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Murder Ballad: Autism, Infanticide and the Pharma Footprint

Garden of Good and Evil By Adriana Gamondes

If way to the better there be, it exacts a full look at the worst  ~ In Tenebris II, Thomas Hardy

On the night of May 31st, another parent killed another child (HERE), this time only on the suspicion that the child had autism.
 
Stephanie Rochester hadn’t been worn down by financial desperation or a fruitless search for adequate services. She hadn’t dealt with years of social isolation or intractable behaviors, endless night wakings, public meltdowns, life threatening seizures or violent assaults. Rylan Rochester had not been thrown out of daycare, had not suffered school abuse or been arrested at school for exhibiting behaviors associated with his disorder. Stephanie Rochester’s marriage had not fallen apart under the duress of disability.
 
But according to Rochester’s affidavit, she killed her son because she feared what autism could eventually do to her life, not what it had done. Conceivably due to her two years as a counselor for children with autism, raising a child with the disorder did not look like something she wanted to do.
 
In the end, it may never be known if Rylan Rochester even had autism because he was six months old when he was pronounced dead on the morning of June 1st, 2010. Stephanie Rochester has been charged with his murder. 
 
When I read some of the more sickening details of the crime— Rochester’s repeat trips to her son’s crib to check if he was dying properly, her later confession that she was concerned that she and her husband would no longer be able to have “fun” while raising a child with a disability— I suddenly remembered a very dark English ballad called “The Greenwood Side” or “The Cruel Mother” (HERE). 
 
She took off her reaping belt—all alone and so loney
And there she bound them hand and leg—down by the greenwood side-e-o

Smile not so sweet my bonny babes—all alone and so loney
If you smile so sweet you’ll smile me dead—down by the greenwood sidey-o
 
Murder ballads are song narratives about murder, sort of the tabloid format of yore. There’s a few different kinds—the crime of passion with a tone of either sympathy or condemnation towards the killer; protest ballads and first person accounts leading to the gallows; revenge killings and a subgenre of parent-murder ballads.
 
Most mother-murder songs began as narratives of young girls seduced or raped and abandoned who kill their children from desperation, a profile which fits modern statistics for mothers who commit infanticide—the majority of whom are teen mothers living in poverty.  The early mother-murder ballads are similar to certain slave narratives and the story of Margaret Garner, on which Toni Morrison based her Pulitzer winning “Beloved”, the tale of a mother who killed to spare her child a life of slavery. “Beloved”, like “The Greenwood Side”, is a “revenant” narrative of a child who comes back to haunt the killer, though the theme of “The Greenwood Side/The Cruel Mother” transformed over time from a murder of desperation to a coldly psychotic crime of depraved selfishness.
 
She took out her pen knife, long and sharp—all alone and so loney
 
After years of maintaining a single minded focus of keeping our vaccine injured children safe, the stories of parents murdering their autistic children—or now a child merely suspected of having autism— are incomprehensible to most of us. Reactions within the vaccine injury community seem to depend on whether the murdering parent succeeded in also committing suicide: generally the response to those who succeed is slightly more sympathetic. We know what they faced; we understand the lack of support, the financial devastation, the loss of relationships, sleep and health; the difficulty of sustaining hope and the potentially dismal fate of some disabled children after everyone who loves them is gone. 
 
But the response to those who don’t manage to kill themselves is generally condemnation and the rejection of any alibi or extenuating circumstance. All the same, parents in our community tend to distance themselves from the killers regardless, for the simple reason that we don’t want to consider what they did an option.



Not to give anything away for those who haven’t yet read “Callous Disregard”, but Dr. Wakefield is one of the few to write about the issue without leaving the wrong fingerprints on it. He manages to depict bleakness with great empathy. It’s very important not to strike the wrong note: though there’s genuine pathos in the stories of several parents who’ve killed themselves and their children, many of us resent the “siren song” of murder/suicide and have an aversion to any attempts to romanticize it because we’ve staked every choice on the principle that all life has value. In a world that seems bent on destroying our children—with an excessive and excessively toxic vaccine schedule; with deadly mainstream “autism drugs”; toxic toys, products, food, pollution; restraint, seclusion and abuse in schools and vicious legal attacks on any doctor who offers real help—we’re leaning into the wind to save our kids and become all the more committed.
 
The price of this, though, is having no shield of indifference against the increasing number of stories of suicide, murder and suffering. But before any of us are done reeling from thoughts of the last, lonely moments of the victims’ lives, we can go from shocked bystanders to prospective suspects in a flash. 

I didn’t remember the “Greenwood” murder ballad because I thought it exactly fit the recent crime. I remembered it because I was thinking about how perception is stronger than truth; I’m afraid it’s what the public increasingly perceives when parents kill their children with autism. 
 
There were few at the scene, but they all agreed
That the slayer who ran, looked a lot like me ~  The Long Black Veil, Wilkens & Dill

I don’t like the implication at all and I think it’s grossly unfair. But read the comments to any online news story on the subject. Put this together with press attacks on parents’ claims of cause for their children’s autism; Brian Deer’s and the New York and London Times’ insinuations that vaccine injury parents have inherent “mental problems”; the endless industry funded studies equating genetic mental illness in parents with risk of autism among offspring. The inference is clear: we’re all crazy. Neither parent gets off the hook in the New York Times; it’s mostly mothers who are mentally ill in Reuters and the Washington Post; older autism dads married late because of genetic “liability” according to Geschwind. (HERE). And autism itself is being increasingly linked to violence, particularly since autism “expert”, vaccine defender and Wakefield-basher Michael Fitzgerald pronounced that Hitler had it (HERE), despite the fact that many of the idiosyncrasies listed by Fitzgerald can be explained by Hitler’s methamphetamine habit.  
 
