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Location: Gilbert, AZ

I am a writer, a photographer, and a Dork Chop FO-tog. I can be found on FB at www.facebook.com/TheRovingDorkChopFoTog and also on Flickr at www.flickr.com/therovingdorkchopfo-tog Mostly I capture what I see from my perspective.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Raising a child with a mood disorder? No? Then shut the hell up!

YES, this issue is beginning to get under my skin. With the Tucson shooting making international news, there have been a plethora of "experts" on TV these days discussing the parenting of children with mood disorders, who know NOTHING of the ACTUAL reality of parenting these kids. They need to "put up or shut up".

Since mental health issues don't fit neatly into a little box, when CNN moves on to the next big news story, mood disorders will once again be a lost cause for parents alone to struggle with. States don't have funds, the Feds don't have funds...so it falls back to families to do the best they can with the resources they have access to. The vast majority of parents do the best they can with what they have. Do they do the job of parent well enough? Who decides if parents are to blame for horrific things their kids do? You? Me? States? Twitter? Really...WHO?!?

Here is the deal...

Most parents who raise children will have kids who grow up without a hitch, and all will be well. The kids will grow up normally, they will go to college, get jobs, get married, have kids and lead a "normal" life.

Some parents don't have that luxury. Some parents raise kids who struggle at every turn, and don't grow up "normal". Sometimes, in spite of a parents' best efforts, the kids don't grow up to be that kid who goes to college, gets a job, gets married, and has kids. Does that mean the parents failed?

Sometimes parents try every therapy, from swimming with dolphins to horseback riding, and try every combination of medication possible - and their child is still NOT ok...so did they fail?!?

While struggling to raise a special needs child, including those considered to have a "mood disorder", parents may be watching with great interest the "Tucson Tragedy" rhetoric - complete with "specialists" coming out of the woodwork to offer their "expert" opinions.

Their highly qualified versions of "coulda, shoulda, woulda" make some of us struggling with this issue on a daily basis uncomfortable with their "tough talk" about the "mentally unstable" people in the United States not deserving key and basic rights, such as a right to privacy.

If my child had a wicked case of Chicken Pox, it would be obvious that he is in need of treatment, the treatment is well researched, and the cure rate is satisfactory.

Mental health issues are a guessing game, with patients and their families at the mercy of doctors, who may or may not know what they are doing. The treatment for mental illness is Russian Roulette - will the treatment help or hurt? It feels an awful lot like "damned if you do...damned if you don't" because while some drugs help, they can be doing irreparable damage at the very same time.

Every parent on the planet raising a child with a "mood disorder" should be telling themselves, "There, but by the grace of God, go I", because while most kids grow up and are fine, a handful of others wind up on CNN.

The quality of parenting is not at issue here, and I am tired of the "armchair quarterback" psychiatrists on TV making everything out to be so simple. My heart goes out to everyone involved in the Tucson mess-including the parents of Jared.

There, but by the grace of God, go I.

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