Friday, December 14, 2012

Thinking the Unthinkable

Michael holding a butterfly
In the wake of another horrific national tragedy, it’s easy to talk about guns. But it’s time to talk about mental illness.

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

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

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

“They told me I could wear these,” he insisted. “You’re a stupid bitch. I can wear whatever pants I want to. This is America. I have rights!”

“You can’t wear whatever pants you want to,” I said, my tone affable, reasonable. “And you definitely cannot call me a stupid bitch. You’re grounded from electronics for the rest of the day. Now get in the car, and I will take you to school.”

I live with a son who is mentally ill. I love my son. But he terrifies me.

A few weeks ago, Michael pulled a knife and threatened to kill me and then himself after I asked him to return his overdue library books. His 7 and 9 year old siblings knew the safety plan—they ran to the car and locked the doors before I even asked them to. I managed to get the knife from Michael, then methodically collected all the sharp objects in the house into a single Tupperware container that now travels with me. Through it all, he continued to scream insults at me and threaten to kill or hurt me.

That conflict ended with three burly police officers and a paramedic wrestling my son onto a gurney for an expensive ambulance ride to the local emergency room. The mental hospital didn’t have any beds that day, and Michael calmed down nicely in the ER, so they sent us home with a prescription for Zyprexa and a follow-up visit with a local pediatric psychiatrist.

We still don’t know what’s wrong with Michael. Autism spectrum, ADHD, Oppositional Defiant or Intermittent Explosive Disorder have all been tossed around at various meetings with probation officers and social workers and counselors and teachers and school administrators. He’s been on a slew of antipsychotic and mood altering pharmaceuticals, a Russian novel of behavioral plans. Nothing seems to work.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You know where we are going,” I replied.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

According to Mother Jones, since 1982, 61 mass murders involving firearms have occurred throughout the country. (http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/07/mass-shootings-map). Of these, 43 of the killers were white males, and only one was a woman. Mother Jones focused on whether the killers obtained their guns legally (most did). But this highly visible sign of mental illness should lead us to consider how many people in the U.S. live in fear, like I do.

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

I don’t believe my son belongs in jail. The chaotic environment exacerbates Michael’s sensitivity to sensory stimuli and doesn’t deal with the underlying pathology. But it seems like the United States is using prison as the solution of choice for mentally ill people. According to Human Rights Watch, the number of mentally ill inmates in U.S. prisons quadrupled from 2000 to 2006, and it continues to rise—in fact, the rate of inmate mental illness is five times greater (56 percent) than in the non-incarcerated population. (http://www.hrw.org/news/2006/09/05/us-number-mentally-ill-prisons-quadrupled)

With state-run treatment centers and hospitals shuttered, prison is now the last resort for the mentally ill—Rikers Island, the LA County Jail, and Cook County Jail in Illinois housed the nation’s largest treatment centers in 2011 (http://www.npr.org/2011/09/04/140167676/nations-jails-struggle-with-mentally-ill-prisoners)

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

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

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

This story was first published online by the Blue Review. Read more on current events at www.thebluereview.org


3,791 comments:

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Mallory said...

This sounds so much like my sister has been for more than 13 years, and she's now 23 and a mother herself. Praying for all families like us living in this kind of situation. Something must be done, not about gun control, about getting real help for mentally ill people and their families who live in abject terror. Love and hugs and so many prayers.

Christene Coop said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roto13 said...

I think Macey is a prime example of the horrible things that can happen when mental illness is left untreated.

Justin Stoleson said...

I agree that out of all this tragedy the primary question we face is one of mental health, and not just about the troubled souls who commit these acts, but also about the mental health of our society at large.

We are already many generations removed from the idea that education should be about raising better thinking, better understanding, more well-adjusted people. From grade school to university, our modern school system has basically become vocation-oriented; the subjects emphasized throughout (science, math, business, etc.) are ones which generally lead to more adults with jobs of particular use to the economy of the State, while the internal and existential questions of life are virtually neglected. These questions usually can't be adequately addressed at home either, as most parents were educated through the same faulty school system.

Is it any wonder, then, that the fields for mental treatment have proliferated rapidly in recent decades? Is it a surprise that issues of mental health are becoming increasingly prevalent? More and more youth are growing up to become internally stunted and rationally unequipped adults. Our children are becoming apt engineers, physicists, and economists who are unable to deal with their own humanity.

Our society's approach to mental health must change. Our society's approach to education must change. More generally, the prevalent, utilitarian-based worldview of our era must be changed, lest we lose touch with ourselves altogether.

Anna Armstrong said...

I absolutely agree that serious changes be made to the care and maintenance of people with mental health issues. Everything from the lack of available psychiatric therapists and counsellors(the cost of which should be free or at minimum subsidized), to the serious examination of extreme abuse of over medicating people with mood altering drugs when talk therapy and lifestyle changes could solve problems. However, the GUN issue in the USA MUST BE ADDRESSED! The availability of firearms to those with mental illnesses, and of course criminals, is a MAJOR factor in the ever increasing incidences of mass slaughter in the US.
One of the most ridiculous counter arguments to gun control is "guns don't kill people, people do"....well, Yes, that IS the problem!!
Dummy up USA, check your own stats....the average number of gun related deaths in most Western nations is 40-60 a year, it's 10,500 in the USA.
What else has to happen?
My heart is with those little innocent kids and their families.....God help them.
Anna A. Canadian to your North.

Linda Palund said...

Just want to say bravo. Your writing is both brave and beautiful and I will follow you now that I have found you. I am only a fiction writer, but I kneel at your feet.
Lindaura Glamoura
http://fictionvictimtoo.blogspot.com

Kidipede said...

Good for you! I have dealt with similar situations with my (now ex-) husband and you did the right thing. But you are going to need more help before you or your kids get hurt. He is too big for you, or he will be very soon.
For my ex, a long (nearly a year) inpatient stay finally gave the hospital time to figure out a meds combo that worked. It also gave me time to figure out a way to live that didn't involve daily crises.
Sadly, university insurance didn't come close to paying for that. The only people who will pay for that are SSI - Medicaid. Is there any way to get him on Medicaid? Resigning parental rights maybe?

In our experience, only Medicaid-accepting low-income mental health clinics were able to take serious mental illness as seriously as it needs to be taken. They have been miraculous for us.

In our case, we had to get divorced so he could get Medicaid. That's why he's my ex.

Also, I wanted to mention bpso and bpparent, anonymous chat groups where people like you face these same issues every day. They were the beginning of improvements for us.

Good luck!

Christene C said...

" it’s impossible to predict what will set him off." I know the feeling. I have this situation, but times two. I know the feeling of seeing that look, and you don't know in what direction the next 5 minutes, or three hours will go.I also have a situation with a female sexual perp under 18, ever try to get help for one of them? Does not exist,try this, go here, sorry can't help. It is never ending, more so when the job people are paid to do, they don't do. Yes, metal health providers, and the schools don't always help. They don't always tell parents when issue arise at school.They cover up what they don't want to deal with. When this young man killed those children, first thing that came to my mind, it was his revenge for not protecting him. This is what goes on in public schools, people think it's just bully's they don't protect children from? It's also sexual predators, the children she touched, the parents still don't know, and try as I might, they will not give me any information. So keep everything safe, I removed her from school, security everywhere, camera's up, gates on doors, knifes put away, and I sit and watch. Day in, day out, and wait, and pray. The answer is not more gun regulations, just look at Chicago for that answer, the gun didn't kill, it was the mental illness.

Kathy said...

thank you. so much. for your bravery and mothers heart. i wish I didnt understand it.

RG said...

I agree. I understand. I have been there. My thoughts are with you and all who live/have lived this. Thank you.

Terry A. Davis said...

How many human lifespans are spent waiting in security lines at airports vs lives lost to terrorism? We throw away how many lives if you add-up waiting in line. How many live-times are thrown away waiting in mental hosiptals?

Malian Lahey said...

Can you imagine the freedom that people experienced when they woke up in the morning, walked out of their tipis munching a handful of pemmican, and meditated on what they were planning to do that day? It astounds me when I think of how hampered, thwarted and forced our children are every day. I think the anger starts immediately - from mothers who "punish" their newborns with neglect because they didn't like some "demanding" thing the kid did to people I have heard of who lock a misbehaving child in their room so that they have to poop and pee in their room until they submit. Our mental health issues permeate every aspect of our culture. We didn't evolve in boxes, watching boxes, connecting only to boxes. Living organisms connect to us in a nourishing, satisfying way that cannot be replaced with often violent and overly sexual media that is unhealthy for children.

That said, you are NOT Adam Lanza's mother. His mother did think he had a personality disorder, according to his brother, but according to his aunt, she did not bring him for treatment. Contradiction much? Something was foul in the state of Connecticut.

tanamae said...

I would like to say I'm sorry for the pain you are going throuhg. But I would like to thank you so much for putting this out there because no one ever looks at it from the point of view of you that you have given. I agree with everything you have said and hope that the world will open their eyes and help people in your situation. I dont know you but I love you because you are helping others like myself who is a mother and does your best to rise a child with a disorder. You will always be in my prayer. May God bless you.

Tonya said...

Thank you for being so honest. I understand more then you could know. Matter of fact our stories so similar that it's frightening. My son is 17 years old, has pulled knives on me, been in and out of psychiatric help for a decade. Still I am told that there is nothing anyone can do "until he hurts me.". Does that really have to be the boundary? I send him to school praying Lord, please don't let him hurt anyone. In the mean time I reach out to anyone and everyone in hopes of finding help that isn't there. Everyone asks "didn't anyone see the signs?". Yes, we see the signs! We tell you that we see the signs! We tell you that we fear our own children. We are exhausted under a mental health system that has no answers.... No answers "until they hurt someone."

Chad Darnell said...

I have no words to thank you for this. This is so brilliantly written, and yet it comes from a truth that most all of us who read it, will never understand.

Thank you.

Moudy Elbayadi said...

Thank you for sharing your story with the rest of us. Saw this on FB. Hope this helps stir up a conversation and find real solutions.

NEGU

M.E.

mshank said...

You are the bravest woman I have ever known. Thank you for your honesty, your courage, your strength. You have inspired me so much with your words.

This tragedy has made a hero out of you.

mshank said...

You are the bravest woman I have ever encountered. Thank you for your honesty, your courage, your compassion. You inspire me.

This tragedy has made a hero out of you. You are pushing society forward twenty years, by helping to de-stigmatize mental illness. More importantly, you are showing that mental illness can stem exclusively from biochemical/genetic factors. You are clearly a wonderful, loving mother. Your son's behavior is not a result of poor parenting, neglect, or abuse.

Given this, we must continue to provide the families of the children who commit these crimes with an immense amount of sympathy and compassion.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

seymourblogger said...

Wow. I know how to help you and your son but it will be a huge huge amount of work. I truly don't know where to start. 13 is very late for this.
1. First read Dominique:Analysis of an Adolescent Boy by Francoise Dolto. You will have to get it at Amazon in an older copy.
2. You realize now, don't you, after this shooting, the paper trail already on Michael is going to put your teaching job in jeopardy. Prepare for this.
3. I tested Zprexa and one young woman in the study committed suicide on it. It is a terrible terrible drug. Women dropped out of the study like flies. Lilly still got it out in 90 days after the suicide.
4. I see you are at the end of your understanding and ability to cope.
5. Please do not start on the path of criminalizing your son as you were advised. It will ruin his life.
6. As long as he is telling you he is going to kill you you have a chance. Here's what to do instead of punishing him and depriving him.

a. Object oriented questions: Do NOT use the word "you" as that addresses his ego which is fragile to breaking apart.
b. What would be the best way to do that?
1. Continue asking object oriented questions on the process of killing you. If it's a knife, then what kind of knife? Where would it be gotten? How big? How little? If it's a gun, the same thing. TALK TALK TALK.
2. Dreams. Does he tell you his dreams. Stories? Do you read together.
3. What kind of school demands his pants be that color? I seriously think he is in the wrong place. He is a genius, of specific superiority, and he must be going mad at the stupidity of all he has to deal with and the fact that you are just not as smart as he is. Tell him you are not. Tell him it's so hard for you to keep up with him. You need him to tell you everything. At first it will be awful stuff and when that's out he can go on to other stuff. Can you imagine how he feels about a school demanding his pants be a certain color. If it would work, then just tell him you think it's stupid too (if you really do) but you don't know what else to do. Can he help you figure out a solution. I don't know where you live but you can email me at seymourblogger@gmail.com. He needs to see a superlative analyst. No psychologist is going to do much unless you hit the lotto win with someone. I will search your area for you and find if there is anyone who can help. Analysts are not usually covered by insurance. The profession prefers to remain as Freud set it up. Private. Just between two people. No state and diagnoses and medication. This is a long haul for you. Do you think you can do it?