Dan Olmsted’s and Mark Blaxill’s new book, The Age of Autism, couldn’t be coming out at a better time. I haven’t read it yet but I heard around the schoolyard that the authors make short work of genetic theories for both autism and schizophrenia. In fact, it seems the rate of adult mental disability in general has risen exponentially—from 1/5000 in 1850 to 1/71 today – according to Robert Whitaker’s research in Anatomy of an Epidemic
 
But the average person might not have thought through the logic of a “genetic epidemic”. And I wonder if it’s convenient to certain industries that modern murders of autistic children are framed in a way that silences the horses’ mouths as a whole—the families who saw their children regress from vaccines—by painting them as not credible and even genetically violence-prone by vague association.
 
As with the GMC trial, all the really filthy undermining is done by inference.  The depiction of autism families as desperate, irrational and “fervent”, coupled with slanted “research” and sensational but shallow coverage of violence threaten to paint autism as a social problem only in the unhelpful sense of being a “danger to the public”—making it so that anyone from an “autism family” can fall under suspicion for dangerous mental illness.
 
It’s extraordinarily tempting for the public to buy into a content-and-destined stereotype of autism when the reverse revelation—that there is an epidemic; that it could claim one of their own; that it was preventable; that the condition involves great suffering for many— might only bring terror and a haunting sense of social obligation at first. For this reason, occasionally poking the microphone in the direction of someone painting the joys of their “beautiful autism journey”—as Jenny McCarthy phrased it—only intensifies the false inferences in key ways. That doesn’t mean that no one living with autism should make peace with it; but to pull the ladder up behind themselves and their “peace” ignores all the genuine hardship faced by others. This in turn serves up one precarious little ledge of acceptability for most autism families to perch on: that of embracing autism as destiny with a floppy grin. Since so few can balance there convincingly enough, the rest of us are cast in deeper shadows of social doubt for failing to make it all look like fun. Some will crack open that much faster for being unable to keep up the obligatory act.
 
The sum total of these inferences might be increased public fear and reduced sympathy, which could serve to take pressure off the system to provide positive (but expensive) services and inclusion, while creating pressure to generate social controls—for which industry has many profitable solutions, such as more vaccine mandates (vaccines have been promised for autism and schizophrenia) and more social pressure to drug in order to curb “dangerous” tendencies.
 
As more and more cases of “autism murders” mount up in the press, I’m afraid that industry is creating its own “murder ballad”.
 
It would go something like this:

Autism’s genetic
Roses are red
Autism parents
Are sick in the head
Orchids are purple
Violets are blue
They murder their children
And endanger yours too
Daisies are yellow
Rosemary’s green
So don’t listen to parents
Who say it’s vaccines
 
But not all the murders and murder/suicides involving children with autism even fall under the same M.O. I haven’t seen any coverage distinguishing different categories of this type of crime. For instance, the murders of autistic children by William Lash III (HERE), and Segundo Duque  (HERE) appear to have been classic “paternal filicides” as extensions of domestic violence. This is the most common and “traditional” form of child murder in general, claiming the lives of scores of typical children every year around the world. These crimes may have had little to do with the victims’ conditions.
 
Unless new information on motives or circumstances have come up since the reports, American father Daniel McClatchie, Canadian dad Jeff Bostick and British mother Yvonne Freaney would appear to have been parents distraught with fear over their disabled children’s futures. Seow Cheng Sim and Satpal Singh may have suffered an added layer of isolation and fear for their children’s welfare due to being émigrés; Satpal Singh was also a single mother in dire financial straits who fell through the cracks of social services.

There have been autistic child murder cases like Diane Marsh, which had all the marks of murder as an extension of child abuse, or the similar case of Jose Stable (HERE). 
 
But there could be one extenuating circumstance in the recent murders of autistic children which takes top billing: that the crimes may have involved—or were confirmed to have involved— prescription drugs with black box warnings for violence, abnormal thoughts and suicide.

Karen McCarron 
Alison Davies 
Sarah Pullum 
Patti Becht 
Gigi Jordan  
 And now Stephanie Rochester 

It isn’t just autism parents at risk for violence on the drugs, but their children as well:

John Ogdren 
Sky Walker Steuernagel  
 
The murder of Rylan Rochester is especially disturbing and peculiar because, at six months of age, despite occasional diagnostic posturing of autism “experts”, no authority in the world could have truly confirmed whether he had autism or not, even if he’d been “born with it” due to prenatal injury. For this reason, murders of autistic children related to post-partum depression would be unusual. Even Rochester’s assumption that her son Rylan had autism appears somewhat delusional, though her fears could have been tinged by her work experience. At the very least she was jumping the gun of maternal intuition and, if so, did this stem only from her post-partum depression, or from the drugs she was taking for it? Because, though infanticide due to post-partum depression has traditionally been very rare, the risk of violence appears to increase when antidepressants are thrown into the mix. And some of the reasons given for the murders by drug maddened parents were no more or less bizarre than Rochester’s (HERE).
 
Even researchers who could by no means be categorized as “anti-drug” found that antidepressants increased the risk of postpartum psychosis (HERE):
 
“We do not know what would have happened if we had treated these seven women with antidepressants, but in our opinion antidepressant treatment could have put these patients at an unacceptable risk for exacerbation of symptoms. Similar to Dr. Sharma et al. (1, 4), we also have the clinical experience to be mindful that antidepressants should be used cautiously in the postpartum period. Over the last 4 years, eight postpartum patients were referred to our clinic as a result of very unstable illness course (manic and psychotic symptoms) after treatment with antidepressants.”
 
Several regulatory watchdogs have argued that, if certain drug safety trials had not been deeply manipulated by industry and if the FDA was not a captured regulatory agency, many antidepressants—like certain vaccines— would never have passed the drug approval process. But because people always have and always will take mind and mood altering drugs, and because I don’t think it’s appropriate to apply “moral objections” to temporary emotional painkilling (as long as pain is all that’s killed), I stop short of assuming the drugs should never be prescribed.  Many do feel that, considering the gamble of taking these medications, patients should be much more than “minimally” observed for radical changes in personality and mental status, suicidality and violent thoughts.
 
