Can-Do-Ability: Answers and Solutions from my personal experiences of living with a disability

Pushed To Breaking Point Or Natural Born Killers?

22 Sep 2011Some mental illnesses, like depression, can be a serious after effect from the loss of a loved one, trauma, abuse or stress, but it can also be the result of a hereditary abnormality in your ancestor’s genes, that is passed down, creating a chemical imbalance, which may require medication to counteract the effects in the brain.

Other mental illnesses, like psychosis, schizophrenia and paranoia, can be the consequences of drug abuse. These can also be treated with a combination of sobriety, lifestyle changes, medication and goal setting, amongst other tecniques.

People suffering alone from severe mental illness, are capable of unspeakable acts. I have read about numerous stories in the news of people harming or killing co-workers, friends or loved ones, or of committing crimes and later, pleading insanity.

I knew a young man during my school days, who was very shy and introverted, but after mixing with the wrong crowd, he became involved in substance abuse, which he felt gave him the confidence to become louder and seem ‘cool’ by impressing his new found friends. The drug abuse subsequently unlocked a mental illness, which resulted in him premeditating and murdering his mother, who was there for him, his whole life. He is now free to live in society, because he was viewed by the legal system as being mentally unstable at the time of the murder.

This week in South Australian news, a woman who was accused of murdering her intellectually disabled son in 2009, was released from custody, being labelled ‘mentally incompetent to commit murder’. The judge, Justice John Sulan, also deleted part of her ruling that prohibited her from drinking alcohol after her release. He also said that she wasn’t required to report to correctional services as often.

Beverly Eitzen, now 48, cared for her intellectually disabled son, Peter, for the entirety of his 16 years. Peter was the size of a 16 year old boy, with the intellect of a 2 year old, and he became physically violent towards her and disruptive at times.

Beverly suffered from depression, which worsened due to growing fears of what would happen to her son as he aged, and if her and her husband weren’t around to take care of him.

She made the decision to end her and her son’s lives. Beverly gave Peter a sedative to relax him, before attempting to gas them both in their car. Peter awoke and became agitated, after Beverly calmed him back to sleep, she stabbed him in the neck, killing him.

She immediately drove herself, with Peter still in the car, to her local police station, to turn herself in. Because of her cooperation and mental instability, she was released on bail, into the care of her husband, providing she would seek psychological help, until later court hearings.

Beverly was this week released on a mental health supervision licence, which means she will have to attend psychiatric appointments, and adhere to other terms on her licence.

Is it possible to become too mentally unstable that one is driven to murder? Is the insanity plea just an easy way out? Or, does the amount of prisoners behind bars, who suffer from mental illness, just prove that there isn’t enough assistance available to people with mental health issues?

To read the article from the ABC News website, click here: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-09-20/beverley-eitzen-disabled-son-trial/2907784



Beverly leaving court with her husband

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Previous Comments

Patricia from Brisbane Qld posted on 6 Jan 2012
I cannot pass judgement on this mother but I feel I have been in a similar situation. I suffered post natal depression after having my baby. I was very naive and was brought up by loving and doting parents who adored me and my sibling. I thought I was in love with my husband who later showed his violent temper. His mother was the mother-in-law from hell who continually competed with me for my baby's affection. I was immature and both of them smothered me. When my baby was 6 months old I was depressed when the baby cried I DR-OPped it on the floor.It was because I had so much anger towards my husband and his mother, not my baby who I loved. That seems hard to believe but that is how I felt. If I could have stopped from doing ofcourse I would have. My baby had a fractured skull but thank god recovered completely and now has a successful government job.My baby went into foster care for 6 months until my mother-in-law and husband got custody. I had no choice but to go back to my husband to get my baby back or the baby would have been brought up by her. I tried my hardest but my husband became a wife abuser physically and emotionally and my mother-in-law and the rest of her family regularly reminded me of what happened. I tried to get close to my baby but they were just too strong. I hate myself for being so weak with my feelings and cannot live with myself for hurting my baby. I tried to kill myself with TA-BLEts while the baby was in hospital but didnt take enough and woke up 24 hours later. I think about it everyday and dont want to live. I am divorced from my husband now. This is a death sentence I am living every day. I have been for help about it but it is no good.

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