Boosaurus said...

Thank you for sharing - putting these things into words is very brave.

I'm not sure you'll see this comment amidst all the others, but have you ever looked into Borderline Personality Disorder as being at least a part of the issue? There are lists of symptoms easily found online, although the disorder is notorious for being hard to diagnose.

If you feel that anything you read about BPD rings true, I highly recommend the book "Stop Walking on Eggshells" - it's not just a book that's exclusively for living with people with Borderline Personality Disorder, but for living with someone who exhibits any of the symptoms.

Much love.

Eric Williams said...

The problem is not your son, the problem is the external world that is crushing down on him and limiting his abilities to function. He needs a positive atmosphere and positive reinforcement. Having cops drag him off kicking and screaming to the mental hospital where they lock him up and pump him full of anti-psychotic medications that are doing god knows what to his body is exactly the kind of behavior that is going to assure that his negative tendencies worsen, and his growth is going to be severely impacted because of it. He needs a positive environment in which he can grow and take in information that interests him. He has a special mind that is capable of understanding much more than your average person--who is usually content with accepting a system that is designed at its core to dumb you down. This will make any smart person angry--as it has me--when you are fed B.S. and you know it. Introduce him to Alchemy, have him study the likes of Terence McKenna, Rupert Sheldrake, Albert North Whitehead, Aldous Huxley, Robert Anton Wilson, the list goes on. Surround him with positivity. Give him freedom to move. Most importantly, educate YOURSELF so that you may understand him. In this new found knowledge you will both be able to form a new vision of reality and learn the way things work in their most natural and fundamental sense. This will bring joy rather than pain and anger. Reality is a hallucination concocted by our brains. Memory is a fragmented tapestry patched with confabulation. Within those constraints, you and you alone must figure out the proper way to live your life. Hope this helps.

Rob Dodson said...

Jani Scofield was posted previously but I'll repost because it might be important:

http://www.janisjourney.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=106&catid=44&showall=1

The similarities between Michael and Jani are pretty striking.

H. said...

Thank you for sharing your story.

What was called a national emergency, an epidemic, in the hallowed halls of Congress on November 29th, 2012, has received nary a sound byte from the mainstream media. http://thinkingmomsrevolution.com/how-the-zimmerman-report-affects-us-all/

Unknown said...

People criticizing the mother in this situation have not been in her place. You can't "just treat as sane" someone who's holding a knife on you for insisting that he follow a rule, and with a record of poor impulse control could absolutely use it. THAT'S insane, that idea.

Emily said...

Your post honestly brought me to tears. I've truly been enraged at the lack of mental health discussion surrounding this tragic shootng. I cannot image the pain that the families must be feeling, however, for us to just sit around and post on our facebooks about how sad this horribly tragic event is, is not enough. I hope that other mothers and fathers and politics see the bravery and strength you exhibit in this story. You are a truly wonderful mother.

amberrogers said...

I would like to apologize for the douchebags who are criticizing you. You do not deserve their cruel words.

Stein Sorhaug said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stein Sorhaug said...

http://www.knowledgeoftoday.org/2012/07/owned-operated-documentary.html

Matthew Hildebrand said...

Your description of your son sounds a lot like me at that age. I had some pretty severe allergies that would mess with the chemicals in my brain and cause me to lash out / act out much like you have described, including once to the point of smashing through our house destroying anything in my path with my younger brother's baseball bat and then culminating with my first suicide attempt. Fortunately no one else was at home to receive my rage (and I can't stand the sight of my own blood I learned as I tried to slit my wrist). I don't know how my parents made it through all my crap without killing me themselves, but they did, and, more importantly, they continued to establish boundaries and consequences and to stand firm by them. And they got my professional help when they had tried everything they could. And looking back on it (having now outgrown said allergies, and the reactions that came with them), I am so grateful for everything they did, and especially that they never gave up on me, even for a second (or if they did falter, I have never felt or known it).

Dealing with my allergies, especially the food allergies, took a lot of time, patience, and money, but it was worth it. Several of the foods I was allergic to would cause immediate, or near immediate, reactions, but most were delayed reactions... by almost exactly 72 hours from ingestion - made things real difficult to figure out. Anyway, long story short, hang in there, at some point you and your son will hopefully be grateful for it, and see an allergist... a damn good one. It may not be the answer for your son, but it never hurts to check.

planner said...

If someone insisted that I wear a certain color of pants, they may very well get the same response from me. The difference is that I am not a child. For that reason alone my response is acceptable. If someone then decided that because I accurately insisted on my rights as US citizen and was frustrated and called someone a name they could then take my property from me I would be super pissed. But I am an adult. I can be super pissed. I can totally understand how a person as who is absolutely cornered would resort to hurting himself or others.
Have you read The Explosive Child by Ross Green?

John Bell said...

You should try various dietary changes, one which worked for us was the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) http://www.breakingtheviciouscycle.info/

Gayla Ignacio said...

My response to a Facebook posting of your article: I have to respectfully disagree with how amazing this mother is. Myself having a child with a major mental illness, I am disturbed that this mother would use her son in such a public way, even if it appears to be garnering attention toward mental health. There are much more healthy ways to highlight this issue then to sacrifice a 13-year-old child on the alter of public awareness. Can you imagine being that child and having his own mother give up on him in such a loud and humiliating fashion? I do not deny this mother's feelings of hopelessness, but out of her own need and pain, she has doomed her son, proclaiming him to be the next mass murderer, while she highlights herself as the martyr mother. It is inexcusable and smacks of attention-seeking histrionics and manipulation at her child's expense.

Jesse Huddleston said...

Thank you for sharing so candidly and genuinely. That's never an easy thing, especially when talking about things so close to home. I sense your sincere love and concern, and I want to validate that. And I'm not a parent, and I can't even imagine exactly how you feel. Still, I pray that you and your family are able to find the help and support you need. I pray that you find new ways to care for all of your children. Blessings to you and yours.

Mily Chu said...

may God continue to grant you the strength to find help for your baby. were all rooting for his health and the well being of you and your little family. I'll be praying for you. I wish I could give you more. God bless.

Healinghappens said...

My heart goes out to you and all families that are enduring this kind of situation. I can't imagine the amount of grief, frustration and fear you must face daily. I would recommend to keep exploring other options than what Western medicine has to offer. Acupuncture, BodyTalk, Homeopathic medicine, Ayuervedic medicine, Shamanic medicine, etc. all have treatments for these types of afflictions. Afflictions of the spirit. Wishing you a supportive and gentle journey.

Serenity said...

I haven't read all the comments so I'm not sure if anyone has suggested this, but have you looked into GAPS? The brain is an organ like any other but we tend to put it in a different category than all the others because of its complexity. When it is not properly nourished it can no longer function and the slightest imbalances can cause huge problems.

GAPS is a diet whose founding principle is that all diseases start in the gut. The atrocious state of the food we eat has damaged our guy's ability to absorb nutrients we need.

Anyway, it was developed by a neuroscientist who has used it with patients and seen sweeping success in curing things like depression, anxiety, ADHD, dyspraxia, schizophrenia, and even autism. In fact she is the mother of a formerly autistic child.

If you haven't already, please, please, please look into GAPS. The doctore who wrote it is Natasha Campbell-McBride and her book is called Gut and Psychology Syndrome. It's absolutely eye-opening and it has changed people's lives in miraculous ways.

The other thing is this: if you are a woman of faith, I would see if there is someone in your area who does Elijah House prayer ministry. They work one on one with some very heavy spiritual stuff. If you are a believer of even the smallest degree I would check it out.

My heart goes out to you as we'll as my prayers. I hope you find what you're looking for here.

Blessings,

Serenity

DeoSard said...

A 3 day stay at a mental hospital costs about $20,000. A psychiatrist costs about $300/visit, which is in most cases once a week. A psychologist costs about $300/visit, which is weekly. Most people don't have health insurance and if they do they cover very little with high deductibles. Perhaps if people with mental illness had an extra $2,400 dollars a month to spend on treatment then we wouldn't have the problem we have today. Most people with mental illness don't make this much money in a month, let alone have this much to get treatment. In addition, the best treatments with the best remission rates are the most expensive. A person born with an illness or a genetic tendency to acquire one doesn't choose to be sick. I like the idea of free health care for all. It's only fair and respectful. The mentally ill are already going through turmoil. High medical costs only exasperate illness, and deter getting treatment.. something all of society risks.

Yellow said...

Mental illness may be one factor, but there is something else here that needs to be looked at that was barely touched on.

"According to Mother Jones, since 1982, 61 mass murders involving firearms have occurred throughout the country. (http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/07/mass-shootings-map). Of these, 43 of the killers were white males, and ONLY ONE WAS A WOMAN."

Now wait a minute, over 98% of mass murders involving firearms are committed by males and no one has mentioned the role of dominant definitions of masculinity??? That is, masculinity AS violent behavior? We need to work on changing what it means to be a man. Unfortunately, our society is afraid to change this because overcoming homophobia is a necessary step in achieving that change. It is the fear of exhibiting traits that have been stereotyped as "gay"--soft, emotional, vulnerable, that feed into violent behavior as a performance of masculinity.

I do not doubt that some people are mentally ill and need help, but unless this is saying that men are prone to mental illness while women are not, then a giant piece of the puzzle is missing here.

I won't even go into the fact that 70% of these cases were committed by WHITE men.

As much as this nation has evolved, I still find we are terrified to discuss the role of the basics: gender and race. I get it, I get it. No one wants to come off as sexist or racist. That is not my intention either. But the crazy thing is that we continue to bury our heads in the sand when it is so OBVIOUSLY a factor as it is in this case.

seymourblogger said...

Mary Tyler first. I have been gluten free for about 5 days now. It is a miracle for me. I have had 5 years of intestinal problems and felt all the time like a colicky baby.

Victoria Champion after reading all these posts (I am retired but was a professional analyst)your comment was the most beautiful and I think the best suggestion of all.

The great modern Japanese writer Kenzaburo Oe who at 22 wrote the incredible novel Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids a sort of imaginary World War II novel of these children living in confinement. He later had an autistic child, found that there was no real available help so stopped writing and devoted his life to his son. His son is now an important composer and lives independently. I also thought of Oliver Sachs who has cured many incurable illnesses with music. So yes, let him enter a world of music. What would have happened to Mozart if he hadn't had that father and music. He was known to be an outrageous and vulgar man but such sublime music.

And Maycee I agree with you and you sound just like me when I began training. Direct interpretation does not work, but I am glad you said it. Soccer mom cannot cope and she is getting standard run of the mill advice from professionals who don't know what to do any more than she does. I believe these children are carrying the virus of the future we have secured for them. I believe they are adapting to their environment which if we sit quietly and think about it is totally mad. When we have a president who cries publicly over the CT children just murdered yet sends drones to murder children in foreign countries we see a man with a severe disconnect. Out government is full of psychopaths and sociopaths who are all masking their own insanity.

daughter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wendy Fillmore said...

Wow. You were almost describing either one (or both) of my sons. The older one was diagnosed with ADHD and depression, and probably has defiant disorder too - he's very stubborn, to say the least.

My younger son has been diagnosed with autism, Asperger's, and depression. He's now 6'1-1/2" tall and weighs well over 200 pounds. When he starts yelling and screaming about killing himself and/or others, they tend to take him seriously. Like your son, mine can be

daughter said...

Thank you. I have a different perspective on your story. I am one of your daughters.
My brother was in and out of hospitals and juvenile detention, attempted suicide in our home, threatened to kill my family, oh and all the while our father lived overseas. He was terrifying to live with. When you mentioned the safety plan I started crying because we had one too, but we got lucky. My brother is 22 now and while I still feel like his brilliance is wasted on his parade of short term jobs, I am proud and relieved. I feel so much for your family and I am so appreciative of your courage. I hope that we can provide better care for our loved ones who are sick. Please know that not every story of mental illness ends with tragedy, mine hasn't.
Again thank you.

Wendy Fillmore said...

...the sweetest angel you've ever met, but on those rare occasions when God-knows-what sets him off, he's downright scary.

Did I mention he's only 13?

I fear that they're going to start locking up all autistic/depressed/defiant children simply because it's easier than dealing with the problem. I find that *very* scary. Horrifying, in fact.

Here's hoping the mental health system gets fixed before that happens. All the best to you, and good luck.

Deepali said...

All my respect for you. I can only imagine your struggle, and I say that the way you're holding up is worth an applaud. Take care of yourself. I wish you well.

Unknown said...

