“I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother”

Disclaimer:

Since FOTM published this post about 7 hours ago, some on the blogosphere are questioning the truthfulness of Liza Long’s story about her allegedly disturbed son “Michael.” At a minimum, FOTM has problems with Long violating her son’s privacy by publicizing his putative mental illness and his photo, which we have deleted from this post. (H/t Trail Dust)

~Eowyn

              !!UPDATE!!

Today alert Reader Beloved Trail Dust alerted us to a possible hiccup in story. This is what I have figured out, sorta. A woman by the name of Sarah Kendizior on her blog came out and sorta ripped Lisa Long, the author of the original article. Also at that link you will see Kendizior points to few posts on Long’s blog which, while they wouldn’t garner her many votes for Mother of the Year, they are not that bad. You read and judge for yourself.

Long is also going thru a bitter divorce and child custody case. In some ways she seems a bit crazed. She’s also a single mother raising 4 children alone. I have one. Four would put me over the edge. Problem is I have read all her posts and she comes across as a very loving mother in most.

Maybe I missed it, but I didn’t see any mention of her son’s mental illness on Long’s blog. So the upshot is I do not know for sure what is going on. But in some ways to me it does not matter because many parents are struggling with children with behavioral/psychological problems. Maybe it will help the discussion and get the parents and kids the help they so desperately need.

One last kinda weird thing: Lisa and Sara issued a joint statement, posted on December 17, 2012, by

“We would like to release a public statement on the need for a respectful national conversation on mental health. Whatever disagreements we have had, we both believe that the stigma attached to mental illness needs to end. We need to provide affordable, quality mental health care for families. We need to provide support for families who have a relative who is struggling.

We both agree that privacy for family members, especially children, is important. Neither of us anticipated the viral response to our posts. We love our children and hope you will respect their privacy.

Our nation has suffered enough in the aftermath of Newtown. We are not interested in being part of a ‘mommy war’. We are interested in opening a serious conversation on what can be done for families in need. Let’s work together and make our country better.”

–Sarah Kendzior and Liza Long

http://sarahkendzior.com/2012/12/17/a-joint-statement-from-sarah-and-liza/

~Steve~

Liza_Long

It’s time to talk about mental illness

By Liza Long

http://anarchistsoccermom.blogspot.com/

Friday’s horrific national tragedy—the murder of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in New Town, Connecticut—has ignited a new discussion on violence in America. In kitchens and coffee shops across the country, we tearfully debate the many faces of violence in America: gun culture, media violence, lack of mental health services, overt and covert wars abroad, religion, politics and the way we raise our children. Liza Long, a writer based in Boise, says it’s easy to talk about guns. But it’s time to talk about mental illness.

Three days before 20 year-old Adam Lanza killed his mother, then opened fire on a classroom full of Connecticut kindergartners, my 13-year old son Michael (name changed) missed his bus because he was wearing the wrong color pants.

“I can wear these pants,” he said, his tone increasingly belligerent, the black-hole pupils of his eyes swallowing the blue irises.

“They are navy blue,” I told him. “Your school’s dress code says black or khaki pants only.”

“They told me I could wear these,” he insisted. “You’re a stupid bitch. I can wear whatever pants I want to. This is America. I have rights!”

“You can’t wear whatever pants you want to,” I said, my tone affable, reasonable. “And you definitely cannot call me a stupid bitch. You’re grounded from electronics for the rest of the day. Now get in the car, and I will take you to school.”

I live with a son who is mentally ill. I love my son. But he terrifies me.

A few weeks ago, Michael pulled a knife and threatened to kill me and then himself after I asked him to return his overdue library books. His 7 and 9 year old siblings knew the safety plan—they ran to the car and locked the doors before I even asked them to. I managed to get the knife from Michael, then methodically collected all the sharp objects in the house into a single Tupperware container that now travels with me. Through it all, he continued to scream insults at me and threaten to kill or hurt me.

That conflict ended with three burly police officers and a paramedic wrestling my son onto a gurney for an expensive ambulance ride to the local emergency room. The mental hospital didn’t have any beds that day, and Michael calmed down nicely in the ER, so they sent us home with a prescription for Zyprexa and a follow-up visit with a local pediatric psychiatrist.

We still don’t know what’s wrong with Michael. Autism spectrum, ADHD, Oppositional Defiant or Intermittent Explosive Disorder have all been tossed around at various meetings with probation officers and social workers and counselors and teachers and school administrators. He’s been on a slew of antipsychotic and mood altering pharmaceuticals, a Russian novel of behavioral plans. Nothing seems to work.

