Dec 20, 2012

You Can't Possibly Understand If You've Never Been There

Photo credit: grietgriet from

I just finished reading "EXCLUSIVE: Fear of being committed may have caused Connecticut gunman to snap" and I while I want to make it perfectly clear that I don't feel that there is any excuse for the terrible tragedy that happened Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, I need people know that we can't just label Adam Lanza a monster and call for better gun control.  There is a real issue here and the problem is that the people who get it, who truly understand are either unable to or terrified to speak out about the reality of mental health issues.

I can tell you this because of my own experience.  I have struggled with clinical depression off and on since my teens.  I have written about my suicide attempts here on my blog before but what I haven't shared is that I've struggled again recently.  It's so hard to explain to someone who hasn't been there what it feels like to battle the demons that tell you you need to end it all, that the ones you love are better off without you and your issues in their lives.  It is impossible to explain to someone who hasn't been there how you feel when your brain begins to tell you that you could easily drive your car into a tree on a dark, rainy night and it would look like an accident, still allowing your survivors to collect your life insurance.  Mental illness isn't something you can talk someone out of.  You can't convince someone that they simply need to get a grip, or look on the bright side.  Yes its irrational.  Yes they have so much to live for but that's just not how it works. Mental illness isn't something that only affects the less fortunate, but it sometimes takes those who are blessed and makes them unable to maintain a normal life.  I can't speak to the evil that makes someone commit a mass murder I have never had even the slightest inkling to hurt someone else.  But I have literally been over taken with the fear of being committed because of my mental health state.  I didn't talk about my most recent battle for this exact reason.  I've been on the other side and been worried about someone else and it can seem so easy to just say, you should get the help you need, but when it's you it really is all about fear.  I was CONVINCED that if I was honest with anyone about the things going on in my head that my kids would be taken from me.  The idea of being hospitalized was literally terrifying.  It is truly indescribable.

Again, I say this doesn't release Adam Lanza from the responsibility of what he did.  But the reality is that we can sit back and think about what a horrible person he was but the reality is that he was likely a very sick person, who didn't get the help he needed and it led to a disgusting tragedy.  And sadly this is probably the case for a very large percentage of the crimes committed in our country.  I wonder what things would look like if we had a decent system in our country where people could get the help they need without the fear and judgement.  To live in a place where people understood what mental illness really does to people and how to get help for the people they love.

Yes we need to remember and honor those lives lost at Sandy Hook Elementary (and I just posted about how you can be a part of their return to school here)!  Their lives matter and we must be sure that their families know we realize that.  And there is good reason to talk gun control and school safety, but the topic that in most ways is toughest is the one we most need to have.  We NEED to be talking about mental illness.  We need to know what to look for and how to help. And most of all we need to change how we view the people who suffer from mental health issues.

If you or someone you love is suffering this holiday season, please reach out for help. TODAY!


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  4. I grew up in a house w/ a parent who was bipolar - it's not a joke. It is not understandable to people who have not experienced it first hand. It is torture at times - a roller coaster ride really. Hope you are feeling a bit better of late

  5. You know I am always here if you need to talk. Just take it one day at a time :)


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