Monday, January 10, 2011

Scapegoat

Ah, so now it begins: the scapegoating of all people with schizophrenia. This evening I had been to visit Gabriel on the locked psych ward where he has been for the last week. When I came back home, I checked the updates on Facebook and read the following comment:

"Simple soon as they sign up for SSI and claim a mental illness as the reason lock ' em up, restrain them, and medicate them thru shots or iv's. They wanna be state sucks let 'em live in a state hospital!"
I was spitting mad!

First, I thought of all that Gabriel has suffered during his 24 years. In the younger grades, he struggled in every area. Because of his OCD, he almost never turned in an assignment, because after he worked on it, it wasn't perfect, so he would wad it up and start over again...and again and again and again. Even in kindergarten he was acutely aware of his difficulties, and he would come home and ask me, "How come Matthew can spell hard words and I can't?" In primary grades he got invited to lots of parties, because it was the social custom to invite the whole class so no one's feelings would be hurt. In the upper elementary grades, that custom fell by the wayside and the invitations ended. He had Tourette Syndrome, with a number of facial and vocal tics, and that certainly didn't help him fit in. In middle school he was hospitalized twice, for a total of five months, with severe anorexia. When he was admitted the first time, he weighed 69 pounds and, in the words of the doctor, looked like he had been in a concentration camp. During the second hospitalization he was first diagnosed as psychotic. When he was 20, he had his first major psychotic episode, and was diagnosed with disorganized schizophrenia, the type with the worst prognosis. He spent 7 months in the state hospital. The disease robbed him of his cognitive skills, his social skills, and his vibrant personality. When he has a setback, the voices are unbearable, and once he said he thought about stabbing himself in the head to make them stop. And now here is a person who says he should be treated as an animal, locked away and restrained and drugged. Here is a person who sees him as nothing more than a parasite, a "state suck."

And then I was angry on a political level. This person, needless to say, is a right wing conservative. These are the people who castigate the mentally ill because they won't stay in treatment, but at the same time, refuse to adequately fund mental health services. These are the people who don't want "those people" on the streets, in view, but begrudge them the measly SSI payment that puts a roof over their heads. These are the people who don't want the government meddling in their own lives in any way, but they think it is proper for the state to lock up people for the "crime" of being ill. In short, these are the people who are bald-faced hypocrites.

This, my friends, has been a terrible weekend. Apart from the tragic loss of life and grave injuries that will change the victims forever, it has exposed America for what it has become. This is the America that the hatemongers have created. They have made their bed, but unfortunately, we all sleep in it.

2 comments:

Jen Daisybee said...

Galen,
I'm sorry for all that your son has been through. But you are right, the neocons made this bed, they don't want to fund treatment or education about mental illness and yet they expect disasters like this weekend to never happen. They want everybody to own a gun, and nobody to need federal or state funds for anything ever. And then they expect things like this to never happen. And now we all lie in that bed they made. What a sad state of affairs.

Beauty said...

My appointment to get my "state suck" check is tomorrow. Wish me luck.....