get anything done!
We found wonderful support with the NAMI organization. It might be worth your time to check it out. You are in our prayers. Have Faith and stay strong.
ps. sorry to offend some readers, but i think if we took a more proactive approach to this situation than depending on or praying to a god/him/her/it/void, we would be more successful and less lazy than waiting for something 'divine' to make everything better cause it obviously aint workin.
I think it's awesome how you reached out and identified to the public for help. Good job.
You probably already heard of this but I related your story to the story of Beth Thomas. a 1990 documentary entitled Child of Rage: A Story of Abuse was produced by Gaby Monet based on interviews conducted with the film's real-life inspiration, Beth Thomas.
On top is the link for children in therapy. Hopefully it helps you.
Let's see if this sounds familiar - high on the ADHD scale (but not quite autistic), ODD, very fussy and wouldn't make eye contact as a young infant, willfull, argumentative, bright, extremely coordinated in gross motor skills but behind the curve in fine motor skills, highly sensitive to external stimuli (sounds, touch, how socks and shoes fit, etc.), self-conscious, manipulative, extremely attracted to passive and high stimulation things like video games, etc. These are all concomitant but are not a mental illness even though we love to call ADHD a disorder. It is a personality, and even the attention deficit term is off the mark and doesn't really describe what's going on inside them, but I won't go into that now. But conventional education environments are not at all equipped to deal with children like this (unless you're extremely lucky and get a very firm, patient teacher), and these kids get labelled and medicated and eventually tossed into alternative programs - in effect, discarded - which over time is what can lead to misbehavior and acting out, and if not addressed, the resulting social isolation can lead to mental illness.
If it does, feel free to contact me for some suggestions.
i love how they just say Zyprexa and have a nice day. there was no other thought behind it? just dose your kid with an apparent sedative, and we all go home happy. our culture sucks.
check out jenny mccarthys works. i feel we are what we eat. i think if we really care about our kids, we should be shielding them from this crap ie mcdonalds burger king. theyre lacking in everything nessesary to a what a human body needs. minerals and vitamins. there are links from glucose to ADD, and brain health to cholestereol. i think some actions might be in diet. i think we as mothers should change this.
December 18, 2012 11:58 PM
Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936) also had dog troubles of his own, as described by one group of researchers working in his lab:
"In a famous experiment by Shenger-Krestovnika, published in 1921, a dog was trained to salivate to a circle but not to an ellipse. The ellipse was then made progressively more like a circle. When the ratio of the axes of the ellipse was reduced to 9:8, the dog could discriminate it from a circle only with great difficulty. It showed some signs of success on this problem for about three weeks, but then its behavior was disrupted. It was unable to respond correctly not only on this difficult task, but also when presented with obvious ellipses and circles that had given it no trouble in the earlier part of the experiment. What is more, instead of coming to stand quietly in the apparatus of the past, the animal now showed extreme excitement, struggling and howling" (Gray, 1979).
This work was brought to my attention by a University professor/psychotherapist, who also informed me that this dog eventually had to be put to sleep! It never was able to recover from the "experimental neurosis," induced by Pavlov. This result is even more amazing because the conditioning did not involve punishment! The dog was merely trained to perform a discrimination. When it couldn't do it, it went crazy! Later, he and his coworkers discovered lots of other ways to create neurotic dogs. These results were so remarkable, that at the age of eighty, Pavlov launched himself into an entirely new career in a different field, to understand psychopathology. He soon was visiting psychiatric wards several times a week, discussing the various cases with the psychiatrists!