As it stands, psychiatry runs the prescription racket like a casino without a croupier—they have no way to predict when someone’s about to take (out) the house.  There’s no standard screening—also as with vaccines-- to identify which people on the drugs might be among the 1 to 8% who have serious or severe adverse cognitive reactions. The “Mother’s Act”, which calls for the psychiatric screening (and drugging) of women “at risk” for postpartum depression, was passed with few noting the irony that the woman for whom the act was named—Melanie Blocker Stokes— committed suicide…after being prescribed antidepressants (HERE).
 
For those who insist that it’s only underlying and long-standing mental illness which gives rise to violence on antidepressants, I’ll pass on a report from people who knew Stephanie Rochester personally: that she didn’t apparently suffer from mental illness prior to the birth of her son.  I’ll also repost a link to a database which decrypts FDA-Medwatch death, murder and suicide statistics for psychiatric drugs (HERE ), and an excerpt from an earlier post on autism drug marketing (HERE):
 
“Some might take exception to the use of suicide stats in the overall numbers, even though suicide statistics are far higher for those on the drugs than among unexposed patients with the same conditions. Objections are usually based on yet another goofy industry theory which sounds like something extemporized by a tween. It’s called ‘roll-back’. The idea goes something like this: people who are depressed don’t have enough energy to kill themselves but, when first taking antidepressants or other psychotropes—before the supposed ‘anti’ part kicks in—the drugs perk them up enough to carry out their preexisting suicide plans.
 
The roll-back hypothesis doesn’t explain the sudden mania, violence and suicides among people given the wrong drug by pharmacy mistake (i.e., Xanax instead of Zantac; Celexa instead of Celebrex), and those without psychiatric or violent histories who take the drugs for nonpsychiatric purposes (temporary insomnia, etc.). And, as Grace Jackson asks rhetorically in her first book, “Rethinking Psychiatric Drugs”, how much energy does it take to perform the easiest form of suicide going—the intentional overdose?  The theory is stupid, really, and the drugs are known to induce a condition called akathisia, which can range from “restlessness” to a sense of profound inner torture (
HERE). Anything which potentially induces akathisia-like psychosis— such as the antibiotic Lariam, the anti-viral Tamiflu, and all classes of psychoactives to varying degrees— can induce violence and suicide. Many of the suicides and homicides we hear about in the news involving children in general and children with autism also involved psychiatric drugs (HERE).”
 
I don’t even know what to feel when I hear these reports anymore. I just want to lie down facing the wall, away from the abyss that seems to open up in the middle of the room at the thought of it. But I don’t because what I fear more than anything is that we’ll all go numb with nothing learned and nothing done about these tragedies, just barking clichés and verdicts from a safe distance like lazy cable news anchors. So, taking a prescription for emotional survival that Toni Morrison offers in “Beloved”— that the only way out is through— I tie a proverbial rope around my ankle, hand the end to friends and family and crawl up to the edge of the abyss for a closer look.  
 
From this vantage point, I can’t say for certain whether Stephanie Rochester was a selfish psychopath, pharma collateral or something in between: a mainstream mental health professional who took mainstream medicine and should have known the risks. And Gigi Jordan, former pharmaceutical company owner; and Dr. Karen McCarron, medical insider.
 
But I can see one thing clearly: this doesn’t have to be any of us. We may never be able to reach everyone; there may always be the rare cold blooded perpetrators—though it’s likely they would take greater pains to get away with it than some of the cases we’ve read about. There will always be people who view their injured children as disruptions to their lifestyles, or who view them as accessories, though I don’t believe that’s the root of most of these crimes. I think lies are at the root.
 
Lies that autism is hopeless and genetically inevitable;  lies that tempt weak individuals to choose socially acceptable explanations of their children’s illnesses over their children’s welfare; lies that turn the public into passive bystanders as the epidemic gallops on, as families are deprived of any support, isolated and mischaracterized. Lies that our regulatory and health authorities and the healthcare industry have only our best interests at heart; that majority science is always gospel and infallible. Lies that the answers to this and all that ails us are going to come from those who caused the disaster in the first place—because if that ever happened, it would probably be an accident. 
 
Speaking of lies, I think everything that Alison Singer purports about the epidemic is a weird and elaborate act of transference, a way to “share” what she felt as she drove across the George Washington Bridge with murder on her mind, so that others might feel it too. I’d be concerned that any parent adopting Singer’s prescriptions may suddenly find themselves reaching for the pills or steering towards water. It’s the GIGO principle really: “garbage in/garbage out” (or in this case, “bs in/desolation out”).
 
We’re not helpless against it. As a community, we’re already taking a hard look at the false information. We create safety in numbers, demand justice and amends. We’re learning what drives people to despair, raising resources and drawing maps to get through it. 
 
We can also treat each other carefully, remembering that not everyone is the picture of grace as they try to drag their children out of hell, and as almost everything they once believed in turns out to be toxic and false. Many parents may literally need to heal themselves of toxic injuries along with their children. But for some, it simply takes longer to rebuild their entire universe, and this may depend on how much they loved what they lost. It may also depend on the strength of the rope and the people holding it for them as they go into the pit to learn how to get their kids back.
 
I remember from doing advocacy for domestic violence that the root of the word “integrity” is “to integrate”. Many survivors seemed at their most fragmented and nervous shortly before they reassembled themselves, newfound data and truths solidly integrated, and became beacons of clarity. The transformations were pretty shocking sometimes, and it occurred to me that it’s only perpetrators who seem to insist that survivors are always “clouded by misfortune”—another lie for the scrap heap.
 
 As advocates, we only knew that the information, tools and perspectives we offered were sound because of what truth does—it makes decent people stronger. Lies do the reverse. There’s even a wonderfully humane hypothesis in psychology that I ran across at that time which fit what I saw firsthand: the theory of “Positive Disintegration” (HERE). From what I understand, Kazimierz Dabrowski argues essentially that reality is hard to integrate, that we’re going to go through difficulties before we can progress and be whole, and the more we take on and process, the more we evolve. Obviously this wouldn’t be much help for those with actual brain injuries, but I suspect it applies to most— not just those having experiences which force the reckoning.
 
