Shithouse rat

I'm a bipolar writer in the Naked City. I'm not playing with a full deck. I don't have all my dots on the dice. My cheese is sliding off my cracker. I don't have both oars in the water. I'm a bubble off plum. In other words, I'm crazier than a shithouse rat. These are my stories. Comments--short or long, nasty or nice--always welcome!

Monday, January 23, 2006

Let's talk about drugs--again

Me and my drugs
Originally uploaded by knautia.
Back in August, I wrote a post called Let's Talk about Drugs. Some of you may not have seen it here, but (get ready) I've shortened it a bit and re-posted it over at BlogCritics. As I did there, I'll just tease you here with the tagline:

"I'm sure I would be a "Ritalin kid" if I were a first-grader today. I'm grateful I wasn't."

PS--Paula, thanks for the cool comment to this BC post!

I'll be back to answer comments to the last Shithouse post later. You guys rule!


At 3:55 PM, Blogger Walker said...

Drugged zombie children are easier to hand for most teachers and parents.
We have become a society filled with video game nannies and the kids don't go out to burn off the energy they store inside them and then diagnose all rambunctuous kids with ADS and serve up the drugs to mellow them out.
Time to pull the plug and get our kids outside and active before we become a society of drugged up buttom pushers.

At 4:23 PM, Blogger farmangel said...

That SO hits home in a way. A relative's kid has been a "nuisance" since day 1 (an "accident") and the parents never let him be a kid--AT ALL. Even a loud laugh=time out. Pretty sure they are getting him on meds soon -you can tell the kid is going to end up a drugged-up teen. Then they'll be treating THAT. It's a shame. Good topic Elvira.

At 4:51 PM, Blogger !ce said...

Last night, I was upset with my friend and found consciousness painful, so I took a double dosage of the meds. Didn't feel much then except for drowsiness. This morning, when I woke up, I was blazed and in an emotional black hole. He called me. He hadn't realized that I was upset. Anyway, we talked things out a little. He was calling from work, so we had limited time. We're meeting tomorrow. I get the feeling he's going to have something to say about this whole OD-ing thing. He always seems concerned, which I think is sweet, but different.

At 8:25 PM, Blogger fugusashi said...'re welcome.

At 6:57 AM, Blogger Brink Craven said...

I have known parents whose children were on ritilan and for very good reason! --if you knew many, if not MOST of the kids prescribed this drug, you wouldnt be so judgemental. comon people--lets walk a mile in anothers' shoes before we pretend to know ANYTHING about whats its Really like to have a hyperactive child (and for many of you, children at all). Most are indeed amazingly hyperactive- not just bored, restless or God Forbid-POORLY raised by thier parents. You know what? being a parent is the only job where people expect you to NeVER make mistakes--ever. and if you do, you can expect to be judged, harshly critisized, demonized and maligned because of it.....its easy to point fingers and say how screwed up other people are. How about yourself ? (meaning, everyone) what is it about you that might need a little changin? oh yeah, those kinda questions arent popular because A) they are not as "fun" or entertaining and B) we might begin to see the truth about OURSELVES, and we all know how scary that can be.

sorry if Im being a ass. sometimes this shit just really starts getting to me... Elvira, this post was not directed at you or at anyone else personally-or your article.

I-Ice can I give you a word of cautionary advice? JUst t his once.. get out of this self harming cycle now, before it becomes a habit too hard to break ( I speak from expereince).Do you wanna end up 40 yrs old and in and out of mental institutions, with no relationships because nobody can take you for very long, no good job, no money? you know you want to live, so do whatever it takes to change your thinking. Its not worth making attempts on your life in order get attention from your freinds, it only serves to traumatize you over. this dude is not going to care about you more if you try to off yourself. It just doesnt work, man. no one can save you, but you. Give it up.
Good luck to you. and remember all of our relationships will be crap until we have a decent one with ourselves. its just a fact man.

At 7:19 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


I think it is even harder to be a kid now than when I was--and my childhood was no picnic.