There is more to this story. Like Pavlov's dogs, Gregory Bateson (1956) observed that a schizophrenic adult became that way because as a child, he could not discriminate whether his mother loves him or not! His theory of schizophrenia meshes in well with the ideas of Alice Miller. When kids ask their parents "Why am I being spanked," the parent invariably responds "For Your Own Good," which is the title of one of her books. It is a contradiction of terms and concepts! You don't say to a child "I love you," and then give the child a whack! It is entirely inconsistent! Any young kid can tell you that! Read an anecdote by Astrid Lindgren (1978) to get a feeling from the child' point of view. What Bateson observed was that the child who grows up to be a schizophrenic is forever receiving two conflicting messages that put him into a double bind. The mother says to her child "I love you," but when the child comes to hug, the mother pushes the child away, or stiffens in response to the hug. She really doesn't love the child, but society says she should. So she pretends to love her child. But then the child senses the other message, and pulls away, and the mother then condemns the child with, "How come you don't love me?" This cycle of responses is related to the biblical law "Thou shalt honor thy father and mother," and if you don't, well then you have to pretend, and the internal conflict makes you go crazy. It's damned if you do, damned if you don't.
The Russian writer Anton Chekhov wrote a short story "Who Was to Blame," about his uncle who tried to teach a kitten to catch mice. Whenever the kitten refused to give chase, his uncle beat it. After the animal grew up into an adult cat, it always cowered in terror in the presence of a mouse. "That," said Chekhov, "is the man who taught me Latin." (Welsh, 1986)
So how does a kitten learn how to hunt mice? I was told the following: In the beginning, the mother cat brings to her hungry kitten a dead mouse for it to eat. After it becomes accustomed to this food, the mother cat brings a mouse that is just barely alive. Then the mother cat, brings progressively more lively mice for her kitten to chase, play with and eat. If the mouse manages to escape, the mother cat recaptures it and brings it back in a more disabled state making sure her kitten achieves success. In this way, the kitten develops its skills in hunting and killing mice, so that it can survive. The mother cat never punishes her little kitten. We humans have much to learn from this mother cat.
Who Was to Blame? A short story by Anton Chekhov
"...When the third mouse had been caught, the kitten shivered all over at the sight of the mousetrap and its inmate, and scratched Praskovya's hand. . . . After the fourth mouse my uncle flew into a rage, kicked the kitten, and said:
"Take the nasty thing away! Get rid of it! Chuck it away! It's no earthly use!"
A year passed, the thin, frail kitten had turned into a solid and sagacious tom-cat. One day he was on his way by the back yards to an amatory interview. He had just reached his destination when he suddenly heard a rustle, and thereupon caught sight of a mouse which ran from a water-trough towards a stable; my hero's hair stood on end, he arched his back, hissed, and trembling all over, took to ignominious flight.
Alas! sometimes I feel myself in the ludicrous position of the flying cat. Like the kitten, I had in my day the honour of being taught Latin by my uncle. Now, whenever I chance to see some work of classical antiquity, instead of being moved to eager enthusiasm, I begin recalling, ut consecutivum, the irregular verbs, the sallow grey face of my uncle, the ablative absolute. . . . I turn pale, my hair stands up on my head, and, like the cat, I take to ignominious flight. "
First of all, what kind of parent compares their child to a mass murderer? And secondly, what kind of mother publicly compares their child--a child old and bright enough to understand the comparison, and therefore old enough to feel shame and humiliation--to a mass murderer and divulges all his personal problems to the entire world? What can it possibly do for him or his mother besides escalate the problems presumably straining their relationship and permanently smear his name with the indelible ink of a child killer?
Before the dust had settled, before those poor dead children's bodies had even cooled, before we even know what, if anything, was wrong with Adam Lanza, Ms. Long was out there loudly proclaiming her 13-year-old son has the same problems and publicly branding him a future mass murderer. Yet, unbelievably, almost unfathomably, people were not shocked by her carelessness or sickened by her selfishness but impressed, inspired! Ask yourselves, what possible good can this do for her son and, just as importantly, how would her story or cause have been diminished if she had posted it anonymously, thereby respecting her son's right to privacy, his just claim to dignity as a human being?
Furthermore, if there is a problem with mental health in this country, how will shackling mental illness with mass murder and demonizing mentally ill children help things? How is the discourse improved by inculcating and further entrenching the stereotype of the violent, knife-wielding psychopath? Why does the tone of Ms. Long's article suggest that she is as much, if not more the victim, rather than her son who is purportedly ill? Why do we not hear "Michaels" side of the story? Why do we so rarely hear the child's--or the mentally ill's--side of the story, but so often the parent's, gaurdian's, doctor's? Why is it that the public, in a display of almost complete solidarity, pity the mother, yet when one questions how Michael--the real victim (now in more ways than one, thanks to mom)--might feel about having his personal medical history publicly aired and his name forever tied to evil, that same benevolent, pitying public becomes outraged and indignant? Why are children so often patronized and ignored, even when--apparently especially when--we are clamoring to protect them? Please tell me, why does no one consider how Michael might feel?