Personally I’m not there yet. My hands still shake. My husband is still jolted if he’s reminded of the day we lost our twins—and the day we learned we might be able to bring them back. Sometimes the only thing we can do about it is laugh, but Morrison’s and Dabrowski’s prescriptions are good ones—we’re getting stronger every day, here at the edge.  There’s truth down there, somewhere. And when it’s done ripping us to pieces, it may even set us free. 
 
It’s just another unfathomable tragedy that some of the parents who killed seemed to take prescriptions from the other side. Sometimes figuratively in terms of hopelessness, sometimes literally. I often think Karen McCarron, who ventured at some point to heal the daughter she killed, was something like Persephone in hell who, in a moment of weakness, took pomegranate seeds from the hand of death. But did these parents set out to do or become what they did or were there accessories to murder? Does a similar theme run through almost all the cases of autistic children killed by parents driven to the wall due to circumstances, their own shortcomings, a reaction to drugs or a combination?  Because any way you slice it, pharma was often there, whether at the beginning or at the end.
 
I’m tired of letting a prime suspect fill in the blanks and write the “ballads” on what’s happening to so many people in our community. They never get it right and I’m sick of the tune.  
 
Adriana Gamondes lives in Massachusetts with her husband and recovering twins.

Comments

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WEL

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bensmyson

Ms. Gamondes your piece may be one of the most important articles on this sad but real life event creating headlines in the nations newspapers. "Mother Of Drown Autistic Child Charged With Murder"

The next piece to focus on would be the cowardly fathers neglecting their responsibility and killing children just the same with their selfishness. In many of these cases the child has been abandonded by the father.

cdbmom3

What about the theory that this mom had post partum, and was not on the correct medication or the correct dosage? She al;so should have been in intensive THERAPY??!!! And Andrea Yates?! I do not think Effexor can be to blame for her drowning her kids- she was a proven psycotic. I take effexor! I have never had a psycotic thought. Of course, that does not mean EVERYONE should take effexor-it is not for psycosis though. Yates should not have been on that for her condition. Effexor is for anxiety and depression.Hitler, he was JUST PLAIN EVIL, pure and simple.

Adriana

Michael and all-- thank you for the kind words. This community is a real gift.

Amy is the soul of devotion, you've got to give her that. Most former entertainment writers are so jaded, but her total faith in the gospel of Offit is almost touching. I'm all in favor of freedom of religion.

Benedetta

Thanks, We are looking into it.

Adriana

Sorry, typo on the last one: http://www.psychrights.org

The link for Pfeiffer: http://www.hriptc.org/schizophreniahome.html

The "where to get help page" for the ICSPP is here: http://www.icspponline.org/id5.html

Mindfreedom is on that list. Many people who've withdrawn from medications use Mindfreedom as a support network and some, like you, use nutrition and holistic recovery for toxic injuries, either to treat actual drug damage or to treat the physiological issues that drove them to use mainstream meds to begin with. Sometimes if you call the clinics or groups on the above list, they can direct you to more local resources or to a list of "reform therapists" (psychiatrists and psychologists who primary treat drug injured patients and oversee the oftentimes dangerous withdrawal process. Usually mainstream prescribing doctors withdraw too fast, which tends to rebound patients right back on the drugs).

There are quite a few books out which can be helpful. The "PDR" for drug injuries and safer withdrawal methods is "Your Drug May Be Your Problem" by Dr. Peter Breggin.

Breggin's site lists lesser known clinical side effects of psych drugs, why many of the meds induce what might appear to be brain disease or mental illness in many: http://www.breggin.com/

My heart goes out to you and I hope you and your family are able to find solutions and resources.

michael framson

Adriana,

This article is outstanding. I'm going to read it several times to savor every morsel of this incredibly well written piece. I'm in awe. It blows me away that something so good, I can read for free.

Amy Wallace, you'll never, never, never be as good as Adriana Gamondes.

Benedetta

Adreine I copied your first link. Always good to have a hard in the hand copy.
I am familiar with a lot of it though, but never can read this stuff too much - because it is so complicated.

The second link - wants me to buy DVDs. Yes, I am more than willing if it tells all the supplements and life style changes and --well do you know what these are about????

And the third link said it could not be found????

Thanks for being so kind to take your time to give me these links.

I am giving my entire family a hand full of vitamins all kinds of Bs, L- carnitine, and other stuff like big huge turmeric pills, N -actyl co what- ever TWICE a day.

I hope the fillers and all in them are not bad. It would be my luck.

Not giving CoenzymeQ10 though.

Adriana

Benedetta-- All of the meds can apparently induce or worsen mitochondrial disorders, particularly risky for those with previous vaccine injuries. http://psychrights.org/research/Digest/NLPs/DrugsCauseMitochondrialDamage.pdf

As you mentioned in an earlier comment, the bipolar diagnosis came after a prescription for Prozac? That's actually a listed side effect of the drug. There are DAN-like practices for adults and I believe the Pfeiffer Center in Illinois has treated individuals with medication-induced illness and includes alternatives to drugs. There are other resources listed here: http://www.icspponline.org/ and here:
http://www.psychright.org

Benedetta

Kathleen:
you did not come across as merciless at all. It was just so horrible you reacted correctly. It is just that unless you see psychosis it is really hard to believe something like that could exist! I have seen it and I still can not believe it. How can a person walk around, talk, carry on a rather reasonable conversation and really not be there?

They put my daughter on seroquil and Lamicatal. I had hoped that she would go off seraquil eventually as her dosage of Lamicatal went up, but I found out yesterday that she will always be on the two. I could have wept. She has such an appetite for sugar. seroquil makes them crave it. I make sure that sugar free jello is always in the freezer. Yesterday she took her limit of seroquil - three tablets for she can still feel the mania trying to come on.
So here she is, bipolar, hurting muscles in her legs and arms, probably - no- most certainly a mitochondria disorder were she can not break down carbs. She must maintain a low carb diet with any hopes of getting better and she is on seraquil that makes you crave sugar.
Kathleen it is a mad, mad, mad world.

kathleen

Correction:

Seroquel was the medication.

