The Kennedys


Or tries to. Closets are for clothes but recently sexual preferences and genetic predisposition to drugs or alcohol have been making a break for it. In an emotionally and politically heroic outing, Robert Kennedy Jr. and family lay bare their genetic predispositions in a national TV broadcast. Somehow the Kennedys got the absurd idea that the American public would accept their disclosure and praise their honesty. How naive to think truth could conquer in a country overdosing on ignorance and stigma. Apparently their advisors got to them in the nick of time, and doing what they do best, they advised them to clam up, make no further references, decline to comment and retreat in the hopes they will have some semblance of a political career left in these United States. The sad part is . . .  it was a damned good thing they were doing, or attempting to do. A very good thing. As if they have not already sacrificed enough as a family for this ungrateful country. If there is one thing you should know about the Kennedy family, it is that they do what they do on behalf of the country. Their country. Our country. We do not blame the Kennedys, they tried, but the truth was too painful and it was systematically rejected. As a result, thousands upon thousands will continue to suffer and die because of their predispositions to drugs and alcohol. We cry for the Kennedys and we cry for ourselves as a nation.

The Kennedy family is certainly "all that" and more. Joe and Rose Kennedy started a family in what still could be considered the land of opportunity. A family that became an institution equally capable of taking it to the limits of triumpth and tragedy It can be argued that "such is life" and yet most would agree that this high-achieving family has had more than its share of tragedy. A tragedy that has impacted on an entire nation. How much is attributable to "bad luck" or "occupational hazard" as opposed to addictive behavior and risk taking is debatable. This most recent fatal accident of Michael Kennedy was caused by a reckless Kennedy family tradition, ski-football. News of his senseless death was met by a mixture of grief, anger and bewilderment by the American People. News coverage echoed this confusion and offered the theory that the sins of the father were visited upon the children. Indeed, their dangerous behavior can be traced back to the family patriarch. Joe Kennedy, businessman, millionaire, ambassador, rum-runner and womanizer. People naturally find it confusing when witnessing the extremes the Kennedys swing back and forth between. The capacity to do enormous good obscured by scandalous behavior. Drug addictions, alcoholism (also a drug, though not socially regarded as such) and reckless behaviors (illicit affairs and dangerous sports). Americans tend to notice tragedy and aberrant behavior in high profile cases but what of the tragedies impacting ordinary people? People who may not come from an American institution but whose heart-rending tragedies are every bit as painful. Your neighbors, co-workers, friends, family or fellow Americans you brush elbows with going in and out of the supermarket. Millions of Americans suffer from mood and anxiety disorders at some time in their lives. Those with a mental disorder such as bipolar, experience mood swings from very high (resulting in risk taking without fear of consequences) to very low (resulting in depression and suicidal thoughts). These mood shifts between two extremes or "poles" are termed "bipolar" in psychiatry and it is high time we demystify this term. Sufferers of bipolar often use alcohol or drug stimulants to try and control their mania (high mood). Therefore, addictive behaviors often develop in an unknowing attempt to self-treat an underlying mood disorder. The good news is, there is a treatment available. The bad news is, only a fraction are correctly diagnosed by a professional who can administer it competently. Four extremely important facts to know are:   1) The person suffering is in no way to blame.      2) Antidepressants are not addictive.   3) The feeling of contentment an antidepressant produces is what people normally experience when they're healthy and their mood-regulating neuro- chemicals are working properly.   4) Antidepressants do not take away ambition or creativity. In fact, they stop depression from interfering with ones life so normal responsibilities can be taken on and success achieved. The public and professionals alike must educate themselves to avoid misconceptions and bring this illness out of the dark ages and into the light of recovery.