THE OTHER CONVERSATION

THE OTHER CONVERSATION

WB Gunter

An elephant is in the room and it exists in your mind; but what happens when the torment and rage escapes to relieve itself on others in mass quantities without warning or provocation? It is now time for the other conversation about the taboo most often feared, misunderstood, and subjected as the least tolerable among illnesses.

Blame gets tossed around as quick as an atomic particle in attempts to make sense of what cannot be put into words. The heinous acts are those of individuals that are labeled, “a
monster, an evil person, a methodical killer, a lunatic.” The reality is,
mental illness, when not appropriately treated has devastating consequences.
Name calling, blaming, and resorting to panicked reactions will do little to correct the one preventable thing, and that’s access to screening and proper care for mental disorders, especially for individuals who were diagnosed and medicated at an early age. The term “evil” has connotations steeped in religious doctrine and suggests that something or someone should be destroyed. The truth is, the brain, like any other organ is subject to illness and chemical reactions to substances, legal or not.

From the person in Tuscon who shot Congresswoman Gifford, to the individual who went on a rampage at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, to the mass killing of children and adults in an elementary school at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, mental illness was the ailment. People gathered together with limited freedom of movement became unwilling targets, and weapon(s) the visible weapon used to enact the silent rage, the cry for help, the means to an end.

In the three instances of violence mentioned each person had the similar expressions on their faces, the over extension of the eyelids, and the appearance of a blank deer in the headlights stare. Most medicines prescribed to treat mental illness reduce energy. Something in these individuals increased energy and agitation, perhaps causing a lack of sleep. I don’t know. What I do know is, the focus in all
of the incidents mentioned was extreme. They were planned in isolation, and according to most accounts, there was nothing to signify any outward distress to those close to the acting out person. When the pendulum swings between two extremes, it causes me wonder what types of psychotropic drugs are in the systems of these individuals, and how many more tragic incidents will happen because of them. The toxicology screening is almost never made public. What makes an A student with no history of violence go so far to the other extreme? It is possible that the good grades, quiet demeanor are the intended results of a medication. Artificial intelligence in humans is an altered state of rationality and false sense of what looks like control. With drugs
like Ritalin prescribed to the very young, over time, what are the long term
effects? What happens when the 4 or 5 year old taking a drug to control behavior today is no longer on the parent’s insurance 15-20 years later and there is no school nurse to remind them to take a pill during the day? Since a child has to
be diagnosed with a mental disorder before being prescribed drugs like Ritalin
and others to control behaviors, or increase focus to help improve grades, are we as a society prepared for the extreme consequences as a result? I am not saying that Ritalin may be a gateway to insanity, but mind
altering drugs are a double edged sword, they will work extremely well, or produce devastating consequences and tragedies.

It is rare for an individual to have a mental disorder and not be medicated. For every symptom, there’s a diagnosis, for every diagnosis, a pill. Once the brain has been chemically altered, it cannot be reversed even in cases of misdiagnosis. The brain and body will mimic a condition if given medications the body doesn’t need. That 4 year old, diagnosed with a disorder and prescribed medications unnecessarily, will behave in a way that mimics a disorder. Prescription drugs over long term cannot be kicked. No one escapes it with their life in tact.

Whenever incidents of mass tragedies occur, the question of prescriptions is often what I wonder, especially when there seems to be visible physical characteristics. The overextending eyelids, the stare, increase in agitation, increase in energy, isolation, rage, concentration, attention to details of carrying out violent acts, access to weapons, and suicide attempts cannot be ignored or passed off as random act of violence. It is very likely what we see are the results of medications. No mention of the names of the medications has come up in conversations, only that the persons had some type of mental illness. I have to wonder if the medications require private funding, and the people who kill a small group of subjects of experimental testing. We hear about the illness, but not about the treatment. There are answers, but the questions need to be raised first.

Arming educators in a war against the mentally ill, against minors, and students, is very disturbing. No parent would appreciate an administrator or teacher placing their child in a position to be caught in the crossfire, or worse yet, used as shield. Madness crosses lines so easily. It is time to have rational conversations about prescriptions, behavior, treatment, and symptoms requiring immediate services. As patterns emerge, public awareness is key.

Mass killings cannot be the national cry for help, anymore than body counts the barometer for detecting the lack of appropriate care.

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