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October 21, 2015 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Wavy thoughts. Hard lines.

You don’t know what it’s like.

You of the emotional performances worthy of any stage.  All that for image – and Facebook, probably

Don’t talk to me about guns. Only a shallow socially acceptable response.

Yes! A common experience for bonding.

A simple clean distraction to avoid looking at the ugly mess.

woman in costume.1917. Zena the temptress. Suratt publicity still/ date/Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater research/

Life is but a dream. (USPD/

He was a darling child: Bright eyed, toothy grin, knock-knock jokes and kid pun funny. 

That grin worrisome now – like a rotting Jack O’lantern. 

You catch your breath when there’s breaking news on TV.

Hoping not to hear the address.

Or see that thought-ravaged face.

There have been incidents with police.

Frantic explanations, assurances, relocations

Of course, no guns around. None. That would be idiotic.

But there’s kitchen knives, screw drivers, and table legs.

You’d be surprised at what’s available in an ordinary house – and the resourcefulness of one deranged.

The foil covered windows. 

Things unplugged so “They” can’t listen or see.

The cone-shaped foil hat so “They” can’t search his thoughts.

Involuntary commitments

Meds can work wonders. If taken.

So can periods of lucidity where he sounds perfectly reasonable.

And he’s tricky – knows the game. Knows what answers unlock the doors.

Did you know once the heath team clears a patient, he can just walk out into the street – free to go – without anyone being notified? That’s always fun.

See, you don’t know.

1920. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Barrymore.Motion Picture News/Famouse Player-Lasky Corp. Paramount.Art-craft/USPD.

Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde. Who’s there this time?(USPD/

Far easier to blame guns than illnesses that snatch and distort body and soul.

A gun doesn’t bother me, but the unseen monsters shadowing among the public do.

Only a fragile line standing between you from them: the families. And they don’t always try either.

  • Some refuse to acknowledge “He can act better if he wants to!” Denial.
  • Some just ignore it. “Give him what he wants and he’ll be OK. Let him stay in his room, so what?”
  • Some are too embarrassed. “A reflection on the family”. “A reflection on me”. “My clients would all leave if they knew…”
  • Some leave. “He’s your kid. You deal with it.”
  • Some pay them to go away. “Here. This is where you live now. We’ll pay the rent and bring groceries. Don’t call.”
  • Some give up and give them to the streets.
  • Some go from doctor to doctor looking for what they want to hear – or a miracle
  • Some desperately run through all their insurance, savings, and any money they can beg or borrow – drowning while trying to protect society. Protect society from their child who had something go so wrong.
 Vintage couple.1919. Elliot and Dalton in the Film L'apache. Motion Picture News/Paramount Pictures/

Don’t worry. No one has to know. (USPD/

I force myself to remember that little boy with the shiny bowl haircut bouncing across the yard – all knees and elbows.  

An unknown switch flipped during his first year of college.

A descent as rough as losing footing in a rock scramble while hiking.

Late onset schizophrenia can only be ignored so long.

Over 40 now, this limp hulk drugged into submission. He’s still in there. A small flash in the eyes at a joke once in a while.

What sort of life? But society must be protected.

Or else you get Sandy Hook, Aurora, Santa Barbara, Oregon, Arizona (2011), and as far back as Poe Elementary (1959)

Unstable individuals let loose on society.

If you  know, you recognized it instantly: people who knew and did nothing. 

Should parents be responsible if their unstable mentally ill child kills? Maybe. What precautions were taken?

Should insurance companies be held responsible? Maybe. Substituting drugs, insisting on changing doctors, dictating treatment, selecting facilities, only paying for out-patient treatment rather than residential care, and limiting lengths of stay and treatment?

Should society also take some of the blame for choosing to not address the problem of mental heath and violent unstable behavior? Yes.

1920. Marion Davies/The Tatler.Oct. 1920/

Keeping the beast down.(USPD/

There is hope. Here’s some happy stories:

Read about Glenn, his sister Tamara, and Mar J.

“Stop the Madness. New treatment for schizophrenia that could transform the way mental illness is treated. And about treatment barriers in the US and insurance companies’ fun and games.(Huffington Post)

And a couple of more serious articles

Oh, stuff like this always happens to other people, right?

