I Am Adam Lanza's Mother

Comments

1
Thank you so much for sharing your perspective so honestly and lovingly. This might be a question with no answer given our current systems - but if you could have any environment and treatment for Michael, what would it be? And what can people around you do to help in the meantime?
2
Many, many families have found incredible improvement with symptoms like these by removing chemicals from the diet and the home. Natural or artificial chemicals can be problematic. It's called food intolerance and there's an elimination diet which many families say has 'saved their lives'. Check out www.fedup.com.au or http://www.sswahs.nsw.gov.au/rpa/allergy….
3
one way to help is not have a house with an arsenal of several guns; and to not have a nation full of houses with arsenals of several guns. we cannot medicate, detect, manage, adjudicate, condemn to hospitals and treat all the mentally ill people. and certainly many so called normal people get drunk, or angry, and can't handle having 200 million guns flooded all over the land. the only sane policy is strong gun control, including much less guns all over. it's our gun owners and gun lovers and gun promoters and nra members who're the crazy ones. they think this is safe, they lie, they lie like meth addicts, they distract, they deny like crack addicts, they are addicted to their lies and myths and they block all reform.
4
Thank you for posting this, Dan. I haven't been able to get it out of my head.
5
Sorry, I thought Dan posted this. Thanks Liza. It's a super important read.
6
Thank you for this thoughtful post, for offering the perspective that is so often lost, and for the courage to share this vulnerable aspect of your life.

And hey, Slog staff, why aren't these threads being restricted to registered commenters?
7
The comments on the original posting site are important to read. All the people... All the problems.... Oh, my god.
8
wow - the most important and relevant piece I have read on this issue. Courageous woman needs a big platform to speak from.
9
Amazing, heartbreaking, and inspiring all at once. Thank you for being so strong and for sharing.
10
Thank you for writing this!
11
@8: YES! This story must be shared worldwide. Mental health must be properly addressed.
12
.....it takes a village.
13
In this particular case, the unregistered commenter @3 is right. Gun control won't help the mothers -- and god knows I feel for them because there was no help for my (thankfully non-dangerous) daughter -- but it will make it a lot less likely that these school tragedies will happen. Unfortunately, Adam Lanza's mother had an arsenal in their house.

@2, go sell your damned special diet somewhere else, at some other time.
14
You didn't buy him guns, that's a start.

What is it with people buying guns for their deranged siblings? Phil Hartman bought his wife a gun because she was depressed. I mean, what the hell???
15
Thank you so much for writing this - i couldn't possibly agree more. I've been having the same conversation with my friends and colleagues since this latest tragedy occurred. I really do feel that what we need now is a real discussion about mental illness, and how we are failing so many people and families in need. To this end I created a White House petition, but right now it's not taking off. If this piece resonates with you, please consider signing it.

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petitio…

I do hope that if anything positive can come from the horrors that we have been witnessing, it's that we finally start treating mental illness as everyones' problem, not just the territory of the families who try to care for their loved ones. No society can be healthy and whole that feels that it's appropriate to allow these tormented individuals fall through the cracks until they either wind up in jail or worse.
16
This puts another very important perspective on the importance of healthcare reform in the US that I don't think was emphasized enough. I hope... well... I hope.

That's all I can manage. This story has been a psychic vampire on me for the last two days. But thank you for sharing, Ms. Long.
17
Thank you so much for posting this - I couldn't possibly agree more with your statement that what we need now, more than anything, is a real and compassionate discussion about how we should be treating mental illness in this country. As things stand right now, we do little to nothing for this very vulnerable (and large!) portion of the population, and the results are disastrous to families and the rest of society as well.

I have launched a petition on the white house site to ask the current administration to consider reexamining our current mental health system as a method for helping prevent future tragedies of this nature. Please consider signing it and passing it along. https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petitio…
18
Thank you so much for posting this - I couldn't possibly agree more with your statement that what we need now, more than anything, is a real and compassionate discussion about how we should be treating mental illness in this country. As things stand right now, we do little to nothing for this very vulnerable (and large!) portion of the population, and the results are disastrous to families and the rest of society as well.

I have launched a petition on the white house site to ask the current administration to consider reexamining our current mental health system as a method for helping prevent future tragedies of this nature. Please consider signing it and passing it along. https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petitio…
19
@13 It'll help the mothers not get shot in the face with their own gun. I'm all for gun rights, but people with mentally I'll and potentially dangerous family members need to be able to prove their guns are safe (such as, not stored in the house or anywhere else the mentally ill person could get them) before being permitted to own them.

Anyway, is it just me, or was this mother about to let her son wear his navy blue trousers to school?
20
@13 It'll help the mothers not get shot in the face with their own guns. I'm all for gun rights, but people with mentally ill and potentially dangerous family members need to be able to prove their guns are safe (such as, not stored in the house or anywhere else the mentally ill person could get them) before being permitted to own them.

Anyway, is it just me, or was this mother about to let her son wear his navy blue trousers to school?
21
So much of this rings true for life growing up with my brother, it's almost scary to read. Thankfully, as he hit puberty and he grew out of these symptoms. It could have been the exact opposite, and I could have seen my brother slip further away from me. Thank you for posting this here. Far too many of us could have been that mother or sister or brother.
22
With severe mental illness in the family, this has always been one of my most dreaded fears. I've had nightmares about a family member doing something like what we're all thinking, and finding that my family name is forever ruined, or a beloved family member lost forever.

