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Sun Dec 16, 2012, 09:02 AM

I am Adam Lanza's Mother-It's time to talk about Mental Illness

Last edited Sun Dec 16, 2012, 10:13 AM - Edit history (2)

Written by Liza Long, republished from The Blue Review

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

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

“I can wear these pants,” he said, his tone increasingly belligerent, the black-hole pupils of his eyes swallowing the blue irises.
“They are navy blue,” I told him. “Your school’s dress code says black or khaki pants only.”
“They told me I could wear these,” he insisted. “You’re a stupid bitch. I can wear whatever pants I want to. This is America. I have rights!”
“You can’t wear whatever pants you want to,” I said, my tone affable, reasonable. “And you definitely cannot call me a stupid bitch. You’re grounded from electronics for the rest of the day. Now get in the car, and I will take you to school.”
I live with a son who is mentally ill. I love my son. But he terrifies me.
A few weeks ago, Michael pulled a knife and threatened to kill me and then himself after I asked him to return his overdue library books. His 7 and 9 year old siblings knew the safety plan—they ran to the car and locked the doors before I even asked them to. I managed to get the knife from Michael, then methodically collected all the sharp objects in the house into a single Tupperware container that now travels with me. Through it all, he continued to scream insults at me and threaten to kill or hurt me.

More From Source:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/16/i-am-adam-lanzas-mother-mental-illness-conversation_n_2311009.html

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Reply I am Adam Lanza's Mother-It's time to talk about Mental Illness (Original post)
Dalai_1 Dec 2012 OP
Kolesar Dec 2012 #1
marshall Dec 2012 #17
Kolesar Dec 2012 #22
marshall Dec 2012 #30
cali Dec 2012 #2
blue_heron Dec 2012 #4
cali Dec 2012 #6
adigal Dec 2012 #13
cali Dec 2012 #19
musical_soul Dec 2012 #15
1monster Dec 2012 #34
cali Dec 2012 #39
1monster Dec 2012 #42
Dalai_1 Dec 2012 #12
cali Dec 2012 #16
Maine-ah Dec 2012 #28
cali Dec 2012 #35
Maine-ah Dec 2012 #40
Dash87 Dec 2012 #7
cali Dec 2012 #9
Maine-ah Dec 2012 #18
cali Dec 2012 #20
Avalux Dec 2012 #32
cali Dec 2012 #36
Dalai_1 Dec 2012 #23
Inspired Dec 2012 #25
geckosfeet Dec 2012 #3
Dalai_1 Dec 2012 #5
geckosfeet Dec 2012 #10
Dalai_1 Dec 2012 #27
geckosfeet Dec 2012 #31
Maine-ah Dec 2012 #11
Dalai_1 Dec 2012 #14
Maine-ah Dec 2012 #21
geckosfeet Dec 2012 #24
lunasun Dec 2012 #8
Dalai_1 Dec 2012 #26
lunasun Dec 2012 #45
1monster Dec 2012 #29
Dalai_1 Dec 2012 #38
kratos00 Dec 2012 #33
jwirr Dec 2012 #37
LiberalEsto Dec 2012 #41
Dalai_1 Dec 2012 #43
LiberalEsto Dec 2012 #44

Response to Dalai_1 (Original post)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 09:04 AM

1. It's time to talk about guns...eom

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Response to Kolesar (Reply #1)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 09:35 AM

17. And mental illness

We need to figure out how to keep our little ones safe from mentally ill folks with guns, knives, hammers, shovels, and whatever else they might use against them.

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Response to marshall (Reply #17)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 09:40 AM

22. Restrictions on gun purchases and serious penalties for improper handling

Shovels. It's not about "shovels", Marshall.

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Response to Kolesar (Reply #22)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 09:57 AM

30. This man was restricted from purchasing a gun

His mother is definitely culpable for having guns accessible to her monstrously mentally ill son. We certainly need to look at the way we handle guns in connection to hyper disturbed individuals.

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Response to Dalai_1 (Original post)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 09:05 AM

2. this mother is a sick, sick piece of crap

no wonder her son has problems. She hates him. that is clear.

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Response to cali (Reply #2)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 09:23 AM

4. Are you being sarcastic?

If not, you have obviously never dealt with someone with a serious mental illness. It is terrifying, and you can't reason with a sick mind. This is classic stigma to blame the parent. She is living a nightmare. Who wants to be afraid for their own life, their other children, or their school mates.

