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Stigma of Mental Illness ~ Pentagon Shooting

Posted Mar 12 2010 12:00am

By now, I would think that most people have heard about the Pentagon shooting. Well, in surfing the Internet about this event, I found so many things that show how much stigma there is and how the media reinforces it. I became really angry and wanted to scream at some of the stuff that I found.

Words that I found referring to Bedell's mental illness: unhinged, whack job, disturbed, crazy, mental problems, idiot, fucking psycho, lunatic, bizarre, insane, half-wit, faggot, moron, mental illness is an excuse etc.  Some other phrases, "mental illness and defect of character. Aren't they the same thing?" And from the media broadcast:  "Bipolar, subject to violent psychotic behavior."

Another comment:  "The main stream media is lying ABOUT HIS MOTIVES.  They keep saying he's was a lunatic and suffered MENTAL DISORDERS. What they dont say is he thought OUR GOVERNMENT WAS BEHIND 911!"

I'd rather be described as a person diagnosed with a mental illness that was being treated.  How about you?

Regarding psychiatric care:  psychiatrist responsible;  Beldell "snapped" after being in the hands of a Psychiatric facility they, nor their drugs, fixed or cured or prevented him from doing this and; "bipolar disorder" is just a collection of symptoms that Psych's have thrown a label on, it has no scientific basis. This guy was in Psychiatry's hands, they got him on the amphetamine based little pills and he did this. The true cause of this problem is not "bipolar", it's the fact that he got further messed up by those who were supposed to be helping him.

I really am try not to scream at the comments.  First off, Bipolar Disorder is most often addressed with the drugs of Lithium, anti-convulsants, and anti-psychotics.  Some people fail to remember that he had taken himself off of the medication and was using marijuana instead.  Marijuana just makes the problems much worse and may lead to a psychotic break.  Amphetamines are not a part of treatment.  Psychiatry did not cause his actions.  It is also one of the few mental illness that generally require life long medication management.

The following video is about some myths and facts regarding Bipolar Disorder:

Bedell did not get "futher messed up by...those...helping him." It seems that during his court mandated hearings that he did not meet the criteria for being a danger to himself or others. This often happens and psychosis does not occur all the time.

In the 1960s and 1970s, due to abuse of the "mental institutions" of being dumping grounds and often people really did not have to be incarcerated, they began the process of deinstutionalization. The plan was to have community support services to help maintain and provide necessary treatment. Well, due to constant funding cuts the services are not there. In fact, in California, there is an over 250 millons cut in funding in these services including other social services, adult day health care, and education and much more.

Along with the deinstitutionalization came rights that really had been violated. No longer was there automatic sterilization. No forced medications and total reform of how people were supposed to be treated. This means that even if they are in the hospital adults cannot be "forced" to take their medications, so it isn't their fault. Without the stabilizing medication, the symptoms of his disinhibition, agitation and fearfullness complicated the lack of treatment which included psychosis and paranoid ideas which were further fueled his conspiracy theories regarding the government and the Internet.

People who have Bipolar Disorder can life fully productive and meaningful lives with medication to help stabilize their mood.  John Patrick Bedell was unable to accept the help that he needed. The following video shows just a small handful of individuals who have led meaningful and full lives:

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