Mental healthcare is one of my dearest causes. The stigma is still great (as witnessed by some of our more fervent trolls), and regardless of the guns issue, it is my greatest wish that mental healthcare (and healthcare, in general) be a matter of course that no one need worry about, but merely seek out for help.

I'm sorry for all the superlatives, but fuck. I suppose I'm not thinking clearly right now.
23
Thank you for posting such a brave article. Having to wonder if jail is the safest place for somebody you care for is a scary, isolating thought. I work in the mental health field and have struggled significantly about the best way to balance helping and humanizing my violent clients. I can't imagine what it's like to be the loving mother of these children (and adults).
24
I feel for you so much. I was a Victim Witness Advocate for a California DA's Office. The people that know just how you feel are the people that work in Victim Witness and DA's Offices as well as those who work in the Justice System. We see it everyday of everyweek. The mentally ill and needy end up in the court system and in jail instead of in a properly operated mental health facility. And that's only until they meet the requirements of the court to become mentally able to defend themselves in court. That's no way to treat the mentally ill. However, their hands are tied until we as a public do something about it. And we can do that by speaking and speaking and calling our state representatives until they get the message. We pay their salaries, they need to listen, they better listen. Until something is done to remedy our healthcare system. I really do feel for you. I know that doesn't go very far but you are not alone. I know it's difficult as a single mother and raising children much less dealing with anything other issues that get thrown in there. Remember to take time for yourself. Even if it's just fifteen minutes at the end of the day. Do something relaxing if possible.
25
Dan thank you. This is exactly what my family goes through with my oldest son. We've been through this over ten years and now that he's 18, the system is failing. The cops won't take him, the hospitals don't have the leeway to keep him for more than a couple of weeks. At least I know I'm not alone.
26
This was great to read and realize there are other people in the same situation. My son is now 16 and we have been going through this for since he was about 8. Let me say that while teachers all said he showed signs of ADD, I resisted for years until I finally gave in. Then the ADD med caused a bipolar disorder which my son still has today -- along with being diagnosed as "somewhere in the spectrum" of bi-polar, oppositional defiant disorder, Augsberger Syndrome. No one real diagnosis, just signs and symptoms of many. He has been hospitalized 2-3 times. Therapy does not work. We have spent thousands of dollars and already one bankruptcy and are thousands of dollars in debt again - strictly medical bills. It can be extremely frustrating, cause stress on the family that literally will pull it apart. The real sad part is, there is no real answer, no real solution to anything.... therapy, medicines, discipline, psychology, psychiatry, IEPs from school and we are still pretty much were we have always been - hoping that that next big explosive fit just doesnt happen.
27
There's a mental illness a lot like this in my family, although the patient in question is not as violent. All I can say is, she's lucky this started while he was still a minor, while he is still covered by her insurance and she can still be involved in his treatment. Once he's of age, her choices are a) paying for his treatment, through insurance or out-of-pocket, without necessarily being allowed to see the diagnosis or treatment plan (and patients like this are rarely willing to comply with their medication schedules on their own) or b) letting him take his chances in the public health system/on the streets/in jail. It's probably much the same as having a serious addiction in the family, except that there's no conscious choice by anyone that started the whole thing.
28
I'm guessing the reason there are so many repeated comments in this thread is that they're taking forever to show up, which makes the commenters think they didn't go through and try again? Tech-savvy at-risk youth?
29
we should also keep in mind that people with mental illness are far more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators of violence
30
A very good nutritionist might help. Mega-doses of omega-3 fatty acids, niacin and Vitamin C are worth a try, and certainly safer than a cocktail of psychiatric drugs. Doctors are idiots when it comes to this sort of thing, they aren't trained in nutrition.
31
I am a mother of a daughter who was out of control...she is smart, charming and calculating..she would become physically violent when things didn't go her way. You could not trust her. She stole stuff all the time, did drugs and drank alcohol. The police knew us well. We tried everything to help her and us..finally the state took her over because of her behavior. She spent a year in a state run facility supposedly getting help for her condition (Oppositional Defiant Disorder and ADHD). Bottom line is that nothing helped her, and she lives away from me..and doesn't speak to me..but I do live in fear she will retaliate someday. I am heart broken about my girl..and the system let us down..
32
@29 Absolutely. I worry a little that my brother will hurt one of my parents while he is staying with them, more because of the stigma attached to his diagnosis than anything he's said or done, but that's nothing compared to my fears for his safety when he's sleeping in the woods or spending time on low-end psych wards, on freight trains, or in jail.
33
Autism Spectrum Disorders themselves absolutely do NOT predispose people to violence, although they may make the world overwhelming and a harder place to understand. ... http://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism
Having another disorder present could make it that much harder to control the symptoms and reach your child though.
I commend you for having plans in place! You are definitely doing right by your children!
I think mental health care in this country sorely needs to be addressed. I'm also glad you aren't teaching your son to use guns, or keeping them around the house. I think children shouldn't have to be around that kind of thing, especially when you have to worry about their safety and self-injurious behavior so much.
You are a good mother, and facing such a complicated and difficult struggle. Your son is lucky to have you-- and don't forget that you are helping him immensely by being so loving and involved, so keep up the good work, no matter how hard it gets!!
Thank you for sharing your experience!
34
Autism Spectrum Disorders themselves absolutely do NOT predispose people to violence, although they may make the world overwhelming and a harder place to understand. ... http://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism
Having another disorder present could make it that much harder to control the symptoms and reach your child though.
I commend you for having plans in place! You are definitely doing right by your children!
I think mental health care in this country sorely needs to be addressed. I'm also glad you aren't teaching your son to use guns, or keeping them around the house. I think children shouldn't have to be around that kind of thing, especially when you have to worry about their safety and self-injurious behavior so much.
You are a good mother, and facing such a complicated and difficult struggle. Your son is lucky to have you-- and don't forget that you are helping him immensely by being so loving and involved, so keep up the good work, no matter how hard it gets!!
Thank you for sharing your experience!
35
This is the reality of human disfunction that no one wants to acknowledge. And there are no easy answers. Let us at least have the strength to engage in this discussion.
36
Very brave courageous article echoing discussions I have had with others. The sad truth is you can not save everyone from themselves. It becomes a choice of who do you sacrifice? Some personalities with aggressive mental disorders can not function on their own in any society and should not be allowed out without direct supervision. This is not meant to sound cold or uncaring but you have to consider the greater public good. If people were machines it would be called "preventive maintenance". I would rather see 20 young children have the opportunity to grow up and become something other than a victim. I would rather see six skilled and brave educators have the opportunity to continue their careers and influence countless more children before enjoying a peaceful retirement. I would rather see a mother not have to suffer the stress of dealing with a violent child. Society can not afford to save everyone. I would rather see one family grieve over the loss of a violent child than to see 20 families having to grieve over the results caused by disordered minds. You can complain about quality of life issues all you want but they do not need to be out in society.
37
I completely agree with you. I'm sorry for what you are going through. We need mental institutions, plan and simple. They shouldn't be horrible like they were in the past but we need them, now more than ever.
38