At the start of seventh grade, Michael was accepted to an accelerated program for highly gifted math and science students. His IQ is off the charts. When he’s in a good mood, he will gladly bend your ear on subjects ranging from Greek mythology to the differences between Einsteinian and Newtonian physics to Doctor Who. He’s in a good mood most of the time. But when he’s not, watch out. And it’s impossible to predict what will set him off.

Several weeks into his new junior high school, Michael began exhibiting increasingly odd and threatening behaviors at school. We decided to transfer him to the district’s most restrictive behavioral program, a contained school environment where children who can’t function in normal classrooms can access their right to free public babysitting from 7:30-1:50 Monday through Friday until they turn 18.

The morning of the pants incident, Michael continued to argue with me on the drive. He would occasionally apologize and seem remorseful. Right before we turned into his school parking lot, he said, “Look, Mom, I’m really sorry. Can I have video games back today?”

“No way,” I told him. “You cannot act the way you acted this morning and think you can get your electronic privileges back that quickly.”

His face turned cold, and his eyes were full of calculated rage. “Then I’m going to kill myself,” he said. “I’m going to jump out of this car right now and kill myself.”

That was it. After the knife incident, I told him that if he ever said those words again, I would take him straight to the mental hospital, no ifs, ands, or buts. I did not respond, except to pull the car into the opposite lane, turning left instead of right.

“Where are you taking me?” he said, suddenly worried. “Where are we going?”

“You know where we are going,” I replied.

“No! You can’t do that to me! You’re sending me to hell! You’re sending me straight to hell!”

I pulled up in front of the hospital, frantically waiving for one of the clinicians who happened to be standing outside. “Call the police,” I said. “Hurry.”

Michael was in a full-blown fit by then, screaming and hitting. I hugged him close so he couldn’t escape from the car. He bit me several times and repeatedly jabbed his elbows into my rib cage. I’m still stronger than he is, but I won’t be for much longer.

The police came quickly and carried my son screaming and kicking into the bowels of the hospital. I started to shake, and tears filled my eyes as I filled out the paperwork—“Were there any difficulties with… at what age did your child… were there any problems with.. has your child ever experienced.. does your child have…”

At least we have health insurance now. I recently accepted a position with a local college, giving up my freelance career because when you have a kid like this, you need benefits. You’ll do anything for benefits. No individual insurance plan will cover this kind of thing.

For days, my son insisted that I was lying—that I made the whole thing up so that I could get rid of him. The first day, when I called to check up on him, he said, “I hate you. And I’m going to get my revenge as soon as I get out of here.”

By day three, he was my calm, sweet boy again, all apologies and promises to get better. I’ve heard those promises for years. I don’t believe them anymore.

On the intake form, under the question, “What are your expectations for treatment?” I wrote, “I need help.”

And I do. This problem is too big for me to handle on my own. Sometimes there are no good options. So you just pray for grace and trust that in hindsight, it will all make sense.

I am sharing this story because I am Adam Lanza’s mother. I am Dylan Klebold’s and Eric Harris’s mother. I am James Holmes’s mother. I am Jared Loughner’s mother. I am Seung-Hui Cho’s mother. And these boys—and their mothers—need help. In the wake of another horrific national tragedy, it’s easy to talk about guns. But it’s time to talk about mental illness.

According to Mother Jones, since 1982, 61 mass murders involving firearms have occurred throughout the country. Of these, 43 of the killers were white males, and only one was a woman. Mother Jones focused on whether the killers obtained their guns legally (most did). But this highly visible sign of mental illness should lead us to consider how many people in the U.S. live in fear, like I do.

When I asked my son’s social worker about my options, he said that the only thing I could do was to get Michael charged with a crime. “If he’s back in the system, they’ll create a paper trail,” he said. “That’s the only way you’re ever going to get anything done. No one will pay attention to you unless you’ve got charges.”

I don’t believe my son belongs in jail. The chaotic environment exacerbates Michael’s sensitivity to sensory stimuli and doesn’t deal with the underlying pathology. But it seems like the United States is using prison as the solution of choice for mentally ill people. According to Human Rights Watch, the number of mentally ill inmates in U.S. prisons quadrupled from 2000 to 2006, and it continues to rise—in fact, the rate of inmate mental illness is five times greater (56 percent) than in the non-incarcerated population.

