Good article, IMO. Tom Cruise should just shut up, hes getting on everyone's nerves and is talking about things he doesn't understand.
By Jim McKairnes Thu Jul 7
Fifteen minutes. That's all I want from Tom Cruise. I know he's a busy guy. Just 15 minutes.
Not to fight. That's not my style, although for some reason Tom sure seems primed for one these days.
Not to debate, either: We've all had enough of that when it comes to the can of mental-health worms he has opened in print with Brooke Shields and on TV with Matt Lauer, about the dangers of anti-depressants and the evils of psychiatry.
Fifteen minutes just to talk. But I'd do the talking: He might have said enough.
I'd start by taking a few of those minutes to introduce him to the memory of my mother's brother. He died in 1968 when I was just a small kid, but I vividly remember Uncle Tommy from my Sunday visits to my grandmother's house, where he spent frequent weekend-furloughs from the veterans' psych facility that he called home.
A sweet guy
I remember a sweet and quiet guy, but also a troubled and sad one - even to my small eyes. I'd tell Tom that I don't think any amount of vitamins or exercise would have helped Uncle Tommy as I saw him. And I'd say that though there might be no such thing as a chemical imbalance, something put Uncle Tommy in that corner living-room chair of my grandmother's house, talking quietly to himself. Something put him in that hospital, too, where he died in his 30s. I'd just want to tell Tom Cruise that.
Then I'd take five minutes to tell him about me and my own mother and Thanksgiving Day 1977, when I was a young teen. About how I found her that morning and about her struggle to survive just that one Thursday. I'd tell Tom that I don't like to remember, much less talk about, Thanksgiving 1977, but I'd be willing to revisit it with him.
We could speculate about heredity and genetics and how mental health involves the brain as an organ, with wiring and neurotransmitters - maybe even chemicals. And how my mom, with seven kids and a decent diet, didn't suffer from lack of vitamins and exercise.
After that, I'd mention to Tom how a while back my aunt ended years of her own mental disorder by buying a handgun, retreating to her empty apartment, and firing into her head.
To end the pain in one shot.
But I'd get through that tale quickly - it's a tragic one anyway - so that I could spend my remaining minutes on what I talk to no one about in this image-conscious town and business where I live and work (Hollywood): my life over the past 10 years since the genetic family giant awoke in me.
I'd tell him about the private agony since Christmas 1995 when something got out of whack - an imbalance, if he would allow - and about how the long days and longer nights since have been about trying to restore that balance.
Making an exception
The details of the struggle are no one's business - let alone the readers of the nation's newspaper - but I'd make an exception for Tom Cruise. Because I'd just want him to know about someone like me, not that dissimilar from him, a single, white, early-40s guy in a stressful profession, but someone familiar with taking medicine to address biological needs.
Then I'd try to explain how I think it's so important for him to know me - and to know the hurt his dismissive broad-stroke words have on guys like me and the damage they might have on others who may use them as a substitute for a medical diagnosis - that I'm willing to sacrifice my privacy to do so.
With any remaining time, I'd tell Tom that I applaud his seeming concern for his fellow man - I really do - as well as his interest in talking about more than just movies. But then I'd ask, respectfully, where (and, for that matter, when?) did he study the history of psychiatry? And does he know there's a difference, for starters, among anti-depressant and anti-psychotic and anti-anxiety medication, or the difference among depression and melancholy and psychosis and learning disabilities, or between adults who are prescribed drugs and kids who abuse them? And does the Harvard School of Medicine know about his conclusions? Because I don't see them in the piece I'm currently reading about the diagnosis and treatment of mental health.
Finally, I'd tell him that though I, too, think the population as a whole is well over-medicated with all kinds of substances that mask rather than treat issues - and that we all should question anything we ingest before we ingest it - I think eliminating legitimate treatment might not be the best way to treat a problem. I don't think it eliminates the problem.
It might in fact make it worse.
Fifteen minutes. That's all I need. To tell Tom Cruise that.
Jim McKairnes is a writer who lives in Los Angeles.
_________________ "If he isn't the best football player, the best runner, that the Lord has ever made, then the Lord has yet to make one." Wayne Fontes on Barry.
July 7th, 2005, 2:23 pm
Joined: December 31st, 2004, 9:55 am Posts: 12482
I agree, great article and for the record TOM SHUT THE HELL UP!!!!!!!!!!