If you’ve not read the astonishing amounts of dialogue triggered by the piece, I am Adam Lanza’s Mother, it’s worth reading the below response to it as well as other dialogue it’s triggered. You can find the other original pieces within the text of the piece I’m excerpting from below.
A Reflection on Mothers, Children, and Mental Illness, by Faith Rhyne
People have not, unfortunately, been so quick to realize that forced treatment is itself violent. The posts acknowledging the role of psychiatric drugs, largely SSRIs and stimulants, in aberrant violence are woefully few and far between.
I think that young man, Michael, has every right to be angry and hurt and confused.
I don’t know when being angry and hurt and confused became a mental illness.
As an adult survivor of early psychiatric treatment, a recovery educator, and as a parent, I am deeply concerned that we live in a world that is so punishing of difference that parents are pressured to hurt their children, taught to view them through diminished perspectives and to hear their cries for help and efforts to voice distress as symptoms, manipulations, and fits.
It is concerning to me that the relationship between a mother and a child can be so damaged that the child is harmed by the mother and the mother is afraid of her child. I actually have a lot of respect for Liza Long, because she was honest about how she felt and about how she perceived her son’s behaviors and attitudes.
Fear, sadly, is one of the common effects of mental illness. (please go read the rest)
I’m glad Faith underscored that forced psychiatric treatment is VIOLENCE. If people don’t understand the tragic irony inherent in that fact we will truly never resolve these issues. You cannot stop violence with violence.
Sometimes it seems that we, as human beings, suffer from a lack of imagination. That most health providers don’t know how to offer safer care when someone is in psychiatric crisis doesn’t mean that safer ways of care do not exist. Rather than respond to the chaos and pain of those in psychiatric distress with fear and violence people can learn LOVE instead. Love de-escalates…I have seen it. I know it exists. I have in fact de-escalated severely psychotic and violent people (without the aid of drugging) on more than one occasion.
And I GET intergenerational trauma...I get that blaming people is useless, meaningless…and I understand that people must feel what they feel…I see growing pains in all of this…I think it’s wonderful that this dialogue is happening.
I can feel compassion for all the members of this discussion even when I cringe at some of how they perceive their experience. This is how we grow. Get it out there and listen to one another.
It’s worth mentioning, too, that we do not know Adam Lanza or his mother. Anything about their relationship and how the tragedy happened will always be speculation. I’m reading all of this as a way to understand the speakers and their lives, knowing too that I will never know exactly what it’s like to be any of them.