With state-run treatment centers and hospitals shuttered, prison is now the last resort for the mentally ill—Rikers Island, the LA County Jail and Cook County Jail in Illinois housed the nation’s largest treatment centers in 2011.

No one wants to send a 13-year old genius who loves Harry Potter and his snuggle animal collection to jail. But our society, with its stigma on mental illness and its broken healthcare system, does not provide us with other options. Then another tortured soul shoots up a fast food restaurant. A mall. A kindergarten classroom. And we wring our hands and say, “Something must be done.”

I agree that something must be done. It’s time for a meaningful, nation-wide conversation about mental health. That’s the only way our nation can ever truly heal.

God help me. God help Michael. God help us all.

~Steve~

(Originally published at The Anarchist Soccer Mom.)

http://anarchistsoccermom.blogspot.com/

Liza Long is an author, musician, and erstwhile classicist. She is also a single mother of four bright, loved children, one of whom has special needs.

12.15.2012

http://thebluereview.org/i-am-adam-lanzas-mother/

27 responses to ““I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother”

  1. I have said a prayer for you and Michael.

    I do not know your religious background, but if you haven’t already considered, possession is a very real thing, not to be ashamed of, and definitely something the Church is equipped to handle.

  2. My heart goes out to this mother, Lisa Long, and all parents who find themselves with children like Lisa’s “Michael” and mass murderer Adam Lanza.
    “Explosive disorder” – “Asperger’s Syndrome” – “Oppositional Defiant” … In truth, all these diagnostic terms are simply labels psychologists give to symptoms of psychopathologies, about which they don’t really know or understand or can treat, other than with psychotic medication.

    Whatever label they give to these “children,” the truth is that they are psychopaths because (1) they are prone to violence; and (2) they seem to be remorseless and without conscience. The symptoms also fit those of demonic possession.

    Until we can figure out what’s wrong with them and how to treat their pathology, much as I feel for Lisa Long, the best thing to do is to confine them, for the safety of society and the mothers themselves. (Poor Nancy Lanza. She was reportedly devoted to her son, Adam.)

  3. Eowyn, as she say’s in her story the police even say nothing can be done till he get’s put in the system. I updated the story a bit with a personal experience. My next door neighbors Son was really bad about 5 yrs ago. You would hear the screaming coming from there . She would come out shaking and crying. She told me on many occasion that she fully expected him to plunge a knife into her and kill her. She meant it. Wow!
    I know he went thru bunch of med’s and truth be told what ever he’s on now is working well. No more problems, Has a girl friend, looking ahead to college. Hopefully they fixed what ever it is/was.

  4. Steve, thank you for adding this story to the mix. This supports the fact that last week’s horror was tragic from every angle. We don’t know what to do for children who exhibit troubling behavior patterns.

    I can’t give any glib answers, but I have a couple of questions.
    Do we call the priest (or pastor) for spiritual help? Do we call on reliable people for prayer support? If we don’t, then we are denying ourselves the resources many have benefited from throughout the ages. I am grateful for the skill of the doctor in my recent surgery, but I can tell you, while his hands were working, my friends were praying. So, one thing supports another. We need to encourage the reintroduction of prayer to our schools.

    • TD, I don’t have the answer, but I think Prayer and God would be a very good place to start. Kids jut don’t have faith, nor their parents. With no faith, right from wrong….ughhh This is what we get.
      I’m not saying med’s and Dr’s are not needed. In fact I think they are.
      Truth be told I take med’s for depression. No biggie, not ashamed.
      Been meaning to do a mental health piece
      Lot’s of things went into me going into a depression. One was a terrible accident I had and in which I have had 12 surgeries so far. Chronic pain is a …well a pain. I made a funny.. LOL
      Funny thing about med’s is they are not a happy pill. Just try and get ya back to level. You don’t even know there working till you take it away and you say. HEY!!! I used to feel better.
      For the most part I’m OK. Really bad pain knocks me sometimes.
      Tell ya lot’s of prayers work wonders. Wonder what it’s like not to have faith. Kinda sad. :(

  5. Been there, done that. My son has been in institutions off and on since he was 17. I’ve seen the violence and the seclusion he’s gone through.
    The problems faced by parents of a mentally ill child are far different than those with a physically ill child. They feel isolated and misunderstood by their own families. They always get the same responses. “Just tell him to straighten up.” “You need to kick him out of the house”. “Can’t you control his behavior?” “What kind of parents are you that you let him do this?”
    It’s the same old story over and over. The parents are always blamed first. Society just isn’t quite ready to accept this is an actual “physical” condition of the brain that impairs cognition and judgement.
    I would suggest going to http://nami.org/ and learning more.