These were my thoughts exactly, even before seeing your letter. When I read in the morning paper the comment from school staff that this boy was " a very scared young boy who was very nervous around people" etc , my first thought was, "Then why didn't they reach out to him?"
This was a good school in a supportive community, This community did not have the problems and issues of inner city schools, such as hunger, homelessness, and neglect.
I have worked several medium to low income schools, and in these schools principals, staff and community strive to do all possible to meet the needs of ALL students.

Mental illness is not going away, it is increasing! It cannot be ignored. It must be acknowledged and addressed.
39
Thank you for sharing your struggle. I saw myself when I was younger in your story. May you and he find the right combo that calms those demons before he hurts anyone else.
40
If you want to be informed about what is going on in mental illness, both on a treatment level and a policy level, nationally or by individual state, please begin with NAMI.org. You can seek answers and resources there.

Many of my friends have heard my question about this, but are there any studies about a correlation between video games and the personalities developed by the young men that have perpetrated the 61 mass killings since 1982. To my knowledge the 80's and 90's were the real revolution of gaming and it fits with the age profile of some these mass killings. How many of those boys played video games? I know the games desensitize and distance you from realities, but unsure if a study has been conducted. If you know of any can you please send me information? Thank you.
41
I completely understand. I have 6 children. At 14 my now 16 year old daughter (3rd child) was diagnosed Bi-polar and ODD. She had been increasingly violent, had the mood swings, and her favorite phrase was "I do what I want." I always knew there was an issue. My ex husbands mom committed suicide when he was 19, due to undiagnosed bi-polar. He has depression and anxiety, and my daughter, has had full blown anxiety attacks since she was 4. She would also tell people, at the elementary school level, she had fragile feelings. She struggled in school. Although she tests extremely high, she is very disorganized (typical bi-polar). At 14 she came to me shaking saying she needed to go to the hospital, because she just wanted to die. We had always had open discussions in our home about mental illness due to my background in mental health and her dad's family history of mental illness. After diagnoses, she got to point where she refused to take her meds and she hit me. I filed domestic violence charges (had tried unruly before and no one would let me file.) and was the best thing I ever did. Yes, 3 days in jail was hard on her, but the judge court ordered her to take meds and follow all doctors orders or she would be put in a residential facility. That and having a good probation officer was the turning point. With no choice (she did not want to go to residential) she took her meds, we moved her to a special school for kids with behavior issues, and of course continued therapy. She is 16 now and spends half day at that school and half at the local career center. She had one suicide attempt, which would have been fatal, had she not panicked and called, but other than that, she has been doing wonderfully. These kids have to be held accountable. They have to be taught right from wrong, and that their are consequences for their actions. They also have to be taught they have a choice. Manage the illness or let it manage you. Empowering my daughter in her treatment and giving her consequences has worked well. I know many times bi-polar is misdiagnosed as ASD and ADHD and those meds will just make worse. Also every kid different, so one course of meds that works for one, will not work for another. You just have to keep trying, but set the behavior boundaries firm now, or once they get big enough, can be dangerous. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.
42
Thank you so much for posting this and for Michael's mom-for her courage to speak out.
I have been thinking about this issue and how we need to better support children and adults with mental health . We need to better support parents who have children with special needs.
Michael's mom says:
I am sharing this story because I am Adam Lanza's mother. I am Dylan Klebold's and Eric Harris's mother. I am Jason 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.