It elevated his blood sugar off the charts.

kathleen

Yes Benedetta, Rochester did need help. And I am sorry to come across so merciless. I think of the violence shown by individulas who have been on these psychotropics (Columbine) and the damage they are held accountable for. So very sad. I recently met a mother who's son died after being prescribled seraquin (sp) for ADHD. He was 19 ears old. He was also diabetic type 1. His poor body shut sown and he died. The mother was relating how, at the time, she felt alone and forced by the school system to medicate him. Her pain was palpable and my heart wept for her.

nhokkanen

Brilliant article.

And obviously beyond the limited and warped comprehension of "A Sodee," whose hostile ego-propping irrelevancies make me pray s/he will not be given other people's children to "love" any time soon.

K Fuller Yuba City

Adriana, It took me all day to read this story and all of the comments. The emotion it stirred in me kept giving me a headache.
Thank you for being so focused on helping millions of families.
I have purchased Dr. Wakefields book to take to my son's new doctor. This article will go with it.

jen

Adriana, I had post-partum depression with my first born child. I know there are certain "risk factors" for ppd which include a recent loss within two years of the pregnancy (maybe death of a friend, parent or even a job)and higher education etc. I'm not sure if those would be called "environmental factors." Likely, having not much of a support system would contribulte as well. I know I lived far away from my family (several provinces) and I believe that was a strong factor for me. Add in to the mix the inhumane process of giving birth then being in the hospital for only one night, two if you're lucky and I think it's a recipe for disaster. They gave me ativan to deal with stress/anxiety and it was quite habit-forming and I don't think it was the best med. Luckily with my second I had no problem at all. I knew what to expect and my mother came out and helped for the first two weeks. So it didn't seem so much "genetic" to me as environmental. Interestingly, I had depression in all pregnancies right at the same time the nausea started. (toughed it out with no meds until the first trimester was done, at least).The depression went away when the nausea ended at around 7 months.

Heather Zelikov

One of the descriptions I especially related to was the crawling to the edge of the abyss to peer in, while friends and family held the rope that tethered you to them.
I have pictured that in my mind for years. I have been terrified of falling in my own dark abyss, made up of whatever subjects and obstacles scare me the most.. you have helped get rid of some of that fear by helping me dissect and analyze the topics which I've feared the most. I thank you for this!

Garbo

You, my friend, are an astoundingly good writer.

Elucidatus

Very well written! Thank goodness I threw away my zoloft (or Xanax..can't remember) the same day I got it 10 years ago. That crap is just brain poison. This mother needs to be evaluated and diagnosed properly before we start pointing fingers at her. Its just a shame that it came down to killing her child versus giving him away for adoption. This is only the beginning people.

sara

Sodee - what are you referring to with this comment: "If anecdote were to equal evidence, with this one article you have demonstrated that mental health issues are prevalent in parents of children diagnosed ASD."

Did you read the article? The baby did not have an ASD diagnosis. There was absolutely no evidence the child had signs of autism, other than the mother's psychotic fears. From the article:

"Lloyd Rochester told detectives that his wife had been concerned even during her pregnancy that the "baby was becoming autistic."

I'm with Kathleen - this example has little to do with the autism community. This article shows that psychotic folks on drugs and drink may kill a completely healthy infant.

Adriana

Thank you for the feedback and insights, all. And thank you also for sharing anecdotes. As someone put it, it's a blessing having a forum and community-- not everyone does.

I would really like to know more about independent research into possible environmental causes of post-partum depression.

Interesting that there are a few drug suspects even beyond psychopharmaceuticals. When he was UPI editor, AoA editor Dan Olmsted covered cases of Lariam-induced murders and suicides in the military among many without histories of mental illness: http://tinyurl.com/32fygno

Adriana

Benedetta-- thank you for the comments. The Texas woman you mentioned is Andrea Yates. The entry for the Yates case was at the top of one of the links listed in the post. http://www.ssristories.com/show.php?item=525 She was retried because Effexor was believed to have played some role in her psychosis. Her case is now often cited in court proceedings involving medication madness.

Benedetta

Kathleen she was not depressed she was psychotic!

I too had the worst depression after my daughter was born. I thought geee I can put up with this for a while but I feel so bad that I could not possible live like this. I do remember asking myself how long would I live this way before I would give up. I thought I will give it loads of time to heal. Yes, I too never thought of hurting my child and I really as so happy to have my child. It was all chemical and it hurt just like a physcial pain.

randy

A Sodee - I'm confused - I didn't get that at all from reading any of this thread.

Adriana argues that the broader mainstream discussion around autism infers mental health issues as being prevalent in "dangerous" parents of children diagnosed with ASD. - as a means to sabotage / undermine the credibility of the community.

"Shame on you all for endorsing this sort of thinking- that there is ANY justification for murdering a child."

???

I think Karen Beauvais more accurately reflects the sentiments on this thread: "I find this murder/suicide trend nacceptable. I will spend my life shouting from the roof tops"

Apologies if I missed something here...

ML Garcia

More victims of the establishment. The establishment who will never take responsibility for what they've done and are still doing.

If biomed can at least improve one aspect of your and your child's life, why not do it? But no, doctors actually scold us for asking about other options.

I speak out of experience. My ped told me to read Offit's book, told me I'd be wasting my time with biomed and told me that not vaccinating is not an option. If I had listened to him, I would be divorced and left alone with four kids (two with autism) or dead, the stress would have killed me.

