Thursday, November 12, 2009

sad? certainly. evil? not so sure.

at times, i develop a temporary but irrational fear of things which might happen to me one day. it's not the obvious 'death' that scares me. although i hope i am not travelling towards a premature one and, regardless of timing, i am not looking forward to it. but i do often worry about, say, dementia one day taking hold of me. i so desperately don't want my mind to go. when i think about it, i create huge, unnecessary anxiety. but then i see something shiny, or chocolately, and i forget all about it - until next time.

in the same vein, the recent tragedy in randwick has instilled great fear in me. i don't fear being stabbed to death. i mean, i'd rather not be stabbed to death but it's not something i commonly think about or have even pondered in the aftermath of this sad story. but i do, very much, fear one day having a child who suffers from a condition as significant, as debilitating as schizophrenia.

someone commented about the story of the double murder on one of australia's news websites today: "so sad. such evil".

i clearly see where the reader is coming from. it's not difficult and i am sure a lot of people share the same point of view. but i can't help but think evil is not the right word. i wish it was. it would be easier for me to comprehend if the son slash brother - the suspect - was just an evil man who, i don't know, wanted his dad's money a la the menendez brothers.

but the truth is, assuming the newspapers i read are to be believed (and they never lie), the suspect is schizophrenic. a paranoid schizophrenic. as far as i am concerned, that turns the tale into tragedy for everyone involved, not just the murder victims.

i don't pretend to know more about schizophrenia than the next person but i do know it sounds frightening. it also sounds like it's almost entirely out of the sufferer's control. i am sure we'll all learn more as time progresses.

but i believe that, in the light of day, with a balanced state of mind, the 'real' anthony waterlow will be just as shocked and disgusted as 'KLM'. but he will feel indescribably worse because the blood will be on his hands.

Schizophrenic or otherwise, if you need help call 1800 18 SANE or click here.


Clare said...

Good post mate.
I agree. This situation is terribly sad and tragic, and I can understand why people are shocked and outraged.
This poor man is not evil, he is sick, has been for years and desperately needs treatment.
There is such a big gap between policy and practice in regard to mental health issues in Australia. Sadly it seems to take tragic events like this one to remind everybody that the challenges of mental health service provision just aren't being addressed.
I think every member of that family is a victim, including Anthony, and I don't know where they will start in trying to pick up the pieces.

Mike said...

the other downside to this is of course that very few people ever truly recover from schizophrenia.

even after therapy goes right - and mostly it doesn't - people become aware of such trauma and shock that their alter ego has caused and then their brain shuts down, subconsciously. its like they can't attempt to deal with the horror of what they have done.

there are no winners.

we probably just need to accept that shitty things happen that we can't stop.

RubyTwoShoes said...

Hi, yes, I agree, a good post and a good point....and really think Clare got it right about mental health practice (and levels of understanding) in Australia...its shameful

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