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does this scare anyone else?


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so now they have a label for what was wrong with the Virginia Tech gunman.

i fear that now it puts a negative light on those with a mental illness. it's like when they hear the words "mentally ill" they will automatically conjure up this image of a madman. and, to top it off, the media will portray the same thing.

not once will you hear that most people with a mental illness do not become violent or that they can lead a pretty normal life. they will play up the mental illness factor and people will just eat it up.

that's all.

kathy

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I have a couple of posts on my blog about this--it is very scary, not so much because of what the public perceives, but of what I think of myself--of he is ill, and I am ill, where is the line??

china, still wondering

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I have wondered about this too. Why do some people with mental illness go off and kill people, while a majority struggle through their symptoms, and just carry on as best they can...go to the doctor...get married...have kids...whatever.

Obviously it isn't ALL about the MI. MI plus individual personality plus environment plus....what?

As for media portrayal...yeah...not exactly fun being factual. Lets create some drama and distort everything! Whoo hoo! (assholes).

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so now they have a label for what was wrong with the Virginia Tech gunman.

i fear that now it puts a negative light on those with a mental illness. it's like when they hear the words "mentally ill" they will automatically conjure up this image of a madman. and, to top it off, the media will portray the same thing.

not once will you hear that most people with a mental illness do not become violent or that they can lead a pretty normal life. they will play up the mental illness factor and people will just eat it up.

that's all.

kathy

I did hear one note of reason and empathy yesterday. The University of Virginia counseling department chair was being interviewed yesterday afternoon on NPR -- I guess they just thought someone at a different university in VA would do *shrug* -- and he did make it a point to say that most people with mental illnesses are just regular people trying to lead regular lives. I was very grateful for that. He sounded like someone who genuinely cares and is trying to make a difference.

To answer your question, I've felt pretty nervous about an added stigma for those of us with any sort of MI. It was already upsetting because so many people died, but when I heard that the killer had taken antidepressants at one point, my heart sank even further. I'd actually been expecting it, but now I'm expecting all sorts of ill-informed opinions being spewed about the mentally ill and how we're a menace to society, blah blah blah. I'm sad about the whole situation -- how it might have been avoided if someone had noticed the warnings, how none of those people would have died if the killer had been in treatment -- but I know all of that is just second-guessing that goes nowhere but in circles.

This is weighing more heavily on my mind than it might have been if my diagnosis hadn't been changed from MDD & GAD to BP1 (mixed episodes) & GAD only yesterday. I guess it's just that I'm more consciously aware of the possibility of being shunned or avoided if people find out about it, because bipolar sounds more intimidating than depression, I guess.

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Hopefully it can be framed in terms of safty nets and not in terms of any individual class of people. This was not a case of nobody saw it coming. This was a guy who everybody joked about doing this someday. He got kicked out of a creative writing class because he wrote about nothing but killing and torturing people and it freaked out everyone in the peer review sessions.

People tried to get him help and he didn't want it. Where it's likely to draw attention is involuntary commitment laws. I, frankly, think that it does not make sense to let delusional or thought disordered people make decisions as to what is in their own best interest and that the standards for involuntary treatment could be relaxed somewhat.

http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=3052278&page=1

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i agree with all of you-

there is a stigma against mentally interesting people, and it is not helped by people who are obsessed with killing people who eventually do so. this person obviously should have been evaluated and hospitalized AND DRUGGED before any of this happened. it is a tragedy that shouldn't have been.

one note- our society can be very overzealous on its control of the MI. for example, maddy cannot vote in OK because she has been admitted involuntarily. i am not allowed to own a gun in OH because i have been admitted involuntarily (despite the fact that i took myself to the hospital under no threats, they called it an invol...i don't get it...). i did some research and wish i could find it right nwo, but it shows that people who were involuntarily commited to the mental hospital had a very, very slightly higher rate of going bonkers and killing people than the general population, yet if you listen to people, we're all this crazy guy who didn't get the help he needed.

all of us are just crazy people trying to live with our disorders and make the best of life. it would help if society supported our efforts and didn't blacklist us.

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Although there has been a lot of hype about mental illness in the reportage, there has also been quite a bit of discussion about people's constitutional rights and the limits of law enforcement and college counseling services to force a student into counseling.

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http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=262031

Good article...an excerpt:

"We find this sometimes in serious mental illnesses where it's nihilism and narcissism: my life isn't really worth much but I will go to all ends to let people know how much I've suffered in a very self-promoting way," said Hinshaw (Steve Hinshaw, chair of the psychology department at the University of California Berkeley) This form of mental illness is extremely rare and most people with mental illnesses are not violent, he added.
Italics mine

It's good that this is happening...most normal folks have no clue about what mental illness is (apart from misinformation and stigma) and may be quick to tar all the mentally ill with the same brush.

This guy did something incomprehensible...how can someone murder so many people in cold blood? I have empathy for the suffering that led him to this point and if can be proven that he was definitely floridly psychotic, still more empathy. But I don't think that psychosis alone can explain the depravity of what he did...it wasn't an impulsive act. He was hospitalized recently and found to be no immediate danger to himself or others.

Just so damn sad. So many people dead...it's very hard to imagine the fear those people must have felt.

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He was obviously troubled at the least according to his own classmates and teachers. They knew something was up and they kept their noses out of it, or that's the impression I got from what I've read (admittedly not too much).

People don't like messy people and this guy was bleeding all over the damn place with his writings, his self enforced isolation, the stalking of those two girls. His fellow students joked that they expected something to happen with him, I read that in an article too. Joked about it- they knew it could happen with him.