At first I was angry at you a little bit...not because of what you said but that it was so close to this incident and I already was hearing from mothers across the country with panicked friends and relatives asking if their child with autism was going to turn into an Adam Lanza, and then there was your blog. Teenagers in my son's social groups were afraid to go to school because of the stares they may get, the whispers behind their backs about whether they "fit" the profile. Speak of controversy, you cannot imagine when I slipped in front of an NT mom when I said I feel a bit like how every muslim mother must have felt sending their children into school the day after 9/11..well, let me just tell you the stares she gave me! Everything gets taken out of context, as you know. I wish to my Lord God that they did not say the words autism/aspergers and ignorantly narrow the issues this young man may have had. I was just a little bit mad, you see, because I was scared for my children, all 4 of whom are developmentally disabled (1 with ADHD, 2 on the spectrum and with OCD and ODD and one with cerebral palsy who is wheelchair bound) scared to send them into the lion's den that is school culture where they have barely been able to survive as it is. Already burdened with so much stigma. But I will admit something else to you as well. As details about this young man emerged and a picture formed, which is STILL incomplete, I wept not just for those beautiful little souls who were taken too soon, but of another soul we could not help that led to those lost. I have exhausted myself with a small group of special needs mothers trying to rectify the lack of services in our school district and all I could think about was all the other mothers out there not even as fortunate to get what we get here. People only want to see monsters that do bad things. Blame evil and a single individual or their parent for the horror, but no one wants to admit, no matter how hard they try not to see it, that these monsters were children once, too. Children that if we got in time and with REAL solutions, not the lock them up or blame the parent attitude as you eluded to, that maybe, not all, but maybe some of them could be helped. But they won't, you see. They will judge you, your child, ANYTHING but admitting to the possibility that some of these deaths and tragedies at the hands of those with mental illness may be on societies shoulders as well. Now, let me be clear, I am not saying specifically the Adam Lanza story could have been changed. Maybe it will be found he WAS getting help but it was not working, but more often than not there are sad endings to others or themselves that end that way because no one cared to make sure the parents got what they needed. No parent can do this alone. No parent should be expected to. And no individual life should be less worth the effort because they are more broken then others. It IS time to wake up and have a meaningful and civil conversation about mental illness...we can say not now, it is too soon, it is too sensitive like I felt at first, but to be perfectly honest I am afraid at the rate things are going that the next story may be too soon around the corner. The time was YESTERDAY.
As the mother of a mentally ill child, BRAVO! I am heartbroken for you, as anyone with half a brain should be. I too had to take my son to the hospital when he was only 13. It has been a long struggle to get help( we took him after he attempted to set our home on fire, with four generations of family living in it) the Dr in the hospital actually said..with a straight face..that perhaps if I was a better mom my son would not have such problems. It is sad to see that all these years later (my son is 22 now) there has not been much improvement in the attitudes of others. I can offer you hope. Stick to your guns, know that YOU know what is best and real for your son, do not let them (Dr, specialist-anyone)make you feel like you have not done your very best. My son graduated HS with honors,completed two years of college thus far, has a full time job and his own place.. and a wonderful sweet girlfriend. He accepts his illness now and tackles life head on. Please feel free to contact me via email should you have a moment. I would love to share our story .. if for no other reason than to let you know there is hope.
Liza,you did a great service by starting this conversation. I was a nurse at the Yale Child Study Center. Many many children with the very same issues were treated successfully there. These kids came from all over the country and at the time stayed three months or so (1990). Parents who lived far away generally came for a few weeks during the treatment to learn how to manage the child at home. All the best to you and your family.