Heard that somewhere.

But realistically, if you’ve got kids, nieces, nephews, grandkids…you never know. That switch flips without warning.

And then there’s the other thing:

Once these individuals’ parents, families, caretakers die off, you, the public, are faced with what to do with them.

angry men.(Legends of Horror.Image.

Even if it isn’t Halloween, some neighbors are scarier than others (Legends of Horror

Just head’s up.

Good to know.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

(Don’t worry, the wacky frivolity will return shortly. This one’s just been simmering a while. Besides, always a good time to contact Congress about issues.)

Oh, OK. Can’t leave on such a serious note. Quackers?

Duckling (Image by S. Ritter/

Warm and fuzzy enough? (S.Ritter/

Dog chasing a ball./ Eddie at the beach. by Steve-65/

Demonstrating the importance of keeping your eye on the ball. (Eddie by Steve-65/








  1. easyweimaraner / Oct 21 2015 1:15 pm

    I hope there is a way for all and I also hope we would know more about such diseases….


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 21 2015 3:11 pm

      Advances in technology and medicine are encouraging. At this point a managing the disease would be an improvement over ignoring it. Society is going to have to stop fooling itself, though, and be part of the solutions. Thanks for trotting along.


  2. sportsattitudes / Oct 21 2015 1:37 pm

    We keep hearing more and more studies and survey results about the ever-increasing rate of mental health issues in our country. This nation has many challenges ahead of it and if we don’t get this one addressed it isn’t going to matter much about the other ones. That old saying “if you don’t have your health you don’t have anything”…it should be kept in mind about the minds of our citizens. (and you don’t have to be “Quackers” to understand that…enjoyed the pictures at the end…good for one’s mental health!)


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 21 2015 3:17 pm

      All the weeping, drama, and taking toys away aren’t going to make any difference if the root problem isn’t acknowledged. People now are pretty stressed and angry. It’s a fine line between antisocial behavior and mental illness, but those around an unstable mentally ill person clearly know..even if they don’t want to admit it for whatever reason. There may not be complete answers, but things can be done better. One step would be to correct the power and control insurance companies and the pharm companies exert over health care and what is coming out of DC. Bottom lines and profits? Killers for sure. Thanks for your great comment

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Paul / Oct 21 2015 2:06 pm

    Ahhh Phil. It is a terrible. terrible record we have in treating the mentally ill.It is so here in Canada as well. Whenever budgets cuts are needed the first to suffer are mental health services. I know you listed a number of initiatives to address this sad lacking in our society, yet their scale is trivial compared to the problem – and the general population is solidly in the “out of sight out of mind” or “NIMBY”. No amount of inroads will be successful without buy-on.

    I have friends who are guards in Canada’s penal system. They are dumbfounded by the number and severity of the mentally ill who are pouring into our prison systems. When a case comes before a judge and it is determined that the offender cannot be released back into the public, and there is no space in facilities to help them, they are consigned to the general prison population. Once that happens it is the beginning of the end. As soon as the sentence is finished – and many are short – the mentally ill are released as it is illegal to hold them and there is no room to help them. And the cycle starts allover again – the same offenders showing up time after time. It is not possible to catch any escalation until there is a horrific outcome and then everyone says : “What happened?” But no one wants to hear the answer and the interest soon fades. IT is so bad that all the prison employees have had to have special training on how to handle the mentally ill. And still there is n money for treatment.

    We’ve been denying responsibility for our neighbors for millenia now. It will take a huge public attitude change to address this problem Phil. I dearly wished it wasn’t so.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 21 2015 3:45 pm

      Yep, the advocates weeped and forced institutions to close (some needed to) and outpatient care to become preferred. It’s really difficult to get someone dangerous to society committed these days – the 3 day psych holds? Three days of meds and a smart one who’s been there before easily get out. So many end up in jail, on the streets, or shot during one of their episodes. There’s got to be a middle ground – to protect the individual as well as society. There needs to be a safe place for individuals during a violent episode and stabilized.
      Family members have to seek intervention help early – and it has to be available. While it’s advocates point to rights of the individual, they must recognize that sometime individuals are out of control, don’t really want to hurt people, but can’t stop themselves. (Ask any ER doc about mental illness or drug crazed patients who must be contained until they can think clearly again) Lawsuits and courts have a role to play, too: people/schools are often scared to say anything for fear of angering parents, being sued for slander, or being stuck with paying for treatment (law here says if school districts “can’t meet the needs of students, they have to pay for outside source to do it”…teachers are told not to even mention there are clear signs a student needs professional mental treatment as there have been cases where the courts ordered the district to pay and “meet the student’s needs”.)
      You are right. Complex situation and interest soon fades. More fun to laugh at politicians and people in other political parties. (And you guys voted in change. I remember his glamourous parents) Thanks for penning up a comment

