I know this entry is a bit belated, but I thought I’d write it anyway, although the Sandy Hook shooting was two weeks ago. I have been seeing ads talking about guns and gun safety. They say that the whole issue with the shooting was a gun and that the boy Adam Lanza should not have had access to it. While this is true, I think that the real issue isn’t about a gun. It isn’t about a mother who didn’t keep her guns locked safely away. Adam Lanza was twenty; he could have gotten a gun with or without his mother’s help. Even if he couldn’t, a tragedy still would have occurred, whether it was publicly at a school or privately in his own home.
The entire issue is untreated mental illness.
Mental illness is REAL! No matter its myths and stigmas, it exists, and it affects the entire well-being of this country. It feels like nobody wants to acknowledge this fact because they think any crazed killer is only a crazed killer. That crazed killer has a story to tell, a story that we would do best to learn from. I haven’t read Adam Lanza’s story, but I do know mental illness.
When I was in high school, I began having thoughts of getting away from this world. I hated my life. I felt my family would be better off without me, because then there would be no one to tell our “family secrets.” In my senior year, I researched suicide methods and even did a report on it in my English class. When I turned 18, during my first year of college, I tried killing myself twice. I landed in a psych ward once. The point is, my mother didn’t understand how serious mental illness is. I’m not sure if she still does.
But right now, my brother, who is schizophrenic, depressed, and even autistic (try living with all three of those disabilities!), is trying to get help from the government. Yes, perhaps there are just too many people that need treatment, but some people need it more than others, and my brother is one of those people that need it really badly. This summer, he got arrested about three times because he felt like he had to go to this neighbor’s house and pound on their door. He’s trying to tell us, as well as the authorities, that he isn’t well and needs treatment. But if nobody listens, he might end up like Adam Lanza, and that frightens me. He isn’t a crazed killer yet; he is a lonely young man that needs the treatment and attention that he deserves. My mom, my sister, or me just aren’t the best people to give that to him. We give him all we can, but sometimes all we can give just isn’t enough. He needs more. And nobody seems to understand that.
This summer, I told myself that if my brother does something bad because this government decided to prolong his torture, I am going to sue them. Perhaps that isn’t a very good thing to do, but we’ve tried and tried. He was in jail numerous times; he was in the hospital numerous times. Nobody has cared enough yet.
This country needs to open its eyes and see things that it hasn’t seen yet: mental illness is real. I know it because I have witnessed it, and I have one as well. It is serious business, and it affects others so much more than most people realize. When I was trying to get insurance and found out that it didn’t cover anything that had to do with mental illness, I wasn’t sure if I would get it because my depression was what I needed insurance for. In fact, so many people need insurance specifically for their mental illness. But nobody seems to understand that. The only insurance I can think of that covers it is Medicaid and Medicare. And that is very depressing.
I hope that someday soon, this country will come to its senses and realize that mental health is real and that it is extremely vital. I don’t mean to sound so bad, but I think mental health is more important than the physical health. Of course, the two are tied together; if one is physically healthy, one tends to be mentally healthy. But if someone is dying of cancer and isn’t caught up in a depressed state or isn’t hallucinating, their last few moments will be worth something.
Last words: mental health is real, so please fight for it!