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home Mental Illness Musings on Mental Illness

Musings on Mental Illness

So. According to http://www.camh.ca, a website that came up in my search for sensationalist statistics, 1 in 5 Canadians will suffer from mental illness in their lifetime. I even scrolled all the way down to the bottom of the page, and the footnote says it’s from a report published by Health Canada, so it must be legit.

First off, I don’t really believe that 1 in 5 Canadians is mentally ill. I don’t believe feeling sorry for yourself is a mental illness. I believe it is a sign of immaturity. Remember that word? Maturity. We use to talk about people being mature and immature, but seems like lately we just talk about them being normal or mentally ill.

My personal belief is that pressure, funding and lobbying from pharmaceutical companies, has created a hysteria of mental illness and a society accepting of solving problems with a pill.  It’s a very sensitive issue, since I myself know many people who take medication, mostly anti-depression medication, and mostly women. Who am I to tell them what they are doing is wrong? Certainly not a doctor. I don’t mean to offend anyone with this post, I just want to share how I honestly feel about the situation. People have to decide what’s right for themselves.

There’s an article making the rounds entitled “I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother“.  I don’t care for that title but I’m not going to focus on it anymore. What I want to talk about is the content.

I have to say, this article struck a chord in me. Reason being, I see so much of myself in this woman’s son. So much so that I’m about to share something very personal, not something I ever thought I would be posting about on the internet, that’s for sure.

When I was 14 I did something to piss off my dad. Funny thing, I can’t remember what it actually was exactly that I did.  What I do remember is running away from him while he chased me around the house and then grabbing a knife from the kitchen drawer and holding it over my wrists screaming I would kill myself if he came closer.  My dad was no fool…he wooped my ass good.

Kids are immature. At times they will do very stupid things. They will tell lies. They will throw tantrums and some teenagers really know how to throw a tantrum.

So guess what…I never tried that trick on my dad again. And I can assure you, that never in one million years, at any age, did I ever dream of calling my mom a stupid bitch. I valued my life a little too much.  But where is the father in the story of Micheal Long? Where is the father in the story of Adam Lanza?

It makes me pale to think that if I was born a bit later, that instead of an ass tanning the likes of which would put even a crazy person in line, I would be put on “a slew of antipsychotic and mood-altering pharmaceuticals”. And then have my exploits posted virally on the internet, and labeled as a mentally ill problem child, right as I’m entering into high school…

To me mental illness is a super over simplification of a very complex problem. The worst part about it is that it removes accountability from the equation and tries to excuse people for their behavior.

“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.”

How about he doesn’t have some label like ADHD? How about he’s a little brat? How about at some point you need to realize that a stern tone and a day off of video games isn’t going to cut it. That doesn’t mean you escalate directly to having the police tazer him and locking him up.

I feel bad for her, I do, I really do. I’m sure this woman loves her son, but I honestly don’t think she’s doing him any favors.  And finally, your kid didn’t mass murder a bunch of innocent children. Your kid is NOT Adam Lanza. I’ll never understand how a mother could make such a comparison, much less publicly.

A kid that cries wolf isn’t crazy, and neither is someone who says they are too depressed to work, so they need disability. Being lazy and feeling sorry for yourself is no more a mental illness than pulling a stunt to try to get out of a punishment.

In the office where I used to work in Montreal there was a church right across the street. They must have done lots of outreach work, because there was always loads of homeless people hanging about and sometimes I would see them queuing up at the church’s side door. One of those guys would do bum smokes off me now and then, sometimes I would see him walking around in circles, extremely angry shouting lots of horrible racial epithets. Was he mentally ill, or just an angry old racist? Who can say?

I’ll tell you this tho. Another one of those homeless people once engaged me in a conversation that lasted about ten minutes. He explained to me that he was the reincarnation of CheGuevara, a reference that he clearly pulled from the belt I was wearing. Actually he didn’t even name Che, just pointed at my belt and said “…that man.” The entire conversation was him rambling and me listening politely but with growing unease. He talked about “them” and gave such a disjointed and convoluted version of reality that even he seemed mostly confused about it all. That motherfucker, ladies and gentlemen, was mentally ill.

Kids shouldn’t be on pills. Children need to disciplined. Don’t spare the rod. We’ve tried the whole PC thing with raising our kids. We’ve tried pills. Look where it’s gotten us. Beat those little shits until they act right. It worked on me 🙂

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