Unfortunately, our 'mental health system' is broken, in more ways than one. Here's a frightening list, that flies under the radar, because 'mainstream media' can't bite the hand that feeds them: http://www.ssristories.com/index.php

Eric Sanchez said...

My heart goes out to you. I don't have any dealings with any people with any sort of mental illness. This isn't because I avoid them, but in my line of work I just don't come across it. However, my significant other is a special ed teacher for people with mild to moderate mental problems, and I am scared shitless for her safety every day. I can't help but think about if one of her many students will snap and get physical or worse yet take it to the extremes that some of these murderers do. What is even worse is that many of the parents don't give a damn about what their kids do. They almost have an out of sight out of mind mentality when it comes to their mentally ill child. I applaud you for taking the action you have as I know it was no easy task. I wish more people would take the initiative like you have.

Dan Raies said...

I don't really have anything to say, I just wanted to post a little bit of support.

john shearer said...

I have read every post on this thread. I apprecaite the OP for sharing this diffiucult story; i also think it is important for people like Macey to contribute to the dailogue. This conversation raises itmportant questions; how to provide help to indivuals and families; when and how to intervene for public Saftey and protect individual rights.

I recently read an essay by Marcia Angell "The Epidemic of Mental Illness: why?" I was horrified, and I pray this weeks tragic killing will begin a meaningful commitment for government + medical community - pharma to provide real help for mental illness.

Ginger said...

I have a son that sounds a lot like yours and I like you don't know what to do--it is my life's Greatest Gethsemane. He is almost 20 and I sorrow fearing his life's future choices.
I understand you-- to tears.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden said...

When I read Macey's comment, I don't hear insightful comments. What I do hear is an emotionally unbalanced man rolling up a huge ball of inappropriate anger and throwing it at some woman who presents a convenient target.

The behaviors Macey resents aren't evident in Anarchist Soccer Mom's essay. She hasn't failed to listen to her son, or be emotionally available to him, or understand him for what he is. She writes about him, and about her family's experiences, with clarity and compassion.

Macey's response is to accuse her of acting in bad faith, and tell her that it's all her fault for wanting her son to modify his behavior. His language is facile, abusive, and well-practiced. This isn't the first time he's delivered that rant. My guess is that his own mother has heard it many, many times.

In short, Macey is an example of the kind of problem Anarchist Hockey Mom is writing about. He's unbalanced, inappropriately angry, and lashes out at those around him.

Stop giving him positive feedback for doing it.

Dee Elgie said...

I work in a school for boys aged 11-16 who suffer from these problems. There are major violent outbursts on an almost daily basis and the 'fight or flight' instinct is always on high alert. I am not the mother of the boys I work with, but I feel empathy for their situations, sadness for their difficulties, determination to work with them to the best of my ability and hope for their futures. There are many occasions where the angry, violent teenage boy mask is hiding something more - fear, uncertainty, confusion, sadness, disappointment... There are times when the angriest and scariest of students look like all they want is a hug. As professionals within a school we can't hug the boys we work with, but I wonder how many of their parents do...? If a child grows up feeling no love, how can we expect him or her to learn respect? I am sometimes scared of the boys I work with, but I do my utmost to defuse situations with talking, humour, deflection - before I would consider any other course of action, and if I have been involved in physical restraint of a student, I'll be the one still laying on the floor with them when they are calm, just chatting about nothing much, and trying to remind him that in spite of what just happened, I am there for him, where I always am. I have also, in the past, stuck up for students against the word of fellow professionals, because sometimes you just get that feeling about what's the right path and what will not work... I wish you and Michael luck...but hug him, love him and remind him that he will always be part of the family. You've had some great advice from others...

Nobody's Child said...

I know exactly what you're going through. Been through it myself. I felt like I was reading my own story with my daughter, EXCEPT - we are successfully out the other side.
I sure wish I could talk to you personally.
A couple of things: First of all, I honest to God feel your pain. Been there, done that, got the scars to prove it.
Secondly, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is AMAZING. Seriously. There's nothing else like it, it changed our lives for good, and even though I reached out for help many times over the years, I'd never even heard of DBT until one of the times she was in the psych unit of a local children's hospital. Please, I urge you to find a DBT clinic near you ASAP.
Finally, if I had to do it over again, I would have had her arrested earlier than how it happened (but not for the reasons you suggest). Her psychiatrist had been telling me for years to do it whenever she would beat me black & blue or throw chairs at me or whatever, but I was afraid it would somehow be bad for her. Her night in Juvenile Detention was pivotal and eye-opening for her.
Now she's in college, living on campus, and is doing just fine, thank you very much. DBT, I'm telling you, it worked for us, maybe it will help you too.

Faith said...

What courage it took to write this post. My thanks to you, and my prayers.

pensive pumpkin said...

You are amazing.

I've suffered with depression since the 80s, and I am at least the fourth generation of my family to do so. Yes, we should be discussing mental health.

A thousand times yes.

Shea Sollars said...

There's an elephant in the room when I say it's no coincidence that "mental illness" percentages are on the rise.

You need to teach your child humility the way he has taught your other children humility.

Have you ever tried simply...

Beating your child?

"NO! I'M SUCH A GREAT PARENT! I DON'T HIT MY KIDS!"

Then why is your kid "sick in the head"? He's not sick, he just owns you, so stop making excuses.

Tough love is not taking something they love away. If anything, that seems more sick that just smacking the kid one good one on the butt. It's extremely manipulative, and any kid with half the wits of a parent will recognize that, and will not appreciate it, and will try to manipulate you right back. By the way, you're teaching your kids how to be manipulative.

Why can't parents just be completely open and straightforward? What's more straightforward than a spanking? Why does it have to be done out of rage, when we should be doing it out of love? Sit the child down, explain to him what you're doing and why, make sure he understands, then smack him on the butt with a wooden paddle or a belt. You can feel bad about it, it's perfectly natural, and it doesn't make you a bad parent. It makes you a teacher, because that's what you need to do when you've failed at all other things.

Don't get me wrong, you should avoid it, but you really need to take shortcuts with some kids, because the "no hitting" policy only works for parents that are actually smarter than their kids. You're being arrogant when you can't admit you're wrong, and you're teaching your child to be arrogant too. In fact, when you find out you're wrong about something, how about sharing it with your family, to encourage them to find areas they're wrong in as well? Better yourself so that they can learn to better themselves, instead of relying on you to do it for them, like you rely on society to do your thinking.

Seriously, think about this. If you've been sitting here shaking your head "no" the whole time you were reading, you just might be overly self-righteous and arrogant to ever admit you've been doing it wrong. Shouldn't you figure some things out for yourself, instead of letting society and Dr. Phil do all of your thinking??

If it's not society, then why is the "no hitting" policy new to this latest generation. Don't you realize that overnight, an entire nation let a television show convince them of a better way to parenting? Maybe you guys don't know about mass control, but we won't get into that...

You're the product of society, and I blame you, because you didn't even put up a fight. If your kid really is "sick in the head", I promise you that he didn't start that way. With all of this self righteousness, arrogance, manipulation, and confusion I see being set as the example, is it any wonder that the kid is "sick in the head"? He's just confused, very confused, and acts on impulsive habits you let him form through electronic use.

If I've gotten through to anyone at all, and you feel bad, then you should. Don't ignore that feeling, it's there to encourage us to better ourselves.

I urge you all to do some self reflecting and reevaluate your perspectives and opinions on morality, before you attempt to even go near the subject of teaching any morals to any child whatsoever. In fact, never stop reevaluating yourself.

If you don't want to hit your kids, that's completely fine, but at least put the blame in the proper perspectives.

Society says, "no one is perfect."

I say, "that's excuse for to at least try." The worst you can do is better yourself, and teach your children something in the process.

Bahadir said...

I might be wrong commenting from outside, but I think the key is that you must teach him to respect you, and make him love you.

Making the child fearful by saying "I'll put you to the hospital, I'll give you to the police" is a common mistake that parents make. Escalating his fears like that will make the matters worse, and even worse, he will start to have fears and doubts for other things.

So hard as it might sound in your situation, instead, you should make him listen to you, and to do that you should build up an authoritarian image. It should be that its not the police, but you who is the authority.

Secondly, there is a thin line between being authoritative and doing it too much. He should learn to love you and respect you as well, and have a bit of fear. I think this is the healthiest way. I hope this helps.

Shea Sollars said...

Btw, I don't mean to sound insensitive or anything... Tough love and all that...

underfiremom said...

Thank you for having the courage to write this. You are not alone, my 15 year old struggles with the same behaviors. When I hear about these kinds of tragedies, I fearfully think that my son could be capable of something like this. In fact, he is more awkward and less sociable than Adam Lanza is described as having been.

If it gives you hope, please know that after years of struggles and trying every combination of medication around, we have struck gold and are experiencing a happy, healthy young man who is mainstreamed at a normal school for most of his classes and functioning really well everywhere, especially at home.

Your courage to speak out gives hope to all moms - those of the perpetrators and those of the victims of these horrible acts of violence and all the others, too. Hope that there will be affordable, available, and competent care for our sweet little ones who struggle so much. And especially hope for you and your son.

A hug from a fellow mom. Hang in there and appreciate the good moments, no matter how rare or fleeting.

morganya said...

My heart aches for you and all of the other parents with children like this. I'm surprised that it doesn't look like it has come up, but there was a powerful New York Times article about a child that sounds a bit like Michael, and his parents' quest for what to do. It raises many of these same questions -- sadly, it seems that there aren't good answers, at least not yet -- but I do hope it's heartening that you're not alone, and that some researchers have been focusing on what they can do to alleviate this set of behaviors. I encourage you to read through it -- perhaps it will provide some useful resources? http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/13/magazine/can-you-call-a-9-year-old-a-psychopath.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Beau Murrah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rachel Weller said...

Let me start by saying that I am the step-mother of a mentally ill child. She is unlikely to commit the kind of horrendous act that is currently breaking all our hearts - but she is very, very troubled. She has been a part of the mental health care system since her father was awarded full custody of her 8 years ago. She was 8 years old, and removed from her mother's home for abuse and criminal neglect. Her husband enjoyed torturing small children in the name of Jesus and "Christian" discipline. Her father, my long-time boyfriend, also received full custody of his son, 1 year younger than his daughter. He too struggled with certain issues, naturally, but he is recovering nicely and is turning out to be a brilliant, gentle, talented, caring young man. Fortunately for him basic cognitive restructuring and behavioral therapy was enough, but access to the kind of behavioral restructuring my step-daughter needs is simply not available unless she does someone serious harm. I can say, without question, that the mental health system in this country is seriously failing. Until a horrendous act of violence or incredibly serious crime is committed; real, valuable psychological intervention is almost impossible; whether the signs of an impending problem are present or not.

A friend just posted link to this article on Facebook, I read it immediately, and it was heart breaking. As a mother, as a person that has experienced similar things, and as a conscientious citizen that is tired of things like gun control, lack of school prayer, video games, movies, and everything meaningless being blamed for the real core problem I feel so much for you. Mental health has barely improved over the days of shock therapy and lobotomies only in that bureaucracy will not allow real treatment until it is too late.

Rachel Weller said...

Let me start by saying that I am the step-mother of a mentally ill child. She is unlikely to commit the kind of horrendous act that is currently breaking all our hearts - but she is very, very troubled. She has been a part of the mental health care system since her father was awarded full custody of her 8 years ago. She was 8 years old, and removed from her mother's home for abuse and criminal neglect. Her husband enjoyed torturing small children in the name of Jesus and "Christian" discipline. Her father, my long-time boyfriend, also received full custody of his son, 1 year younger than his daughter. He too struggled with certain issues, naturally, but he is recovering nicely and is turning out to be a brilliant, gentle, talented, caring young man. Fortunately for him basic cognitive restructuring and behavioral therapy was enough, but access to the kind of behavioral restructuring my step-daughter needs is simply not available unless she does someone serious harm. I can say, without question, that the mental health system in this country is seriously failing. Until a horrendous act of violence or incredibly serious crime is committed; real, valuable psychological intervention is almost impossible; whether the signs of an impending problem are present or not.


A friend of mine posted a link to this article on Facebook, I read it immediately, and it was heart breaking. As a mother, as a person that has experienced similar things, and as a conscientious citizen that is tired of things like gun control, lack of school prayer, video games, movies, and everything meaningless being blamed for the real core problem I feel so much for you. Mental health has barely improved over the days of shock therapy and lobotomies only in that bureaucracy will not allow real treatment until it is too late.

Veronica said...

Love & prayers
http://m.youtube.com/#/playlist?list=PLAE9CC9AD9B009A34&feature=plcp&desktop_uri=%2Fplaylist%3Flist%3DPLAE9CC9AD9B009A34%26feature%3Dplcp

Jenn said...

