Tuesday, December 18, 2012

I'm not going to say I've not been rattled, but  I found the pack of index cards I'd bought...in the refrigerator.

I've been grieving, so unfathomably sad for those 20 young children in Newtown Connecticut, I've been deeply despairing over the future of our great nation.  Our obsession with guns?  With infamy?  With materialism at all costs?

I've said I'm not getting in the gun control argument, my issue is with the lack of mental health resources, yet I don't know what to suggest.

Within the adoption arena I'm even more bent out of shape at the lack of help when so many children have such severe issues.

Today, even a mentally ill young man with a known propensity for violence, or even a history of serious violence, is likely to receive just an hour a week of counseling (if that) by a social worker.
He is likely have an unclear diagnosis of his condition and to be on a list of constantly changing, very powerful psychoactive medications prescribed by a nurse.
He is also likely to be turned away -- repeatedly --by emergency room social workers who act as gatekeepers for insurance companies to restrict access to inpatient psychiatric treatment.
If admitted to a psychiatric hospital, he will likely be triaged quickly through an often-incompetent “tune up” of medications that might accomplish nothing and then be sent back home as soon as he “contracts for safety”—simply promising a social worker that he won’t kill anyone.

Many adoptive parents - yes birth parents too, this I know, but I'm speaking from my own narrow world view - have fought like heck to get help, the help that doesn't exist at all.

Even as I typed that previous paragraph I felt awash in a wave of hopelessness, so many times have I begged authorities for help, only to be kindly told to just deal with it.  The implication that I deserve this because I chose to adopt.

"Just call 911," I'd been told, as if I were too stupid to have come up with that solution on my very own.   I was attacked less than five days after my son'd been released from a facility.  That facility then wouldn't even take my phone calls when I later expressed my angry outrage.

This one time, one of many, Mayra'd called 911 before I'd even landed on the floor, and some man in purple materialized, running past me down my hall, leaving when the deputies arrived, this was sadly not the last attack before this son was permanently placed elsewhere at my begging - places where he routinely attacked others even with a large, male staff, armed with medications, to help quell these outbursts.

In his mind he could do exactly what he wanted, there was never a consequence, the deputies were helpless to do anything in these situations.

911 was called in Connecticut too, 26 fatalities too late.  The shooter's mom didn't even have a second to reach for her phone.

Warning Signs Came Early scream the headlines regarding this school shooter.  So dang what? Could something have been done?  If so, what?  What?

Because I have lived with disturbed children, a very small percentage of my family numerically, yet according to the impact that it has had, I need to use the word 'monumental' to describe the effects the violence has had on us all. It is frightening and disheartening, it is flat-out dangerous, traumatizing, and we were left hanging in the wind way too often.

Nowadays I honestly fear no one living here in our home, it's not a totally normal home, but compared to what we've endured it is stratospherically improved.

Our sheriff joined his deputies yesterday at all the schools in our county, a veil of confidence we parents should've then felt.  Not me, not really, as I know they can't stay in position forever, nor even could they be at one end of the school should something happen at another end.

Dr. Keith Ablow, a forensic psychiatrist, wrote the aforementioned article, read it and weep.

Sadly, now every parent in America is traumatized to some degree, not a one of us who send our kids to school doesn't now automatically cringe at the mention of a school shooting.  None of us ever considered the elementary school would be in this danger.  I sure didn't see it coming.

I wish I could type a list of points that must be covered, help that must be accessed, in order to prevent this from ever happening again, but the root of my despair lies in the fact that I feel there are no steps to be taken, nothing that can be done that'll give all of us any sense of security again.

Blaming others, resentful, withdrawn and simmering - words I've heard regarding potential shooters.  A sense of irrelevancy that escalates into a desire for notoriety. Then explosive events.

I wanna wash out my brain, I wanna be expositing on veganism or composting, not this.

Therefore I need to get a grip, get a hold of myself, quit dwelling on this tragedy and move forward, reminding myself of Sarah's mantra, "There is more good than bad in this world."

Lily had an art show up at the high school yesterday, well attended by her siblings and others, praise heaped upon her for her amazing talents, she came home so happy and chattering, that's what I love, love, love to see.

Amanda S sent me a Christmas card photo of her family that made me smile, my own children studied it intensely as they often do, always surprised to see other families that resemble ours.  


Mama Sarah said...

I pray for you, everyday. I have been so distraught myself I haven't done much but cry and hug my kids. My eyes are so red. Then I look around and I see others suffering with this too.

It could have been my daughter's classroom. I went to her school party Friday afternoon and just couldn't stop hugging her. My son has had nightmares about her being shot.

Was it mental illness? I don't know. I have birth siblings that would give your more troubled children a run for their money on behavior issues and life choices. They suffered no terrible thing in their childhood, they are just awful people damaging everything that crosses their path, family included. No mental illness diagnoses among them despite family seeking help for them.

Back to the question - was it mental illness? I wonder. Maybe it was just evil. I believe there is true evil in the world and it has nothing to do with mental illness.

I think Miss Sarah is right - home schooling may be a better option. I do not know. So I pray for all the broken Mama hearts out there and I wait for my tears to stop.

Cindy said...

And see? I wonder if evil is a form of mental illness bringing myself full circle in all my contemplations, who knows?

Jen said...

Through this excruciating ordeal, I keep trying to focus on the gifts that each one of the victims brought this world, and bring this world even now. When I saw the pictures of those babies, they looked like angel faces. The teachers have all taught us so much about love and commitment and even fighting evil. That's what I'm focusing on. I can't cry about them. Not yet. My heart would explode. I am still sobbing 2-3 times a day about the shooter and his mother. My fear of the pain my own children could inflict on people is devastating me. Problems that I do everything in my power to cure, treat, prevent, love through, avoid ... you name it, I am doing it. Then I sob in thanksgiving that his mother did not live to know what he did. I am so very very glad she went first, and fast. I hope she died in her sleep. She will never have to endure society's blame, hate and scrutiny for what her son did to those 26 people. Thank God.

Mama Sarah said...

It is so wrong to blame the mothers. I remember when the Amish children were killed and the parents immediately began comforting the family of the shooter. The Mom today is part of the life of one of the survivor victims. When grown children make bad choices, it is not the family that should be demonized. The Amish way is better. It just takes a lot of faith in God.

Here is a link to an article about it:


Cindy said...

Jen - my sentiments exactly