My Thoughts on Murder–Part 2

Sorry, I had to take a break there. I intended to post more the next day, but I was crying all over the place, etc etc, blah and blah, so on and so forth… behold my final thoughts:

In conclusion: no one will ever convince me that killing a child is the right thing to do. But equally, if you present me with someone who *does* believe that, then you’ll never convince me that person is sane, either. Regardless of how they got there, regardless of background factors, regardless of the minutiae of their life which I (and you) can’t be privy to, it’s typically INSANE people who feel like they have to kill themselves/their kids/other loved ones. In which case, if you see this sort of situation unfolding somewhere, and you’re in a position to do so, for the love of all that’s holy, get in there, make calls, protect them, protect their loved ones, ESPECIALLY protect their kids–but don’t act like you know best and it’s your right to judge them. It’s not, and more importantly, it helps NOTHING and NO ONE. And what’s more important–making yourself feel holier than thou, or potentially saving someone’s sanity and someone else’s life?

Issy Stapleton’s attempted murder is a tragedy, and I cannot read about it over and over again. If I did, it would grind my heart into sawdust. And many of the things I’ve read about Kelli Stapleton DO make me question her own compassion and empathy for her daughter, if I’m honest. But for fuck sake, who do I think I am, that I would get to judge her? In some of the clips I’ve seen from a couple of years back, she looks like she’s on the brink of crazy to me, and I don’t even know the woman. If her husband, his/her parents, their wider family, their pastor, Issy’s professionals, etc etc etc didn’t see that something was wrong with Mommy Stapleton, then she’s not the only problem.

This society we live in, that instantly vilifies people for doing batshit crazy things, needs to change. What we need, in my not-so-humble opinion, is a society that’s better at recognizing “on the brink of batshit crazy” and helping people BEFORE they land right in the middle of Batshit Crazy Land. Please, believe me. When you find yourself on the train to *that* place, and you don’t know how to get off, and you need some help, the very *last* thing you need is to be shamed into staying silent. And for all I know, that’s what happened to Kelli Stapleton–she was told too many times to think positively, to look at the help Issy had, to make the most of the therapies available, to continue trying to “cure” Issy (ASD can’t be cured, folks–and the suggestion, when you really look at it, is an ugly and dangerous one)… and the result was a never-ending battle of wills, a futile attempt to “re-wire” a child’s brain through dodgy therapies, the erosion of a woman’s sanity, and worst of all, the near-death of a beautiful, innocent child.

That shit has got to stop. We have *got* to get to a place where people can say, “I think I’m going nucking futs,” without feeling the stigma behind it. We have *got* to get to a place where we can acknowledge that children with special/complex/different needs are exactly that, to raise (complex, and arguably more difficult) without assigning any blame to the kids themselves–or the parents. We need to get to a place where, when an autistic kid has a meltdown in a store, society doesn’t judge the parents and strangers don’t try to “discipline” the kid themselves (has actually happened, to me)… THAT is the kind of shit that makes parents feel like they *have* to alter their kids’ behaviours. It makes them feel like they *can’t* always let their kids develop at their own pace (because when some cock of an old dude comes up behind my daughter and shouts wordlessly at her in a store, and in the moment I’m not quick enough to think about calling the cops and pressing charges, my first thought is “Oh no, my sweet baby; how can I make her stop acting like that, so that bastards like him don’t try to scare her?” as I sit there struggling not to cry).

I get it. When you see the way some people treat your child for being different, you become DESPERATE to make them seem less different. That’s not hard to understand, really, is it… and it has to change, or shit like Issy’s almost-murder will keep happening. And as sorry as I do feel for Kelli Stapleton, it pales into nothingness beside what I feel when I think of Issy herself… or of randoms shouting at *my* baby girl, in a store, and the hurt, bewildered look on her little face… of that woman who berated us and told me my son was badly behaved, for not knowing (at the age of 3) that it’s not okay to take a stranger’s hand (hers… what a fucking douche, she was–I cried loudly and publicly, that day, after losing my cool and shouting at her)… that whole pile of SHITTY SHITTY SHIT has got to stop, and it will only ever happen when people with ASD and their parents aren’t made to jump through eleventy-billion hoops, just to get the kids treated like human beings. So-called “mercy killings” are only a symptom of the problem, which goes much, much deeper; and I believe the problem is the result of personal mental health issues, plus the way society treats people suffering from them.