The problem is when a sick person has access to lethal weapons is a toxic mix.

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Response to blue_heron (Reply #4)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 09:26 AM

6. No. I'm not. And I certainly have dealt with serious mental illness

both professionally and personally. I worked for years with the severely and persistently mentally ill, including a half dozen who had murdered, in my role as an advocate and investigator for the federally mandated PAMI program. There is something very disturbing about the tone of this article.

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Response to cali (Reply #6)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 09:31 AM

13. She must love her son, or she would have him institutionalized

You are very judgmental. Her life with him sounds like a living hell. But she persists.

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Response to adigal (Reply #13)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 09:37 AM

19. first of all, in most places, it's not easy to institutionalize a kid.

secondly, she knows NONE of the particulars regarding Adam Lanza or his mother and she has written an article that essentially calls her son interchangeable with the country's most notorious murderer. That is inappropriate.

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Response to cali (Reply #6)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 09:33 AM

15. Some kids have mental problems and some parents are afraid of them.

I've also dealt with mental illness, and it's not the same as what this woman goes through. There isn't a one size fits all on this subject.

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Response to cali (Reply #6)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 10:03 AM

34. I found it a desperate call for help. And I understand how she feels, even though in my case

the family member was never violent.

You are too quick to condmm. This woman has seen her child, whom she loves, threaten the safety of her other children, whom she also loves. If you don't think that that causes mixed feelings, then you shouldn't be in the business of mental health.

Eventually, when dealing with mentally ill children who are threats to the family, one becomes numb and unable to deal with emotions. One is left with a determination to do what is right for all of the family, including the mentally ill member, no matter the personal cost. It is a HUGE responsiblity and it is incredibly stressful.

I did not find this mother uncaring at all. She is begging for help. Come across with some viable advice for her rather than criticism.

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Response to 1monster (Reply #34)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 10:11 AM

39. I'm not sure I even believe her. Why should I?

and it most certainly is both exploitative and disturbing that she's more or less calling her son a monster. sick stuff, no matter how you cut it.

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Response to cali (Reply #39)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 10:19 AM

42. Whatever. I'd say you were just another metal health worker with an agenda who

does not understand how a mentally ill person affects the entire family.

But that would be offering a flash judgment without knowing all of the facts and nuances... Kind of like you just did with that woman.

It is possible to love someone while hating what that person does, is, or is becoming.

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Response to blue_heron (Reply #4)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 09:31 AM

12. thank you blue_heron

for recognizing this..I had a dear friend who dealt with this with her son..starting at age
20 ...he was hospitalized on average of 8 times per year...one Sunday morning she heard a shot
walked in his room and he had put a rifle in his mouth and pulled the trigger..she worked in the
mental health field and was unable to access the treatment he needed...he was 35 when he
killed himself..

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Response to Dalai_1 (Reply #12)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 09:34 AM

16. let me explain what is wrong with this piece, and by extension the woman who wrote

it. It's early days. Neither she nor the rest of us are privy to virtually anything about Adam Lanza and his mother or his behavior, and yet here she is claiming that she is mother to a child that is interchangeable with Adam Lanza. From what we do know, Adam Lanza *may* have had Asperger's Syndrome, which in itself is not actually a mental illness though the co-morbidity rate is high.

This piece is highly inappropriate.

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Response to cali (Reply #16)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 09:55 AM

28. I can completely understand about disagreeing with

her comparison of her son to Adam Lanza, who we still don't know much about, but to claim that this mother is a "sick piece of crap" who "hates" her own son, is just as wrong.

It's seems this mother is trying to do the best for her child, who is mentally ill, with a system that sucks - while trying to protect two other children at the same time. He has threatened to kill, the other children must live in fear if they have to run to a car and lock themselves in to protect themselves.

I can only imagine how difficult it is to work with the mentally ill, Cali, definitely not a position for the faint of heart - but working with the mentally ill you've had to have encountered parents and siblings who live like this on a daily basis and witness the daily frustrations, fear, and love a parent like this has for their child, and for her to watch the events in CT unfold, along with the rest of the nation, I imagine it further exposed her fear for her own child's (and other children) life.

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Response to Maine-ah (Reply #28)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 10:04 AM

35. OK. I was so disgusted that I overreacted, but the piece does disgust me

It's just so exploitative. And it sets off all the warning signals. I think writing such a piece, particularly at this point in time, indicates something gravely wrong in this dynamic.

