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Dads & Mental Health

As I was reading yet another news story this morning about a father killing his children and then himself, I was just so sickened and saddened. Obviously, there were some severe mental health issues that had probably never been diagnosed and/or treated. Why? A man with those issues knows that something isn't right, but some men have this warped notion of masculinity that says we don't admit these things and we certainly don't get help for them because it makes us weak. That's ridiculous. How many people have to suffer, how many families have to be destroyed (literally or figuratively), how many people have to live broken lives, and how many people have to die before society gets serious about men and mental health issues - especially depression?!?

Mental health issues are not something we brought on ourselves or something to be ashamed of. These are not problems we asked for or problems we could have kept from happening to us. So check your ego and that macho crap at the door, please.

I myself have been diagnosed with ADHD, anxiety disorder and depression. I'm on three different daily meds for them and I go to therapy every other week. There - I have nothing to be ashamed of! And my life is better because of it. In fact, I feel like I'm more of a man because I got help for it, I got it in check, and I can now proceed with being the man my family deserves and needs me to be. And I don't put that out there to ask you to pat me on the back. I put it out there so that hopefully someone who needs help reads this and it gives them the courage to go seek it out.

Dads and men, please get the help you need if you need it!

1 comment:

  1. I have been treated for ADHD for the past seven years. I currently take 50 mg of Ritalin 3 to 4 times a day, which is monitored by my therapist and medical doctor. I have never been ashamed or embarrassed to talk about it. I went to a place that specialized in treating and diagnosing adults with ADHD because I had some problems concentrating and remaining focused. I never had any disciplinary problems because I didn't suffer from any physical hyperactivity and early education came easy to me. The only time I had a problem with ADHD was during my divorce.

    I have been involved in a divorce/custody battle for over two years. The reason for the long delay in the proceedings is a custody evaluation performed by Kentucky psychologist Edward J Connor Psy D. Dr. Connor conducted a custody evaluation for my wife and I in the summer of 2007. Dr. Connor said in his report that I was unable to communicate because of my ADHD despite my high dose of Ritalin. He referred to my prescription dosage as being "high", "very high", "heavy", etc... while claiming that I was hard to understand and that my writings were confusing and difficult to follow. My lawyer charged me for listening to my concerns but never did anything. He did "fire" me citing "communication problems" after he found out that I picketed my former lawyer's office. Since February 2008, I have been going at this alone.

    On March 6, 2008 I requested a copy of Dr. Connor's case file for the evaluation and that's when the circus started. Dr. Connor said I wasn't entitled to the file. I reminded him of the contract that I signed and he said he would release it to me if he confirmed that I was representing myself. He contacted the Court (ex-parte and he was not court appointed) and then stated that he interpreted the Court to say that I was entitled to the evaluation report but not the case file. In the addendum to the evaluation report Dr. Connor wrote "Mr. Brewington is correct in stating that our contract indicates that we would provide the file to the representing attorneys; however, given the circumstances, we believe that a court order is necessary to release the file to Mr. Brewington given he is representing himself pro se." I filed a motion to release the file and the judge wouldn't do it. Dr. Connor later said that there were state and HIPAA laws prohibiting him from releasing the case file to me. The Judge in the case kept giving different stories to why he wouldn't order the release the case file. Dr. Connor continued to write to the Judge stating that I didn't understand the basic premise of confidentiality and even said I may suffer from reality distortion. The Judge was going to march me to my final hearing without a copy of the evaluation case file. He denied my motion for a continuance. Luckily I found a case that said a judge that received or considered ex-parte evidence must recuse himself if one of the parties files a change of Judge motion under IN trial rule 79. Now I have a new Judge.

    I filed a 237 page complaint with the Kentucky Board of Examiners of Psychology against Dr. Connor. (My court case is in RIpley Circuit Court, IN but the evaluator is in Northern KY and Dr. Connor wasn't licensed to practice psychology in the state of IN) The Board reviewed my complaint and Dr. Connor's response and came to the conclusion that there were no "apparent violations" of law. I sent the Board more information and they voted not to reopen the complaint. Then I did something that no one expected.

    No one had ever requested a copy of a psychologist's response to a complaint. The Board tried to stall but I told them that the response was a public record bearing my name and I was entitled to it. I knew Dr. Connor lied; I just didn't expect it to be as bad as it was. I filed a new complaint dealing with the inaccuracies of Dr. Connor's response by taking his false statements from his response and pairing them up with conflicting statements from other documents written by Dr. Connor. The Board meeting is April 13... we'll see how that goes.

    I'm just trying to have equal time with my 3 and 5 year old girls. I was a stay at home dad for much of the time I was married. I had two lawyers that didn't have a strategy for how we were going to work to ensure that I had equal time with my girls. I don't get mad and yell and scream; I research information and address problems that I find. I subpoenaed the former Judge in the case to testify what was said in the ex-parte communication with the evaluator. An IN deputy attorney general filed a motion to quash the subpoena citing that a judge speaks through the court's record and orders; and because I didn't tender the judge traveling expenses. The new Judge quashed the subpoena but I just filed a motion to reconsider because ex-parte communication isn't part of any order or record and IC 35-44-1 says it would be considered a bribe if I tendered the judge money that he couldn't accept.

    This whole process is a joke. Dr. Connor even had my wife sign extra documents for confidentiality that they submitted to court as a reason not to release the case file. Dr. Connor took over a month to respond to why I hadn't been provided with these documents. He said that it was an oversight on the part of his office staff and that the documents were "adjunct documents to the court order."

    This guy is a parasite. Dr. Connor told the KY Board that I was potentially dangerous and that he contacted an attorney about filing harassment/defamation charges yet he's failed to mention anywhere that I may pose a threat to my kids or their mom. I have had my girls nearly half the time during the divorce and he still says "We believe that minimizing the amount of time Dan has with the girls will in fact sustain their existing bond." My kids were 1 and 3 when he first said this.

    I don't write this stuff because I want pity; I want to find others who have been victims of the system. My story is a little different because the system thought they could get away with taking advantage of an unrepresented dad but, unfortunately for them, I don't play by "their" rules. It's sad how people have tried to bait me into doing something wrong so they can have a reason to punish me. Too bad I never fall for it. I want to find a person of authority to see how bad this situation is and have the guts to do something about it. I have learned that the only person who can save the day is me; or at least I will try.

    I like this blog and the site. I'm in this thing for my kids and to help others who may have had similar problems with the system. I never bash their mother, not out of respect to mommy, because it wouldn't set a good example to the kids. I want people to understand that the knowledge and understanding of being a parent doesn't have anything to do with estrogen or growing up playing with Barbies. Check out my blog or my website for a lot more details. Feel free to contact me anytime through my site.