YES!!!!
We need to talk about SUPPORT and think step by step about the mental and societal issues involved very thoroughly, No blame and no shame! Just love, compassion and empathy, along with an an analytical approach!
Parents and Advocates of PPD/Autistic children should not feel accused or blamed. The saying "it takes a whole village to raise a child" should apply. All the children are ours, as Maya Angelou said recently.
If we look at only issues around gun control this is only a bandaid approach.
We need to look at our society as a whole,!
How can we help build and create a more harmonious and nurturing society? We need to work together!
43
Thank you for sharing this post , I find it very sad to have our people go through so much hurt, physically, emotionally, and psychologically.All because it seems as though it is a black and white world with no shades of grey and nothing matters but the green. So sad for your hurt and your loss.
44
I pray for this mother and son. Unfortunately, I do not believe gun control laws are the answer. As this mother stated, we as a nation have to bring mental health issues to the fore front. I know from first hand experience that if someone With rage issues like Michael wants revenge, he will find a weapon. My ex-husband's stepbrother used a 5 lb. sledgehammer on his stepfather, his mother, and his 12 yr old sister. The saying where there is a will, there is a way, very much applies in situations like this.
45
You're not Adam Lanza's mother. You're a woman with a problem child who's looking to get her moment of fame by slandering the names of others.

Absolutely disgraceful.
46
Exactly why in the world would you lay the solution to such a Macabre problem at the door of our broken government? The government didn't have these children! The government doesn't allow them to sit in front of violent tv programs and video games! The government is not responsible for your problems! We have got to stop looking to our government for fix-alls! This is a huge problem in our country, " what is the government doing about this or that?" We are turning our freedoms over to our government and they are so far removed that 9 times out of 10 they create more or even worse problems. This country, the people, the schools, and yes even our government need The Lord! He is the only one with answers for such a depraved society. God have mercy on all our souls!
47
Our society thanks you for being so strong, to recognise that the content should not be ignored or disguised because the wrappings looked good. It must be so hard to discover & deal such a hand. I applaud your strength & wisdom. I feel for you & many parents out there with such a predicament.
48
God Bless you and I hope and pray that your son will get the help he so desperately needs.

49
You are amazing sharing your experience. You are right. We have to deal with mental health. Jails are not the answer, we need a policy change, and educate people about this problem, it is not a shame to have a mentally ill member in our families, it is a shame ignoring the problem.
50
To answer a previous comment / question, I would imagine that Michael's mother would
prefer that he live a normal life in his own home with his demons under control. With any luck, somehow, someday, that will be a real possibility. We all need to help each other in that quest.
51
Thank you for posting your story. I was experiencing deja vu as I read because I have lived what you are living through except my troubled child is a girl. I spent years trying to get help in a system that is extremely broken. I too was told to go through the courts and have her committed to juvenile detention. But she is mentally ill! Not a criminal! I finally found a childhood psychiatrist who helped me commit her to a lock down treatment facility for 4-1/2 months. It was the key we were looking for but getting it about destroyed our family. My heart goes out to you and all the other parents dealing with a mentally ill child. I've been on the bandwagon for more mental health funding and research in this country. Maybe now politicians will listen.
52
So what happen to all the mental hospitals?
53
@ 41, as you live in the US i can hardly imagine this hasnt been checked yet but i got miracly cured from my own anxiety disorder (and the "depresions" it caused) by finaly choosing to drug treat my ADD (i take a pretty low dose of ritalin now a days).
my ADD (already diagnosed as a kid) never felt seriously enough for treatment with what is after all an amphetamine ("okay i didnt go to univerity but college is good too so what" i thought) so i never did. Sadly it caused me to develop an undiagnosed co-morbid anxiety disorder which caused in turn a severe burn out, mild but escalating substance abuse and an undiagonsed chronic-hyperventialation problem which led to several years of intense medical problems (severe dizzyness, insomnia etc etc). when i finally got my anxiety disorder diagnose i got first behavior therapy (which didnt help much), then psychotherapy (which really didnt help), it was when in the end it seemed that only heavy downers would be the last option i myself discovered through anylising my (moderate) substance abuse and wikipedia sleuthing that anxiety-disorders (and bi-polar, OCD, ODD, depresions etc etc) can develop as a response to untreated AD(H)D.
now i'm like said on a small dose of ritalin and it really does seem like a miracle.
if you didnt already check it out, like you yourself say, often bi-polar is misdiagnosed as adhd but also very often bi-polar is mistaken for the problem and not a symptom.
there are way, way to many kids (esp in the US) completely unnescary on aderal and such but for some it is needed and can make an huge difference.
54
You should read "The Boy Who Loved Tornadoes"
55
I struggled for years with a son who had several provisional diagnoses and no real treatment or help. Unless he perpetrated crimes we could not get any real help. He had incredibly violent moments and most of the time the police viewed those issues as "domestic" and as my failure as his parent. There was a lack of financial resources according to social workers to help him because he didn't fit in to their disability need profiles. When he turned 17 - Wisconsin considered him an adult and the few bits of support we had in place were taken from us. I sent him to Challenge Academy at Fort McCoy and although this program is supposed to help kids just like my son - they kicked him out after 5 weeks - and it was because he finally made the right decision to not partake in illegal activities but angered another cadet in the process. This was a turning point in my son's life and I am relieved to say that at age 21 he's not in prison or worse. But I often wonder if he had had the benefit of more positive support and help and if he had been able to complete that program, could things be better? I feel like my son was pulled away from that cliff, but not far enough away to ensure his future stability. Now he can't get help as an adult because he's been inconsistent about follow up and again because he's not actively a criminal. There is no help in preventive efforts; it's only in the tragic aftermath does this become a discussion point that is quickly forgotten. I understand completely this mother's fears, and other than sharing my own story - I have no words that can help calm them.
56
Thank you for posting this. Very important to hear. Alas I can't agree with your "God help us" plea. I do not believe in any deity precisely because of problems we have seen with children dying like this. We need to help ourselves by petitioning our elected lawmakers to stand up to the NRA and the gun dealers to create ways of keeping guns out of the hands of people who are clearly psychiatrically impaired. Thank you.
57
I am 4th generation intuitive healer. You may not understand or believe me, but I think your son is allergic to not only his environment ( chemicals ) but food as well and esp. red dye.
I would gladly help you find result to help your son.

