Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Wrestling With Insanity


Nobody’s Opinion: Okay…Chris Benait…some wrestler, hung his wife, killed his son, then waited a day and decided he might as well hang himself.

How sad…how meaningless. They are blaming the steroids.

For all we know, steroids probably had a lot to do with his insanity. But more than likely, the genetic proclivity was already there. After all, he had a wonderful house, made a nice living, and by all accounts had a loving family, even if they were thinking about divorcing.

But…before anyone compares whether she drove him to do it, the truth is…he was insane…in fact, he had to be insanely depressed.

And depression, just like diabetes runs in families.

And this monster called depression doesn’t care if you are a man or a woman.

It also is color blind.

It will eat you alive, until the only thing that seems logical is death. And at that point, if you are not brave or smart enough, you will want relief.

Unfortunately our society has enough trouble coping with overcrowded hospitals and jails…potential suicide cases are pretty much “disposable” people.

Take the case of Andreas Yates. Most people were appalled that Andrea Yates after she killed all her children in such a horrible fashion, ended up in a mental hospital instead of being hanged, and many were furious.

What she did was so unthinkable, and the fact that she DID NOT kill herself along with her kids, puts her right up there with a serial killer.

Actually, I thought that she did it to hurt the husband.

But it wasn’t like they didn’t KNOW she was depressed, they didn’t KNOW she was insane. She was a walking accident waiting to happen, and I’m sure her family didn’t think, because she loved her kids so much that she would kill them.

The husband forgave her, because he knew she was depressed---he just didn’t know how much.

And that’s the problem with this stuff. Potentially insane people hardly ever show it.

I mean…look at Hitler, Stalin, Mao…insane to the core. Yet…they could act so completely normal, the people around them…had no clue.

And how about the guy that shot up all his classmates at Virginia Tech? The boys at Columbine…LOTS of people knew they were dangerous.

Why didn’t somebody do something?

Let’s face it. Wanting to kill anybody or wanting to die--- is insanity.

I have a different take on most of this stuff. When someone kills their children, I don’t care what anyone says, that person, whether they live (like Andrea Yates) or not (like Chris Benait) has a mental health issue, not a gender issue.

It seems with Mr. Chris Benait’s case, the news is treating it all pretty fairly. He lost it.
Drugs made him do it.

Was Andrea Yates any different? Does it make any difference whether she lived and he didn’t? Does it make any difference that she was on a different drug that messed up her mind…or she stopped taking drugs, or that her brain just snapped?

The news should instead be on the fact that psychiatrists, like cops, can’t always be there when the chemicals of depression set in. The episodes can come and go like the seasons.

Could someone have prevented Chris from doing this horrible act? Probably. Where was his lifeline?

Prevention is the key to lots of things…a terrorist attack, losing the country to illegal invasion, waking up one day and finding out you are being ruled by an oligarchy…realizing that your spouse is becoming dangerously insane.

But prevention is not always easy.

Nevertheless you CAN know when a thunderstorm is coming. And you can do something about it. Be on the alert…there are signs.

Depression is a funny thing---it’s kind of like being in Iraq under fire. Unless you’ve been there, you can’t get the full gist of it.

I remember once attending a depression seminar here in St. Louis. The room was full of about 400 people.

At the front of the room was a panel of very prominent local psychiatrists taking questions, all of them looking brilliant. They were really there for new patients, even though they pretended they were there to help the community.

It was free to the public.

And then some young girl said something about how some drug had helped her from the immense pain she had been in---and the doctors didn’t get it.

But the rest of the room did. I’ve have never heard such applause. They jumped to their feet, like she had hit a home run.

The doctors sat there without a clue. You knew instantly they had never suffered the pain, they had never been to Darfar. Real empathy was hard for them.

The most depressed they had ever been was probably the day they missed their favorite West Wing episode.

Maybe it’s just me. It’s doesn’t matter if it’s about some woman killing her kids, or some man killing his kids, or someone killing the whole family and himself…

What does it matter? It’s the rats eating their tails. It’s all madness. It’s the last scream of the hopeless, and no one is there to catch it.

Now, if Chris had been a genius like Stephen King, he could have channeled that depression into a really great scary movie.

Or if he had been Churchill he could have saved a country.

But, he was only Chris---an insane wrestler.

If only....if only....


How poor are they that have not patience! What wound did ever heal but by degrees?”

Shakespeare.

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