I understood why the lockdown had to happen initially as the Coronavirus pandemic was becoming out of control while very little was known about the virus. The healthcare system needed something in place to prevent it from becoming overloaded. However, at the same time, it has done a lot more damage than good otherwise.
As you know there has been a spike in suicide rates, mental illness struggles, as well as an increase in domestic abuse incidents. People who have worked hard at fighting addictions ended up battling them again. Many people have lost their jobs. The lockdown has been detrimental to the economy. Not to mention, people with medical conditions have not received proper medical care and some even died during the past few months as a result.
The lockdown caused damage in other ways. Parents with kids with special needs such as autism have been beyond burned out. That meant respite care centers had to close, therapy centers had to close, and special schools had to shut down. At least when those things were operational, parents had some respite and the kids were receiving therapy to help them move forward with their development.
With those things coming to a halt, these kids lost out on their much-needed therapies and regressed as a result. Their parents who ended up being stuck with them 24/7 became burned out. And the evidence shows that being true in the case of Patricia Ripley in Florida who intentionally drowned her 9-year-old severely autistic son, Alejandro on May 21st.
Before I say what I am about to say, I do not condone this murder by any means. Patricia Ripley deserves to pay for what she did. There is never an excuse to do what she did. I also say that because I have been where she must have been before she was desperate enough to pull that unspeakable move. I was at a very low point when I was severely burned out. But you know what? I still reached out. I understand at the time there was no pandemic in the picture, but if she was honest about how burned out she was, she still could have been helped. If I am not mistaken, social workers have been in service as they are essential workers, am I right?
Even though I absolutely do not excuse what she did, those who don’t understand the struggles of raising a child with profound or complex special needs have no business calling her a monster for feeling the desperation that she felt. What she did was absolutely horrific and she will now pay for her actions. Her other kids will also suffer for what she did. It absolutely saddens me that she felt she had no way out. Because if she had, I am sure she would have not resorted to doing what she did. Putting what she did aside, I understand her struggles. I have been severely depressed and pretty much almost non-functional because of it. Raising a child with complex special needs that you are not equipped to handling is utter hell. I repeat, it is utter hell.
And this I will say. I have been called a monster myself for sending my son with combined autism and ADHD to that residential school in 2017. Those who called me a monster did not consider that I was turning into a severely depressed and burned out unhealthy shell. They did not consider that my daughter was losing out. They did not consider that my son being at home was not helpful to his development and mental health! And getting my son placed there was very hard, it was a tough process, but man oh man was it ever well worth it for so many reasons.
And yet, he is doing well. He is happy, and I am extremely grateful he is at the best place possible especially right now! If only Patricia Ripley were to be brutally honest about her struggles, I don’t doubt for a second she would not have been helped. Even during the pandemic. Because she did not reach out, a tragedy happened. A tragedy that could have been easily prevented. Before anyone calls me a monster for making the best choice possible, just don’t. Patricia Ripley made the worst possible decision ever, but she also is not a monster for the feelings she had, and the desperation she felt. Walk a mile in our shoes, then you’ll take your words back in no time. I guarantee it.