The potential for violence is created when parents take their child to a mental health professional, as was the case with the poor young man who perpetrated the recent school shooting. While mental health professionals are always damaging, they do the most damage to people who feel depressed and isolated, as if there is something wrong with them. This young man’s parents took him to a psychiatric facility, and hence my heart breaks for him.
Here he was, feeling depressed as a teen, and his parents affirmed his worst fears. “Yes,” they said with their actions, of not in so many words, “You are bad. In fact, we cannot love you as you are. We must take you to people who will change you, chemically alter your brain to be the perfect son we want.”
Once at the facility, he was undoubtedly called all kinds of awful names, smacked with labels that include potential violence as a symptom. All of sudden, this human being, this vulnerable person, found himself grouped with the dregs of society, termed “mentally ill”. He had nothing to lose from that day forward, and there is nothing more dangerous than a man who has nothing to lose.
He began to believe all the awful things they said, began to listen to their hateful lies. He turned against himself, actually believing that they were correct, that he was mentally ill. Mentally ill people are too weak to live and should commit suicide. By wrongly labeling him as such, they took away, in his mind, his right to live.
I don’t think I could have saved him.
But God, I wish I could have tried. I wish I’d been able to tell him, “Kid, there’s nothing wrong with you. These people are like abusive husbands. Abusive men lie to their partners saying how they’re fat and ugly and stupid. The women believe it and so they feel trapped, think they’re too ugly to get another man and too stupid to take care of themselves. The mental health industry does exactly the same thing to kids like you. They tell you horrible lies to keep you dependent and thus, in essence, steal money from your parents.”
Would this truth have set him free? Probably not. It was probably too late the minute his parents made the tragic decision they did, the decision that would be a turning point in his life. The same happened to me, and although I metaphorically shout the truth from the rooftops, I can’t hear it in my own heart. I was fat and unattractive and depressed, and then my parents took the only thing I had from me. By saying I was deficient, they took the value I placed on my mind. They broke the only thing I valued in myself.
I never recovered. Everything I’ve done since has been a direct result of that. I pushed and pushed myself to do things I hated, choosing an undergraduate major I loathed and completing a degree in a field entirely unsuited to me. I wanted to kill myself for not getting a 4.0, for not graduating with honors. I hoped I could redeem myself by getting a Ph.D. If I had a Ph.D., then maybe I would finally hear my parents say, “We were wrong, and we’re sorry. You’re a beautiful human being, and you don’t need to have some idiot telling you’re bad and need to change. You don’t need to alter your mind with drugs, because it’s good enough.” I thought if I earned a Ph.D., I would finally be good enough.
I failed the qualifying exams. But I still had hope of making lots and lots of money working as a statistician. So I chose masters research that I hated. In the end, I couldn’t force myself to complete the project.
If they hadn’t done what they did, if they had let me believe I was good enough, then I would have chosen a college major I loved. Graduate school would have been a pleasure, and perhaps I would be able to work part time. Working full time, I think, would always be too much for me because of legitimate problems I have with memory and concentration. Those problems are very real, and by taking me to councilors and doctors my parents did not allow me to accept the difficulties I have with grace. “Find strategies,” say the councilors. God, I am so tired of trying to “find strategies” to be what someone else wants me to be. So tired of trying to “overcome” myself. By trying to “cure” me of my problems, they made those problems important. Had I been told, “no biggie! It’s who you are, and that’s fine,” then I wouldn’t hate myself for them.
Because the truth is, problems will be there with or without mental health professionals.
They cannot “cure” people.
They can only destroy their self esteem.
When you’ve had your soul stolen, you have nothing left to lose. Your own death doesn’t scare you, and your actions don’t matter any more. You’ve been labeled as the worst thing anyone could ever call anyone else. You are, in your mind, “mentally ill.” Being a murdered will not make you any worse. Being a thief or a rapist, or a child molester will not make you any worse. You are the worst thing it is possible to be, and you deserve to die no matter what.
I try to believe that they are wrong. I try to believe what is true. I know that the tactics the mental health industry truly are identical to the underhanded and manipulative ways abusive people treat their partners. I know that intellectually, I do. Intellect is not enough to fight the demons in my head, the lies planted there by the mental health industry and my parents, who chose to degrade instead of uplifting me.
My parents would call me stupid for believing in “God”. But I have to, I have to believe that God doesn’t screw up, that He made us all with value, made us all unique and though imperfect, worthy. The lies they told me, the names they called me, are too terrible to be countered with mere intellect. Only faith can have a chance. I can’t believe in myself, not after what they said to me, not after what they called me. So I choose to believe in God, choose to believe that perhaps there is a force of unconditional love in the universe, that even thought I cannot change the traits my parents so hated, God loves me anyway. I am who I am; if there is nothing in the universe but chaos, then even though my intellect tells me their lies are ludicrous, I secretly wonder if perhaps I am a cosmic accident, a losing toss of a die. If I choose to believe in a God that doesn’t make mistakes, that makes us to be exactly what he wants us to be, then I can get through the day.
This essay is not a lesson in religion. I am not saying “faith heal” or “everyone should believe in God”.
I am saying, “Never take a child to a so-called ‘mental health’ professional.”
If you do, the rest of his life will be haunted by demons in the form of the names he was called, the “diseases” with which he was “diagnosed”. If I believed the things they said about me to be true, then I would kill myself this instant, not out of depression, really, just because if I’m that bad then the right thing to do is remove myself from the universe. If you take your child to a mental health professional, the rest of his life will be a struggle to have faith. Whether he is able to regain his faith in himself, or whether he chooses to find faith in a creator, he must find faith to survive.
For those who have never been taken to a mental health professional, faith comes easily. My parents, who don’t believe in God, have strong faith. They believe in themselves. But they took that ability from me, and faith will never be easy for me. It will always be a struggle. I spend so much time telling the truth, so much time trying to save others, because I am trying to save myself from believing their lies. It is a mental, emotional, and spiritual battle.
Steven Kazmierczak lost that battle.
He is as much a victim as those he shot, and while I would advocate the death penalty if he were alive, I wouldn’t blame him. Violent people need to be stopped. When he lost the fight and gave in to doubt, he became a monster. Monsters don’t deserve to live.
Nor do the ones who create them.
Any individual has the potential for violence when he loses faith in himself and fails to find faith in something else.
I will do all I can to help others find faith. I will fight the damage inflicted by the mental health industry. I will try to save as many people as I can. It’s too late for Steven, but there are many others who have suffered the same “treatment.”
If you are one of them, please try to believe that God doesn’t screw up. Reclaim the soul they stole from you, and believe in your own value. Reject their lies, and be who God made you to be. If you know of anyone feeling lost or depressed, please help them understand their worth, don’t let them be told they are bad and must change. Don’t let them believe those who would manipulate them to steal their money. Tell them they don’t need counseling, don’t need drugs, that they can be imperfect and still be good enough. Help them find the good in themselves instead of dwelling on the mistakes they’ve made and the difficulties they have. Use philosophy, use religion, use compassion and empathy. Use any tool in the toolbox of right. Be someone’s hero, someone’s angel.
Any individual taken to a mental health professional has the potential for violence.
Any individual, without any qualifiers, has the potential to be a hero.
All it takes is helping someone believe he’s good enough.