How can a parent not be worried sick to send their kid off to school; a place trusted for years to keep children safe.
We send our prayers and condolences to the families in Florida that lost loved ones. I’m reminded of this saying:
“Bad things happen to good people.”
Help with the Grief
In times like this I feel compelled to provide a couple of resources that quickly come to mind. Grief is a process, and these may help:
- “On Grief & Grieving-Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss” -Elizabeth Kubler Ross
- “When Bad Things Happen To Good People”-Harold S. Kushner
- Grief support group; every community offers grief support groups, check with your local church or “google it!”
With all the politics and opinions aside; let me say this another time. BOYS ARE IN TROUBLE AND NEED OUR HELP!
“A Perfect Storm”
As a therapist, the first thing that caught my attention regarding this young man, and what I mean by “perfect storm:”
- Abandonment by both parents at birth.
- Abandoned-adoptive father dies.
- Abandoned-adoptive mother dies.
- Self-medicating with video games etc.
- Bullied-characterized as “weird and depressed,” an outcast.
- Multiple calls/cries for help by him and the community-ignored.
- No support from school or a group within the community.
Over time this young man will be analyzed, and surely many will attempt to weigh in on why he was so troubled. Ultimately, he was abandoned at birth, and where I make no excuses for his behavior, I do recognize the significance of a deep wound. In this case a broken heart that never healed and continued to be an issue.
Not much has been mentioned about the relationship with his adoptive parents, but purely by nature of his actions he was wounded with an additional broken heart when his adoptive dad died, and again when he lost his mother. I imagine he felt very much alone. The deepest wound for males is the father-son wound (per biology). Layer in abandonment and a lack of a support system and it creates a perfect storm for this troubled young man!
So he turns to video games as a way to initiate himself into manhood. With every new level he reaches he becomes more empowered. Once he completes all levels the next step is, to make it real (this assessment made based on the profile of this young man).
I can tell you with the wounds he carries from the list above it’s no surprise to me that he flipped. I only wish someone would have identified, worked on and helped him heal before this happened. I’m not talking about medication to just stabilize, I’m talking receiving help at a “gut level,” that’s the level where you can “clean up the whole damn thing level,” or at a minimum at least trying to!
The System Failed
He walks away from a mental health evaluation that determines him to be “competent and not a danger to himself or anyone else.” He should have been asked if he had access to guns or weapons. He lacked a case manager and/or assigned advocate. A patient advocate shadows the individual and keeps record of changes in behavior, emotion, and community involvement and reports immediately to the case manager. It occurs to me that as counselors if we should consider viewing social media profiles as part of the intake or assessment process? In hindsight, there was a lot of insightful information there.
What Will We Learn?
Be proactive and report concerns you witness (you can do this anonymously) in someone who appears to be lost and/or erratic behavior. This isn’t magically going away; there are many more young men out there lacking a healthy support system, carrying deep wounds and in need of help.
I welcome your comments to my thoughts on such an emotional subject.