I just feel like hollering when I hear more Gun control ... I have seen Miracles when God is allowed into our hearts... but first man has to clean up his own mess... all the chemicals in our foods... in our water, the synthetic drugs and I could go on and on!! God created our bodies and our brain sets us apart.. it has the power to heal or destroy... when we allow all these things to upset the our brain's chemistry ..well.. i want to know what percentage of all tragedy was the direct result of drugs or mental illness!! We deserve to know these statistics and then maybe we can start the real battle with God's help!!
You know what, Ma'am? I think you are an attention whore and a monster. It's a little late at this point to be worried about the privacy of your probably quite normal son. God help that boy. You don't know what they did to him in that hospital and you don't want to know as long as someone else does the work for you because being a mom is hard. I can't think of anything bad enough to say about you.
1948 I have taught ED kids for 6 years. Would you be interested in writing a book? There is a mental health crisis that needs to be addressed.
I was greatly moved by “I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother.” I think the most important thing I seek to share with Liza is that life with an emotionally disturbed person frequently does get better although the road is tortuous and often beyond the conception of one who has not traveled it. My wife and I did and still do walk and sometimes crawl on this often desolate highway. The good news is that our son, now in his mid 30s is so much better today. We actually enjoy his company and view him as a blessing. When he was a teenager, however, I cursed God for punishing us and was on the verge of a complete breakdown. Eventually, I asked God’s forgiveness for my behaviors, but still often wonder why He permits such difficult pain to be inflicted on so many, and just did so again at Sandy Hook to degrees, most thankfully, beyond my imagination. As it is, I have enough bad dreams and horrible memories to last a lifetime.
Had you not written your post, I would have never written mine. I was inspired by your message and decided to support it as best I could. Please excuse my appropriation of your most creative approach, but I felt it was the best way to say what needed to be said from a different perspective. While I could have easily written “I Am Adam Lanza’s Father” I decided to approach my reflection as “I Am Adam Lanza’s Teacher” as the entire series of recent events, including your blog post, hit home on multiple fronts for me. I posted my response on my blog at http://www.recalcitrantteacher.com should you want to read my take. Should you ever care to talk with us, we’d be most open to doing so.
You were most unfairly criticized for sharing your personal plight. Had your son been a cancer victim no one would have objected. It is precisely this thought process stigmatizing mental illness as something to be hidden away that greatly contributes to the problems we face today. We’ve undertreated and ignored mental illness far too long in America. It is very much time to put a spotlight on it. Personally, I don’t give a damn who is offended if the offense spurs needed action.
I noticed a post here questioning if Adam Lanza was actually mentally ill. If this does not exceptionally illustrate the level of misunderstanding and ignorance about mental illness I don’t know what does. Of course Lanza was mentally ill. In so many ways, all of us are just as guilty as Lanza was for letting a problem of great magnitude lie silently in the weeds of public awareness. Many of us knew Adam Lanza or someone like him. We just didn’t do anything constructive about it.
I am a Mother of an adult son who is now 26 years old. He was first diagnosed with ADHD when he was in the first grade and treated with medication. He suffered in the sixth grade with Lyme disease and since it is such a relatively new disease and all the side effects/residuals haven’t been fully documented. He would have such temper tantrums that I learned early to just let him be and calm down on his own. This was after having been spit in the face, or punched.
During the middle school years is when the other issues began, and he was diagnosed with the following: bi-polar, intermittent explosive disorder, conduct disorder, and oppositional defiant disorder. He was treated with a myriad of medications including one that made him very lethargic. Of course during this time frame unbeknownst to his father and I, is when he started to self-medicate.
There were many calls from the school that I cringe every time the phone rang. This also was during the evening. I got tired of beating myself up, knowing that I did everything I could for him. Yet the guilt was there still. When he was conceived, I had been on a medication that could have potentially caused issues. Also, during the last week before his birth, he stopped moving due to me leaking amniotic fluid and his possibly exposure to his meconium. I had to be induced right away. I fortunately had him via a normal vaginal delivery. He was born otherwise healthy other than him having a groin hernia, which was surgical repaired when he was two months old.
