It is frankly hard to know where to begin with this post. The past weeks have been brutal to get through. The second of my sons, my middle child, Nicholas, has been dealing with mental issues. First, when young, he was diagnosed with ADHD which morphed into a diagnosis of bipolar disorder when he was in his late teens. He grew and prospered for years until it cropped up once again in early January of this year and has escalated each month of this year. The two suicide attempts this month bring the total to eight for this year, per Nick. Honestly, I’ve lost count of the attempts since it takes an insurmountable amount of thought and support to deal with the aftermath. Adding to his own problems, he plied himself not only with prescribed medications, meant to give him stability, but also with other drugs and alcohol. Each suicide attempt was a call, a plea, for help.
Unfortunately, he currently resides in Missouri which with its bare bones cutbacks for mental health providers leaves them with a revolving door therapy practice. Notice to all lawmakers: Bringing in a suicidal patient and giving them two or three days to get themselves together before ushering them back out into the world along with prescriptions and group therapy doesn’t help. In Nicholas’ case, and I’m sure many others, it just made things worse. No one seems ready, willing, or able to take on this issue.
Rather, it goes on totally unnoticed until somebody goes out and shoots multiple people. Even then, we are so politically correct that we don’t raise the issue of mental illness and it’s destructive tendencies. Laws changed decades ago allowing those with a mental illness to do as they want effectively impeding parents and siblings from helping their stricken family members. More recently, legislators added the privacy laws which I’m sure had good in them initially, but have turned into a monster if one family member wants to help another over the age of eighteen.
Ironically, it is our family’s good fortune that Nicholas is self-destructive and not destructive toward others. However, his loss would scar our family for eternity. Usually, I would treat this entire situation with the privacy that I normally crave. But how much longer can we all keep quiet and look away while others are in such pain that they would commit suicide or kill others before killing themselves? What have we done? This affects everyone, if not today, then sadly, probably someday. Our laws aren’t written in granite; perhaps, some, if not many, should be reviewed and rescinded. The greater good has resonance today just as it did in yesteryear.
The good news is that my son has agreed to go to rehab and from there we can, hopefully, end this downward spiral. We are lucky that we can make these arrangements which give such hope. I worry for those who don’t have the resources or family support.