soul2soulreadings.com
58
The real question is, if you knew your son had this type of capacity, would you still have an arsenal of weapons in your home?
59
The best thing you could possibly do is to put the rabid animal down before he hurts others. He is obviously in a lot of mental pain. You keeping him alive is torture.
60
This is a very serious issue and I don't think anyone has all the answers. However, just to throw one more possibility into this issue, you might want to read a book called
Orthomolecular Medicine for Everyone, a paperback from amazon.com, by Abram Hoffer and Andrew Saul. There are Orthomolecular Medicine consultants and doctors scattered around the country as well as Ph D clinical nutritionists.

Sometimes a person is affected negatively by what they are eating, and sensitivities that they may have but are unaware of to foods, that can produce negative behaviors. Also some of us have very high requirements for some nutrients that others can live without.

I am just mentioning it because as a single mother of four,you have your hands full, protecting yourself as well as your other children. You can only do what you can do, and your hands are already full. Still I wanted to mention it to you as this area could be triggering your son's outbursts. Or he might have a psychopathic tendency, which we hope not. Best of luck, we all feel for you.
61
I too am the mother of one of these sons, I cannot tell you how deep and despairing the anguish is, when you cannot get help or afford it for a child who so desperately needs it. I personally drained all of my savings trying to get my son help and when it ran it and I had nothing left, I begged the psychiatrist to please continue to help me, please treat him for a reduced rate, help me find resources etc. and when they told me no, i did lash out in frustration and tell them "then I hope you remember his name because someday you may see it in the news as the next columbine incident." Of course it escalated to the point where my son had to be taken away in handcuffs, and be put in juvenile detention, I begged and pleaded with judge please don't release him without helping me in getting some help. You can never understand the despair of a mother living with a monster who she doesn't know how to help.
62
Thank you for posting this insightful story. It really seems to get to the core of what must be done to avoid these types of horrific situations. But I still belive there is a gun control piece that must be considered. This responsible mother put all the sharp objects into a tupperware and carried them around with her. It is my understanding that Adam Lanza's mother had multiple firearems in the house. How could that be? Perhaps we need background checks not only on indivduals purchasing a gun, but on their immediate family members. It may have helped in this case.

63
Thank you for sharing your story. I am going to do everything I can to keep the focus on the issue: MENTAL ILLNESS. God bless your family and your precious son who needs help. Sending love, support, and prayers.
64
My heart goes out to this mother. The system is indeed broken. Prison isn't the answer.
Poster 17, your petition may get more responses on change.org. I agree that we need to focus the discussion on how to treat mental illness with accessible, early intervention. Focusing on gun control misses the root cause of the issue.
65
i appreciate you sharing your story. i pray that God holds your son closely and gives him all the peace he needs.
66
I am the older brother of someone with very similar symptoms. the fact that there is no solution is the most draining feeling in the world. my mother and father have sacrificed so much and i feel so bad for them. all i can do is wish he had never been born.
67
During the Reagan Administration many, many mentally ill people were forced to "hit the streets." Many of these mentally ill people wound up in prison (the worst place for them). What got them into prison was their mental illness for which they were not being treated.

Mental illness has always been the poor stepchild on the medical disease spectrum. Some mental illnesses are even viewed by some doctors as weaknesses rather than as diseases. There is so much misinformation out there. Yet, one need not go far to find mental illness in a family. It may be in your very own family, next door, or down the street.

"Adam's mother" is so very right about the need for frank discussion being NOW, not sometime in the distant future, when the next horrific incident unfolds. WHY ARE WE WAITING?
68
Dear Slog,

Would you all consider signing this petition for mental health care?
https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petitio…

