I'm feeling compelled to write again about the mental health issue surrounding the case in CT.
Like so many of us, I have been glued to various news channels trying to get the latest on the investigation.
It is beautiful to see the town of Newtown rally around one another in their terrible time of need.
The images of the deceased children bring me to tears and the images of the vigils and the embraces warm my heart.
I admire the professionalism of the CT state police and believe they are doing an excellent job with probably the most tragic case they will ever have in their careers.
There has been talk among legislators to raise the issue of changes in gun laws, which is absolutely necessary.
While there is NO excuse for what Adam Lanza did this past Friday, I am having trouble with some of the language that is being used by the media and by people on Facebook.
Crazy. Nutcase. Lunatic. Sicko. Whackjob. Evil. Needs to rot in hell. And I'm sure there are many more.
There is no doubt that this 20-year-old young man was mentally ill. And there is no question that his actions on Friday were anything but horrific.
But if we are ever going to get parents to start paying attention to perhaps some "off" behaviors of their kids, we have to start treating mental illness with a little more respect.
If parents can't even bear to be told by a teacher that their child will get a B instead of an A, if parents can't bear to hear that their child was disruptive in class (and there are MANY parents like this), then how will they ever accept that their child may have a mental illness? We all know a parent or two who is in denial about their child in some way. "My child doesn't have ADHD, they are just full of energy. My child would never talk back to a teacher, the teacher must be wrong." And so on.
There is too much stigma around this topic and parents feel ashamed. They feel responsible. They get embarrassed and get defensive. Then they keep secrets.
Nobody wants to hear that their child is a lunatic/sicko/whackjob/nutcase. And if this is how we label these kids, parents are less likely to seek help.
We need to have open dialogue about ourselves and about our children.
It will start with me.
I take Cymbalta for depression and Klonopin for anxiety. I see a psychologist weekly and have med-checks with my psychiatrist every 3 months.
I am not ashamed of taking medication and seeking counseling. I am a better wife, mother, and friend because I do.
I have two daughters who take Lexapro for depression/anxiety and Abilify for mood stabilization.
They need it, I am not embarrassed by it, and I will tell other parents freely that sometimes, medication is just down right necessary.
My kids are damaged. They were damaged when we adopted them. I am not a Mom in denial. I chose to parent these beautiful little people and if anyone ever called them lunatics, nutcases, or whackjobs, it would break my heart. They need help. And good help is sometimes hard to come by.
So while we continue to shed tears for the lost lives of the twenty beautiful children and six brave adults, we need to start watching our language.
Because just as easily as that could have happened at your school, just as easily as that could have been your children, your faculty, it could also just as easily have been your troubled son.
We need to get over the stigmas, the embarrassment and the denial.
And as a culture, we need to be more respectful. Sometime in Adam's 20 years, he was failed, either by his parents, his schools, by professionals, or by society. And sometimes once the child's "gone," there's just no bringing him back.
Should he burn in hell for that? Should he burn in hell for being so incredibly damaged that he had no value for life?
I don't want anyone reading this to think I am condoning or justifying what he did. There is no excuse for his actions.
But as a community, and as country, we need to start choosing our words more carefully.
I know I, as well as many other mothers of children with mental illness, would greatly appreciate it.