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Response to cali (Reply #35)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 10:12 AM

40. I think we'll agree to disagree



I just think that it's high time this country really starting having this conversation about mental illness, and the state of mental health care in this country. My thoughts, if now isn't the time, then when?

Peace to you, Cali

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Response to cali (Reply #2)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 09:28 AM

7. I don't think so. Taking care of someone with mental health problems is extremely difficult:

Especially someone who is violent and threatening. I could only read the text that the OP wrote (because the site is down), but I can sympathize with the mother.

It's not an easy task. Picture getting verbally abused all day, having to deal with someone that constantly threatens to kill himself or you, and never being secure. This is among the other issues you have to deal with, where even an action such as driving to school in the morning becomes an extreme chore.

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Response to Dash87 (Reply #7)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 09:30 AM

9. I'm full aware of the challenges. I think it's very telling that this mother is exploiting- yes

exploiting- her son.

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Response to cali (Reply #2)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 09:36 AM

18. you've got to be kidding, Cali.

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Response to Maine-ah (Reply #18)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 09:39 AM

20. Not at all. think about this piece.

I'm not going to repeat myself but my posts in this thread explain why I see this article as highly inappropriate.

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Response to cali (Reply #20)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 10:00 AM

32. I'll stand up and agree with you.

Whatever the mother's motives are for writing this piece (desperate for help?) - it is completely inappropriate, and clearly she is terrified of her son and believes he is capable of the horrific crimes the others have committed. He may or may not be - but writing this as she has is careless. Extremely careless.

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Response to Avalux (Reply #32)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 10:04 AM

36. thanks for understanding what I was getting at.

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Response to cali (Reply #2)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 09:40 AM

23. Your reply is important

in this discussion...hopefully mental illness can be better understood for
not only the children in our country but the parents as well.
I had a caseload of Schizophrenia and Bi-Polar adults..it was horrific for the parents
and of course the person with the illness..the effects on others in the
home are equally as devastating..

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Response to cali (Reply #2)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 09:41 AM

25. I disagree with you.

This reminds me of my own family. Living with sibling who had some similarities to the child she describes was a nightmare. And still is today for my mother. I often wished he would be taken away when I was a young girl and I worry about her every day.

He is now a 50 year old man, living with my mother. She has stated many times that the only reason she allows him to live with her is because she is too afraid to unleash him to society. He breaks no laws but he is a loaded cannon.

I love my brother but I hate him, too.

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Response to Dalai_1 (Original post)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 09:18 AM

3. Hmm. Getting a 508. Looks like the server is getting spammed.

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Response to geckosfeet (Reply #3)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 09:24 AM

5. I tried it again after reading

your post and was able to access it..it has been on Twitter(where I picked it up) so
maybe several are trying to access the article..
Thanks for your reply!

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Response to Dalai_1 (Reply #5)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 09:30 AM

10. Still a no go. Will try later. Maybe you could post more of an excerpt?

But yeah - living with a child like this must be extremely difficult. And keeping all the sharp objects hidden would seem and endless and losing battle.

However, locking up firearms is a simple and effective means of keeping them out of the wrong hands. A small safe from Home Depot or Lowes is all it takes. $100 is all it takes. Unless of course you have rifles and shotguns. Then you need a larger safe and will have to spend $250.

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Response to Dalai_1 (Reply #27)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 09:58 AM

31. thks

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Response to Maine-ah (Reply #11)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 09:32 AM

14. Thank you Maine-ah

I will edit my OP with that link!

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Response to Dalai_1 (Reply #14)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 09:39 AM

21. sure!

and thanks for posting the story. A real insight into what it is like to bring up a child with mental health issues. I couldn't imagine it, and I'm more than thankful to have a happy, healthy little girl. The turmoil this child feels, and the frustration this parent has with the health care system, and the stress of trying to keep her other children safe as well. So sad....

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Response to Maine-ah (Reply #11)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 09:41 AM

24. Thanks. Heart breaking piece. Probably lots of parents in similar positions. Our health care

system needs some serious overhauling if their solution is putting kids with these types of problems in jail. That's a clear abdication of responsibility. The health care industry sucks so much from our society, so much money and so many resources. They should be mandated to provide mental health care for those that need it. Jail is not a solution. Research and sane experimental procedures seem far more appropriate and in the long run, help to expand our knowledge.

Sometimes parents just do not have the resources to help kids like this. They need to rely on mental health care professionals to diagnose and treat.