Kindest regards,
kim
69
I write as a mother and a mental health worker. I have been kicked, slapped and head butted by my child. I was lucky. I had money, I lived in a blue state, I had health insurance and because I was training in the mental health field, I had access to good advice. My child is okay now. And now I work in the mental health field and every now and again, someone will come to me with with this combination of developmental delay and emotional outburst and brilliance. I am able to see just one case like this at a time. The work is exhausting and a little scary. Rage is a frightening thing. It blows things up. It rampages. It's a seizure with action and words.
70
This is ridiculous. Why cant they diagnose this kid? Because there is no code for BRAT! Sorry mom, you blew it, somewhere way back in his childhood was the moment when you should have taken your hand to his ass and taught him that there would be consequences far worse than losing a video game. Your child still does not understand that he controls his world because you did not teach him how. Staying calm when he calls you bitch? Really? And before you say I dont know, I do, because I raised one like this. Instead of bemoaning his issues, I got to work, a lot of love and time teaching him social skills and my hand on his ass when he broke the rules. Anyway, now you have a big shit that you are scared of because you did not handle this when he was a little shit. What do we do? I have no idea. But I hope the next generation starts PARENTING instead of saying any kid who doesnt fit the angel mold (I have one of those too, what a pleasure) is mentally ill. No, they are individuals and require whatever type of parenting they need to learn life skills...one of them being, you dont call your mother a bitch. Period.
71
Please, please consider Bach flower remedies and Homeopathy. Your son seems to have so much potential to have a bright future. I feel so sad that he had to go to the mental hospital and God knows what the pharmaceutical drugs must be doing to him.
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President Obama, promised the nation that it is time to take a look at why this keeps happening. Well, President Obama, please take a look at our mental health situation in this country. Open up a dialogue on Mental Health issues, that have long been stimgitized in the U.S. Prison is not the answer. I have mental health issues myself, generalized anxiety disorder, and PTSD. When I was 18, I tried to commit suicide. My parents intervened, and for the next 20 years, I was mis-diagnosed, given all sorts of pharmacetical remedys. This is not a political issue. I sat and watched the shootings at Sandy Hill...and of course the shooter had mental health issues. Who in their right mind would do something like that. I am doing well now, but I had to fight tooth and nail for the right therapist, group, and treatment center. I was fortunate enough to find a therapist who worked with DBT, and EMDR. I am on a mild anti-anxiety medication from a knowledgable pschiatrist. When are we going to take the stigma out of mental health? When? Until we do something about this , we will keep asking "why". Thank you Michael's mother who wrote this article. Please, lets open up our eyes and our hearts to those who suffer from mental illness. It is no different than cancer or diabetes. And look at all the funding that goes into that. I pray that this does not become a political issue of gun control...another gridlock in our society. I will pray for Michael, and our nation, to finally look into the real problems that we have.
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Riveting article on a subject that deserves to be in the forefront of our concerns as a society......bless all the families living this nightmare. And as for "unregistered people" commenting on this article.....take personal inventory of your own biased comments. I could be wrong, but the message in the article promotes compassion for, and understanding of people and their family members who fight this demon of mental illness every day.
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I have carried a tupperware bin of knives around in my car for weeks at a time, carried them around to make sure my son didn't have access to them. I've also chosen jobs based on health insurance options. Thank you, thank you, thank you for being brave enough to write this!
Nursemomma@msn.com
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Ms. Long, you are a superstar. God bless you and your 4 sweet children.
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Thanks for posting this. I agree with another comment that this is the most relevant discussion in the wake of this tragedy. As a mother, my heart is heavy for you. Grace and peace.
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Mental health is important, unfortunately a lot of people can not accept or understand that it is a medical problem. We have heart disease, liver disease etc. Why can the society accept that our brain can be ill. The manifestation of brain (mind) disease can be observed by our behaviour and thought processes. If a diabetic kid has to take insulin for the rest of his life. It is so difficult to accept taking psychiatric medication if the kid mental health is improved. I am not taking about unethical practice of a small number of psychiatrists. Most of us as a psychiatrist, we do in good faith, to heal, to comfort and not too harm, In most of the international psychiatric meetings, there will be an antipsychiatric demonstrating outside the convention hall.
I hope society can see that our brain (mind) as vulnerable as others organs in our bodies can be ill also. thyen@hotmail.com
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I saw this yesterday. I'm glad I'm seeing it again today.
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Honest and heartfelt...and scarily and eerily real...thank you
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Zyprexa is being administered to hyper-sensitive beings with a high amount of psychic conductivity. Zyprexa is basically a death sentence for the unfathomable mental power these people have, that is not being handled well at all, due to the high anxiety levels of those who think there's something "wrong" with them.
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The alternative medicine crowd is out in force today.

If it performed better than a placebo, it wouldn't be "alternative."
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My heart is wrenched by your story but I'm going to comment from my brain: biochemistry is a very delicate thing. Tiny genetic flaws can set large reactions in motion. I'm happy to give more info/resources but since this is unsolicited advice, I'll be really brief: remove gluten and casein (wheat & dairy) from your dear son's diet (100%) and get a genetic test of his methylation pathways (holisticheal.com). I'm not affiliated with that lab. Another option (cheaper but also less comprehensive) @ 23andme.com. I'm sending your family warm thoughts.
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God bless you and your family. Thank you for sharing your story. You are very brave and doing everything you can. I am not doctor, but I know a woman who is, who has actually been able to cure people with symptoms similar to your son's. Surprisingly, it can be due to imbalances in the gut, which can be easily rebalanced. All of the information is free, and I really hope you have a look at it. www.gapsdiet.com. I am not affiliated with this doctor or her program, I only know that her diet stopped my panic attacks and depression in its tracks. It's the best "medicine" available!! With love...Rebecca
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God bless you and your family. Thank you for sharing your story. You are very brave and doing everything you can. I am not doctor, but I know a woman who is, who has actually been able to cure people with symptoms similar to your son's. Surprisingly, it can be due to imbalances in the gut, which can be easily rebalanced. I know it sounds completely crazy, but you have nothing to lose to just read about it. All of the information is free, and I really hope you have a look at it. www.gapsdiet.com. I am not affiliated with this doctor or her program, I only know that her diet stopped my panic attacks and depression in its tracks. It's the best "medicine" available!! With love...Rebecca
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The guns aren't the problem (of course they certainly don't help), because if it wasn't a gun, it might be a knife or a rope or...you get my point. Look at all the stabbings in China on that very same day...also involving school children, 22 children to be exact. The problem here is our health care system. Our poor children are suffering from a very toxic world. The toxins spiral epigenetic changes and then we add insult to injury with toxic foods, toxic cleaners, toxic vaccinations, toxic fillings, toxic pesticides and then ultimately toxic meds when they don't behave the way society expects them to.

