Readers can kill me here, but since the Colorado Batman movie shootings, deaths and injuries have occurred I have seen so many experts and non-experts on television and read many posts and articles online that say the man responsible, James Eagan Holmes, is acting insane on purpose.
Mental illness in this country is never, ever delved into enough, explored enough or explained enough so the lay person or someone who doesn’t suffer from any mental disorders can understand it. And at age 24, Holmes is at the right age for paranoid schizophrenia to appear. This mental health disorder often presents itself around this age—the college age, what is supposed to be one of the best part of our lives.
Surprisingly, on ABC’s The View, I was astonished that both Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar said after watching Holmes in his first court appearance that he was “faking it.” Then my favorite, Elisabeth Hasselback announced there may be a possibility of mental illness but we all have to think about what he (Holmes) did and should the punishment fit the crime.
Seeing It in Real Life
I have friends who gave birth to a son many, many years ago. He was super smart, handsome and had the world going his way. Unfortunately, he developed paranoid schizophrenia in his college years and after that he was indeed scary, loved guns, didn’t trust anyone and the man who was a joyful man became a trouble man who unfortunately committed suicide after being arrested for DWI when in fact, there was no alcohol or drugs in his body (other than a new drug his psychiatrist gave him that very day) so hence, it was more than likely the new drug was the reason for his driving dilemma and his mental health condition the reason for his suicide.
If you don’t know anyone with a mental health disorder—even a panic disorder or depression—or you say you don’t, you are lying pure and simple. That’s because you choose to personally ignore that person in your family or that close friend you used to keep in touch with before mental illness took control of their lives.
Of all the organs in our body, scientists know the least about the brain. Sure, they have a great start on developing medications to control certain ailments but not all. And, because the mental health system is so awful in our country, the really, really sick, often go untreated.
I remember the day the shootings happened and I, as many others, watched the news in horror. How could this be? Who would do such a thing to all those innocent folks out for a midnight movie?
One of the first things I did hear that day was when the suspect’s mother was contacted, she informed authorities, “Yes, you have the right man.” That alone tells me his own family and mother knew of his mental illness and perhaps they tried the best they could but could find no solution that was affordable to help him.
Look at Andrea Yates who drowned all of her children. While first found guilty, she was subsequently ruled insane and will most likely spend the rest of her days in a mental health care facility. And, if it’s revealed Mr. Holmes has a mental disorder from looking at family history, his actions over the years, talks with people who knew him and especially his family, he too should spend the rest of his life in a mental health facility and not a prison.
We’d Like to Help But…
More than not those who need mental health care can’t afford it or their insurance only covers so much and then they are kicked out of treatment programs; this was especially true for Andrea Yates—her insurance ran out.
Most cities and towns do offer mental health care for free but I for one can tell you if you call for free help in Austin, you have to wait six months to get in—SIX MONTHS!
And, mental health care, like all health care is a business so that means if your insurance can’t pay, they won’t treat you—you’re out, don’t let the door kick you in the ass on the way out and hope you don’t kill anyone.
If our country spent as much on research for mental health as it does on Viagra and other ED medications, perhaps we’d make a little progress here.
For now, we’ll await the verdict on whether or not Mr. Holmes is insane or suffers from a severe mental health problem and to those on television and reporting the news, shut up about mental health unless you know what you’re talking about. Lawyers, TV anchors and talk show hosts are not psychiatrists!
Finally, for those who think family doctors are happy to prescribe mental health drugs—they aren’t and most won’t. That means a wait for those who have no insurance coverage and during that poor wait, a mind can descend very quickly into a bottomless pit of nothing—fantasies—anger—and death.