This is not my usual post about enjoying life. But, I need to get it out so I can stop dwelling. As many of you know, I listen to NPR … National Public Radio. Despite the fact that some of my relatives think it’s a left-wing Trump bashing network, it’s not. Yes, they do have some political topics on, but that usually isn’t the main programming. They might have a program about dressers that aren’t stable and fall over on children. It all varies, but most of the programming is topical.
This morning on 1A, it was about the upcoming March for Life on Saturday with a few guests discussing different aspects of the whole gun violence issue. And it’s not like watching cable news where they all talk over one another or have shouting matches. The guests are civilized and understand you can disagree without being nasty.
This followed on the heels of my watching Megan Kelly Today this morning. She had guests on discussing their experience with mental health. Here’s the link: https://www.today.com/parents/what-conduct-disorder-kids-t125279.
The program dealt with conduct disorder which is a form of mental health. Which brings me to the gun violence issue. One of the excuses we keep hearing is “it’s not a gun issue, it’s a mental health issue”. People with mental health issues or their families don’t have such an easy time getting help. There is no pill you give someone like an antibiotic. Or like putting a cast on a broken arm or leg. Maybe you can find help and maybe you can get on the right balance of meds, but this isn’t always the case. Insurance often doesn’t cover mental health or if it does, there is a limit to the number of times you can see a doctor. And they don’t come cheap, as the guests explained. They weren’t able to get help. Can you imagine having to padlock your interior doors to protect your other children or family members? I can’t either.
When I first moved to North Carolina from California in 2002, one of the big mental health hospitals closed down and all the people were released … to their families. Or to the streets. Around that time, a man did something. I can’t remember … a murder? A rape? Child molestation? It really isn’t important what he did. What is important was his parents were unable to get help for him. They would call the police. Call Social Services. No one would or could help them. Eventually, he committed a crime and went to jail, but not before there was a victim. These parents knew something was going to happen, but were helpless.
Well, nothing has changed since then. Yeah, let’s make America great again. We still aren’t doing anything about mental health. And I doubt in my remaining lifetime that we will. We don’t have our priorities straight. It’s all about me, not us. I’m not giving up my right to own all the guns I want, you can give up your child. I know it sounds harsh, but it is the reality today.
So on 1A, after having watched Megan’s show, they were discussing all the various issues pertaining to the March and the gun violence issue. And then a young woman called in. She lived in one of those states in the South that started with an A, I believe. She stated that all the people she knew had guns. She was a mother of a 3 year old. The problem was a mental health issue because the parents didn’t do a good job. She intimated that was the reason people have mental health issues! Their parents! She, on the other hand, makes time for her child. A three year old. Are you f’ing kidding me? The top of my head blew off!
She’s had three years of experience being a parent and she felt she could judge. My personal feeling … those years were the easiest. As a parent, you had control. There were no outside influences. Sure it takes physical energy, but you don’t have the issues you do when they become teenagers or adults. Give yourself another pat on the back, young mother.
My experience with mental health? My husband was bi-polar and suffered with it for 25 years until he took his own life. He was a good guy. His parents were good parents. They did their best. Their other son doesn’t appear to have any issues. My sister was bi-polar, as well. I like to think my brother and I turned out okay. So, I guess my parents did an okay job too. A good friend is married to a paranoid- schizophrenic. He had lovely parents.
I don’t think placing the blame on parents for the heinous acts of their children is right. Granted, some parents mistreat and are hateful to their children. The jails seem to be full of their offspring. But what about those who have done a decent job. No, none of us have done a perfect job. But, good enough.
My heart goes out to the families when you hear of their child doing the kinds of things they’re doing now. Maybe there is a lot of hate being discussed in the house. Maybe there is just an imbalance in their bodies. A disconnect of the electrical impulses. One thing I know, mental health issues are not easy to control. And to assume that they are is wrong. Just wrong. And uninformed. Maybe we need to stop blaming and start solving. Solving mental health issues is going to cost dollars. Are you ready to suggest your taxes be raised to cover these costs?