We Need To Talk About Kevin by Shriver also talks about this.

I don't know what to say. I'm just here wondering. Why.

Carrie said...

First, please ignore Mel, Pete and Clara. Cherokeecreek is run by a group that is a mask for WWASP (world wide association of speciality programs), and these programs have a terrible history in their treatment of children. Most children will act well on visitations, etc because they want desperately to leave the programs. Please look up any number of wwasp survivor websites and testimonies just by using google. There are too many to name. As someone who went to one of their programs, they do not help. They do not help at all.

John said...

When I was young, I was semi-bi polar. I would pick fights in school/class from ages 4 thru 6. Then around age 6, I just started being picked on, I was picked on relentlessly for the next 8 years, til highschool. I went from being small and picked on and 'awkward', to being big, strong looking and people just left me alone.

The video games he gets into are fascinating, but you should be careful to pick stimulating but not 'bloody'/violent ones, things like Mario, adventure games, 'Dungeons and Dragons', Roleplaying games where he can explore his imagination are ways to stimulate a child with mental disorder.

I got so obsessed with legos, I would enjoy 'going to my room', and got sent there on purpose just to play.

Most people that get older and have HALF their mental facalties, can typically lead very normal, healthy lives. I focused on computer programming, found something I was incredibly passionate about, and my parents helped me learn and grow into exactly what I was passionate about.

Because of that, I learned how to control any impulses, violent, or otherwise. I still get the ocassional temper spat, but even my fiance doesn't see it, she might see me yell @ the computer screen for something stupid like missing a line of broken code, but I've learned how to control it.

Give your son patience, but you're doing the right thing by being firm on the "no video games". I agree with you, video games aren't the answer, as most games don't really spark imagination, rather they just are a distraction.

He sounds like hes fascinating, I'd even like to meet him or at least someone like him someday, just to see how their thought processes work.. I wish you great luck in what you're going thru, but I hope you understand that he will grow up, and if handled right, he will explode with awesomeness that you hope and pray for everyday.

Just remember, hes still a sponge, he can pick up anything that is around him, swearing and yelling is something he learned somewhere, so its important to keep that away from him. Kids, mentally ill or otherwise, pick up on moods.

Find something that he might get interested in, some small hobby, even maybe something like recycling old electronics, and letting him toy with mechanical engineering, or something smaller, science kits, biology, something positive like how life happens, showing the miracles of birth, or growth with an animal, fish, or something like that, maybe just a plant to start with, let him plant it, and track its growth every few days.

Focus is what kids like this need.

Good luck!

thomasmarkersn said...

why couldnt he go to school in different colour pants? A society needs to adapt to individuals. That's love. Your boy understands that - as the only one.

Jane Doe said...

Thank you for sharing. I'm sure others have said everything I could possibly say. But I want you to know something, what you're doing takes courage. I have a blog, I also have a mental illness & my blog is under a pseudo-name so I can be ruthlessly honest. I used to be, but the past few years I've been afraid to, afraid of what people will think.
The reason I'm leaving a comment is because of what I read today I'm going to start sharing the brutal truth of my illness, my life, what goes on in my body...thinking about putting it in writing almost makes me physically ill. You aren't alone. Your son isn't alone. I thank you - my soul thanks you.

Shea Sollars said...

Well said John. You told my exact life story, but you're a bit farther along than me.

Cathy Wagner said...

You're right that you're not alone, I'm dealing with the exact same issues with my own 12 year old son.

Kathryn said...

Sending my love.

Alexis Kelley said...

I am in awe of your courage in posting this blog and in living day to day with what has to be one of the most difficult situations one can live with. There is quite a lot of mental illness in my family and I have spent the last thirty years looking for answers. One of the most interesting things I've found is a clinic in Mill Valley, CA. It's called Recovery Systems Clinic. Julia Ross started it and runs it, and the underlying principal is that many of us don't have the amino acids we need to be… well, sane. Her books are The Diet Cure and The Mood Cure but, honestly, I think the only reason for The Mood Cure is that most people couldn't wrap their heads around a book called The Diet Cure being one that would address so many of the neurological issues so many of us face. She does have very plausible reasons for the obesity epidemic in the US, but the book focuses mostly on all the brain disorders caused by amino acid deficiencies. Here's the link to the book on Amazon where you can read the first chapter. When a got the book, I couldn't put it down. It may not be a "cure" but it might be something that could help tremendously. All my heartfelt good wishes go out to you and your son and you other children, as well.
http://www.amazon.com/The-Diet-Cure-Swings--Naturally-ebook/dp/B0083T6MKW/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1355653482&sr=8-2&keywords=the+kindle+diet+cure+julia+ross

Handelsblatt said...

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Your reporters at

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http://www.handelsblatt.com

Handelsblatt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Viktoria Michaelis said...

And it is also time that more employers took on some form of Health Care program for their workers. The sooner the better, and not just because it is legislated.

Eugenia said...

If medicine does not work for your son, please have a look at the GAPS and Paleo-ketogenic diets. These gut-healing diets have an immense effect on the brain (because the brain gets affected by the gut flora and glucose). Many kids with various mental problems got better on these diets. Please do an Internet search about it and don't give up.

Victoria Kamm said...

Such a sad, sad story. We as a society are complicit in using jail as a dumping ground for the mentally ill. And for every heartbreaking story like yours there there is someone else who believes more guns, more prayer, more jail is the answer. We wouldn't dream of taking our children to jail for treatment of a physical illness. We must stop being so ashamed of mental illness we demand treatment.

jistanidiot said...

I'm sorry but I agree with the kid, this is America he should be able to wear blue pants if he wants to.

thijs said...

I hope you will read this. I cannot help you with Michael but i give you an idea. Perhaps you should leave the country. To an country with a good health care system. Where they don't have to put your son in jail to start treatment. Perhaps Canada, or the UK, Netherlands, Scandinavia. They have al gort a metal healthcare system

DONTPUNISH,REWARD said...

original poster (parent) is doing a terrible job addressing child's issues.

Macey said it exactly on point. ctrl+f (search function) search for Macey and read the post.
This is EXACTLY my experience as an autism spectrum individual.

Original poster (michael's parent) needs to take a huge step back.

Punishing your child through illiciting an emotional response because he told you something you didn't want to hear is literally childish and unacceptable. And you wonder why your child, in turn, illicits emotional responses when HE hears something HE doesn't want to hear? the answer is because you are setting that example for him. Your child is the product of his upbringing and environment. You are definitely in part responsible in this regard. It is not your child's responsibility to be a perfect little kid that always tells you what you want to hear. It is therefore unacceptable to punish your child with the same repetetive punishments every time he states something you don't want to hear.

Take that step back and hear what he is saying without responding emotionally through punishment.
You need to be reinforcing in your son that it is paramount to happiness in life that we all
treat others the way we would want to be treated.

As you listen to his outrage WITHOUT illiciting an emotional response,
try responding to his outrage by CALMLY saying the following phrase in a RESPECTFUL, NON SELFISH manner:

"You know Michael, I feel hurt by what you are saying and I would greatly appreciate it if we would
all put forth a sincere effort to treat others the way we would like to be treated."

for real, this strategy changed my life when my parents FINALLY fucking figured it out.
sounds like it's time for you to FINALLY fucking figure it out, mom.

pagun said...

i think the mental illnesses we need to have a national conference about are MKULTRA and mass media brainwashing, because a lot of people are suffering. even after pearl harbor moving from the realm of conspiracy theory to conspiracy fact, (and 911 inside job but we wont talk about that,) people strangely have a hard time believing that powerful sinister forces would do a human sacrifice. cui bono? who benefits from this tragedy? gun control, and maybe the CIA who would have been the HISTORIC top story for this- http://collapsenet.com/free-resources/collapsenet-public-access/news-alerts/item/10330-cia-tortured-and-sodomised-terror-suspect-human-rights-court-rules except for the big distraction. yep thats my harsh view "DISTRACTION and Human Sacrifice" thats what those dead children are. if they were mine, i would want to know the truth, instead of some bullshit. i've tried to pay attention for many years to these mass murders, and theres a lot of weird things about them that just dont lead me anywhere else other than conspiracy and coverup. did you know that both Lanza's dad AND batman shooter Holmes' dad had serious ties to the LIBOR scandal which involves the entire criminal banking industry illuminati and the richest men on earth? go ahead and blame it on the autistic guy what a fucking joke. reminds me of some arabs with boxcutters.

Derpette said...

How awful of you to compare your son to Adam Lanza or Dylan or any of those! How do you think he would feel if he ever read this? Actually, from our text you don't seem to be concerned with your sons feelings, it seems like you're trying to get rid of him instead. Your child needs more attention than others but it might not necessarily make him a mentally ill child. I remember telling my mother I hated her countless times while I was growing up. As a teenager I was depressed and often thought about suicide. But I never considered myself to be mentally ill. Never took any medication, and here I am, 29 years old with no criminal record. I just think you should stop telling yourself you're powerless over him and treating him like he is a mentally ill child.

Natalie said...

Throughough the end of this week, since the news hit the wire about CT, I was waiting for this to become a mainstream discussion as it was certainly being discussed with the people that I love.

We have to do better to support parents like yourself. We have to.

My hat goes off to you (as well as the many other silent Moms) who is trying against MANY odds to work within a system to access help for your son.

Sending you love and support (albeit I recognize it's of little real help) from Atlantic Canada.

Audacityof Motherhood said...

Thank you for sharing this. I cannot agree with you more. I pray that your family and more importantly your son get the help you all need and that our country takes the mental health of our children seriously. No family should have to go through this.

Aero said...

No one wants to send a "genius Harry Potter fan" to
jail, sure, but let's not confuse your son for that. Maybe he likes Harry Potter, but he is also a violent, manipulative jerk who belongs in an institution.

DONTPUNISH,REWARD said...

aero, what you are saying is incorrectly judgemental. michael is a product of his upbrining and environment. his situation is easily fixable with the right positive thinking and communication applications.

DONTPUNISH,REWARD said...

refer to my initial comment as wel as "Macey" comment if you still don't understand

DONTPUNISH,REWARD said...

and just to clarify, if you didn't already understand this, no human being "belongs in an institution."

that is a silly notion that you need to expell from your brain.

all human beings deserve happiness and life in the moment.

institutionalization is not condusive of that.

Unknown said...

I wonder if Michael's issue is that he is hyper intelligent, hyper-observant, and systematizing adult behavior, applying the standard child "trial-and-error by mimicry" rubric for learning, and finding that 'being consistent' by responding to adult expectations with adult behavior is being met with an iron fist. Adults are hypocrites, and sometimes it is easy for children to see this ("kids say the darndest things") but you can imagine how for a hyperobservant systematizer that would be incredibly frustrating.

Perhaps it would be helpful to impart michael a solid moral framework based on first principles ("don't hurt others", "respect other people's privacy", etc.) and then be very very clear to him that not everyone will be perfect, not himself, not you, and especially not people outside the family.

With that would have to come a modicum of hands-off parenting; maybe the right answer is to start treating him like an adult, because that is what his brain is becoming.

Adults don't like to be imprisoned; and will throw tantrums when that happens; and like it much less when imprisonment happens in an inconsistent, or 'unjust' system. Like it or not, "traditional" parenting (which works great for most children) may simply be a prison for Michael... And you can empathize with his situation if that were true.

Just my 2c. I could very well be wrong about all this.

karatemom2 said...

I urge you to explore http://www.amenclinics.com/ to seek help for your child. I have been reading Dr. Amen's books and I am convinced that his approach makes sense. He uses special brain scans to look for over and under activity, especially as it relates to behavior. With this information, he can use medications more specifically to successfully treat the underlying pathology that is causing the behaviors. He may have the "answer" you need to help your child. These behaviors are not by choice and may not be caused by external reasons. Brain pathology must be identified, ruled out if possible, or specifically treated. You and others like you may turn you and your loved one's life around by investigating this doctor and his brain based treatments. Best of luck.

DONTPUNISH,REWARD said...

^ i sincerely doubt you are wrong.

if the original poster cares to actually listen to the commentors in attempt to gain some insight about the situation, she may find the application of the message you are stating to have largely beneficial results

Bev Okin-Larkin said...

I've seen people in these type of mental meltdowns where I work - and they are scary, but yet a part of me is detached - they aren't my flesh and blood. I cannot imagine the pain and horror you feel knowing this is the precious baby you brought into this world who has these issues. And the cloud it places over the entire family as you are responsible to keep them safe.... strength to you all. Thank you for your bravery in sharing your family's struggle...I pray it gets better.

Ana Duque-Higgins said...