I don't know--I guess Ritalin helps some kids, and it might have "helped" me--but I'll never regret the fact that they didn't have it around for me to take back then. My school experiences were painful, and I was definitely odd, but I kinda like the fact that I developed a thicker skin and had the time alone to learn how to amuse--and think for--myself.

At 7:23 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


Yes, there are some kids who were "accidents" and it is sad indeed. I know some kids are also perhaps overprotected, just as some are neglected. I think I was a little of both--my mom suffered from bouts of depression and when I was a teen would often disappear for days on end to play bridge in the city. My dad, when I reached adolescence, wanted to shelter me to the point of ridiculousness.

There are also some parents who although well-meaning may push their kids too hard in terms of getting into the "best" pre-K and all that. This can lead to breakdowns and even suicides, and as you said no chance to just be a kid.

I know I'm talking outta my ass because I never had kids. One of the reasons is probably because I hated most of the kids I knew--another that it's a darn hard job and an awesome responsibility that I just didn't think I was prepared to take on.

At 7:30 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


Dude, what is going on with you? You are always so unforthcoming about certain very crucial details in your life, even on your blog. For instance, what meds are we talking about here? Whatever they were, it sounds pretty serious and disturbing that you'd take a double dose of them.

I think you may be getting "too" dependent on one friend for your emotional well being. This guy, as you have stated many times, is not gay and so there's probably no chance of that kind of relationship. But even if there was, swallowing pills whenever he upsets you is a dangerous, slippery slope.

I know you have issues at home; I know you love to hang with this guy; I know that you have trouble with some other people you meet online and off; I know you loathe your parents. But there's plenty I don't know, too. Do you have a doctor or anyone you can confide in more deeply? Do you talk these things over with your friend?

I'm glad he's concerned and is there for you, but I think as Brink says you'd do well to try to take steps to start on the track to self-awareness and self-fulfillment. Many's the time I've said to you, like I'm your mom--well, what about school? Are you getting all you can out of this opportunity? Can you glean what your future might hold, in terms of possible vocation or avocation?

Well, my friend, I care and I am concerned. Hope you'll write more, either here and/or directly to me via e-mail. Let me know what's really going on with Ice, deep down!

At 7:32 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


Thank you again, Paula--you're the only commenter I've received on this piece thus far (besides the response I wrote to your's last night).

So let me take this opportunity to tell everyone who's commented here or who might to come on over to the BC site and put in your two cents. Even simply cutting and pasting what you wrote here would be awesome. I really value your feedback, and I think it's an issue worth discussing.

At 7:40 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


I'm sorry I've hit a sore spot here (or am I? lol). Seriously, you're right--I know zilch about parenting, other than what I've experienced with my own parents, and my aunt and uncle who raised me after my parents passed away.

Yes, no doubt some kids are helped by Ritalin. As I've said, I'm no Tom Cruise, that's sure as shittin', and I say if a med helps someone function more normally especially if they are in distress and obviously need it, of course it is warranted.

I just tend to think this particular drug is way overprescribed. I can't imagine that so many millions of kids really need to take it, and I think there is a trend, as there has been with so many mental health issues, to jump on a "miracle cure" and run with it.

I used to rifle through my parent's bookshelves, and I'll never forget some book my mom had written by a doctor who specialized in this "radical revolutionary new treatment" for mental illness--lobotomy.

I remember one tale he told of a woman who I suppose would today be seen as manic. Her main "problem" was that she was promiscous. If I remember correctly, she received this new treatment even though the doctor himself wondered if he was really doing the right thing.

So all's I'm saying is, Ritalin may be a wonder drug for some, but I don't think it should be dispensed like candy to so many school children. I'm sorry if I offended--you're right--I haven't walked a mile in any mom or dad's shoes, and I can only imagine how challenging raising a child can be.

As for your advice to Ice--I couldn't agree more.

Hope you'll cut and paste the Ritalin "rant" (lol) to the BC site. This is exactly what I was hoping to get--a nice lively discussion (lol). Otherwise, some of these posts are just dead in the water, and I think there's a lot of viewpoints and discussion that could be added there.

At 7:43 AM, Blogger elvira black said...