We need to shift our thinking to the biochemistry involved in the mental well-being of our children. Their whole body is involved and this is a medical crisis. I too have children who are effected by the changes in our world in combination with our genetic mishaps. Genetics load the gun, our environment pulls the trigger. I have been able to naturally pull my boys out of this dark hole, but not without a LOT of hard work and research. The average parent doesn't have the time it takes to experiment and research and waste precious time on the trial and error of various treatment choices. Our medical community needs to get with the program. We need help. Doing this on my own is costly and time consuming and most parents don't have excess of either.

I would love to see a lesson taken away from this gargantuan and heartbreaking event. My heart breaks not only for the families who have had their babies and relatives stolen away from them, but for Adam and his family who were so obviously failed by the medical system. Drugs won't help these kids, they need real deep healing from multiple medical ailments. And it needs to start WELL before they get so sick.
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Guns have nothing to do with this. Someone who is as mentally ill as the shooter on Friday will find another way to kill. Bombs can be made very easily with common household chemicals. You don't need access to guns to kill and destroy. Blaming guns is another scapegoat - millions of guns are owned by law abiding citizens.

The problem is mental health, and our country's general lack of available care for the mentally ill. Someone brought up our food supply and that's an excellent point. As Americans most of our food supply is full of chemicals, preservatives, and other extremely unhealthy things. But we eat and drink and pretend that there are no repercussions for those choices.
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I am a program coordinator at a home for children with a variety of disabilities and mental health challenges. It is absolutely heartbreaking to read this as I understand the behavior being spoken of, though I can't imagine how much harder it would be to have this be my own child - ultimately, at the end of the day - I go home... for me it is a job, often a difficult one - but I get my down time while the parents who do not turn over their custodial rights do not get that break ---- there is so much trial and error in everything... treatment, medications, appropriate responses - sometimes you see some improvement and get your hopes up that the magical combination has been found - but it doesn't last... and when an admittee becomes too much of a threat for others, they have to be moved to another facility or worse, committed or arrested ---- hopefully, someday we will find the answers - it won't be soon enough........
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This happens to single mothers who have troublesome boys in their teens. The boys think they are bigger than their moms and can twist her around their fingers. They think they can use their cracking voice and flexing muscles to terrify the ladies who would instantly comply to their wishes out of fear. They must be sent to a hostel where the male wardens control them. In the beginning it is not mental illness. They just try their luck. But in due course, it turns into a mania.
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Wow. I was so angered Friday. Not only by the horrific happenings to so many innocent people, but also the media saying and I quote, "this is the face of mental illness." I agree and disagree. I am the face of mental illness. I am an adult with Bi-Polar. There are varying degrees and I am thankful that mine is the most mild. I never like to use the word never, but I would like to believe that I would never even think of something so vile. I was only diagnosed about 3 years ago knowing for 30+ years that something was wrong, that I was different, and that I didn't like the way I felt on the inside. I sought help. Doctors, psychologists, certified therapists and it wasn't until I found one particular Psychiatrist and kept pushing that I have been in therapy, I have taken these meds and something is STILL NOT RIGHT! I knew it. I could feel it. It was eating me up on the inside. I wanted to know what was wrong. It was a slow, long process. After having tried many different meds and combinations we finally found the right meds, the right doses, and the right combination. I don't know what normal feels like, but I feel normal. Accepted now. Confident. More importantly, calm, not easily irritated, aggitated angered. This may not be helpful because it does not deal with severe cases. As an adult who finally now feels free and has gone public because I am not ashamed of who I am and my diagnosis, have lost many friends because of the stigma. Some associated with my children, their friends, schools. Sometimes I wish I had kept quiet, but other times I wonder if it is these people who are afraid of "being found out for who they really are" are truly the ones that need the most help.
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thank you for sharing this--I am a R.N. certified in mental health nursing. I have no doubt Adams mother shares your story and have been having conversations about our lack of Comprehensive Mental Health system. Lets stop fooling ourselves that it only about gun control---it is clearly about the lack of understanding by our politicians .As a country we need to address our health system and social concerns with more money and top priorities. when budgets are cut mental health is at the top of the list---by our govt. and the insurance companies are allowed to follow this lead.Wake up America and do something real for a change--for our children before it is too late. These tradegies begin in childhood. Wake up PARENTS and see your childrens needs and address them.
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Thank you so much for sharing. I have 3 children adopted from foster care, all of whom have mental health issues. We are lucky that because they are adopted we get Medicaid, I cannot imagine having to try to get the services we need without it. So many pediatric services no longer exist or have long waiting lists leaving parents who need mental health services for their children in dangerous situations. My daughter (8) has been hospitalized 4 times in the last year for suicide attempts, harming her brothers and me and uncontrolled rage leading to thousands of dollars of property damage. I pray he gets the help he needs and your family finds a semblance of peace.
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Thank you for posting this. It is not easy to open up on a subject so close to the heart as one's own. Our children are our pride and joy and our legacy.
This could very well be my story. I also have a son with mental illness. He has been diagnosed with ADHD, Autisim, OCD, etc. A long list of accronyms that do nothing but cause people to look at him and turn the other direction for lack of anything better to say.
He was in and out of court 3 times by the time he was 10. At school their answer was to move him from program to program because they could not handle him. When he reached the end of those moves, they would lock him in a cement closet during his melt downs to protect the teachers and the other children. Then they would call the police and have him suspended from school for 3 days. He had no remorse and did not understand any of this. Our Community Programs paid to have a specialist brought in to the class room to observe him and give recommendations but the teachers and administration did not respect those recommendations and closet confinement continued. We had to hold him back from being advanced to the middle school because he did not tolerate large group environments and knew that this would truly put him 'over the edge.'
When he was 9, he pulled out a butcher knife and threatened to kill himself and his 17 year old brother was able to wrestle it away, miraculously without anyone getting even a scratch. 2 days later, I was finally able to get him admitted to a mental health unit at a hospital out of town but not before jumping through hoops. We have no mental health facility or immediate care for mental health issues where we live and can not get in to another county facility without all the red tape and questions, some of which you described.
He injured and destroyed people and belongings for years and no one would do anything about it. He set my livingroom on fire 3 times. He is smart and devious and creative and with 5 children and being a working mom, it was impossible to keep up with him all the time. As a family we needed help. Our lives rotated around him and he learned how to use his behaviors as his advantage at a very early age. Every one was scared of him.
I've been down your road many times and your post gave me the chills remembering what it was like. My son will turn 21 in January. Fortunately for him, we were able to get him help, but it has not fixed the issue of mental illness. Last night when he threatened to break the dogs neck because he was angry with the dog at the time, my mind jumped back 10 years to when his issues became more than I was physically, emotionally and mentally able to cope with. I realized that I am still frightened of him. I am totally with you when you say that we need to address mental illness on a full national scale. We can't wait for all the face book posts to fix things even though people think that they are doing good by them. Mental illness is a real and serious issue. How many more mass slaughters will it take before this is recognized.
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Thank you for sharing this. I am wondering if anyone who is going through this with a child has heard of, or visited, Dr. Daniel Amen. He has done revolutionary work with ADHD...not sure about his experience with autism spectrum disorders (I read his book on ADHD), but his focus is on brain imagery, and inevitably there are "dark" areas of the brain where blood flow is not normal in a lot of these kinds of situations. Pharmaceuticals are often a shot in the dark to address what is happening without a "road map" of seeing what is actually going on in the brain with impaired frontal cortex functioning of different manifestations.

