Mom says 'I am Adam Lanza's Mother' article mirrors her own struggles

Karen Grischuk says she's struggled getting help for her 13-year-old son who has mental problems.

CONWAY, S.C. (WPDE) - Shortly after the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, a woman wrote an article called "I am Adam Lanza's mother."

The article spread quickly across the internet and a local mother said she can relate.

The article's author Liza Long, like Nancy Lanza, has a child with mental health issues, and Long detailed her difficulties in dealing with his violent outbursts.

Karen Grischuk's 13-year-old son has Asperger's, a form of autism. He's also been diagnosed with other mental problems including Oppositional Defiant Disorder or ODD and Intermittent Explosive Disorder.

Grischuk said when she read the letter online, it was like looking into a mirror. Her son has had several violent outbursts, and just like the author, she says she's having trouble getting her son the help he needs.

"Everyone just adores him when they meet him and when I tell them he's in the hospital or that he's had an episode most people can't believe it. They're like 'oh not (name omitted), he's just so sweet.' Because he is, and he can be, and he's very loving. There's just something inherently wrong with the wiring of his brain that causes him to have these violent episodes," she explained.

According to Grischuk, her 13-year-old son has a high IQ, but is socially aloof. At times, when he doesn't get his way, he lashes out at her and has even threatened her life. Those outbursts have led to five hospitalizations this year. The latest incident happened a week ago. "I never even saw it coming. He actually jumped up and grabbed a fork and was planning on coming after me with a fork."

When Grischuk read the article, she no longer felt alone.

"I actually looked around to see if the author had a camera in my house, because the story she was describing was my life," she explained. "Believe or not it was relief. I think a lot of the stigma of mental illness is you feel so very alone that there's no one else out there that's going through the same thing you are. And I actually started to cry when I read the article."

Grischuk said part of the problem is her son isn't able to stay at a center long enough to be put on an effective treatment plan and there's a lack of residential facilities for children with mental health issues. Before finding a local child psychiatrist who could help her son, she used to travel to Rockingham, North Carolina to see a doctor there.

"The hospital can't set up a treatment plan because my insurance does a review every four days. So the the hospital knows that every four days he could be released, because as soon as he's deemed not to be a danger to himself or others, he's released. You can't come up with a treatment plan in four days," said Grischuk. "I want my son to be home. I don't want him put into a facility, but also I'm not going to die by the hand of my child."

Griscuk said what she's going through is embarrassing, but believes it's important for her to speak out so her son and others can get the help they need. "This is an epidemic. It's a severe, serious problem to have these kids that are so brilliant, but so troubled."

Despite his problems, Grischuk is hopeful her son will get the right help soon. She also plans to start reaching out to politicians to get some help and change the system.