Thank you for this... looks like it is going viral. I hope so.

Ayun Halliday said...

Beautifully, meticulously, and powerfully stated.

Motherhood is hard, but some mothers have it much much harder than others. It's easy for those of us whose children generally behave within a manner deemed socially acceptable (or close to it) to give support over the internet. But in real life, I know you are hoeing a lonely row. I will try to be more patient and compassionate today, to be thankful for what I've got, and to consider your situation before I open my mouth to bitch about some petty thing or another.

Thank you for writing this post - you are a wonderful messenger.

fakeemailaddress shemailcom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
magda pio said...

Thank you for this and sorry for you and your son's pain
xx

fakeemailaddress shemailcom said...

If you haven't tried depakote and xanax please do. Sigh he is so young.Prayers are with you.

My bipolar wife can do similar things if fed to much sugar/carbs and misses her medicine, especially when she was on lithium. I'm sure what you are dealing with is harder. We took away the lithium and no more violence.

fakeemailaddress shemailcom said...

My wife put my head through a wall once. Few months ago even. Literally. Ya can't fight back, she is your wife, you know whathappens when you try to hug/contain them. She is off of lithium and that behavior is gone. Don't lose all hope.

Margie said...

You are a hero, to our psycho-phobic society and to your son and other children. This is so well-written, and deserves to be shared as widely as possible so that people will finally start a conversation about how to treat mental illness as we treat heart disease, diabetes, cancer, AIDS, and other chronic illnesses - with dignity and respect - and research dollars. God Bless you and all the parents trying to help their children, be they young, adolescent, or adult. God Bless us all.

Kathleen Coe said...

Just a thought.....Gluten.....read this...

http://www.anchoragepress.com/news/the-gluten-made-her-do-it-how-going-gluten-free/article_39e2478e-4585-11e2-a80c-0019bb2963f4.html?fb_action_ids=10151368408162065&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_ref=.UMsUU27QUYo.like&fb_source=other_multiline&action_object_map={%2210151368408162065%22%3A533786229965707}&action_type_map={%2210151368408162065%22%3A%22og.likes%22}&action_ref_map={%2210151368408162065%22%3A%22.UMsUU27QUYo.like%22}

Claire said...

Thank you so much for writing this. Thank you.

collaborativewriter said...

You brave, brave soul. Thank you for telling people what you go through, bit by bit, step by step. Your information is NECESSARY if people are going to wake up to the realities of the tragedy of mental illness (no matter what labels we give it).

The Mother Jones article, btw, also has a map attached to it (click around on the article to find it) that shows where the gun-related killings occurred, and whether or not mental illness was considered to be involved. I mention this so you know that mental illness is NOT being ignored.

For you and the sake of your other children, please know that you did not cause your oldest child's issues. He is what he is. But the most telling thing you wrote, which reflects his pathological narcissism (as you have described it) is when he tried to get you to change your mind about his electronics' privileges. When you didn't relent, and you describe his eyes going hard and cold, PLEASE KNOW that that is the sign of incredible danger. Internally, pathological narcissists feel nothing for you. They say what they have to get what they want. I know because I was raised by two of them, one of whom was my biological father, who threatened my mother and me with a gun when I was about five years old.

Now, what I want you to know for your own safety (and I say this as a mother, from the perspective of someone older than you are, who cares what happens to you, because you are being so brave) is that you must get away from this oldest child as soon as you can. You're absolutely right; soon, he will be too strong for you to fight. Please do not become one of his inevitable victims. If you can find him help, so much the better, but you didn't cause him and you can't fix him. The best you'll do is survive him. I know you know what I mean.

We got away from my father, and that's the only reason I'm here to say this to you. I think you will hear me, largely because you're already seeing things so clearly. These poor people are born the way they are. Their inability to feel or express empathy is on a continuum. I had hopes, from your description, that your child was just "very difficult" until I read what you said about his eyes going cold.

That's not "very difficult." That's a lack of empathy that implies certain pathologies on the narcissistic continuum, the worst of which is sociopathy.

Good luck, best wishes. Please take care of yourselves.

Damien said...

Dear Anarchist Soccer Mom, Thank you for sharing your story. Hopefully having somebody living through this sharing their experience will help the general population connect the dots. The media often leave out what are usually important details of prescription drug history of these shooters, an important factors of their mental health. The debate is often reduced to just guns, when it is clearly more than that.

Unfortunately, I think that psychiatry (particularly when it comes to children) may also have a vested interest in not having all of this evidence come out, and may contribute to the fact that jails are the crutch supporting (and exacerbating) the mental health issues you have raised.

It is clear that the National Institute of Mental Health doesn't want psychiatric drugs brought into question - as evidence by the dismissal of Dr Loren Mosher.

I would be very interested to hear of your child's medical history as it pertains to the age and drugs that he was prescribed, to enable society to see if these are actually the seeds that may have caused you to be in the unfortunate position you find yourself with your son. Shedding more light in this arena (as you have done already) may be the most noble and productive thing you could do from here.

I noticed that you didn't mention trying no drugs and social therapy which data suggests has better success than "usual treatment" - which is usually a cocktail of neuroleptics.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qnryFXxl7yU

Feel free to contact me,

Regards,
Damien D

the other Sherry said...

You and your son will be in my prayers today - esp. at mass. You are right that we need a broader conversation - and practical ways of helping you and yours and everyone in your situation. God keep you dear lady and grant you and Micahel (and your other children who also need protection and healing).

The Golf Club at Johnson Ranch said...

this is incredibly well-written and touching. my heart goes out to you. thank you for writing something that we all needed to read, and to understand better.

while your son clearly suffers from a depressive/bipolar/mental illness - and there is no crime in that - the heartbreaking challenge is that in this world we who are not responsible for your son's care must simply protect ourselves just a bit more when he is around us and not doing well. we must - and you must, unfortunately - look out for yourself and your other children first. it is human nature. we all understand that.

it would seem evident, then, that you buying a gun - or ten - and making it accessible in your home is not a good idea. it would seem evident, then, that given the massive numbers of mentally ill people in our country and world - it is human nature sometimes, and there is no crime in that - that it would make sense to simply make it impossible for people who are unstable to have access to firearms. and since we can't know who will be unstable at times or why - as you so poignantly said yourself - it would seem evident, then, that just not enabling people to have access to such weapons at all would be a great place start. because - just like you - we must protect the defenseless and ourselves before we must protect those who might hurt others. it would seem evident that by restricting certain rights we might achieve that.

because, as one of my friends so poignantly put it yesterday, "It may be that not every freedom is worth the price that must be paid to keep it."

you said you are dylan kliebold's mother. you are adam lanza's mother. you are jared loughner's mother. i understand what you wrote and was very struck by it. but you are not their mother: you didn't buy a gun.

Aliza "La Jewminicana" Hausman said...

My mother was like this as a child. She was violent. Very violent towards her younger siblings. I didn't know this. She married my father and their marriage fell apart due to his infidelity and her mental illness (she hospitalized him). After my father left, she abused all four of us, her daughters, for years until we were able to run away. Though her mother, my grandmother, and many other relatives are AFRAID to get involved because they believe she is not only mentally ill but dangerous, they never intervened to help my mother or to help myself and my sisters when we lived in terror. I know what it's like to have knives thrown at me. I know what it's like to live with someone you think may kill you one day.

Penny Travlou said...

Thank you so much for sharing your son's story. My brother was diagnosed as bipolar with psychotic syndrome when he was 16 years old. He is now 37 and lives on his own with medication and monthly visits to his psychiatrist. He was senctioned twice at a mental hospital when he was younger due to his suicidal tendencies. In Greece where my brother and parents live, the mental health system is appaling. My parents pay for the private psychiatrist but the drugs which are very expensive are paid by my dad's state insurance. My brother is also taking disability benefits. My brother's life has obviously changed due to his mental illness. At school he was the best student in his class but at 16 he got sent to a mental hospital for a month. He never gave up hope though and he managed to get to the School of Art and finished his painting degree. He will never become though a famous artist as he is extremely shy and cannot be with people for very long time. He likes his solitude. One thing though that it is very different in Greece than United States is that private gun ownership is illegal. We are not a gun culture so I have never thought of my brother as a possible mass killer. The worst that could have happened to him was suicide that as it seems due to his very good medical treatment and my mom's care we wont have to go through such a traumatic situation. My advice is that you need to lobby for a decent state provided mental healthcare and a ban of privately owned guns. I also think that mental health is best approached through a more holistic perspective to overcome stigma.

Beth Hall said...

Thank you for sharing so vulnerably what so many of us do not understand. I am inspired to be a more active advocate for how we help parents and children.

Chanberry Ratty said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chanberry Ratty said...

To those people who think the author is wrong:

Unless you have walked in the author's shoes, I suggest you refrain from opening your mouth. I am sure that you are in no way a mental health professional, but are some right-wing liberal nutcase who believes in 'spare the rod, and spoil the child.' It is because of parents like YOU that there is so much wrong in the world today.

I have been this child and my mother was one of those who refused to give me any sort of medication to help me gain control the violent thoughts in my head, or the violence I would inflict upon others for no good reason other than something in my mind snapped. If I had gotten the help and medication I so badly needed as a child I would not be living with the scars of three suicide attempts or a history of violence. I am thankful that I never reached the point of taking a gun to murder people, but that is only because I had no idea where to get my hands on one...and those members of my family who had guns kept them safely locked up and out of reach. Ditto for anything I could have done damage with.

I am obviously doing okay now - with the help of the meds I should have had when I was a kid. So, to you and people who share the same thoughts as you: Until you've been there yourself, shut the hell up.

Shay Carr said...

I agree there has to be more awareness of mental heath issues and easier access to help for family and patients. I did not realize there was so many people who do not believe in mental illness they feel it is an excuse for bad behaviour. My stepson was diagnosed with bipolar mania a few years ago. I have had first hand experience seeing mental illness It does exist.
Every time, I hear of tragedies like Sandy Hook I worry about him. I know there are people walking among us who are sick and not being treated or not taking their medication.
I feel for you, love your son as much as you can. Fight for him to get him the help that he needs. He is worth it and so are you.

kates said...

In reading all of the comments in the last day 1/2 related to the recent shooting, I wondered why there was more talk about mental illness & less about gun control. After reading your blog, my heart goes out to you & your family. I am also deeply hurt by the many uneducated and rude comments this has caused. Reading many of the comments here, I can see most are sympathetic. However that's not always the case. At 18 I was diagnosed with bi-polar and suffered through young adulthood. When reading Macey's post, I wanted to jump up and say, wow someone from the other side, I can understand why many of you don't get where she is coming from & I get that we don't see where the family's are coming from. We are on 2 different sides. But we do have to stick together here. To this day my mom has little respect for my illness, when I was diagnosed, she would not accept it. I have been on medication since I was 18 & have lead a completely normal life. Holding down a full time job, while going to college & graduating with honors. My parents support me at when it's right for them, but other than that, they scream, yell & treat me like a child. My mom told me that she just can't deal with my illness any longer. I am in no way saying that this is your situation Soccer Mom, & I know it has to be difficult for you. I also think that it's important for people to understand that mental illness is not lumped together. There is a wide spectrum & I have read some acknowledge that, but the correct education is key to getting this out there, so the right assessments and treatments can be given. What scares me the most is the comments I have seen on threads in response to this blog and I have seen a few of them here. Ex: in reference to poster A Pshch Aide, first of all stating that having "patient advocates" are the most harmful thing to the mentally ill, because of wanting to be treated normal is ludicrous! You have no right to make that statement, there are awesome orgs such as NAMI who not only help the family's but are patients advocates also, which in some cases the patient has no one advocating for them. The 2nd comment you made was "In reference to people who are making comments along the lines of "society should learn to accept these people" I think you don't realize how dangerous that type of thinking is" It's people like you who put the stigma right back into people's heads, that make it worse for people who are trying to overcome that stigma! Why shouldn't people accept me? I have never even committed a crime. I am a productive member of society, a college graduate. Are you saying I am not worthy of your acceptance? And what if I didn't have my degree, or a good job, would that be a RED Flag on your radar? I am sorry and everyone that is effects on here should be just as outraged by this statement. The treatments for mental health have come a long way, even since I was diagnosed. Some meds work, some don't. And I have seen on here that others are doing great with diets. I personally do both and add exercise in the mix. But regardless not accepting someone because they have a mental illness that is pure ignorance. You are telling all the mothers, grandparents, friends, and family members that "oh it's ok to have them in your family - but watch out, it could turn tragic! You should be ashamed of yourself. Many of these children are having a difficult time, but all the more reason to not make them feel like they are not apart of the family or society, it is already difficult enough, trust me I was there. Parents, my advise after 31 years, I don't know. There is a ton of great advise here in this thread, I do a lot of mediation (I know that might be a little hard for the younger ones). But it's hard, I know, and I hope that one day they will get the mental health care system fixed. You Anarchist Soccer Mom and all the others that I have read on this thread - Including you Macey are in my prayers. :)

Suzanne Spector said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Suzanne Spector said...