Blessings to all the parents who are bravely struggling with this, and prayers for all the children.
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I appreciate your story and agree with your point of view, however you are not like Adam's mother in one critical way, when faced with a dangerous child you removed the weapons from your household, she failed to do so and because of this she became an enabler of the massacre.
It is true that we have failed ourselves by not providing the necessary facilities for the mentally ill, I know this first hand since I live near Northampton MA and many years ago a judge passed down a decision that essentially dumped individuals who had been housed at a mental hospital onto the streets of the city. There are two main issues here one of treatment of mental illness with proper care and restraint if necessary and that of stopping the ridiculous over consumption of guns with a focus on handguns and assault type weapons. I have no problem with reasonable ownership of hunting weapons, but what need is there for handguns and assault weapons in a everyday life.
95
Thank you for sharing this. I am wondering if anyone who is going through strugles with a child with psychological disabilities has heard of, or visited, Dr. Daniel Amen. He has done revolutionary work with ADHD...not sure about his experience with autism spectrum and other disorders (I read his book on ADHD), but his focus is on brain imagery, and inevitably there are "dark" areas of the brain where blood flow is not normal in a lot of these kinds of situations. Pharmaceuticals are often a shot in the dark to address what is happening without a "road map" of seeing what is actually going on in the brain with impaired frontal cortex functioning of different manifestations.

Blessings to all the parents who are bravely struggling with this, and prayers for all the children.
96
Awesome story, and yes mental health treatment, AND long-term, indeterminent, LOCKED, psychiatric hospitalization is clearly needed, but it does NOT address the issue of how those with these adolescents with mental illnesses, STILL GET ACCESS TO DEADLY WEAPONS (mainly firearms!). A psychotic kid is one thing. That kid having LEGAL AND PHYSICAL ACCESS TO DEADLY WEAPONS is quite another!
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"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 had 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 waving 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."

This child is a master manipulator. His rages come when it doesnt work. Why does she keep doing the same thing qnd getting the same result? That is the definition of insanity, right? Mom, step back and read what you just wrote.. Leave the other stuff out. Maybe a new perspective will help you help him.
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There is, in reality, very little we, medicine or society can do for children like this. You've already tried the medication route. You've already tried the long suffering patient parent route. This child will end up in a clock tower with a high powered rifle someday, and innocent people, multiple innocent people will die.
I'm sorry. This kid needs to be in jail.
It doesn't matter how smart he is, or how cute his Harry Potter doll collection is.
Lock this kid up or someone who doesn't deserve to die, likely his parents first, then others will die.
Do it now. His brain doesn't work right. It's not going to. It's sad. It's a tragedy.
Lock him up!
99
Would it be remiss to point out that we don't really know anything about Adam Lanza yet? Not that the piece isn't worth consideration, just maybe premature?
100
I am Adam Lanza's mother as well. My sons have both been through hell with mental disabilities. Someone better figure something out fast! We are all innocent victims, including the killers themselves. Please find out what is going on with our brains!!!