Thank God I found you all.

kathleen

Yikes, maybe I am alone on this one. I realize that all post pardum depression is not the same. I had it. I was medicated, but I never thought of hurting my child. So, on the fence I sit. She comes across as more concerned for the child's interference with her fun and fun-filled marriage. When did her suicidal thoughts turn to killing her child instead?? I am having a difficult time with sympathy for Mrs. Rochester. So now, after my son'd PDD diagnosis and the realization the world has sold us lock, stock and barrel to Big Pharma, there are days that I regret ever thinking I needed children. What have I brought them into this world for? Along with the knowledge of vaccine injury came the loss of belief in a gov't and country that I used to love dearly. Sometimes I feel that price was too much. NEVER in any of those thoughts do I really wish my children were not my children. More of the "if I knew then what I know now..." I sadly enough would probably not have chosen to have any children. That is not to say I do not love them dearly. It reflects more on what am I leaving them to when I am gone? A world of paid for science, and truth being little more than a rusty word thrown around and long forgotten in meaning.
As for Mrs. Rochester, it is sad that there was not more done for her. But, she took a baby's life, all over a possibilty. A possibility that her life would be more difficult than anticiapted.
Sorry, if this opinion offends anyone.

Parent

@Randy - "but I just feel in my gut like more and more people are waking up from the big sleep of the last couple decades, and it might be a bit tougher in some cases for some of these ugly inferences to take root."

AGREE AND WELL STATED!

Great article too.

Benedetta

Oh, here is another example - Heidi- the lady in Texas that drowned her kids while she was psychotic from post partum depression.

She was deeply religious, a christian, baptism washing away the sins.

So that was how her psychosis went - she drowned her five kids.

the husband left her alone for a little bit to go to work and his mother had not shown up yet to watch her.

After seeing first hand what psychosis does -- she is in jail and he has remarried. It is crimnal to leave people in psychosis alone once you have any ideal at all that they are. And he did know. He is the one that needs to be in jail.

Mary

When things were at their worst, I often had thoughts where I wished I could die and be relieved of the pressure. And since my kids would be so much worse off without me, I wished we could die together. A friend with autistic triplets has had the same thoughts. Not really suicidal, but ... understanding.

A Sodee

If anecdote were to equal evidence, with this one article you have demonstrated that mental health issues are prevalent in parents of children diagnosed ASD.
Anyone that can take a child's life is mentally ill. Taking your own child's life is wrong, inexcusable and does certainly demonstrate that the murderer has severe mental health problems.

If you can't handle your child, ASD or not, feel free to call social services. People like me will adopt them, love them and accept them-regardless of their weaknesses.

Shame on you all for endorsing this sort of thinking- that there is ANY justification for murdering a child.

Benedetta

Heidi;
That was why her psychosis - psychotic thoughts went the way it did.

Because that was her job and work.

If she had been a nurse she would have operated on her hand or tried to operate on her brother's back.

If she had been a engineer - well I don't know but you get my meaning.

Heidi N

What saddens me the most is that she was a counselor for those with autism, yet had NO idea that it's preventable and reversible. My children are recovered, and two of them were recommended for in-patient long-term treatment due to being out-of-control, so I am very experienced with the horrendous stress. But, we need to keep spreading the word that autism is preventable and reversible, at least most of the time; especially, we need to let the professionals know.

randy

Adriana - wow.

"As with the GMC trial, all the really filthy undermining is done by inference. The depiction of autism families as desperate, irrational and “fervent”..."

Watching Obama's speech last night - deep corruption, past and present, in the oil industry regulatory process, the cozy relationships, intense conflicts of interest, lobbyists, industry "showering the regulators with gifts", and on and on - I don't think you need to reach for the tin hat to consider that this can happen in other "highly regulated" multi-billion $ political / industrial complexes...?

And you folks in the gulf states are getting a hard lesson on the effects of industry running the show.

Does anyone in Alabama or Florida or Louisiana or Texas or Mississippi - or anywhere for that matter - trust anything coming out of the mouth of BP's CEO, any more than you trusted FEMA after Katrina? Adrianna you're right - it is insidious the way the inferences play out in the context of autism tragedies. But as this latest industrial / political mess unfolds, in the eyes of these pi$$ed off BP victims, maybe all those autism parents over there at the abyss don't seem quite so "irrational" any more. Maybe fervent looks more like a bunch of ordinary people who've also just been getting a hard lesson for too long on the effects of, well, industry running the show. Perhaps that's a leap of faith for an on-looker, and in any case it's incredibly sad that it could take an unrelated catastrophe to make people do a double take, but maybe they will, and on second glance maybe they'll see the rope tied to your ankles, and even reach out to help anchor you.

I dunno, but I just feel in my gut like more and more people are waking up from the big sleep of the last couple decades, and it might be a bit tougher in some cases for some of these ugly inferences to take root.

Or maybe I'm just trying too hard to be optimistic?

Thank you for all your eloquent articles.

Benedetta

Deb;
What are the drugs your son is taking if I might ask.

My son is really just sitting in his room, he even refused to come out today and cut the hay. Oh my gosh! around here not to do that job is like a really big deal, only on your death bed my father and husband might let you be!

I am thinking zyloft???

Media Scholar

Deb,

You are essentially saying that your child's intolerable condition was caused by a drug deficiency?

That can't be right.

Benedetta

Also what can bring on psychosis is a very bad episode of post partium depression. Most post partium depression does not but it can if bad enough. This baby was six months old. I do not know if that is too long a period after the baby was born or not.

Benedetta

My daughter had a recent psychotic episode a little over a month ago.

She has returned to work as a psych nurse. She works and comes home and lays in bed, nothing else, but I think she is improving.

When she returned to work, a psychiartist that works at the hospital sent a memo around talking about bipolar.

She felt it was for her sake, she was a teaching tool or something, I don't know.

He said that the majority of bipolars are not dignosed.

They go to the regular doctor for depression, irritabliltiy, anger issues and the regular doc gives them prozac. And things to improve.

But bipolar not only has depression it has mannias and when the brain swings from depression to really being up and still on prozac then problems begin.