Just curious, have you ruled out PANDAS syndrome or PANS as a diagnosis for your son? If the docs run an Anti-dsDNA antibody test and an ASO titer score and see any irregularities, it might rule out these conditions or bring them in as possible diagnoses. Frequently, symptomless, undiagnosed strep or mycoplasmic pneumonia can cause atypical autoimmune reactions that have a huge impact on the basil ganglia of the brain. I realize that I might be missing the boat completely on this, but if you haven't already ruled out PANDAS/PANS type illness, it would be well-worth consideration.

V.N. Raju said...

Well, the way I see it, no matter how real and pressing the problem of mental illness is; by not having easy access to guns, a mentally unstable and violent person can cause only a fraction of the harm to himself and others.

Ra├Čne said...

Thank you for sharing this and being honest about how hard it is to gt help in these situations and figure out what's best for your child. I'm am glad this post is being so widely read because people need to be aware of this, but I am sorry that it has brought out people who want to blame you for doing your best to deal with something that you had no control over.

My only child is still a preschooler, so I have not dealt with this personally, but I have a relative who has. She was a special ed teacher, a great parent, did everything "right" according to the latest parenting and educational theories, sent her son to the best schools and childcare programs, and gave him more than many could provide, yet she still has to deal with similar things to you, including threats of harm and actual physical abuse, all because she is still trying to care for her son instead of seeing him lost somewhere in the system. Mothers like you and her need support, both from individuals and the government or private charity, not a bunch of self-righteous people trying to tell you you're doing it wrong.

I have a feeling this post will be on my mind for a while and am sending thoughts and prayers for you and your son.

Oneofmarysgirls said...

Sobbing. Thank you for your honesty and bravery. It is such a lonely place to love someone so much that you are at the same time so afraid of... especially when that person is a family member. You are not alone.

Dave Troy said...

I was your son. I was violent, abusive to my parents, threatened suicide routinely.

I have a high IQ and am now a very successful serial entrepreneur, married with two great kids. Pretty normal, as things go.

Stand by your son. If he is like me, he is not ill — he is bored. He is angry because he is struggling to find meaning in the life you are presenting to him.

You obviously need to deal with any real or threatened violent behavior as an immediate concern.

But... if you medicate him, you will crush his genius and very possibly his soul. Engage him in something he finds truly meaningful. Take him out of school. Send him to a gifted and talented program. Enroll him in college. Do whatever it takes to engage him.

Everyone has gifts. People get angry and do crazy things when they can't find meaning. Help him find true meaning — and I'm not talking about God or religion (though that may be something that resonates with him.) Find a way for him to give back and truly engage.

My bet is he is bored out of his mind. That was my problem, and as I have learned how to engage myself meaningfully in society and fully utilize my talents, everything fell into place. Your son is craving the same thing.

And don't discount the possibility that you may need to move somewhere, like major city, where he can find peers. Suburban life is toxic and isolating.

Lia Hadley said...

I can't imagine what you are going through with this situation, but if i can add my 2 cents as a nurse, I really believe that a lot of mental illness can be improved by nutrition and supplements. If you never heard about it, I suggest you read everything you can about orthomolecular medicine and mental illness. Even a lack of magnesium can trigger depression. Our bodies are not lacking medicines, they are lacking nutrients and ways to heal themselves. Environmental pollution also adds to the problem, mercury can make a person go crazy, so it is no surprise when more and more kids are being affected. I have one son very intelligent but that seems to have 2 personalities, the calm one and the hyper one. And I have found that nutrition and supplements can help. There is a good multivitamin called kids calm multi. Also montessori schools are also good for kids that are very intelligent. I recommend you start by readind Optimum Nutrition for the Mind by Patrick Holford. Wishing you the best.

BifocaledOne said...

I am frozen in my tracks, thinking. About how important it is that this mother can articulate her family's situation. About how this message really needs to be heard. It needs to go in front of our lawmakers. Our system is a reactive one; it needs to become proactive.

Malian Lahey said...

You know what? Maybe you really are sending him to hell. I think that if my kid said that to me, I would consider saying "screw school, screw my job, screw what everybody thinks. I'm just going to sit here in my car and listen to what my son thinks hell is. I'm going to listen to why he is willing to commit suicide over the color of his pants. What does that all mean to him? But you have no idea. And you are sending him to where no one will ever find out. He will never be able to express himself, he will just be suppressed the minute he does anything that anyone considers abnormal. He's your kid, so he's your responsibility. And if it takes every hour of your life for the rest of your life, you should be the one to figure him out, not pass him off to psych prison and - you are even considering - inventing a crime so he will be sent to real prison. That is hell, to be taught that you are so unworthy of your own mother's time and attention.

MR said...

Thank you for sharing. This is so sad and unfortunately so common. Have you ever looked into biomedical treatments? I know some people say it's a bunch of B.S. but I believe it is not. My children's psychological issues did not get better until I was able to find a doctor that was willing to look outside the box and treat the whole body as one. I really feel like MOST psychiatrists and pediatricians do not care and do not stop and think for a minute about what these mothers go through everyday. Cause if they did there would spend more time researching the problem and trying to find out what else can be done. After seen a Dr. that went the extra mile and really did that it really changed my life. Have you ever looked into PANDAS? I could recomend a few doctors if you wanted.

olya maidanyuk said...

Can be a buddhist masters a help? a lot of them were forced to leave Tibet and continue their practice in USA. what u called a "mental sickness" seems as inability to feel compassion to other human beings, to be gracious to another and that's what buddism can give Michael.

Jayne Athey said...

You are an incredible person, with an incredible burden on your shoulders. But keep looking - there are answers! The more that this becomes an issue with our children (6000% increase in autism, not to menton all the levels of damage in between), the more we HAVE to find answers. How many more of these situations are we creating with forced vaccinations and over-usage of drugs? The doctors need to wake up! The good news is that they are seeing great results with natural and homeopathic solutions. If you do a search on homeopathy and autism you'll find the CEASE program as well as several blogs where mothers are sharing their progress and success. I also believe in detoxing to pull the mercury back out of the system from the shots.

I hope that you find your solutions and I wish you the very best results. Thank you for your bravery and your willingness to share with the world to help people have a better understanding.

Frank Willwerth said...

Thanks so much for sharing this, my friends son has similar problems and it is so heartbreaking to see someone so young going through so much turmoil.

teresa champion said...

There are several descriptions you use that make me think your child has PANDAS or PANS. One is an autoimmune disorder that results after strep and the other can be bacteria or viral.

-Dilated pupils-- yes the size of saucers, his pupil completely overtakes the iris. this usually precedes a rage incident.
-sudden onset of OCD/tic behavior with increasing anxiety- we always just chalked this up to autism too.
-OCD thoughts and comments that are risky and have no basis in fact. repeated over and over...because they are compulsive.
-depression.
I am betting he has regressed at school too, particularly his handwriting and in math skills.

take a moment from reading the posts and go to http://pandasnetwork.org/ read the symptoms. also look at the Latitudes ACN forums on PANDAS and PITAND.
this is a real diagnosis, although controversial in the mainstream medical profession. many of us with children with autism are seeing it but it strikes neurotypical children too. Lyme, mycoplasma and other opportunistic infections also come into play.
Psych drugs don't fix this. You have to reduce the inflammation in his brain.

WendyM said...

May I suggest (since I have been there with my own son who has a comorbid diagnoses of PDD-NOS,Bi-Polar & some think scizophania) that you see if you can take him to a place called KidsPeace outside Allentown PA. I am fortunate that they are within a few hours of me but they helped so much.

My son is no longer a threat as long as he is medicated properly...he tried to choke me in a rage - that was after several other times as well.

Our kids are not BAD kids - they are children who have mental illness that NEEDS to be treated. Yes once they get to a certain age we can no longer tell them you must take your medications but my son knows that what happenes when he does not take them is scary and he could end up hurting himself, others and/or in jail that changes his mind.

He wants to make friends & do the best he can to help others. Just with out the medical help his brain needs (just like a person needs insulin etc).

Lori said...

Wow! What courage to share your story and what courage it takes to confront these painful situations on a continuous basis. Both of you are hurting and both of you need help to get to a better place. I will pray that help will come for the both of you and all others that deal with this. I imagine the lonliness and feeling like no one understands. So sending you hugs and love your way to both your son and you and the rest of your family that lives with this. Hang in there you are doing an awesome job and he is blessed to have you for his mom!

Kimberly Booth said...

I could have written this article. However, when a treatment center was ready to discharge my son he went to live with his father. His father has a DVO and child abuse charges. Nobody cares about these kids. They want to get them out of the way and wash their hands.
I see all of the "suggestions" to contact NAMI and this organization and that. Please.....done that too. I am waiting for something horrible to happen. Between my son, his father, the mental illness, impulsive behavior and access to firearms. Something will and all of the social workers, legal professionals, and mental health experts will be to blame.

Jessica Finley said...

Thank you for sharing your story. I hope and pray we find a way to help people in need. I find myself in a related situation, where my Sister needs mental health assistance for her depression and increasing self-destructive behavior, and she has been told that until she tries to kill herself or someone else, no one can do anything. You are not alone in this, and I hope we can find help for your son and my sister.

Florian de Wit said...

So impressive. Really no fine words to make it all better. In my experience you are doing the best you can. Sometimes its better to let them go and to keep them at arm-length.
My mother in law stopped sheltering her son who was violent and easily influenced by others. He wasn't welcome anymore and eventually got arrested and ended up in two prison fascilities. But they stayed in touch..somehow. She always tried to convince him that whatever he did, she would not forgive him, but would try to help him if possible.
Guess thats the only thing she could do. He is still messing up his life, but is quite stable at the moment.
Of course no real comparison. He was already 18, but my mother-in-law said that she noticed something was wrong at a much earlier age. No doctor or teacher backed her up so she struggled on until the day came that she had to convince herself that she had tried everything in her power to save him and others around him, especially his younger brother and his older sister, who is now my fine wife. In the meantime we are raising his son...a different story al toghether but of course strongly related with all the above.

Excuse me for my poor English. I'm Dutch. Gods love and strenght to you all...

Gary said...

A big difference between you and Adam Lanza's Mother is that you wouldn't take Michael to a shooting range and teach him to shoot. Nor would you have your guns accessible to Michael.

Rachal Bales said...

You need to know that you have a strength that so many parents struggle to find. My oldest has rages followed by deep depressive episodes. But I have not had to go through anything near what you are dealing with. I'm sending you prayer and positive energies, and I hope that society will somehow come to it's senses and recognize the truth of your message: mental health is not a "luxury" nor is it a waste of state resources. It is critical to any society that hopes to measure its success by the lives of its citizens. Many blessings to you and your family.

Aputerbrat said...

My heart bleeds for you. I have a brother who is bi-polar. The flip side of this story is that there are those who are high functioning, never violent. At worst, verbal outburts. My brother is one of these people. He takes his medications and has lived a successful life. He has worked as an accountant and has held the same job for 35 years. He was married for 18 years and has 2 children. He has the biggest heart. The medications he was taking damaged his kidneys and they had to change them. During the period he was in transition from the original meds, he was struggling to maintain normalcy. His ex-wife divorced him during this time and took his kids away from him and constantly cries about how dangerous he is. She constantly tries to spread lies and tell everyone, including his employer that he's a monster. And because the judicial system has to be careful since there are children involved, they have to take his ex's side of the story seriously. I understand that I really do. He's not a monster. He's never hurt anyone physically. She even admitted to the judge that he's never done anything. So there are people out there who use someone's mental illness to prevent them from living life and having the same rights as any of us. She has exhibited more mental illness than my brother ever has. I agree that there needs to be more education. There are too many people in this world who are extremist and unfortunately you cannot get to all of them. But I want to thank you for sharing your story. God be with you.

adam said...

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v408/n6811/full/408425a0.html

Mrs.T. said...

My own son is much as you described. ABA therapy did help him, although he is far from able to live an adult life successfully. I often worry that he will go off the deep end and hurt someone. Not all special ed. classrooms are babysitting. I am a special ed teacher and students in my classroom are taught. There are those of us out there that try to educate children in between the violent out bursts and uncontrollable behaviors. God bless you and yours.

Amy Christiansen said...

