|For those who say Mrs. Yates should have been in control of her actions despite mental illness: Why is it that you perceive people suffering from mental illness as somehow being in control of their actions? Are people who are physically ill responsible for their illnesses? Should people losing control of bodily functions be punished for not controlling them? Or should they be treated?
Oh no, they shouldn't be treated. Not at all. All the meds in the world are simple sugar pills, just placebo effective. They shouldn't be helped.
Hey, I know. Why not lock them down cellar and pretend they don't exist?
In case anyone was wondering, that was sarcasm.
Look. The brain works with chemicals, neurons, and cells, just like all the rest of the body. The fact is when a diabetic is diagnosed, his illness is clear and treatment is prescribed. He's not ever told that "well, suck it up, cupcake," or "it's all in your mind...". No, the simple fact is that he now needs to adjust his lifestyle and inject medicine
into his body so he can function properly. His pancreas, and the Isles of Langerhorn (I think...) have stopped producing insulin, so he replaces it via a shot once or several times during the day. Furthermore, special identification bands are worn (and if anyone can tell me the history of why there are special id bands, you get ten brownie points...). That helps in case - oh horrors of horrors - the diabetic has an episode which his sugars go bonkers and he exhibits strange, violent, or inappropriate behavior.
When the brain chemistry goes wonky - and it does, just like a diabetic's pancreas can- the thought process gets wonky, too. Depending upon circumstances, sometimes people can tell, and sometimes they can't, that a person is brain ill. The difference between brain and body illnesses is a) body illnesses are more understood and accepted than brain illnesses, and b) body illnesses don't interrupt the thought processes and rational thinking which is what the brain does (among other things).
In brain illnesses, there is NOT an ability to do like others do; the thoughts are, literally, different and often bizarre.
A quick example from my life: when I am unstable (thankfully, not often anymore; I use those placebo pills [wink]), I often forget to pay the bills. The lights are the most often interrupted utility, and when I'm unstable, getting my lights turned off is a reason to suicide. When I'm stable, getting the lights turned off (which has happened once; low funds and I played them out incorrectly...) became an exercise in earthquake preparedness and an ice cream dinner.
For those who think that they can't be affected by mental illness, realize this: it is real. It is powerful. It is destructive. And it can be treated.
As to Andrea Yates, it was beyond plain that she had significant mental imbalances; she had several diagnoses, but did not follow the Drs orders regarding the meds. Why? BEcause there is an enormous stigma attached to someone who uses medications to be normal. For those who don't know, run a search for a post I made called "In My Dreams." That will give you a real, personal glimpse of what depression can do. And I'm lucky; while I have significant depression, it is not one of the more deadly ones (despite the suicidal tendancies...). My illness might kill me...it is unlikely that I'll take others out with me. But PPD/P (Post Partum Depression with Psychotic Episodes,) PPP (Post Partum Psychosis), and schitzophrenia can, and often does, kill other people.
I wish there was an ability for our society (global, not necessarily local), to understand that the brain can misfunction, just like anything else in our body. And that there needs to be an acceptance of those of us who are ill and manage our illness just like the diabetic manages his...
Does any of that excuse murder? No...but I guarantee you, the stigma some people are promulgating can kill some of us just as fast. Should I accuse you of murder, as well?