The patient may return to the reg doctor and complain of not sleeping and since depression may cause sleeplessness the regular doctor does not think of bipolar and ups the dose of prozac. Thus, psychosis after seven days of not sleeping.

I have been at this for almost thirty years. I had a sweet, calm daughter till after a DPT shot and Kawasaki's. My little two year old's personality changed to a very irritable, mad little person, that had to be dealt with when she became a teenager with zyloft, as an young adult it was changed to prozac. After her Hep B shot she became very stiff, painful muscles, high Sed rates, High c reactive protein rates, and for the first time really being up- high mannias and not sleeping for days. Before I think she had mannia too but they were small, managable and I just thought she was in a good mood for a change. I guess not.

So this is something else to be aware of.
Her hand were she operated on herself in a psychotic episode is still not healed. What if she had a child under her care???? She says it was like a fog, a dream, not real and only occasionally she became aware of what was going on, but not all of it. What if she had a baby she was caring for??

Leslie Phillips

Adriana, Compelling and remarkably written. I am going to ask all of my "non-autism" friends to read. BTW, I have a few close friends holding my rope, and many others in the autism community whom I don't know well cheering them on, but nobody in my immediate family is holding the rope. That's hard to cope with. I'm glad you have family support.

Karen Beauvais

In our darkest hour... fecal smearing, child running off, near drownings, non-verbal, crazy behaviors, screaming pain, not eating anything but a few foods, exhaustion exhaustion exhaustion...never once did the thought of murder cross my mind.
Only prayers of grace and healing... desperate cries to God for help.
That is the point where we discovered TACA, DAN and others that helped us understand recovery was possible.
http://www.autism.com/
Today my son and my life are restored. He is talking, healthy, going to summer camp this year with other typical kids.
I find this murder/suicide trend unacceptable. I will spend my life shouting from the roof tops
"There is HOPE and HELP for Autism!!!"
We are battle scarred financially and years taken from my other children spent in therapy waiting rooms. But I am SO GLAD WE FOUND OUR CHILD ONCE AGAIN! He was inside a shell of neuro/biological chaos provoked by dozens of vaccines given all at once to
"catch him up".
Every parent facing Autism needs to know there is hope, Autism is treatable.
Instead, they are drowning in the thick muck of slime dished out by so-called experts.
I only wish I could take my now-verbal son back to the neurologist who pronounced doom over his life. The man who told me non drug, non invasive dietary intervention was not scientific. The same neurologist who completely missed a Chiari malformation in the brain on the MRI. Had we not searched for better answers I would have been left in the weeping heap I was that day, leaving the neurologist's office.
The great sea of misinformation abounds.
Those of us who dare to treat environmental poisoning are mocked. Well mock me now.
My son is talking once again.
Parents of the newly diagnosed need to RUN, not walk, to a decent Defeat Autism Now doctor. THERE IS HELP AND HOPE!
Don't listen to anyone who tells you it's just a genetic mystery, like our uninformed pediatrician did. For us, it was a child with genetic predisposition to auto-immune disorder slammed with too many vaccines at once, then a plunge into silence. Something a little medical history taking may have prevented.
Parents deserve informed consent on every level and then all the treatment options available if their child is diagnosed.


samaxtics

What an excellent article Adriana!

Another book of interest is Peter R. Breggin’s “Medication Madness: The Role of Psychiatric Drugs in Cases of Violence Suicide and Crime”. Dr. Breggin has been involved as a medical expert in many lawsuits including the Wesbecker/Prozac case where Eli Lily fixed the trial.
http://www.breggin.com/

jen

amazing piece, Adriana. I loved the little poem you wrote (so sad but true!). Recently in Calgary a woman tried to strangle her young child, a girl, who had autism. They are absolutely stripping the special ed system (which wasn't perfect to begin with) and getting rid of medical labels and closing special needs high schools and "integrating" many of the kids. I've been around long enough to know that what they are doing is called "dumping'" as there will not be the supports in place. I know that mother felt she didn't have much support to turn to and now I fear the situation will get even worse.

Tanners Dad

Adriana & Age of Autism Community thank you for being among the friends I have tied my rope to. I am blessed, I count them every day but I wonder how much can one take. This community, My Blessings, & the fact that so many out there have so much less. Many do not have access to this or any other community.

This will forever be a linked piece in my arsenal of munition against the ignorant of the world. So well written, so intense, so moving.

Today, you have allowed us to peak over the edge, pulled us back, and gave us the tools to fight another day. God Bless all. Hugs Love & Prayers for all that need them.

Did drugs fuel the rage?

Trudy told Barnett that Sky was getting good medical care and his doctor was trying new psychoactive medications. Using medication to control aggression in autistic patients is a common practice, says Sinclair of the Cleveland Clinic's autism school.....

A dispatcher sent three deputies to Trudy's house in Kent. Inside, they found her on the kitchen floor, her face battered and covered with dried blood, her eyes swollen shut. Her head rested in fresh blood. Blood tracks led from her body toward the basement, where they found Sky huddled on a mattress.

As deputies handcuffed Sky, he screamed and thrashed so hard they had to subdue him with pepper spray. Minutes later, he reared back and kicked a deputy in the head, hard. The other deputies pushed him to the floor and bound his ankles and wrists together behind his back.

"Boo-boo," he said, when a detective asked him what happened to his mother. "Band-Aid." "Tummy hurt." Then he sprayed the detective with spit.

Emergency workers took Trudy, still unconscious, to Akron City Hospital. She had massive trauma to her head, broken ribs, a collapsed lung, a damaged eye socket, and bite marks on her face, arms and upper legs.

The deputies took Sky to Portage County Jail, where they locked him in a suicide-watch cell. They wrestled him into orange prisoner's clothes; he tore them off. They tried again; he tore them off again. They gave him a blanket. Sitting in his cell naked, with the blanket around his shoulders like a superhero cape, Sky screamed, a high-pitched wail that sounded like keening grief....