Thank you- you are a very brave woman for posting your story. It brings me to tears. We need to make BIG changes in this country. Help and health care for all. Mental health care especially for those who need it. Can we PLEASE take away those assault weapons as well?
Thank you for sharing your story.. it is TIME to discuss this as a society and SURELY make some changes for the good. WAKE UP PEOPLE.....

Pattern and Perspective said...

Omg, I am almost in tears. Saddened thing I have read, but such truth. You do need help, for you and your son...but where do you go? I hope someone reading ths has the means to get you ll help! Someday you should be able to not be scared...and never worry about sleeping or wing in th same place as Michael. So sorry you are going thru this.

Lainie Mac said...

My heart goes out to you and Micheal. This is so powerful and open and I thank you for sharing this with us.

Shelby Law Ruttan said...

All I can say to the negative commenters here - Do not judge another person unless you have walked in their shoes. I have had no experience like many here have testified to, I have been very lucky so far in my life and my children are now adults. The most I have had to worry about is "are they safe". I cannot imagine the heartache and misery many parents are going through and I have deep compassion for those who are having such a rough time. I have no problem with soccer mom talking about her situation here and it irritates me that people are putting her down for it. She has a right to feelings also, not just her son. I applaud her for doing only what she can....whether others think she is right or wrong - to me it doesn't matter. If she feels what she is doing is right, then that is what she should do. Don't judge her because you think you "know" her situation. I doubt you really do unless you are her.

Soccer mom, my heart is with you and I hope that whatever venue you take is one that works for you and your son. I know I may be a "nobody" but I support you 100 percent because I feel that in your heart, you are a mother who loves her child no matter what and want only what is best for him.

Paintdancer said...

I don't believe your son belongs in jail, either. (or a mental institution either for that matter!) A couple things you said stand out in my mind as red flags- sensitivity to sensory stimuli , highly intelligent, creative,etc. It sounds like your son is an HSP-a highly sensitive person. HSP's are not respected in this country and are very misunderstood. Please read Elaine Aron's book, as well as her book on parenting an HSP. I finally diagnosed myself as an HSP recently after 61 years on this earth, and it provided me with a new-found respect, understanding and love for myself, something I could not find before because I thought I was weird, anti-social, neurotic and a misfit. Good luck and God bless to you and your child. Here is the link as well as a test for HSP: http://www.hsperson.com/

sunnydaa said...

We need to talk about guns and mental illness. We can't forget one to address another. Guns are too prevalent and easy to acquire. Period.

By the way, I've been in that car and things can change with the right support, diagnosis and medication. Stigma or lack of education in dealing with a situation like yours can be a problem even if health assistance is available. People need to know how and when to get help. No one imagines themselves in that kind of situation before it presents itself.

Harley May said...

You are a strong and amazing woman. All the gun talk out there has it's place, but I first thought of his mental illness. There's a problem with the way our country handles mental illness.

People say, "who in their right mind would...."

Exactly. People who commit these crimes are not in their right mind.

Sprinkles said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Agoolca said...

I would like to ask for your permission to translate and publish this post with link to original source. I run a blog in Poland, that collects different autors sharing their view on parenthood. PLEASE contact me at redakcja@magazynkaruzela.pl and I will provide more information. Best regards.

Concerned Citizen said...

What you are going through with your son takes immense courage and sacrifice. Who knows what the long term outcome will be for your son and the emotional impact on the rest of your family. I pray that your situation is resolved with appropriate help from the 'system' but as you pointed out, the 'system' is broken. You are 100% correct, these mass killings are a result of a broken 'system' where parents of children who need help are living on the edge. They don't want to send their child away and yet are worried what their child might do when the child turns into a grown adult.

Jesse Lawrence said...

Your post reminded me of trying to navigate the system with my mother when her Alzheimer's became unmanageable. My dad was under constant threat and there were several times when she became violent while we were driving. Getting calls from my dad who would be forced to hide in the bathroom until me or my brother could come and calm her down...and then being told at the hospital that "she is of sound mind" and there is nothing that they can do. In the end it took a social worker who "got it" and was willing to admit her so that we could get her into the system that would allow us to get her into a nursing facility where she has been properly cared for since.

I am a divinity school student and a body worker and beyond saying thank you for sharing this, I want to let you know that I pray for you and encourage you to work hard to find balance for yourself so that you can be whole. Find a gifted bodyworker with a sliding scale in your area so that you can receive some come compassionate touch. Touch that isn't sexually charged or needy and that can help you heal some of the negative physical language that you experience with your situation. Holding you in peace. Thank you

N Hayes said...

You might be made saint for sharing your story. But I have to wonder, why is video gaming being used as a reward? It could very well be a cause.

sunnydaa said...

btw... I did the same thing and drove straight to a hospital. In the end it was a respected child psych and a choice towards Welbutrin, typically not prescribed for chidren, but it's been an amazing turnaround.

Theresa said...

I have a daughter with severe bipolar disease. She cycles so rapidly that not one medication works for her, and she has tried every single medication plus some that potentially could have treated maybe one or two symptoms. Nothing works. Three day stays at mental wards in hospitals leave you with doctors who are clueless and kids so doped up they cannot function in the real world. And I am a Social Worker. One who is ASHAMED of her entire profession, because 90% of them seem to be idiots without any ideas how to treat the illnesses of the clients under their care. And I am ashamed of a society that deems mental hospitals - GOOD mental hospitals for long term treatment - unnecessary. The problem is only getting worse - more and more children with mental illness that does not respond to traditional treatments. Your post may have enlightened people to the problem everyone wants to gloss over. Bless you and your son. I hope a solution is found soon. You may indeed need to contact the police. But I have no doubt you are strong enough to do the right thing.

Dee Blascyk said...

I too am the parent of "one of those kids" at least that's how we frequently hear him referred to so I totally know where you are coming from. We have seen I don't know how many doctors who are "the best I'm their field" yet it still gets put back on me or just let the system take over. Like you though I have been plugging away and every battle is met accordingly. Kids know the "safety plan" and that Bubba is sick so we have to be understanding. 9 years of fighting and happily he is still not in the system and God willing he never will be. Thanks to him though I have found my calling and am obtaining my degree to be a children's councilor so maybe I can help others like him and your son. I wish you all the best and am here for you if you wish to contact me for support. Good luck on your journey.

Lauren Rankin said...

A powerful and important piece. Thank you for your bravery and insight!

Sprinkles said...

The author deserves credit for pointing out that the discussion on mental health needs to happen. To say that and mean it -- no matter where that discussion may lead -- takes genuine courage.

With that in mind, I would like to point out the possibility of narcissitic behavior in the parent, which can be very difficult on children. Indeed, pathological narcissism is a problem of mental health.

If you read the previous posts on this blog, all of which are very well-written, you'll notice a few recurring themes (among which war and death are brought up frequently). The author seems to experience conflict with many people in her life: an ex-partner, a former coworker, an unnamed organization, and others. In some posts she describes her own beauty and talent, presenting herself as a victim of circumstances while the universe, as she puts it, leaves "piles of manure on her doorstep". Indeed, in this post, which is particularly well-written, her child's behavior appears to come from nowhere.

In one post, the author even talks about using social media to reflect a carefully crafted persona to the world. Given that there are several comments on this post hailing her as "amazing" or "a hero", she appears to be successful at that.

I sincerely do not wish to beat up on the author. But I do feel this is the writing of a person, a gifted one, who happens to engage in some self-centered behaviors and ways of thinking. Perhaps if she were to acknowledge that, there is an opportunity to become more selfless, practicing more empathy toward others, which may put her in a position where she is better able to help her son.

Becky said...

Thank you for sharing you and your son's story. I will not claim that I know what you're going through, but I will say that many of the experiences you share are very familiar to me. About Me: http://involuntarytransformation.blogspot.com/p/about-me.html#.UM3Yxm_LSOU

I hope you and your children have a Happy Holiday season.

shakalahar said...

Thank-you both. Your words express exactly where I was at when I read Maceys words. Macey, blaming the world is exactly the frame of thought that makes senseless acts of violence happen.

Alice Langholt said...

I'd like to suggest that there are holistic methods that can be effective and offer new hope. Naturopaths have methods and knowledge that allopathic medicine does not. My daughter had anger outburst issues and holistic therapy made a life-changing difference.

BanjosMom said...

I have been where you are now. I was the single mother of an autistic child and a bipolar child. My experiences were nearly identical to yours. In the end, I was able to save one child but not the other, and that loss haunts me.

What I find saddest, however, is that the responses you are receiving are identical to those I got twenty to twenty five years ago. I'm so sorry and disappointed that you and your son are not getting the kind of help he so desperately needs, and you are not getting the support you deserve. I will think good thoughts that your eloquent and very well-written post will bring you the help and relieve you both should have.

Laurie Blair said...

I live in Connecticut and our hearts are pretty heavy here right now. There have indeed been closings of mental institutions here and mass releases of patients back into "society." Everything is "mainstream mainstream mainstream." Not everyone is able to live in the "mainstream," though. If you want another illustration there's the case of a patient on a day pass from a state hospital near here who got ahold of a knife and stabbed a little girl to death at a street fair. Remember this a couple of decades ago? It sounds like you are doing your absolute best with this situation. Just as when orphanages closed en masse and kids were sent to foster care which was, sadly, often under par or even very harmful, mentally ill kids are now kept home where parents and teachers are expected to give them the care they need. It doesn't work this way -- there aren't enough resources, medical care is difficult if not impossible to get, and untrained personnel cannot recognize symptoms or be expected to know what to do. I am not saying kids should be institutionalized for behavior disorders or even some mental illnesses. But that resource needs to be there and it is not. Good luck to you and your son and your family. Thanks for your sincere and honest post.

Stuart Glendinning Hall said...

Maybe your son is smart in a way I called 'thinslicing'. He sees a great deal more in the world around him than most people, and so he reacts more, as a logical result. Understand and respond to him on that more perceptive level may at least give you some greater insights into what contributes to his reactions.

Cyndi Calhoun said...

Thank you for sharing your story. I will be sharing this ALL OVER. We desperately need a discussion about this in this country. Our country attaches such a stigma for mental illness and why? It's an illness - different from physical illness - but illness no less. Your story is incredible and I wish you the best in the days and months ahead.

Adam Mikael said...

Hello!

I grew up a lot like your son, and did awful and awfully similar things to my mother when I was a kid.

Things changed. I grew out of it. Middle school were the WORST years of my life, and I became violently idealistic and needed to be removed from the public education system.

I grew up, though. I grew out of it. And I am closer now with my mother than I have ever been.

I wish you all the best, and I hope that your son, like me, will grow out of his awful ways.

Enterprize1 said...

Please, please stop walking that path you are now.

I was just like your son and if you continue to send him to the hospital he will never respect you, because he just sees you as the person who sends him away.

Get him tested for allergys and although it wasn't the case for me it is a possibility.

Your son propably has a lot of aggression bootled-up inside him and he doesn't know how to deal with it. It is very likely that he doesn't really understand how to deal with people of his own age, because he is lightyears ahead of them in his cognitive abilities and for that he is seen weird and beeing bullied.

That is just one example where his aggressions come from, you need to look for a "thing" where he is forced to go periodically and can't avoid it. Almost certainly he allready expressed his unwillingness to go there, but you thought that this wasn't important. Try to find the reason for his anger problems and remove or lessen it.

His second prevailing emotion is that he is bored. He propably knows noone equal to him, who really understands him. Some people mentioned MENSA which is a great idea, sadly around the place I grew up there was none, but it will help him greatly if he can talk to people in his own "league".

As I wrote: For me it wasn't possible to meet such people, but I found something of (nearly) equal value: This was to find a task, a mission, a quest where I really could put my brain into. When I was the age of you son I started to see computers not just as game machines but as things that I could manipulate and that would follow my instructions completly unlike everything I knew before. I now make a living from programming computers.

Hopefully you read and could understand my comment (english isn't my mother language, sorry).

Please don't try to fix Michael with drugs. We, the world, need smart people like Michael to face the problems of the 21st century.

Finally I have three comments which resounded with me the most.

Victoria has a great idea with music. I never tried it at that age, but currently I hear music like that all the time to keep me calm and focused.

Unknown makes a point about seeing your son more as an adult, which he atleast intellectually is.

And Dave is just right.

Michelle S. said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story. As a mother, this hits so close to home. My heart goes out to you and Michael, as well as the other mentally ill patients who have yet to receive the help they desperately need.

Hanna Rosin said...

ASM - This is Hanna Rosin from Slate. This post is amazing and we would love to republish on Slate. If you're interested, please send me an email at hanna@hannarosin.com.

ksentes said...

