The right to lead a full life.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

For the past few days I haven't known what to say. It's kind of worked out, because I also haven't wanted to talk about it. You don't really want to think about kindergarteners getting shot, but that seems to be on my mind every night before bed. As tends to be the pattern with horrible things, there has been a lot of jumping to conclusions. There are three things people are talking about most: 1. The kids who were shot; 2. Gun control; and 3. Mental illness, particularly autism.

The sadness for the adults and children who were shot just cause my heart to ache. All the time. It's not right, it's not fair, it's not good. Nothing that I will say will do anyone any good. Because when you have lost someone that you love, when their body isn't there to draw you pictures or give you advice or give you a hug or smile- it sucks. And it sucks for a really long time. So I'm not going to pretend that I have answers. I just know that I'm praying for the families.

Gun control. Statistics show that people don't change their opinions (not drastically) after a mass shooting. Here's what I think- If you are anti-gun, you have a long fight ahead of you. The right to arms is in the Constitution. As the U.S. Constitution is the law that all other laws are upheld by, even this high school government class-educated woman can let you know that would be a mighty hard battle- to take on all the guns in the country. Perhaps you should look at this. Or this. I'm just throwing some information out there. It's up to you to draw your own conclusions. As for me? Personally, I think it wise that I learn to shoot one day. I also really never want to own a gun.

But I don't have kids. I don't have a gun. What I do have is a mental illness. When people go around, making blind accusations about people with a mental illness, I do get a little hot under the collar. Do you realize that if you (or someone you heard) are making sweeping accusations about mental illness, you are talking about me? When I hear "lock up the crazies," it means that someone thinks that I don't have rights as a human. Like I don't deserve to give my best effort at making a life of my own. There's something [stupid] going around Facebook that has a part that says "You ppl need to stop doing drugs while pregnant and having sick babies that grow up killing innocent people." While the killing innocent people part doesn't apply to me, I can safely guarantee that my mom did not do drugs while I was incubating in her belly. It's called genetics and situational factors. Generalizations make me feel like sh!#. Sorry for the cursing allusion, but hearing that honestly makes me want to curl up in a ball on my bed and give my best efforts at melting into the floor. Which, incidentally, is what I do when I'm sad or angry. I don't go out and kill people. For more on the Facebook post and the thoughts of an autistic mother (*correction because that didn't sound right when I just re-read it- mother of an autistic child), visit this post at Yeah. Good Times. It is well worth the read.

Ironically enough, "lock[ing] up the crazies" is what we are doing. I know, many people are like, whatevs man, healthcare shmelthcare! Funding is getting cut everywhere. The brilliant essay, "I am Adam Lanza's Mother," has this quote: "...in fact, the rate of inmate mental illness is five times greater (56%) than the non-incarcerated population." These people aren't getting help. Would you want jail to be your healthcare option? I don't. I doubt it is very good for the penal system either. When I was looking for options when I was first diagnosed, it was made very clear to me that unless I was suicidal or homicidal, my Bipolar disorder was not severe enough to be treated at immediate facilities. Because having a meltdown at 3 am, screaming into the night, isn't severe at all. I found (from calling many many many doctors) that the average length of time to get in to see a psychiatrist for a first visit is 6 weeks. 6 weeks to see a private doctor (with good insurance). That's an awfully long time to wait when you feel like you can't live with your illness. The system is flawed.

Until America realizes that mental illness is huge, and important at all levels, the lack of treatment will be sustained and people will keep making ignorant assumptions. While there are people who are unstable and violent, there are plenty of us who are keeping to ourselves and trying to live a life that works for us. But everyone with a mental disorder deserves help. Not just mindless medication, but legitimate help- medication if needed, the right kind of therapy, a place to go if the outside world isn't the best environment (not for all, but for some). Every human has the right to lead a full life. Isn't it time we made that happen? Wouldn't that lead to the best situation for everyone?

Thanks for letting me get on my soap box for a while.

-L

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