      Liked by 1 person

      • Paul / Oct 21 2015 4:00 pm

        Yep, Justin will get his time in the limelight – I’m sure he’ll be OK.

        Did you know that here in Canada if you are a professor at a university without tenure, that if you seek help for mental illness that your career is shot. The universities say (not in public) that they get funding based on reputation of the university and the professors, so they don’t want any stains on their record. Of course that means that any and all issues are not reported. As if that is helpful.

        it is saddening and frightening the way that mental illness is deliberately shunned or ignored in every walk of life.


        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 21 2015 5:01 pm

          That is also a problem with many occupations here. And the danger. Many ticking time bombs manage productive lives and fly below the radar so to speak all their lives – but the torment and difficulties they face are such hardships.
          Canada had some real rock and roll times. It will be interesting to see what style he takes.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Kate Crimmins / Oct 21 2015 2:13 pm

    So, so sad.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 21 2015 3:51 pm

      Sad all the way around. This kid is a family member and I can almost point to the week that switch flipped. His mother refused to admit it (We’ve heard all those excuses) and now we fear it’s too late for him to have any hope of a normal life. Reading that Huffington article, it was easy to see the specific stages he went through. When we ask what kind of trust has been set up for his care after they are gone, all we get are laughs of “Why?I won’t be around to deal with it.” People are not meant to be thrown away. Sigh. A Halloween story that never ends. Thanks for being brave enough to see

      Liked by 1 person

  5. jannatwrites / Oct 23 2015 2:31 am

    This is sad. There are no easy answers or solutions. On one hand, of course it’s the parents’ responsibility to care for our children. But then I know someone that was in that situation and help was hard to come by. Hospitals wouldn’t keep him, meds didn’t get taken. He became violent with them and they had to let him go completely. He ended up living on the streets.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 23 2015 2:40 pm

      You hit the nail on the head with this comment. Between the individual’s civil liberties/rights, the cagey insurance companies (who can’t refuse to insure, but make it difficult for those they don’t want to cover to use the doctors/clinics/get the treatment they need due to company profit margins), the lack of crisis facilities) and how difficult it is to get someone committed until stable (and then get those meds taken to keep them stable), life for the individual and their family is more grim than the public realizes,
      Many end up on the street, in jail, or shot by police during a violent episode ( and it so not the cops’ fault). There has to be a middle ground to protect the individual in crisis and to protect society. Found hope in that first article. RIght now every time that “Breaking News” comes on here, we are afraid it’s finally happened.
      Thanks for being aware of the problem


  6. Littlesundog / Oct 23 2015 11:11 pm

    There is little to add to what has already been said here about mental illness… it’s an overwhelming situation to me. I am flummoxed at those who blame the gun and gun manufacturer’s. There is a lot of stress, unhappiness, and anger in our country. I don’t think we can even say most of it stems from the mental health issues. We’ve raised a couple of generations of kids who have viewed graphic movies and played video games where there is little respect for life. Young people are exposed to so much more than we ever were. And then there is the push in America to achieve more, have more, be the first, be the smartest, be the best… and it becomes an “every man for himself” world where we take what we want because by gosh we worked hard and deserve it. So many reasons why we have problems. Again, it’s just overwhelming to me. I have no idea where we start, to get back to good.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 24 2015 3:15 pm

