So you can imagine my interest when I read Liza Long’s original story, “I am Adam Lanza’s Mother”, a post that went viral after the Newtown tragedy. I was impressed with her openness and so very thankful, yet I understood the risk she was taking. Which made her post all the more powerful.
Today she has written another post that exposes not her name, but her consequence for going public about her child’s mental illness.
In her recent article she wrote:
“And so my 750 words became an accidental but powerful manifesto for children’s mental health. In retrospect, I think that one of the things that resonated most strongly with parents in similar situations was the raw emotion in the piece. That’s because I, as the writer, was revealing truths to myself that I had been unwilling or unable to face. My first audience was myself.
So for me, and for many other parents, this is what “normal” looks like. People said that I was brave for telling my story. I did not feel brave; I felt helpless.”I can relate to Long’s words. When I write to you, I write in a desperate place of feeling helpless. I’m a mom anxiously seeking answers for my child who’s suffering a terrible illness. Looking back, my blog has thankfully been a helpful tool for my son’s stability. I’ve been able to receive encouragement, direction, feedback and so much more from a community of parents who would otherwise be invisible to me.
So having experienced the benefits of sharing my child’s illness publicly, I was outraged to read that Long is now facing the consequences of her openness.
She’s being forced to choose between caring for her sick child or her healthy children.
This is a decision that no mother should EVER have to make.
Would a mother writing about her child’s cancer have to later choose between her children? Why is it any different for Long’s children because her child has a brain illness.
Some of you would argue that it’s for the safety of the siblings, but with the right support and medical care this doesn’t have to be an issue.
Long points out a very important reality:
“Families are afraid to speak up about or ask for help for their sick children, for the very real fear that they will lose their healthy ones, either to another parent (as in my case) or to the state.”I admit, I was fearful of this in the beginning. I remember sharing with my husband that I was concerned about what I should reveal to the therapist at our son’s initial evaluation for fear that something I would say would bring harm to my other children. It felt a little like walking through a land mind. Would I say something that would make my entire family explode?
The stigma of mental illness is hurting not only those suffering, but the family that’s trying to help.
This has to stop.
If society is so scared of our kids, scared of what they can do to others, they need to pull us off the floor and onto our feet and surround us with support and resources. NOT force us back into a closet of isolation.
People need to know that kids get better when parents can ask questions, seek support and receive care publicly.
Research has proven that children surrounded by love and support have very positive outcomes. If we want to prevent the next tragedy, we need to embrace these families and support them, not tear them apart and ignite fear, forcing them to once again remain silent and helpless.
What is happening to Liza Long will only bring more harm to us all.
Out of fear of losing our other children, mothers will stop taking.
And sick children will not get the care they need.
God help us all.
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I highly recommend you read, The Origins -- And the Price -- of My Accidental Manifesto for Children’s Mental Health, a Huff Post article written by Liza Long, the same writer who wrote, “I am Adam Lanza’s Mother” a blog post that went viral after the Newtown tragedy.
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The Origins -- And the Price --
Posted: 09/04/2014 9:56 am EDT