In light of the most recent tragedy in Santa Barbara there is an article that has seen an increase in circulation titled, Nearly Every Mass Shooting in the Last 20 Years Shares 1 Thing in Common.. . In reading through the version that I clicked on the article list tragedies starting with the two perpetrators of the tragedy at Columbine High School and that they were both prescribed a psychotropic drug. It goes on to list other tragedies and the common thread of psychotropic drugs. I have not taken the time to research each perpetrator nor do I plan on doing so, what I do know is that if you read the side effects of any of the medications prescribed for ADD, ADHD or depression, aggressive behavior or suicidal tendencies are listed
One thing that I have experienced and think is unfortunate is the desire for our young to fit into an educational and behavioral box. All children are not built the same, not everyone can sit for 8 hours and soak in everything that a teacher is required to teach. While I won’t delve into the challenges that our education system has I do want to speak of my experience of the school pressuring me to put my son on a psychotropic drug because they felt he was ADD. When he was in second grade his teacher was concerned that my son was not keeping up with the rest of his class and felt that medication could help him focus. I took him to his pediatrician at the time to find out about how they diagnosed ADD and was shocked when he handed me two questionnaires, one for me to fill out and one to have his teacher fill out. When we returned to the doctor to have him explain the evaluation he said based on the responses he could call in a prescription right away. Really, you mean based on how we answered 30 questions each you are going to put my son on medication that could change him for the rest of his life, needless to say we never returned to that doctor again! Instead of turning to drugs I began to monitor our diet and tried to eat as much natural unprocessed food as we could. To help my son get caught up in school I also invested in one on one tutoring. Although it wasn’t an easy process these two changes made a major difference and by the next school year my son was caught up to his classmates. As he got older monitoring his diet got more challenging and he continued to have “behavioral” issues in school, but when he was eating healthy his issues weren’t as pronounced. I accept that there are times when medication is needed, but I also think it has become an easy solution to a complex problem. I truly believe we are so busy with external impressions that we have become blind to the things we can do to change our own life and those close to us.
There really is no way to make sense of any tragedy whether it is a mass shooting, a suicide or one individual killing another there is still loss of a life. Each of us deserves to live a long life of pursuing our own happiness. As parents make sure you are fully educated on all medical decisions. Most importantly, take time to slow down and enjoy the beauty of the world around us and enjoy each other. Show compassion and empathy to a stranger every day and maybe we won’t hear of so many angry incidents happening in our world.