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Response to Dalai_1 (Original post)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 09:28 AM

8. messed up mom or mental illness

hard to tell from post and not bothering with link but leaving the house is not a disipline plan
but a lot of folks would not agree I know.

He pulled a knife and .....then methodically collected all the sharp objects in the house into a single Tupperware container that now travels with me. < could be mentally ill herself or lame

hard to tell from post and only posting reply because this story keeps popping up here

But putting off consequences or taking away an electronic for 1 day will not do much in the long run ....and wont help her son's anger problem/assholism... IMPO

and if there is more to this story why don't any postings have a good link??

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Response to lunasun (Reply #8)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 09:45 AM

26. Apologies for the link not working I

edited the link in the OP to this one...
thank you for trying to access it!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/16/i-am-adam-lanzas-mother-mental-illness-conversation_n_2311009.html

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Response to Dalai_1 (Reply #26)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 09:16 PM

45. OK well now there is more info to understand the title claim....thank you for fixing

the story excerpt was always the same on all the postings of this story
and could be taken many ways
plus never a good link
much more detail now

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Response to Dalai_1 (Original post)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 09:55 AM

29. These two sentences say it all. And it is true. Any help there might be out there

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.


to deal with the problems is designed to either bankrupt the family or be denied on one pretext or another by the government programs that were supposed to help.

And not all cases are with raging, violent, uncontrollable kids. Some of the kids are very tractable, but cannont be left alone for even three minutes because they are not able to understand.

And then, when the inevitable happens, and the kid breaks a law, all those psychological reports and incidents only serve to convince the prosecutors that the only answer is a very long prison term, far longer than someone who doesn't have such a psychological history in with psycho and sociopaths...

Been there, paid huge amounts of money for help that always had an agenda, begged, literally begged for any kind of help and/or advice from "experts" government and private sector.

At the end of the day, had any ONE of the myriad of phychiatrists, psychologists, and clinical therapists done their job right, the person in my care could have been hleped and needed services would have been available. Sadly, this did not happen.

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Response to 1monster (Reply #29)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 10:10 AM

38. Thank you for your reply

your post is incredibly important.This is a discussion that needs to be had and
heard in our country..
Hugss

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Response to Dalai_1 (Original post)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 10:03 AM

33. You are so very brave

Thank you for writing this, I'm sure it was difficult and I feel your pain and anguish. More people need to see this and more importantly try to understand it and support policies that will help. I hope your boy gets the help he needs and can back to you.

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Response to Dalai_1 (Original post)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 10:08 AM

37. My heart goes out to you and this makes me very glad that my mentally ill brother has not turned

on us. He tends to hurt himself. You have some very hard decisions to make in the near future both for his sake and yours.

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Response to Dalai_1 (Original post)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 10:18 AM

41. As I see it, the mother has two choices for her son. Jail or her own death.

Either she sends him to a facility where he will at least hopefully be prevented from killing her or others,

or she can risk being killed when he becomes older and stronger. And if he kills her, he will still end up in jail, unless he kills himself too.

The problem is that there is no permanent, guaranteed cure for these kinds of mental illnesses as far as I know.

There are medications that modify some behavior, but they must be taken regularly.One of the most critical issues is that many patients will not take medication, especially once they are adults.

I have a friend dealing with a dangerously schizophrenic son in his late 20s. She had to move across the state in order to get him out of her home.

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Response to LiberalEsto (Reply #41)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 10:27 AM

43. You are exactly correct

once a medication is found that is appropriate the person is stabilized
for a period of time and then the medication "bleeds through" ..they
go through the psychosis again,hospital to stabilize a different medication
and the cycle begins again..
then there is the person who will not comply with taking medication
due to the horrible side effects of the medication..

one of my responses in this thread

http://www.democraticunderground.com/10021998294#post12

my heart goes out to your friend...

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Response to Dalai_1 (Reply #43)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 10:56 AM

44. And some don't comply taking meds

because they don't think anything is wrong with them or simply because they are mentally ill.

Side effects are just one of many reasons for non-compliance with meds. I have a childhood friend who is bipolar and who hates the side effects of lithium, but she also doesn't think there is anything really wrong with her. Denial.

In cases of bipolar mania, like this friend's, the mania can be very enjoyable. One feels alive, creative, brilliant, powerful, capable of anything. Damping all that down with meds that make one sluggish and overweight besides, is like cutting off one's wings in mid-flight.

How I wish there was an inexpensive,side-effect-free, permanent cure for all mental illnesses.



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