The common denominator?

I came across this article today:

Have a read through, but to summarize it is an overview of the facts that nearly all of the horrific mass murders and familial murders and tragedies have one thing in common; the accused were taking (or had recently been taking) various medications for mental illnesses.

The not so subtle insinuation of the article is that the drugs are somehow responsible for the actions that these people took. That the effects of the drugs were such that they caused the rampages, the killings and the suicides. What is so aptly pointed out in the comments following is the simple truth that ALL of these (predominantly young) persons were not just being blindly medicated; they were on medications because they had been exhibiting symptoms and issues associated with a variety of mental illnesses. The underlying mental illnesses were, most likely, more to “blame” than the drugs they were taking.
Granted, in many cases, the side effects of these drugs are disturbing and, in some cases, worse than the worst actions that could be caused by the original mental illness but let’s not dismiss that these persons had underlying mental and emotional issues already.

It strikes me personally as I have wondered and it has been speculated what would have become of Willie had he lived. He was diagnosed with the innocuous anxiety and depression that was, in fact, most likely not what was going on inside of him. His journals and writings our private discussions point to a more likely condition involving psychosis that was just starting to manifest. The truth is that we don’t know – and we never will. His journals rant and vent about things that are too private and personal to share but that clearly indicate a mental illness that was not only worsening but that was taking a toll on him with the fear that he would lose control.
When he was placed on Prozac I was concerned and expressed that concern. I had been on antidepressants myself as a teen and they had had very distinct and disturbing side effects on me. I, like so many people, had read and heard about the potential for tragic consequences when teens are placed on SSRI’s and the other drugs that are so commonly prescribed now. I was assured that they were all safe, that the fear-mongering and sensationalized accounts were unfounded… that it was such a low dose anyways.
He was only on the drugs for a few weeks and really, they seemed to have no effect on him at all. In hindsight, he should probably have been on anti-psychotics and not anti-depressants but hindsight is 20/20 as the saying goes.
My psychiatrist has discussed that for all we know, what Willie did was the best possible outcome. That he may have grown and worsened into one of those headlines. Or maybe not. We’ll never know.

What is clear is that regardless of what drugs he was or wasn’t on, he committed suicide because of the mental illness that had caused him to be treated (if that’s what it can be called) in the first place.

Instead of focusing on the drugs, let’s not lose sight of the facts that behind all of these stories and names and tragedies there were people who were sick and scared. People who weren’t sane and rational and “themselves”… That the larger issue here is that they didn’t get the help that could make them “better” … and that sometimes, for some, there is no “better”, just an end…


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