My heart goes out to you. I'm wondering if your doctors have investigated the possibility of Reactive Attachment Disorder? w ehave a close family friend whose adopted Romanian daughter has this condition, and what you described seems to echo her symptoms. Unfortunately VERY few doctors are aware of it--it's important to catch it as early as possible before the children hit puberty. I hope that perhaps this is of help to you in your difficult journey.

Hanna Rosin said...

ASM - This is Hanna Rosin from Slate. This is amazing and we would love to republish on Slate. If youre interested please contact me at hanna@hannarosin.com. Thanks

LMJ said...

Thank you for sharing this. This is what's missing from these conversations, the discussions about our broken mental health system, the discussions about our unforgiving attitudes toward mental illness, and the complete lack of support for an individual who is trying to make it better for her son.

Those of you who have decided she is a horrible mother - why don't you step away from your confusion and denial, and visit the real world for a moment? There are people that NEED help, people that are not well, and their families who love them, but can't do anything else. You people are the problem.

FamilyDobes said...

I don't know you or your son, but I wish I did. I wish I knew some answer for both of you, I feel so much compassion all these miles away. I am a dog breeder and if your Son would ever like to chat via email etc. I would be happy to give him some of my time.

Jennifer Spiller said...

Thank you for your courage in writing this. As I've listened to the news and all the shouts of my friends about gun control, I keep coming back to this. I do believe we have a gun problem in this country, but addressing the gun issue is a bandaid. We must heal the true illness.

Your experience with your son is one that highlights how deeply we must dig to understand what is happening. My sincerest wish is to truly debate this issue and work to help solve it together.

We need more people like you to speak out. Thank you.

And ignore the ignorant comments. There will always be people who do not understand. You did the right thing.

xlaurenstephens said...

Mine was in for a year and then the county decided they didn't want to pay for it anymore and took him out, sent him home with no plan whatsoever and now I am forced to homeschool him because the school doesn't want to deal with him. And people criticize us for taking SSI. When exactly are we able to work? At one point my son, who is only 13, actually kicked out the back of a cop car window when he was handcuffed in the back of their car. He is a little kid! Not big at all!

templehome said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
andrea said...

Hello, we have been so moved by this post that we have taken the liberty of translating it into Spanish so that it can reach a wider audience. We couldn't find a contact address to ask for permission first, so we're letting you know here. I hope this is okay. We wish you and your son the best.

Spanish version

Shiva Steve Ordog said...

I feel for you and your son. I have faced this with a son- later onset. Zyprexa is not tested for children this young. Wishing you a path to solutions and peace.

Carolyn O said...

Your words are true, and so many have commented on their understanding because they are in your shoes. As a special needs parent myself, I understand the sacrifices a parent must make when their lives need to be adjusted to accommodate the needs of a child. So what I don't understand is why a mother of a child with mental illness, that like you, probably had her life threatened before, would have firearms in her home.

Deborah said...

I'm sorry our society is leaving your son - and you - without help or recourse. How can we change this?

Catdogmom1958 said...

Thank you for this post. For those making incredible assumptions about your parenting, it is likely there has already been family therapy. If I were mom I would have also been in my own individual therapy. How convenient for some naysayers to target the least troublesome things this child is doing (wrong pants and name calling) and ignore threatening to stab mom with a knife. I have seen lots of recommendations here and am sure mom has heard it all. As a therapist I have another recommendation-Howard Glaser and the Nurtured Heart Approach. I have been to some of the trainings and seen video of the work. It works with very difficult situations and there may be a therapist in the area who is trained. Howard is in Tucson.

YET said...

I'm so sorry for you and your struggle with your son. I'm sorry for the hell you and your family are in. I'm deeply concerned for all people with mental health issues and advocate as much as possible for people with mental health issues who don't get the care they need. I'm deeply concerned that Adam Lanza and his mom were in a similar situation to yours and perhaps tried to keep it hidden to protect Adam and his family from the stigma that the outside world might lay on them all. I'm deeply concerned that there are so many more people with similar children and situations. I think that guns and ownership need to be under severe control and I think that mentally ill people need much more help than they are given in the US today. To me, the general public seems to stigmatize people with mental illnesses which somehow makes those people unseen, makes them go away and not be a problem -- until that person explodes with hate and rage in the local school or mall. My heart goes out to you and your family and I wish you all the best.

Esme Raji Codell said...

A big difference between you and Adam Lanza's mother is that you don't keep automatic weapons in the same house as a child who faces these challenges. Thank you for that good judgement, and for a beautiful and honest article.

kristie said...

You need a priest, and you need to teach him prayer so that he says it within his own soul. HE must say and submit and give himself to love and goodness. The demon comes in through the video games and violent television. I'm not joking. Don't let him play video games, I repeat don;t let him play video games. They are violent and he is becoming violent as well like them. He is starting to look like them. Keep him away from all violence. Say loving words that defeat his harsh words. Make him say loving words to himself. He is in conflict with his soul right, there is a battle waging in this world for the soul and many are being oppressed. I'm not joking. Evil is real. Pray.

carol said...

I think you are incredibly brave. Thank you for finding courage to share your story.

LMJ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jenn said...

I'm raising a "Michael", too. Thanks for your honesty

Linette said...

I've just finished looking at pictures from the scene in CT. I sympathize with your article, too. Although, I have a slightly different take. If you feel that your child is capable of destroying lives, then please have the courage to let them go where others will be safe - even if it isn't an optimal environment for him. It doesn't mean you are a bad parent, or that you love your child any less. It means you're being responsible and treating others the way you would want to be treated.

We have a responsibility to the people around us. As heartbreaking as it is, you have a responsibility to involve the police when your son is threatening the lives of others. I'm sorry. I know this won't be a popular stance.

Sarah said...

Thank you so much sharing this. Believe me when I say, I understand how hard it is to share this with the world. My family and I have been trying and trying to get the State of Florida to help us to get my little brother (25yrs old) off the streets. He hears voices, and has violent mood swings, and, like your son, is a genius. In the past couple of years he became obsessed with harming someone, and has ranted and raved on facebook about hurting them and their family and the kids of other people with whom they are associated. We finally decided it was time to bring in the police. We spent hours trying to get through layers upon layers of sarcasm and attitude in the police department and airport where he was headed. The only thing that got us through it was the glimmer of hope that "They would help him." It's been a month, and he is still locked up, unevaluated, untreated, and may be released back onto the streets or put into general population. Another one of our family members had a problem as well, and as children, we had an emergency plan, though I like yours much better. We had a hollowed out portion of the wall in one of the closets in our home that we could fit into. I bow to your courage and thank you for giving me the courage to stand up and fight for a solution to the lack of mental healthcare in our country. Thank you for giving me the courage to stop hanging my head in shame of my little brother. I just wish I knew what to DO. (I started by sharing your story on FB.)

Enderby said...

141/2This is hard to do (because my name is attached to this), but I need to do it. I was a similar kid growing up. I was violent, disrespectful and very dangerous at times. This trickled into my later years where I became a drug addict, a liar and a homeless person. I am telling you now and I know I will have people try to disagree, but the solution is spiritual. I hear all kinds of talk about the solution, but I am telling you I was that person and I know the answer because I am fixed today. The only thing that worked was getting close to God and His son Jesus. Why does everyone try so hard to push our God out of everything? We need Him. He is our source of protection and deliverance from these things. I speak from experience, not just as an outsider trying to understand. If you want to know what an Adam (me) needs, I am telling you.

Alice Langholt said...

There are answers beyond the Western medicine route. As many have suggested diet changes and allergy testing, there are even more holistic options that can renew your hope and bring about change. Finding a naturopath for my daughter who had anger issues was exactly what we all needed. The relief I've felt can't be described.

Skdo said...

Bless you, dear one. I too am a mom to a special needs son. You are not alone.

Darius Bazargan said...

This is a very strong, thought provoking post. But I do think you should remove the photograph or choose one where your son is not identifiable. It's such a good piece, it's going viral across the internet and this unasked for fame/notoriety is not really fair on him... and you may regret it yourself later. The very best of luck for all your family and for Michael.

Corie said...

Thank you for your courage and honesty.

larry said...

I hope that telling her story to a national audience will get this woman and her son the help he needs. There must be organizations which deal with this kind of problem. I have noticed that countries which have universal single payer health care programs don't have the kind of thing which happened at Sandy Hook anywhere near as often as the US does. It's time we joined the rest of the civilized world.

ElaineD said...

God love you. Your story breaks my heart. I pray that you will find answers for your son--and that until then, your family will be safe when his behaviour is out of control.

MsShell said...

Many people have posted comments on several sides of the issue. My brother is in his 50's. I have worked in Mental Health. Yet, it has been very difficult to get him assistance. Primary because of his mental illness he does not think he is the one in need of help, everyone else is crazy. When someone has no insight, they are very difficult to reason with. One of my strategies to keep telling him that I am your greatest advocate, don't f*&&% with me. I have explained to him that when he is in a more cognizant state he is ware of his behavior, however when he is not his behavior is off the charts. Each day he needs to go back and do his own review of that day and try to do better. When he is on meds he is way better. Unfortunately, the meds have awful side effect and he can not deal with that either. Sometimes the rants have gone on for hours. Ambulance rides to the ER result in him hoodwinking the staff when he gets there and a call to come pick him up barely a half hour later. So he wanders around getting banned from stores and libraries without much help. let mem also mention that when he is not doing well he has no moral compass. Stealing, paying prostitutes and who knows what else. So I empathize with those who are trying to deal with their mentally ill loved ones.

The Karnes said...

You are so very brave for sharing such a personal story. I think a lot of your readers need to realize that this is only a tiny glimpse of your situation. We have no idea what you have went through and sacrificed for your son. Can others not see that you wrote this because you love your son and are desperate for help? The judgmental comments aren't helpful to anyone. I personally am very grateful to you for sharing your story and think many people will rethink the way they view this situation because of your insight.

lburke said...

You a brave brave and honorable mother. Thank so much for your honest reflection. I wish there was more help for folks in your situation. How isolating it must feel. I lived with a sibling like that. The fear and sense of powerlessness is incredible. Thank you.

Hmax17 said...

Bless you. I'm bipolar and I know the struggle I have with my own mother. I'd never thought of it from her end. I feel horrid admitting that, knowing the awful things I've said and done in a rage similar to the ones you describe your son experiencing.

I know how he feels and what hes going through in those moments when you just can't stop yourself, all thought and meaning go out of the world except for what you're focused on. If someone tries to take that from you, you'd do/say anything to stop them. I've said/done everything you've described of your son...

I am the person you described, I love Doctor Who and Harry Potter...Always tested at the top of my class. It was my high school assistant principal who first noticed something was wrong and convinced my mother to get me help when I was 15. Its been a struggle and hell and is no where near over. You just have to take one day at a time really.

I'm 25 and still sick but I try to be better, do better. I'm sorry to you and sorry to my own mother who has put up with my rage and fights but still loves me like you love your son. Thank you for loving your son unconditionally.

Denyel Andrews said...

Liza,
I just read your article. And I am you...my stepson is your son. My husband and I had custody of him after his mother could not deal with him anymore. He has been diagnosed Aspergers, PDD, ODD, ADHD, violent and aggresive. He has been on hundreds of different combinations of meds since he was 4. He is now 9 and getting stronger. He recently got mad at me and started punching me repeatedly. I had to call the police and his mother had to take him back to live with her. My husband is not ready to admit that maybe we are out of our league here, but I see what you see. I am afraid that one day, because we didn't let him bring a certain toy to school or prevent some other obsession, he will do something terrible. I admire your courage for being able to see that you can't do this alone. You realized that before it was too late. If you have any advice for us, I would greatly appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

Going through the same thing, except my son is no longer 13, he's 16. And yes, he's much harder to restrain now. So much so that he's currently in a facility and has been for the last 5 months for nearing killing his grandfather. That was the third family member that had been attacked with a weapon this year. I've heard all the diagnoses, we've been prescribed all the pills. Nothing helps.

Unknown said...

Thank you for writing about this. Thank you for talking about such a personal issue, and such a private battle. Thank you for your courage. Thank you for starting a dialogue.

I have no answers. I just wanted to say thank you.

Amanda Kramer said...

Your post is amazing. Thank you for writing this in the wake of this tragedy. I am a mother too, and understand that stressful incredible feeling - but cannot fairly imagine the stress, yet profound love you have...Again, thank you for writing your post. I agree with you in every way. - A mom in Wisconsin

Unknown said...

Thank you for your courage to write this and share your story. Have any of the doctors considered bi-polar disorder as the primary disease? I've learned that some doctors don't believe children can be diagnosed as bi-polar, but that diagnosis and treatment has been life-changing for our family.

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