February 15, 2008

Too Much


Lately, we have been bombarded with news about heinous murders, such as the murder of a young pregnant woman by her police officer boyfriend, who was, also, the father of her little son who witnessed the murder of his mother. He was left, alone in the home with his dead mother, for at least a day or more..a toddler left to scrounge for survival on his own. His statements were, "Mommie's in the rug." "Mommie was crying." "Mommie broke the table." The man whose job it was to protect the public, killed the mother of his child, and left him alone with her dead body. What causes a human being to act in this fashion?

In the past few days, there was a round up here in the city of a large gang who was wreaking havoc in the community, which included the mother of three of the members. And then, of course, the shooting deaths at the university in Illinois, including the suicide of the shooter, and the horrifying, hacking murder of a psychologist in New York. It is almost too much to take in, all at once.

I thought that I would write something about mental illness, and its effect, not only on the perpetrator and his victim, but on the families of both, also. I wanted to try to make some sense out of it all, to myself, if no one else. But I can't. I have read a lot about mental and emotional illness, and others have, at times, explained certain forms of it, and their personal experience with it, but it is far too complicated, too convoluted, it all of its forms to comprehend, much less to make sense of it.

I can't even imagine the pain of living with mental illness, and all that is endured by the families dealing with it, and its aftermath. I realize that many would say that a lot of what is done in the name of mental illness, is nothing more than the evil acts of an individual. Who is able to judge such a thing? I know that I am not, and even trying to come to terms with it, and all of its ramifications, leaves me in sorrow. Sorrow for those whose lives will never be the same because of it, and sorrow over what is taken from each and everyone of us each time that we witness such events that transpire on a daily basis.

When we see those whose job it is to protect us and to keep us safe, commit these acts, our trust is diminished, to a degree, in all others who are sworn to protect us.

There was a time when we felt, most of us, that we lived in a safe and secure world, but I for one, feel that slipping away from us all.

14 comments:

Ann said...

Jan,
Hi, I for one hate watching the news because of all you written here in your post. As the world grows darker and darker it become more and more apparent that we all need to keep are eyes on Yeshua. He said that the day would grow evil...however grace would abound. He didn't say it would get any better with time only worse. And so I personally thank G-d for his grace!
L'Shalom
Ann

k said...

What a beautiful post about such sad and ugly events.

Jan said...

Ann..it is true, that the world is getting darker and darker in its depravity, and lack of moral conscience.

I, personally, feel that I could not persevere day to day without my faith to sustain me.

Thank you for dropping by, and please feel welcome anytime!

Jan said...

k..thank you.

I wish there were no such things to write about, don't you?

sheoflittlebrain said...

Beautifully written Jan. No one could have expressed the sad turn our country is taking better...

sue said...

Catching up... (finally)... first, I hope you are feeling better. I didn't realize you were feeling so under the weather.

yes, this is a very good post. Having first-hand witnessed mental illness it is very sad and such a feeling of helplessness for the people around the person who is suffering. There really is no good answers. One of the worst things that happened is when they stopped treating so many people in facilities, but instead turned them out on the street thinking they could fend for themselves. Mental illness is so sneaky... one minute a person may feel they are "under control" or "better", so then they stop taking whatever medication they are on and begin a fast spiral down. Or there are the others who may think they need help but because of shame don't want to come forward and admit it to anyone and things go out of control.

We can easily look at the aftermath of such tradgedies and say, "why didn't someone see this?"... but unfortunately, sometimes it can't be seen until it is too late. Some how we need to make it more acceptable (and easier) for people to get the help they need before it becomes a crisis situation.

k said...

Jan, I sure do. I take care, and work hard, to see the world as it really is. This is something that matters to me very much.

It carries a price.

It's so sad when people do these things, for whatever the reasons they do. But when a basic unkindness on the part of others contributes to it? that one hits me worse.

Sue, I remember with perfect clarity when the *dumping* occurred. It was provoked in part by scandals at too many of those facilities. But instead of focusing on straightening up those places, they came to be viewed as a Big Unwarranted Waste of Government Money.

The doors were opened up, and people put out on the street. Some areas tried to do half-way house assimilations; some did not.

I lived in Chicago at the time. Quite suddenly - almost overnight - the sidewalks were peppered with obviouly dysfunctional and uncared for mentally ill. They talked to themselves or accosted strangers (like me), panhandled, and dressed in stinking rags. Sometimes they performed private toileting activities in public.

If you tried to tell a cop about it, saying this person both needs help and is scaring us, they'd say there was nothing they could do about it - no laws had been broken.

It's pretty much continued that way ever since. Many of the homeless are the result of this. So are many of our prison populatation. Even if their crimes are very small ones, there's no where else to house them now. In prison, they don't get treatment; often they don't even get their basic psych meds.

The driving force behind this massive dumping of ill human beings who need our care, for their sake and ours?

Ronald Reagan.

He's become revered by those who were not alive or were children during his administration. Dissenting views have, really and truly, been systematically purged from public record, much of this under the auspices of the current admininistration.

I sat and watched as these things unfolded under Reagan. I also worked for his administration, in a position where closely following presidential acts was imperative to accomplishing our work. I did not believe then, or now, that he was a benign and loving sort of guy.

This is one reason why.

Jan said...

Sue, and k...I think that mental illness has to be one of the saddest things in the world!

It is easy to say that it is because of one thing or another, but really, who knows?

Sometimes, I am inclined to believe that the medications contribute to the problem, because it is such a hit and miss thing, and then of course, there is the problem of discontinuing it, altogether, when it is so desperately needed.

Jan said...

She..thank you for your kind words.

rockync said...

I came by and read this post,Jan and then I had to go away for a bit and ponder it awhile. I came through the 60s, a time of civil unrest and violence, but it's not like this. So, what's different today?
One, we live and play and socialize on our computers. Gone are the days when we sat on the porch and visited with neighbors. People we lived next door to all our lives. We are a mobile society and I'm not sure that's such a positive thing.
People used to keep an eye on each other and help each other out. We have come to a place where much of our poulation is self-centered and callous when it comes to those who have less.
Even families seem more distant from each other, both physically and emotionally.
In smaller towns here in the South, you still find more sense of community but as our children grow up and leave, this way of life will soon be lost.
And yes, the powers that be have failed us with the mental health treatment reductions and the revolving door prison system.
Seems we as a nation and a society have made a multitude of mistakes on so many levels and now we are paying the price.
Now would be one of those times to wish for a "do-over."

Jan said...

rockync..what you have said is sad, but true.

I'm afraid that there is just no sense of belonging, anymore, and today, as a society, we are more interested in instant gratification than anything else.

It seems that people just no longer care about the welfare of others.

Donald Douglas said...

Well, a lot of the illnesses that drive people to kill can be explained.

I work with professional psychologists, one who maintains her counseling practice.

We have a many students attenting the college with many psychological afflictions, and sometimes I worry about safety on campus. In fact, I've been quite focal on campus security and preparedness.

Hope you're well!!

rockync said...

Jan, so true. We have gotten to the place when it isn't life we hold dear but lifestyle. So, people go their frantic way buying and borrowing and miring themselves in the muck of possessions. But they still find their lives are empty and don't realize that they have become another casualty of the brainwashing of America.

Jan said...

Donald..I'm sure that it must be a constant source of worry in your field, and has to be very stressful.

I am well, thank you.

How was Las Vegas? :)