  6. I can only hope this doesn’t encourage old “genius is next to insanity” thinking… ’cause you you know how crazy smart people are. :/

    • When you get left/liberals excited, not telling what they’ll come up with; e.g., ban guns, register smart people for next time (they earn too much anyway, you know).

      • I would like to offer a minor “heads up” to all of us. There may be some evidence emerging about this “Liza Long” story, indicating that we are being played. The following link may shed a different light on the subject: http://sarahkendzior.com/2012/12/16/want-the-truth-behind-i-am-adam-lanzas-mother-read-her-blog/

        • Good find, Trail Dust!

          Reading that link and readers’ comments, many of whom insist that Liza Long writing about fantasizing throwing her kids in jail or doing violence to them is merely the typical rants of a stressed-out mother. I’m now even more confused. Regardless, prudence counsels that we take her “I am Adam Lanza’s Mother” with a grain of salt.

          • Steve and Dr. Eowyn,

            I thank you for recognizing my intensions of keeping us all safe. The original post was absolutely compelling and heartbreaking. And, it may be honest and true. I just know that my emotions are running extra fast.
            That said, I agree with Steve’s response, because it recognizes the need for compassion all around.

            And, some meds are a wonderful thing. My dad, in his later years, suffered from depression, and after many objections agreed to take a supplement to balance his emotions. It worked, and took a lot of pressure off all his relationships. And it didn’t turn him into a zombie, but brought up levels of chemicals his body no longer produced, restoring him back to us.

  7. Never had a spanking !!!! needs one !!

  8. This problem is called Legion. Spiritual warfare is in order to even scratch the surface of the demonic strongholds that are springing up like projects in the inner cities Should the church pray earnestly for revival, then that would help, and converts to Christ could be trained in spiritual warfare. Meantime chemcal inbalance can be treated and mental health practioners are able to assess which drugs will help control certain disorders, while the HIPA privacy laws allow patients to take advantage of their caregivers with emotional blackmail, and the social stigma attached to mental illness are very potent. We can deal with these situatiions if we join forces and pray.

    • It will require prayer, and likely fasting in some cases.

    • I agree, Alice. After my experiences counseling post abortive mothers, and personal encounters with former homosexuals who have been delivered by Jesus Christ – I know for a fact that there is a tremendous spiritual aspect to some of these cases, including the violent ones. Medication is a blessing when correctly proscribed – but sometimes the root cause is some type of abuse or neglect, from early childhood and even during infancy. The government school system itself, is the perfect breeding ground for aggression and anger escalation. It could even called endemic.

      Paul Hegstrom’s excellent book – “Broken Children – Grown – Up – Pain” documents the actual chemical changes in the brain chemistry resulting from abuse.

      http://www.amazon.com/Broken-Children-Grown-Up-Pain-Revised/dp/0834122510

      Please, parents! Home school your children – yes – even the teenagers.

      • Sage, if this book helps me, consider yourself having helped someone else. I have been abused all my life up until July 29, 1995, about 2 pm. I can’t find anyone I can afford to help me get over myself! From birth through 2 marriages. I’m bi-polar, sub-manic, (no highs, only lows); anxiety disorder; PTSD; OCD; SAD, (getting out of this hole underground might help that some!); and self-esteem so low, don’t bother trying to find it w/ a metal detector! (See? I made a funny too! Yeah, Steve, I live in a whole lotta pain myself! Right there w/ you, but prolly no way as bad.) So much medicine, sometimes we don’t eat. Huh, the only time it was physical abuse was my first marriage and he and I have long since forgiven each other and we’re friends! Heck, I gave as good as I got, let bygones be bygones, I got a few other problems way worse to worry about.

        I’ve put this book on my wish list til we get paid. And you know what sold me on it? A one star review where the (guy?) raged LOOOOONG and hard against it, because it was “so Christian”, “shoved it in his face” whatever! Few one star reviews actually get things sold!

