Mental Health in America

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I wrote a post on the American Justice system a few months back after attending a court session on my nephew’s murder.  It is appalling! Well, unfortunately, I have now had experience with the Mental Health system in America.  After I tell you my story, you will most likely agree with me as to why we are having so many mass shootings in America.  Tell me you work for the Mental Health system in America and I will tell you to find a different job because you are helping no one.  Sorry to be so blunt but from my experience, it’s true.  It’s all about money.  They don’t care about the patient.  They just drug them up in hopes it will help or so they don’t have to deal with the patient.  So, the pharmaceutical company is making money as well, thanks to the mental health workers.

My step son has had a problem all his life.  When his mother was alive, she did not want to test him for any of his odd behaviors.  He had been asked to be removed from every school he ever attended because of his disruptive behavior.  He never listened to the teachers and he annoyed the other students by making noises in class.  When asked to stop, he wouldn’t listen.  He would continue his bad behaviors until the teachers went to the administration and said he was too hard for them to handle.  His mother then choose to home school him, which consisted of one hour of lessons and 7 hours of video games.  He did this for 2 years.  Kaiser Hospital diagnosed him with ADHD within a 20 minute meeting.  No testing was ever done, just by what they were being told by his mother.

Unfortunately, my step son’s mom died of a brain tumor when he was twelve.  When my husband and I met, we moved to CO and brought him with us as he was now fourteen and still a minor child.  We enrolled him in public school as I refused to home school him due to the amount of college homework I had.  Plus we wanted to socialize him.  In middle school, eighth grade, we started getting phone calls from the school.  We would have to pick him up because he had become so enraged, they were unable to control him.  He was seeing men in hazmat suits in their conference room.  Of course, no one else could see them but him.  He told the administration the school had been built on a hazmat site and a cemetery.

It was around this time the principal called us into his office and stated he felt my step son had other issues going on and we should have him tested for autism and other maladies.  We did a school evaluation, we went down to a facility for 3 days where he met with a team of people who evaluated him and the results were autism, PTSD, ADHD with ODD.  We came up with a plan on how it should be treated and we marched ahead.  We changed his diet which included no sugar, or smaller amounts of sugar because this seemed to be a trigger for him.  We also limited his electronic time and TV time to 2 hours each day on the weekends.  We took away all the violent video games he had which weren’t age appropriate for him.  We encouraged him to read books as this would help him escape real life.  He actually loved reading once he got into it.  He had never read a book in his life with the exception of school books and he became hooked.

They put him on a medication to help quiet his mind and it seemed to help in the beginning.  Since kids with autism aren’t into hygiene, we made up a list of daily things he needed to do, brush his teeth, shower, use deodorant, change his underwear, wipe his butt better, use shampoo and conditioner when washing his hair and to use soap when he showered.  Apparently, he didn’t use any of these things until we told him he had to. Until he believed we were serious about his hygiene, he would lie to us about brushing his teeth until we would show him the dry toothbrush.  The soap and shampoo levels never went down and my husband then had to sit in the bathroom while he showered to make sure he used these things to get himself clean.  Did we enjoy doing this?  No way.  But we just didn’t understand why he wouldn’t want to use these things. He went to therapy once a week to discuss his feelings and problems and we set him up with an IEP in high school due to his learning difficulties.  When he was tested he showed a fourth grade understanding level and so he needed more time to complete some of his tasks.  He began liking school and making friends.

His meltdowns were minimal though he still had them, they didn’t last very long and he would apologize afterwards.  We began noticing some major changes in him during his junior year of high school.  The high school was going through some major changes in and of itself.  They had a new superintendent and she is a real card.  She likes to black ball teachers, threaten them and then sits back and waits for them to quit, which many of them did between my step son’s sophomore and junior year.  His resource teacher (IEP) retired, his counselor left the school as she was being threatened, and many other teachers left some on their own free will, others contracts weren’t renewed for some reason or other.  All these things had a major change on my step son.  Many of his former classmates moved to a different school district because of this and the principal who had helped us so much had been escorted out of the building two weeks before school ended by the police because he and the superintendent didn’t see eye to eye.  She fired him.

The board of education was just as toxic as the new superintendent and it not only has hurt the school district, but it has hurt the students.  So with a new resource teacher, my step son was now able to play on the computer in class.  He would watch Japanese anemia and music videos rather than do his school work. We found out when his English teacher went to see him in class about a missing assignment.  She sent us an email to inform us that rather than doing his school work, he was playing around on the computer.  We sent an email to his new teacher and told him under no circumstances was he to be doing this.  He was to be doing any assignments or homework given to him.  His missing and late assignments began to pile up.  His grades went down to a 60% (but for him it was still passing).  He would sit at the kitchen counter for over 3 hours doing homework on a daily basis.  We were frustrated and asked to meet with all his teachers to get on the same page.  My step son was not invited because we wanted the teachers to be able to speak freely without hurting his feelings.  We came up with a workable plan for everyone and it worked for one semester.