He would threaten to kill himself at different times—jumping out his bedroom window, putting a plastic bag over his head. At what time do you as a parent not take these threats as serious? We went through the school system where he had gotten special accommodations for his ADHD. They recommended going through judicial channels. We visited many psychiatrists and was told by one that if we had the money we could send him to a dual diagnosis place, but that was well over $50K. He was arrested a few times with “possession” a few marijuana seeds and stems in his pocket while he was skateboarding. There was the phone call late on a Saturday night from the fire department informing us that our son had third degree burns and they were going to med-vac him to a burn center. The story was he had hot oil spill from making French fries on his hand and arm. The truth found out a few years later was they were doing fire-shots and when he blew on the flame it went on his hand and arm.
His father and I came home from our stressful commute and workday, and were approached by a man who was on our front porch. He started shoving a picture of a child in our face, and started yelling that our son was sitting in jail because he accosted his wife—the mother of his child. We were both flabbergasted not knowing what happened, and worrying that our son was in jail. His father told the man to get off our property, and we were then faced with what to do next. Our son was four days shy of turning 18—17 is still a minor, but yet he was arrested and charged for a felony as an adult. The sentence could be up to 25 years. He had an article written in the local paper regarding his arrest, and for some reason, the community news letter also chose to air it as well. We were basically bullied out of our community by our own son. We had an opportunity to move and we took it. We posted the $10K bond, putting our house as collateral, paid $5K retainer to retain his lawyer, went to the therapist as required. He was guilty and placed on probation for a number of years. He had to continue his therapy, and also participate in drug and alcohol counseling. He had miscellaneous charges come up and skated by up until his 24th birthday. (cont'd)
The straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back came on his 23rd birthday when he threw a temper tantrum and threw his cell phone because he wanted another one. It shattered and I don’t know what he expected. I was tired of enabling and continuing to let him run our lives. Well, he stormed out of the house and took off in his car. I told his father and grandmother that we certainly shouldn’t go out to celebrate his birthday at his favorite restaurant. As usual, I was not supported and we ended up going and celebrating and then rewarded him with $150 pair of shoes too. Shortly after that, he managed to get into our bedroom (which we kept locked with a key since we had liquor in there) and stole a large bucket of change—about $400. I didn’t trust him or his friends when we slept at night for fear we would be killed for the insurance money. I left his father the fifth and final time that year at the end of that month. I was tired of working full-time and yet being expected to cook, clean, and spend my money to continually bail my son out of trouble, or finance his dates. He was an adult and needed to start acting like one. His father and I had been married 27 years at that point and both knew it was over. We had a cruise planned that next month and my son went with his father in my place. When he came back, he had seen that I moved half of my stuff out, but it included a large screen TV. He phoned me because he said it was his TV, even though it was in the media room and called me a fuck*ng bitch. Those were the last words spoken by him to me, at least for another year and a half and those words would yet again be the same—fuck*ng bitch. Later that same night of his return from the cruise he overdosed on heroin, but his friend was able to provide CPR. His father had basically sent me an email telling me that our son was dead. I never got the full story, other than he never went to the hospital as it would have violated his probation, yet he was throwing up blood.
I have only hit the nail on the head highlighting a few incidents. He had been hospitalized several times, including a substance abuse facility after picking him up I discovered that he learned how to cut himself on his forearms. The police have been phoned by me on several occasions; he had broken many mail boxes, smashed my car outside mirror, threw a pool ball at a sliding glass door-shattering it; punched numerous fist holes in the walls; spit in my face; hit me; coming home to parties where he store our alcohol and then he falsely accused his father of breaking his arm, when he drunkenly stumbled down a few steps; stole various items/DVDS from our house in order to pawn for drug money; and the instances unfortunately goes on and on.
Over the next few years, I occasionally would send him e-mails on his birthday, or just for no reason—never receiving a response. I wished the Mental Health system was more affordable, especially the dual-diagnosis treatment. I believe that things may have turned out better for him. Unfortunately, he will never hold down a real respectable job due to his felony conviction. However, from what I have heard, he has been steadily employed and is engaged.
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