When handsome, wealthy investment banker Ted Ammon missed a Monday morning business meeting and failed to pick up his children from school, friends were concerned. Ted was nothing if not reliable. He had spent the weekend at his East Hampton home, so his business partner took a helicopter ride to his estate to see what Ted was up to.
Ted stood out as an athletic guy who loved his kids and his three dogs. But Ted had been going through a lengthy, nasty divorce and child custody battle. His wife was universally believed to be a difficult woman and she was dating a man with a criminal history.
Join us at the quiet end today for In His Own Home: The Ted Ammon Story. This story shows us how even the most perfect-looking among us has struggles and dangers in their lives that may lead to tragic endings.
I’ve waited a long time to watch this one because it makes me think about things that happened with my mom–which are not exactly pleasant. The aspect of mental illness and religion specifically. When I was very little my mom was diagnosed with several mental illnesses and put on medication. She was doing fairly well until we switched to a new a church and a group of women at the church, none who were qualified in any way, convinced my mom to go off her medication and rely on faith in God. The two boats and a helicopter story again. Anyway, the results were terrible and destroyed our entire family. At 33 years old I still deal with issues that went through as a child with a mother who had a long period of severe mental illness. Even when she was back on medications it took her awhile to get better and even then she wasn’t ever really the same. Moral of the story: if you don’t have any medical or psychiatric experience you shouldn’t be advising people about their medications, and if you’re a religious person, maybe have a few brain cells and think for a moment that maybe God gave us BRAINS to think with, brains which were able to develop medications to help things. You know what the ‘funny’ thing was? When one of the women in that group had a daughter who had appendicitis she didn’t reject the emergency surgery in favor of having faith in God. Another didn’t reject all the medical intervention when she gave birth to a baby with health problems in favor of having faith in God. Do you think they were going around to the elderly church members and telling them to throw away their oxygen, stop taking their insulin, rip out their pacemakers, and have faith in God for those things? No. All of the women from that group were people who went to the doctor for their ailments, or their kids ailments, or have at the very least swallowed a tablet of Tylenol or two in their lifetime. I mean, a headache isn’t that big of deal in the grand scheme of things. Why not just have faith that God will get you through the day without popping a pill? None of them did the thing they were pushing my mom to do. Maybe they just didn’t know that mental illness can be kind of a big deal. I don’t know. Sorry this comment is so angry. But basically people who don’t know shit about shit should keep their mouths closed and let professionals deal with it. It’s not a matter of faith, or playing holy lady at church, or whatever. Improper treatment/management of mental illnesses can have severe impacts for the person, the persons family, even to the point of something awful like what happened with Andrea Yates’ kids. The only proper thing to say to a person who deals with mental illness, if you’re not trained, is either “I’ll listen if you want to talk” (and I’ve learned over time that actually most people just want someone to listen so they can vent–most of the time they actually don’t want advice or expect you to solve their problems for them) or “I’ll help you find someone who can help you”. Thanks again for doing these podcasts. Many of them are difficult to listen to given the nature of the subjects but many bring up really important issues that extend beyond the crimes committed and it’s important. We really do need better care and solutions for people who deal with mental illness–and better healthcare in general. Man, when you guys said the insurance company called AFTERWARDS to ask if they could do anything… I wanted to throw my laptop out the window. The NERVE! Ugh.
I certainly understand how some of these stories bring back things you dealt with when you were younger. I experience the same thing with many of our cases and even have stopped in the middle of research and said to Dick “I just can’t do this one.” As far as mental health and the stigma, it is something that is treated differently than other illnesses in religion and in society as a whole. Hopefully, things are changing for the better. Still, things change so slowly and people are often very hypocritical. I appreciate your sharing your thoughts on this so much and I wish you all of the best.
Many thanks and my best to you, Jill