So, y’know. Be the change. When you see someone struggling, be the person who offers practical help, but also, who tells them it’s *okay* to feel like this. It’s *okay* to feel like you want to leap off a cliff, sometimes. It’s *okay* to think that you’d want to take your kids with you. It’s *okay* to need to talk to someone professional, about these feelings. Sometimes, talking about it is the only thing that will stop you from *doing* it… so if you see someone who needs to talk about that sort of thing, please, don’t shame them into silence. Accept and understand them into getting help, and maybe, just maybe, we can avoid the terrible tragedy of another attempted murder-suicide…. maybe.

So. I did a good job keeping this one short and sweet, yeah?


My Thoughts on Murder–Part 1

Okay, as the mother of 2 kids with ASD (and suspected ASD, myself) I feel I’d be amiss if I didn’t comment on the Issy Stapleton situation… if you need background, that’s what Google is for. The internet is awash with information about Issy, and her mother, who is (as far as I know) awaiting sentencing at this very moment. I have far too much to say about this, and I’m trying to make it as brief as possible, so here goes:

1) Everyone knows that murdering people is wrong. If you try to murder your child, you are in the wrong. No one–regardless of their compassion for the family, including Issy’s mother–is trying to say otherwise. If anyone actually believes otherwise, they need a throat-punch… or, some crazy pills/counselling/etc. Which brings me to point 2;

2) I felt compelled to kill my kids, once. I *immediately* realized that my thoughts were batshit-crazy, and I got some help, and actually made my partner risk losing his job by having him take 2 weeks off work while we waited for my meds to kick in (they did, SO fast–I thought it was all kinda bullshit, and they wouldn’t do anything, but after 2 weeks on an SNRI and about a week on a standard SSRI plus an anti-anxiety med, I could think, again… and I spent DAYS weeping over how close I came to doing something that, in my right mind, I would never never never have even contemplated). But perhaps some background, re: feeling like I had to kill my kids:

3) First of all, it was never my eldest–she’s the more severely/obviously/classically autistic–because I figured she’d get a free pass, on the Day of Judgment. More background? Oh, alright. When I have a near-psychotic break, apparently I fall into an extreme depression with a distinctly hellfire-and-brimstone flavour. So, I was going to ask God for forgiveness, then kill myself and my “higher-functioning” son, because *I* was toxic and ruining my kids’ lives, and I wanted to spare *him* from Hell by making sure he went to Heaven when he was young enough to get in. (Why did I think I was literal poison, to my kids and everyone else? Why did I think my boy would go to Hell, but my daughter’s more severe autistic traits would cause her to be spared that eternal punishment? I’m not qualified to examine that question, really. Give me another few YEARS of these psych classes I’m taking as and when, and I’ll get back to you on that… but how about, “I was FUCKING CRAZY at the time,” for starters?) But moving on to how this affects my view of the Issy and Kelli Stapleton debacle:

4) Because of my background, I am always going to assume that a mother who hurts her child/ren isn’t quite right in the head. Because I remember how I felt, when murder-suicide seemed like the only right choice, I am never going to assume that someone else isn’t SUPREMELY fucked up mentally, when they pull a stunt like that. For that matter, any time I hear of *anyone* killing themselves, I don’t see it that way… as someone else said, depressed people don’t kill themselves–depression kills them. Or schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder, or any other mental illness, when it becomes so bad and so distorting that the reality of others is no longer a reality you’re even aware of. Which brings me to my final point:

5) Unless you’ve personally lived with the kind of mentally-distorted perspective that can make you believe, e.g., your presence is literally poisoning those around you, and you HAVE to cut yourself out of their lives, quickly, as soon as you can, like so many cancerous cells from a human body… unless you’ve been there, you don’t have the right to comment on other people’s (fucked up, undeniably wrong, morally indefensible) actions without some empathy and compassion. And if you HAVE been there, then, like me, I’m guessing you watch these sorts of proceedings in a perpetual state of heartbreak, tears ever-present at the back of your eyes, thinking no thoughts at all without the ever-present mantra repeating endlessly inside your skull: “There, but for the grace of God, there, but for the grace of God, there, but for the grace of God….”

[And…. I will continue this tomorrow, I think]