The following semester (this current one) his schedule wasn’t as strenuous.  He had three free periods a day, home economics, film making (which we had second thoughts about because we thought it would entail lots of YouTubing and movie watching but we relented because he really wanted to take it), 3D art, and US History.  His grades in US History and film making were at a 60%, passing but still not as good as they could be.  His art and home ec grades were in the 90%, which we thought was great however these are classes he really enjoys.    Trying to teach an autistic teenager that there will be things in life he doesn’t like to do but will still need to do them, isn’t easy.  He rebelled horribly.  He started eating sugar at school every day and his attitude just became worse.  He demanded he be able to get a job and his driver’s license.  He told us he would get his homework done better if he had a job.  Hell, he had so much time on his hands now and he couldn’t get his homework done how did he think if he had less time, he would get his assignments done?  We stipulated if he got his two 60% grades up to a 70%, had no missing or late assignments during the week, we would allow him to have a part time job on the weekends.  He did not like this.  It was going to be his way or no way.  He starting calling us all kinds of names, f bombs were flying through the air, we had ruined his life, he had no life, etc. etc.

We found out we weren’t the only one’s subjected to his wrath.  His sister at Christmas time, who was pregnant, saw his wrath as he raged on about how she had ruined his life, etc, etc.  everyone was to blame except him and the more his therapist and us told him he needed to take responsibility for his actions, the less he did.  He had a full blown nasty meltdown at Christmas and it was so bad, his sister ended up going into labor a month early from the stress.

As the January and February months came and went, he had more major meltdowns.  Screaming at us, belligerent, cursing, throwing things, banging his head up against the wall, punching his punching bag so hard, he broke the skin on his knuckles to where they were bleeding. It was getting all out of control.  He then started telling us he wasn’t autistic, there was nothing wrong with him, he wanted his gun out of the gun safe and if he didn’t get it, he would pick the lock.  He started stealing food out of the freezer and he lied to us every single day.  After one meltdown his father told him if he did it again, he would call the police on him.  And sure enough, one day he was caught looking at pictures on the internet rather than doing his school work and they (the school) took the computer away from him. He came home in a pissy mood and became belligerent when we showed him a print out of 4 missing assignments.  He was up in my face blaming me for everything.  He said he could only see red out of one eye (he wore glasses, had visited the eye doctor twice and yet never mentioned it) and he had an invisible friend.  His father put him outside to calm down and he started throwing rocks at the house.  At 17, invisible friends are not the sign of immaturity but something a little more serious.  His father called the police and they came and took him away.  He went to the emergency room and from there he was put into a mental hospital.

They called us and asked what medications he could take (we had given the cops his meds to take with him) and we said those and Advil if he got a headache.  The shrink called a couple days later and said she wanted to put him on an anti psychotic.  The lowest dose that helps with autism anger and schizophrenia.  We said sure, if it will help him.  He was gone 6 days when they scheduled a parent meeting with his therapist.  We met with her for 30 minutes and then she went and got our step son.  I could tell the minute I saw him how fucked up he was on the meds.  He was slurring his words, his eyes were all red, he looked tired and had an empty stare to them.  When his therapist suggested that Thursday he would be coming home, he became angry.  He said he didn’t trust us, (he got that from us because we had told him we couldn’t trust him because of his stealing and lies), he said he hated us and didn’t want to come home.  He said he didn’t want to do any chores and if he did, he would do them on his own time and how he wanted to do them.  Of course, the therapist tried to remind him he was still a minor and would have to listen to us.  He would have no part of it.  His anger was very apparent and she was able to see it herself.  We were adamant that he not return to our home as we were in fear for our lives.  She said funding wasn’t available to keep him and if we had problems with him, to just call the police again.  Seriously?  This is how you handle mentally ill patients?  and then I realized, it all comes down to money.  If he is released from the mental hospital and he offends again, they simply put him back in there and charge the insurance company again.  How sick is this?

And people wonder why mass shootings in America are so common?  The mentally ill are put back out into society, either all drugged up or they didn’t get the help they really needed all because of the almighty dollar.  Well, we are fighting back.  We have told them he is not welcome back in our home as long as his anger is still out of control.  We are in fear for our lives.  Since he picks locks so well, how do we know he won’t try to break into our bedroom while we are sleeping and kill us?  I’m sure this sounds very harsh to most of you but this is our reality.  We have told them again and again, to either find a place for him or call social services and have them place him in a foster home.  They tried to tell us how difficult and time consuming that would be…too bad.  He is not coming back to our house to curse at us, to be belligerent and disrespectful.  We feel bad for him but we have been trying to help him for the past three years to no avail.  He has only gotten worse not better.  We pulled him out of school because we don’t know what he would do in school if we allowed him to stay.  We are playing it safe, whereas the mental health community doesn’t see it that way.  It’s like we are doing their job for them.  We are trying to keep a mentally deranged person off the streets and they just want to put him back out there with no regard to what we are saying about him.  This is not right and it has to change.

Let’s start looking at where the real problem lies.  Since the Florida school shooting every one keeps screaming about gun control.  Why not look into the American mental health system.  That is where the real problem lies.  They are keeping these kids long enough to get some information out of them, and then letting them back out on the streets because funding isn’t available.  I call bullshit!  Get these kids the help they need and deserve for as long as they need it.  Get the government to raise the funding so they don’t run out of money to treat mental illness.  Build more facilities to house these mentally ill patients.  This not only ensures more jobs in many different fields but it ensures the help these patients so desperately need.  This needs to change and change begins with us.  Stop blaming the wrong thing and open your eyes to the real problem.

 

 

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