One that hurts the most, is when a parent kills their own child.
This is a post I've struggled with writing, but there's a stigma around mental illness and parents, especially mothers, that has to be talked about.
And here's where it starts.
Brenda Drayton was a 29 year old mother. She was a mother that struggled with Bipolar Disorder. In 1994, she gave birth to a son, Micah. Six weeks after his birth, Micah died of dehydration and malnutrition. Not until three years later was Brenda given her diagnosis and hospitalized. Her doctor wrote in her file that she believed that there were "snakes in her body." In the petition for her hospitalization, it claimed that Drayton "can be reasonably expected, within the near future, to ... seriously physically injure self or others and ... is unable to attend to basic physical needs." Even then, she was released and in 2002 gave birth to her daughter, Lyah. Shortly after, Drayton's mother reported that Drayton was falling ill again. Brenda started struggling with her bipolar again and placed back into a hospital after saying that Lyah was "the Devil's baby." After being released, on November 29, 2004, Brenda Drayton was charged with strangling her daughter and hiding her in a kitchen cabinet.
Andre Thomas was 21 years old, had just gone through a divorce, and was a dad to a little 4 year old girl. On March 26, 2004, he walked into his local police station, confessing to the murders of his daughter, his estranged wife, and her 1 year old daughter. When police arrived to the house, they found the three victims, all with their hearts cut out. Thomas' father reported that in the weeks leading up to the murders, Thomas had visited two emergency rooms seeking help, but either left or was released before receiving treatment. After Thomas was placed in jail awaiting trial, he tore out his own eye one night and was then heard quoting Mark 9:47: "And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell.'' Thomas was taken to a hospital, but the eye was not able to be reattached. It wasn't until after that incident that he was evaluated and diagnosed with schizophrenia.
In both of these cases, mental illness played a part in the loss of lives. But that's not always the case. Usually, one has nothing to do with the other.
Take me for example. I went in to my local emergency room after having negative thoughts that needed to be addressed. And quick. Instead of actually getting help, I was placed on a 72-hour old, and with the way the nurses and police officers were acting, I could very well have killed one of my children.
Yes, you hear about all these horrible things happening to the children of parents with mental illness, but I'm not one of them. Yet I was treated like I was. They were scared of me. Seriously. And it's one of the most horrible feelings I've ever had.
And look at Andre Thomas. I imagine a similar situation happened, but in reverse. Went in for help, and the er nurses and doctors don't know enough to actually help. So, away you go. In several cases, it's not until after something has happened that parents receive the help they need.
Is that always the case?
No. It's not. Some people are just sick. Some parents are just plain horrible people that would rather do drugs than take care of their children. But what happens to those that get arrested? A percentage of the time, they plea insanity. And it's infuriating to me.
I'm treated differently and judged constantly because some of these people are trying to take advantage of a very real illness. They try and pawn off what has happened by faking a real struggle that I and thousands of others deal with everyday.
I'm not trying to belittle these people either. Like I said, most cases are very real. These moms and dads hit that point and snapped in a horrible way. I'm sure many of them hate themselves every day and there's nothing they wouldn't do to bring back their children.
But I'm not them. And they aren't me. Just because I have a mental illness doesn't mean I'm going to kill my children. Just because they did, doesn't always mean they suffer from a mental illness either. Everyone is different. Everyone struggles differently. And all of us need help.
So before you judge any of us who have a mental illness, remember. I'm not a killer just because some call me crazy.