Wolraich: Obama at the Gates of... Gates
Dr. C: In Praise of Writing Binges
Maiello: Gatsby Doesn't Grate
I've taken down my posts recently. I tried to get away from this website and this discussion but -- I can't.
Reading some of the comments that I got which obviously misunderstood what I was saying made me at once sad that my attempts to articulate what I think is causing this horror were being misunderstood. I got paid to talk about public issues for several years but I found it really upsetting when I was getting comments basically accusing me of nonsense. It is much easier to stomach criticism and grow a thick skin when you are talking about institutional racism or economic policy than when you are trying to articulate the cause of mass murder. I especially felt uncomfortable with the fact that I was writing may be hurting or offending people.
I have experienced what is causing these shootings (and the high profile suicides) first hand and I have come out of the other end of it through sheer willpower. I thought, during withdrawal, that my family members wanted to murder me, that I had AIDS and various diseases - I knew I was going crazy and tried to control it as much as I could by doing chores where I was and doing errands but even while doing those tasks, I felt horrified - as if anything I was doing, even walking down the street, was going to kill me. I had never felt like that in my life. I have since started a group on Facebook with 84 members and growing - the stories have sounded almost exactly the same. One woman actually asked me to call her because, since starting the meds for post-partum depression, she started having horrific thoughts of murdering her own children.
Adam Lanza was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome. His mother shielded and isolated him and according to reports in talks with his family, he was "on medication" to stop various symptoms - which I assume meant anxiety, the most obvious symptom of Asperger's. There is no medication for Asperger's syndrome - physicians usually give out SSRIs and benzodiasipine drugs like Klonopin to treat the anxiety they often have. I have been under the shield of "Asperger's" (I have my doubts not only about the diagnosis but even if Asperger's is even real.) for half of my life - I can tell you reliably that nearly everyone who gets that diagnosis ends up on SSRIs.
When I got home, I did a lot of research. A lot. I have talked with medical professionals about SSRI withdrawal. I had a doctor literally tell me that he had seen children during withdrawal "start to eat the furniture." Another said "strange things happen during SSRI withdrawal." They clearly and bluntly said that "no one knows" how they work. One at Harborview Medical Center even admitted to me that these drugs caused Virginia Tech and Columbine but said "many people still need them." Websites like SSRI Stories document literally hundreds of horrific crimes involving SSRIs.
The guns were not Adam Lanza's own. They belonged to his mother. His mother was a paranoid survivalist and certainly fits in to the mold of the gun idolizer that Michael Maiello talked about in his last article. (Survivalism is as much a hero fantasy as the guy who walks around with a shoulder holster like John Wayne - a survivalist is simply playing the role of The Book Of Eli instead of How The West Was Won.) Gun control could certainly keep guns from ending up in the hands of a woman like that, but the issue of what would catapult a kid like Lanza is something else.
The issue is multifaceted and one needs to look at all of the elements. Lanza, however, is something else entirely, and it terrifies me that the obvious is not being recognized. I realize that there is a lot of emotional and professional attachment to these medications and that what I'm saying is scary. It's scary as hell.
It is very possible that Lanza went into withdrawal, lost his mind in the turmoil that these drugs create and then went and did the horrific things he did. James Holmes actually called his psychiatrist before he murdered all those people in that movie theater - his psychiatrist had actually been reprimanded for having prescribed drugs for friends and family. He kept researching "dysphoric mania" - SSRIs are known to cause an REM Sleep Disorder state in which a person literally acts out their worst nightmare. One British documentary on the Virginia Tech shooting documented that Cho Sueng Hui actually was put on antidepressants weeks before the shooting occurred.
Please take what I am saying seriously. I think I survived it for a reason. I've come out the other end. The thought of ending it was powerful as loved ones who were talking fine to me only a year ago and congratulating me on my achievements were looking at me like I was crazy. Neither gun control or the abolition of SSRIs will happen soon enough - that deadly combo will cause this to happen again. And again. And again. Until we stop this.
In his speech, President Barack Obama said that for these tragedies to end "we must change." We're going to change by looking at all of the potential causes. Our entire way of thinking about almost everything may be off and the reason why things like this are happening.
Everyone take care out there. Thank you for reading.