        Yeah, y’all are right, We gotta talk mental illness long before we talk guns. I got a neighbor who, 3 or 4 times a week, the cops come along, haul him away to the ER cuz he hasn’t been taking his meds, he’s wrecking his apt. and screaming and crying how he wants to kill himself. I DO hear the deep pain in his voice, but… Four hours later, home he comes, successfully medicated, never seeing more than 4 easy hours of what should be a 72 hour hold. My husband was not able to breath one night and when we called 911, they thought they were coming after Ralphie and never came lights and sirens!!! It even hit US! (From now on I’ll tell 911 “We’re not Ralphie. Tell them that.”. Huh.) But see? everyone says “Ohhhhh it soooooo easy to get someone you know some help!” Yeah, ask the cops, they’re tired of hauling Ralphie outta here too, but I doubt he’ll ever shoot anyone up. *droll look”

        • Christine. I pray that the book does, indeed, help you in some small way. The author is the victim of abuse himself, and can speak with authority on the subject. Here is a youtube of Dr. Hegstrom in an interview with Messianic Jew – Sid Roth. (Let me just clarify that I do no agree with brother Sid’s embrace of the charismatic movement, but he has a good heart and truly wants to help those that are hurting) Perhaps the videos will hold you over, and get you started in the healing process until you can get the book! :)

          Here is Dr. Hegstrom’s site –

          http://www.lifeskillsintl.org/

        • Hey Christine, it sure seems like you have a full plate. Seems last few years I’ve been coming off the tracks myself. Got hurt on job and could not work anymore after 12 surgeries. Kinda got depressed. Shrink starts throwing around bi-polar, fought him on that for a while, but he may have a point..Seems he keeps throwing more crap med’s at me hoping something will stick. I told him for everyone you throw you pull one. I only take 2 now but was 4.
          Who you talk to? shut up, no you shut up, no you.. Oh sorry. :D
          Anyway it’s easy to keep falling down the rabbit hole. Just do nothing. Man is it hard to climb back out. People who have never experienced this have no idea. They are like “Man up and quit your sniveling”
          It was courageous of you to make your post. I think the whole post itself is about Mental health and the stigma attached. Many suffer silently and needlessly. .
          I am surprised more people did not open up on board. Racefish, and Traildust have had to deal with it in their lives. There are many thousands who read the blog and I can guarantee you they or someone they know has had to face the issue. See even in relative anonymity it’s still stigmatized.
          I mentioned living in pain, you have pain. Pain is pain if it is chronic. Kinda sucks. I mentioned it once or posted about it, man I’m telling you Christine half the people that post on this board live in constant chronic pain. Most of us are looped up from goofy pills.. LOL Point is everyone opened up about pain.
          Now for you, you say you stopped abuse in 1995 Yea for you. GOOD!!!!
          You made a funny GOOD!!! Laughter is good medicine.
          Faith I think is the strongest medicine. You seem to have that GOOD!!

          You say get out of this “Hole underground” as in basement? You definitely need light get some sun. Turn on the lights , something. Go for walks, they help a lot.
          You know sometimes less is more. Shrinks just love to keep throwin shit at ya. See if you can get off some. I did and feel better.
          Drug companies do have plans to help people pay for med’s if they can’t afford, State, Fed. Don’t know your financial situation. Maybe if you find an American of Mexican decent who just happened to stumble into America by accident, and by no fault of his own in this racist gringo society just happens to lack the proper documentation
          ( To de-humanize a life with a piece of paper) Racist Gringo bastard’s Patooey. You could just point to him and they will give you everything you need for free. :D
          Hang in there Christine, Keep the faith. Things usually work out.
          May God bless you and yours. Steve

    • Eowyn – I am very concerned that Liza Long is not claiming any responsibility for her son’s condition. Why don’t these women, who seem to look at men as nothing more than sperm donors, realize what divorce does to these kids – especially for boys – when the father leaves, or is absent entirely? As far as spilling her soul – she may be better served by soul searching.

      She sounds like she is playing the victim role – rather than considering that her son may have been traumatized somehow. Good grief – even severe allergies to black mold have been shown to cause radical personality interruptions in children and adults. That and a poor diet can cause good kids to act like they are demonically possessed. My own nephew used to bang his head on the wall if he consumed anything, I mean anything! – with red coloring agents, such as fruit punch or red licorice – even frozen food. There was no stopping him – he would bang his head until he passed out.

      • Agree! I especially have a problem with Long going public with her son’s alleged severe mental illness. She even posted a picture of her son on her blog. That picture and what she wrote about him will be on the Internet forever. What a terrible violation of his privacy!

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