On my comment to Paula:

Didn't mean to say I want to "tell" everyone to come over to the BC site--I know I can be pushy, but I'm not the boss of anyone, obviously, though I sometimes think I am (lol). But wontcha anyway, pretty please?

At 12:45 PM, Blogger Nikky Egland said...

Ritalin is helpful, but not always the answer. Some kids just need discipline and a more structured environment. Unfortunately, a lot of parents today don't take the time to discipline their kids and teachers don't want to deal with the consequences ( I don't blame them ) That leaves us with a child who acts out and does whatever they please because they can at home. Not only that, some kids are just bored in school, they need more challenges, and they are written off as "difficult." Sad, huh?

At 3:02 PM, Blogger Brink Craven said...

Elvira and all who may care--please accept my apologies for my outburst earlier.
In an attempt to stem the tide of criticism and judgment (which is not my job anyway) I ended up doing that which I most despise--being critical and judgmental. Don't ask me what got into me. I've no excuses.

I guess I really need to take a break from involving myself in any controversial or emotionally charged topics. What happened to me this morning indicates that one is very much in need.

The last thing I intended, was to become troll-like on my very good friend's blog. If its important that I rant, I should be doing so on my own space, not yours.

And Ice--I hope I didn't come across very hardcore. I have much compassion for your situation and Im sorry. I just really hate (and I mean Hate) to see anyone else go down a path that sounds, oh so very similar, to the one as I have in my own life. I cannot tell you the shame and regret I have had to contend with because of all of the pain and heartbreak that I have suffered, been the cause of, or party to because I never had the willingness or wherewithal to see where the true responsibility for my life really lay-
Within Myself.

Once again, my sincere apologies to all, especially Elvira....

At 12:55 PM, Blogger elvira black said...


Yes, I guess every individual case is different.I now I've seen young kids going into screaming tantrums in a store or restaurant and felt a combination of annoyance and sympathy for the parents--I can't imagine having to endure that in public and having people shoot you dirty looks as if you're the one doing the screaming!

Kids are going to be kids, not little adults. But I am fairly sure Ritalin helps some kids. I just don't see it as a cure-all or convenient palliative for normal rambunctiousness. Otherwise, childhood is essentially being banned, and a quick fix is once again seen as the panacea for all the world's hassles.

At 1:06 PM, Blogger elvira black said...


Now cut that shit out! Don't be ridic!

To my mind, one of the great aspects of being true to oneself is feeling free to voice one's own opinions and without undue guilt. No way were you being troll like. I don't believe that it is necessary to be endlessly "fair" and "understanding" if you have passionate feelings about a contentious? topic.

Yes, if I had a child who needed to be on Ritalin (not saying you did, but I assume you knew people whose kids took it) I would feel very sensitive about those who simply dismiss it as a symptom of "bad parenting" or "bad teachers" etc. There are some kids who definitely are troubled, and I'm sure there are many parents who go through holy hell to try to deal with the day to day frustrations of such a situation.

One example that comes to mind is Nancy Spungen's mom who wrote a bio of her daugher called "And I don't want to live this Life." Nancy, of course, was the girlfriend of the Sex Pistol's Sid Vicious, who later killed her in the Chelsea Hotel and OD'd not long after.

The book is heartbreaking--you can tell that this is one mom who turned herself inside out to try to help her daughter. Her other daughter and son were perfectly "normal," thus discounting the notion that it was somehow the parent's fault.

Nancy had some sort of serious disorder that no doctor seemed to be able to identify or treat. Her mother never really gave up on her, but the pain that she and her family endured was immense.

So Brink, please don't feel like you should apologize for having your opinion. These kind of topics bring out strong feelings of all kinds. I happen to relish hearing differing perspectives. The only time I get my back up is when honest to goodness trolls not really interested in the issue at hand just try to be gratuitiously obnoxious and offensive while derailing the "conversation" at hand.

I hope Ice will heed our words, and let us know how he's doing now.

At 8:42 PM, Blogger !ce said...