I feel like this dude slipped through a really big crack. OF COURSE not all crazies will admit to being crazy or want help- many times we are not in a place to want help or realize we need it and some of us are damn good at faking it long enough to get out of trouble.

I heard about this and my thought was "there but for the grace of God go I..."

I feel very sorry for all the victims of course, but also for him, and for his family (can't imagine what they are feeling like right now). I'll be praying for all of them. This guy was out of his mind and in horrible pain, to do this to other people. And the news headlines about his "chilling" video he sent to NBC and all that, it's like they are trying to say he is Evil with the wording they use and those pictures he took being held up, but evil is a choice, who knows whether he was even able to be culpable if he was so fucked up? No one person is Pure Evil and he is being vilified for what might not have been completely within his control. And yeah, that looks bad on the rest of us MI, too.

Still horrible, tragic, inexcusable thing, please don't get me wrong, but my heart aches for his family and for his soul. So much pain there, creating so much more pain. Who knows how or where or when it came about.

Oh I'm rambling again, sorry. Yes I find it scary, too.

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Bloody hell..just watched a news bulletin. I think it was CBS that was interviewing the gunman's room-mate. The journalist asked if it bothered him, that he hadn't been told that Cho Seung-Hui had been 'referred for counselling'. wtf?? Why would he need to be notified of that? It seemed a given that because the gunman had been referred for counselling, he was by default, dangerous.

The room-mate had every reason to be concerned, given what's happened and the gunman's behaviour leading up to the shooting (writing essays about killing people). But not everyone who is referred for counselling is completely unhinged and dangerous...jeez!

This media hoopla is really gonna get worse, before it gets better.

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I heard about this and my thought was "there but for the grace of God go I..."

To be honest, that is how I have felt. I have checked myself into hospital before because I feared that I could be dangerous to other people (I was very, very ill at the time), and while I was assessed and told this is was highly unlikely, it scared the shit out of me. I feel sad that this guy could slip through the net and that his last moments on this planet were spent in such rage and hatred.

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I have a couple of posts on my blog about this--it is very scary, not so much because of what the public perceives, but of what I think of myself--of he is ill, and I am ill, where is the line??

china, still wondering

Yeah, this is kind of where I am right now too, China. This is really scaring me.

The whole situation is just heartbreaking. How did it ever get that far? I am a proponent of rights for the MI - but I agree with Velvet Elvis - if a person is psychotic, or showing some major signs of psychosis - there is obviously going to be a lack of insight. Someone has to step in and get help for these people.

In terms of the media hype though - it's so sensationalized. They are playing those videos and showing those pictures over and over. I have also seen the words "evil" and "mentally ill" used interchangeably. By news anchors! That should go a long way to erase stigma. ;)

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I have never been violent but I have a lot of violent visions and anger so this does scare me. Realistically I have to keep reminding myself that I'm OK - that I've never hurt anyone and don't want to.

I am me. He is someone else. His teacher described him as "mean". I don't think anyone would describe me as mean but I'm not sure if that was always true.

Does this story make anyone else doubt themselves?

Another thing that bothers me is that there is this guy in my neighborhood who acts a lot like this guy. IEveryone feels the same way about him but if he's not breaking the law or threatening anyone he is free to keep ticking.

I'm thankful that (some years ago) I was given the option to sign myself into a psychiatric facility instead of being court ordered because I was in big trouble and had threatened to do some really bad things so I know what a serious thing this is but I have mixed feelings about our freedoms and the mental health system. In some ways I wish it were easier to legally compel people to get treatment.

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I feel like this dude slipped through a really big crack. OF COURSE not all crazies will admit to being crazy or want help- many times we are not in a place to want help or realize we need it and some of us are damn good at faking it long enough to get out of trouble.

I agree with everything you said Faith, but this especially struck me. I did such a good job of hiding my BP that my own parents didn't believe me when I told them. The sad part is that he didn't do a very good job of hiding his problems and he still slipped through the cracks.

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I, frankly, think that it does not make sense to let delusional or thought disordered people make decisions as to what is in their own best interest and that the standards for involuntary treatment could be relaxed somewhat.

Yup...totally agree.

If I hear anyone equate mental illness and violence in my presence, I will be strongly tempted to punch them and then yell "self-fulfilling prophecy, bitch!"

LOLOLOL! Ouch! Diet Pepsi up the nose. Got me good on that one. (owwww dammit! LOLOL)

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If I hear anyone equate mental illness and violence in my presence, I will be strongly tempted to punch them and then yell "self-fulfilling prophecy, bitch!"

LOLOLOL! Ouch! Diet Pepsi up the nose. Got me good on that one. (owwww dammit! LOLOL)

See? We're violent. Told you so.

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I was...exposed...to all this crap while recovering at my parents'. It quite frankly pissed me off. Why? Well maybe cuz I practically WAS this guy in college. Generally a loner, hanging out with the campus whackos (oh have I got stories...), on ADs, accused of stalking... And oh yeah, at times very violent. Guess I just got lucky.

Some people just don't know they need help, want to be helped, shit just aren't helped right. (ask my old pnurse...oh wait, he's dead...)

What also pissed me off, though, is all the accusations flying around, terms like "psychotic" etc. Shit, it's hard enough to dx a living person...but a dead guy? No ethical mental health professional would do this--not without having first-hand contact with the subject. This whole thing, top to bottom, sickens me.

CNS, the guy who will surprise noone if he snaps

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