      It is overwhelming – complex. The public wants a neat clean “feel good” answer so they can go back to watching celebrity scandals and their expensive coffee drinks.
      We already have laws. Murder, assault- all crimes. Here the sentence is stiffer if a gun is used. Somehow that is ignored.
      The kid at the NW community college had been in a special school for those with problems/emotional issues in CA as a child. He had been recently forced into a psychiatric hospital for refusing to take his very strong meds (Lithium was one, I think). His mother/stepfather/family knew he was unstable, yet guns were around. The gun used was bought legally (under new strict gun laws there) as there was no mention of any mental health issues in the background check. And that’s part of the problem: HIPPA and patient privacy laws shield unstable information (good news and bad news. PRivacy, yet a crazy person got a gun). Advocacy groups/former military scream about individual’s rights – and that doctors/med groups breaching HIPPA would keep people from seeking treatment. All very true.
      Also true is that the average person/public is terrified of saying anything that might get them sued in court (Judges here have actually rule in favor of parents when a school had a violent/disruptive child and mentioned to the parent that he needed professional help and more than the public school was trained to give. Judge ruled school district had to pay for treatment and private school since the law states that education must be provided to meet ALL children’s needs…and the parents then shopped private schools and decided on the most expensive – which took funds out of the budget for all the other children…many parents since have learned this game) – so they look the other way and hope someone else will do something.
      Taking the toys away doesn’t work. Anything can be used to kill. 2611 car deaths so far this year here, yet no demands for eliminating cars.
      Like you say, a good place to start is to look at the violent environment/”entertainment” children are exposed to.
      And to wade in and determine which is bad behavior and correcting antisocial behavior quickly and firmly early – and even in grown celebrities/athletes) and then start looking at those with chemical imbalances/medical issues causing psychotic breaks. Early intervention, families acknowledging there’s a problem (that’s a big one) and seeking available help (also a big one), having crisis housing for those in psychotic episodes until they stabilize, and using current available research: all critical. (Far too many research studies are just money makers/salaries adding little to the body of knowledge. Auditing must be done)
      All the materialism, and designer handbags won’t make it go away. Overwhelming, for sure. But tiny steps after steps do eventually win a race. Thanks for wading through this forest of issues. (and did you see the cute fawn playing with the big black dog video? The dog was trying to get the fawn to play chase or fetch the ball while the fawn was trying to play hoofies. Really cute. Sort of a picture of humans trying to get along, too? HA HA)


  7. EllaDee / Oct 24 2015 7:16 am

    Gee, Big Business can’t find a way to make to make a buck out of mental illness… not profitable… yet. That’s why governments handball the responsibility…


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 24 2015 2:37 pm

      Actually Big Business is doing quite well with this one here. So many “clinics” thrilled to take an individual – until insurance limit reached (funny how much one aspirin can cost these places…Need tissues? Take out a bank loan and pay the place…) – then it’s toss into the streets no matter what the consequences. Pharm companies, healer/”researchers” who promise miracles, marginal hospitals/residences, caregivers (oh, that’s a big one – especially for home care…pick up a little extra money – out of closets and drawers). One BMW car dealer sold this kid a brand new car (the salesman just filled in parts of the application for him when the kid didn’t know answers). There are predators out there that steal/take advantage of all the handicapped. (LIke the contractor who went around Houston pacing ramps up from streets to where sidewalks should be – but they weren’t: the ramps ended in telephone poles, trees, ditches, fields – no sidewalks but a lovely ramp paid by taxpayer money. This is a growing problem and crisis – especially with better health care so individuals live longer. The Australian research is promising. I’d like to see that continued and put into practice. I’d like strictly funding to go to local groups/governments with strict oversight and penalties/jail for misuse. (There have been incidents of “group homes” getting individuals/homeless mentally ill clients to sign over all benefits to them, them they warehouse them in the garage. Neighbors finally heard them asking for help)
      Family is first line of defense and care – but they must have support including early intervention/treatment available with good doctors, caregiver assistance, crisis centers for temporary housing when there’s an psychotic break, and with the goal of sheltered living in communities/group homes as they age. One well established group here operates a city like community on the outskirts of town where there is housing, parks, cafeteria, school, animals, and everyone has some sort of community job and feel productive. (They sell art work, handmade/handcrafted products, too in a store, mail order, and in some big stores during holiday season. Lovely gift items) It works. Not for all, but for some. WOuld like to see this on a larger scale. It all comes back to being human and helping less fortunate or being a predator with them. Humans will have to decide. As you say, certainly not working now. Thanks for that link! Always interested in sold information

      Liked by 1 person


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