December 16, 2012

The domestic terror: “I live with a son who is mentally ill. I love my son. But he terrifies me.”

Filed under: Health, USA — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 12:39

Anarchist Soccer Mom has a story to tell. It’s neither pleasant nor uplifting, but it needs to be told:

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.

[. . .]

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.”

[. . .]

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.

H/T to Drew M. for the link.

Queen Victoria: not a model mother

Filed under: Britain, History — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 11:58

A BBC documentary will shed some light on the domestic life of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert:

Helen Rappaport, author of Magnificent Obsession and a contributor to the three part series, said Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were “pretty awful parents” to their four sons and five daughters.

“She hated being pregnant. She had prenatal and postnatal depression. She didn’t breastfeed her children who she thought were horrible dribbling little things. She was not in the least bit maternal.

“Queen Victoria liked sex, but she didn’t like the result.”

[. . .]

Queen Victoria’s relationship with Prince Albert was a tempestuous one, punctuated with rows.

Prince Albert, who chided Queen Victoria in a letter. “It is a pity you find no consolation in the company of your children.

“The trouble lies in the mistaken notion the function of a mother is to be always correcting, scolding and ordering them about” he wrote.

Origins of ten Christmas traditions

Filed under: History, Religion — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 11:39

A lot of the “traditional” Christmas things don’t have an obvious link to the season (aside from long usage):

It’s the Christmas season again, and before we get sick of the eggnog, fruitcake, and Christmas music played ad nauseum, we get to enjoy it for a couple weeks. But have you ever wondered where some of our weird Christmas traditions come from? I mean, we tell our kids that a fat man is coming into our house at night; we bring in trees in to shed all over the carpet; and we kiss under parasitic plants – all in the holiday spirit. How the hell are these even related to Jesus, whose birthday we’re supposed to be celebrating?

Well, sit back, pull in some eggnog and gingerbread, and take a ride on the 10-entry, Listverse sleigh!

H/T to Ian Geldard for the link.

Stephen Gordon on “The Carney Affair”

Filed under: Cancon, Economics, Media, Politics — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 11:34

His latest post at Maclean’s talks about the distressing revelations from a Globe and Mail article the other day:

It took 20 years and two recessions — both of which were more severe than the one we just had — before we were able to come up with a monetary policy framework that works well. The current practice in Canada is that the government provides the Bank of Canada an inflation target, and the Bank of Canada is free to exercise its discretion in how it meets its mandate. This is not full independence — the Minister of Finance has the legal authority to override the Bank in extreme circumstances — but it’s been enough so that when the Governor of the Bank of Canada speaks, people know that there are no unspoken partisan political considerations through which his message should be filtered. Explanations of how monetary policy is being conducted can be taken at face value, even if they are couched in cautious and nuanced language.

Or at least, that was the case before the Globe story broke. The second paragraph puts this hard-earned reputation for non-partisan professionalism into question. Unless Mark Carney can swiftly and convincingly demonstrate that he responded to those Liberals’ overtures with a quick and unequivocal refusal, we shouldn’t be surprised if non-Liberals start looking through his recent speeches through the corrosive, distorted lens of partisan politics. Was his speech to the Canadian Auto Workers simply a play for union support? Was his dismantlement of the Dutch Disease talking point simply a tactic to put the NDP off-balance? For me, these are rhetorical questions written with a sense of sickening dread; others will doubtlessly repeat them in earnest and with angry, partisan vigour.

But even in the best-case scenario in which Mark Carney’s conduct is blameless, we are still left with the prospect that not-insignificant elements in the Liberal Party of Canada were willing to risk one of the most crucial elements of our governance for partisan gain. If we are extremely lucky, this episode will be quickly forgotten. But if by taking a run at Mark Carney, these Liberals have initiated a never-ending cycle of speculation about the possible political ambitions of future Governors of the Bank of Canada, they will have weakened — perhaps fatally — the foundations of Canadian monetary policy.

Reactions to the Sandy Hook tragedy

Filed under: Media, USA — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 09:34

In Reason, Nick Gillespie rounds up some of the worst reactions to the terrible event in Sandy Hook:

Horrific events such as the mass shooting at Newtown, Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School are terrible enough in showcasing the evil that men do.

But they also regularly bring out the worst in observers, commentators, and pundits who will never let a lack of knowledge or expertise stand in the way of making grand pronouncements.

Here’s a short tour of four of the least-helpful reactions to an attack that slaughtered more than two dozen Americans — most of them kids 10 years and younger. They come courtesy of a former presidential candidate (Mike Huckabee), an international media mogul (Rupert Murdoch), an Oscar-winning filmmaker (Michael Moore), and a famous crusading journalist (Geraldo Rivera).

Following that is a discussion of the reality of gun violence in America and what might actually address some of the issues in play.

Powered by WordPress