Health privacy laws prevent authorities from saying which drugs were ordered for Sky, but photographs in the sheriff's investigative files show medicine cabinets and kitchen shelves in the home laden with bottles of prescription antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs and tranquilizers.

"Trudy believed that eventually they would get the right cocktail, and his hormones would stop surging, and it would take care of the aggression," Barnett says.

Revisit or visit the entire article:

http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2009/12/kent_state_professor_trudy_ste.html


Allison

Wow Adriana, you write in such a profound fashion. You wrote down so many of the things that I have thought about these incredibly sad circumstances and tragedies.

I think Pharma often has a hand in much of societal dysfunction. Postpartum depression is known through many studies to be an imbalance of minerals, many times extremely high copper levels to very low levels of zinc. I often wonder why it is that psychiatrists are the "go to" for postpartum, when it really should be an OB's obligation to find out the biomedical dysfunction that the pregnancy caused and correct it. Not mask it with dangerous anti psychotic medication with black box warnings of suicidal thoughts and actions. My God putting an infant in the hands of someone on one of those medications with those possible side effects, has always seemed inconceivable to me.

For Deb

Hi Deb,

I'm sorry your son has had the psychological problems he has.

I wanted to let you know about a new book you might be interested in reading. I've been reading rave reviews about it.

Here is a description:

Unhinged:
The Trouble with Psychiatry—A Doctor’s Revelations About a Profession in Crisis

Harvard Book Store is pleased to welcome noted psychiatrist and mental health journalist DANIEL J. CARLAT for a conversation about the current state of the field of psychiatry and his new book, Unhinged: The Trouble with Psychiatry—A Doctor’s Revelations About a Profession in Crisis.

In Unhinged, Daniel Carlat exposes deeply disturbing problems plaguing his profession, revealing the ways it has abandoned its essential purpose: to understand the mind, so that psychiatrists can heal mental illness and not just treat symptoms. Psychiatrists have settled for treating symptoms rather than causes, embracing the apparent medical rigor of DSM diagnoses and prescription in place of learning the more challenging craft of therapeutic counseling, gaining only limited understanding of their patients’ lives. Talk therapy takes time, whereas the fifteen-minute "med check" allows for more patients and more insurance company reimbursement. Yet DSM diagnoses, he shows, are premised on a good deal less science than we would think.

Writing from an insider’s perspective, Dr. Carlat shares a wealth of stories from his own practice and those of others that demonstrate the glaring shortcomings of the standard fifteen-minute patient visit. He also reveals the dangers of rampant diagnoses of bipolar disorder, ADHD, and other "popular" psychiatric disorders, and exposes the risks of the cocktails of medications so many patients are put on. Especially disturbing are the terrible consequences of overprescription of drugs to children of ever younger ages. Taking us on a tour of the world of pharmaceutical marketing, he also reveals the inner workings of collusion between psychiatrists and drug companies.

http://www.amazon.com/Unhinged-Trouble-Psychiatry-Revelations-Profession/dp/141659079X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1276695887&sr=8-1

Jill Fenech

This is depressing on so many facets, it is hard to take it all in. A few weeks back I took my 15 year old son in to the peds office for his mandatory sports physical. I used to really like my pediatrician. I thought maybe she was a little misguided, but well-meaning as a whole. As usual, I politely listened while she and the young intern with her gave me the standard "he really needs to have a tetanus shot" lecture. I usually don't even rise to the bait, but just smile and accept their literature, tell them that vaccines are not for my family and then just leave. Well this time, they not only gave me the lecture, but told my son that when he was 18 he would be free to make his own decisions. As if, they couldn't wait until he was old enough to be "rescued" from his delusional mother. Right. I am the problem. My son has watched our entire family deal with; fight with; cry with; and celebrate with my daughter as she continues on her journey of healing. They honestly think that almost 16 years of hard won battles will magically be erased from his memory when he turns 18? My hope is that all the siblings of our children will really be the tipping point against the pharma industry after having witnessed not only the struggles that their brothers and sisters have been through, but that there is recovery. And it certainly isn't better living through effing chemistry.

Deb

I would like to see an acknowledgment that psychiatric drugs often help people with debilitating mental illnesses; this piece is extremely one-sided. My son with PDD-NOS and several diagnosed mental illnesses was literally unable to function, both at home and at school, until he went on a medication that made it possible for him to face the world. I truly believe that medication has saved his life. While it's important to raise these questions about pharma, it's also important to present a more balanced picture. Thank you for the article.

Mary

Wonderfully written.

I wanted to add another parent who killed his autistic son and himself- William Lash. Please add him to your list. Google him and read his story.

Maurine Meleck

Amazing piece. It should be published elsewhere where the general audience can read it.
Maurine

Media Scholar

A woman just killed her 6-month old child and you believe every word she says?

What do you know about pharmaceuticals?

Be sure to ask your local geneticist about this:

http://www.ssristories.com/

dugmaze

One of the best articles I've ever read. Thank you for gathering so many different thoughts and bringing them all together.
One extra thing about Stephanie Rochester is the sentence where she drank some wine, "drinking wine and discussing selling their house".
Alcohol is probably the most accepted form of substance abuse. I believe when you mix alcohol made with chemicals and pesticides with prescription drugs it enhances a person's mental state.
The next morning the drugs and alcohol wore off. "At about 6 a.m., Rochester took the blankets off Rylan's head and "just lost it when she realized what she had done,".
As a person who dealt with paranoi for two years, I can tell you it's pure hell. I still see the evidence all around my house; screw holes over my son's windows where the boards protected him from tornadoes, stuffed survival backpack in my closet, three ring binders each 12 inches tall full of research.
I was on two seperate prescription drugs from my doctor and started drinking heavily from the depression. I, like thousands of others, have been through the pharma gauntlet but somehow survived with my family intact. I've always wondered what happens when a person who is affected this way "wakes up" in jail serving life.
My heart goes out to you Adriana. To see things so clearly must come with a price. We are all victims of this profit pandemic in one way or another. God bless.

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