My friend and I have been talking a lot. He feels that he doesn't have any choice but to tell someone if I do it again. We had had a disagreement last night and slightly earlier today, so I got back at him a bit by showing him some angry lyrics, giving him a completely black painting (you should have seen the thickness, it was like tar), allowing him to catch me listening to Pat Benatar, and a note comparing him to my parents (I think Elvira will get that significance). Anyway, he says I've been misunderstanding what he's been trying to say. He hugged me a few times. He's done that a bit the last couple of days. He then said that he thinks that feeling that we will always be able to work everything out and unconditional love are two different things and that the way he feels about me is in the middle between the two. I'm not exactly sure what that means, but it sounds positive.

At 6:57 AM, Blogger Brink Craven said...

thanks E--. I appreciate your support.Its not really an issue of expressing my opinion but the manner in which I do it that I concern myself with--does that make sense?..anyway, Yeah I have had expereinces where freinds of mine had kids who were out of control--one woman/family in particular that had a very troubled young son. She was the kindest most generous woman too and they had a healthy, intact family. I mean I used to think that if anyone could deal with all of it in a healthy way-she could. But even with her mellow constitution, she was no match for her sons behavior. Personally I couldnt stand the kid because he had really poor boundaries (more like non existant) I mean nobody doesnt like a kid on purpose, its just when a ten year old tries to climb up on top of you every 5 minutes and simultaneously screams in your face..well yeah its haRD TO LOVE A KID LIKE THAT ESPECHIALLY IF HES NOT YOUR OWN. and no amount of discipline helped him. He wasnt learning anything in school, even though he was one of the brightest kids around.

anyway I knew him before, and after ritilan. and my god if the difference wasnt miracluous--and ritialn doesnt work on people who arent hyperactive. Ive taken it as an adult and it acted like speed not a tranq. so if the kid doesnt respond like they should, doctors are supposed to take em off. Off course that does leave it a target of abuse, just like you said in your article E. (which btw, did not offend me, it was quite balanced and fair in my opinion) I guess something just crawled up my butt the other morning. I have been a bit cranky and I dont get it. I think its stress-its the first real week of school and its a bitch adjusting.
more later, I gotta get on da bus.thanks again E for not banning me from your blog for life--lol --JK! peace out.

At 11:23 PM, Blogger !ce said...

Elvira, I have updated my blog. Thought you might be interested. Would like your interpretation of my friend's comment.

At 7:27 AM, Blogger Justine said...

I've got a friend I grew up with plays rugby for Australia. He is also qualified as a physio therapist and has told me that if medical trends were when we were kids as they are now, he would have been diagnosed ADHD and have had been taking Ritalin since then.

But, like, he's just an active crazy guy! Yes, he drove his mother mad. But HELLO he was a little BOY! What do people expect?

I'm just pointing out that these drugs are over-prescribed for 1. convenience and 2. fashion. Parents want to have the best psychiatrist just like they want the best car and to send their kids to the best schools. Its a status symbol, and may I say very much a NY type of thing.

At 7:54 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


Glad things are looking up; I read your latest blog entry and left a comment too.

However, as for your friend, I think that allowing him to catch you listening to Pat Benatar WAS cause for alarm (lol).

At 7:56 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


I would never ban anyone from my blog (I don't think) and definitely not you--ever!

I understand your point exactly. I've seen screeching kids in action and always felt like strangling them myself (lol). Glad your friend's son was able to flourish with the help of Ritalin. Seems like this is an example of the med being used "properly" rather than abused or overprescribed.

At 7:59 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


From what I've read, Ritalin is very much an American thing--I think the vast percentage of kids on it are from the US.

As for the New York competitive thing--you are so right--at least, among the more affluent Manhattanites and others with lots of disposable income and status mania. Some of those poor kids get sent to so many extracurricular activities and are so stressed out about getting into and staying in the "best" schools it's a wonder that more of them don't just off themselves. Tragically, some eventually do.

At 11:38 AM, Blogger !ce said...

I read. So no comment on the political group? Come on, Elvira. You're holding out.

At 5:37 PM, Blogger digibrill said...

As I cross-posted on that site, I think the whole idea of ADD, ADHD, etc. other disorders treated with Ritalin is a topic we don't know much about yet. I think we shoot cannonballs at a problem instead of the .22 shot we may need. Here's to more research.


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