The Ludlow Police Department posted a story yesterday about a woman who was causing a scene in a gas mask, before leading police on a high speed chase that ended with spike strips.
I’m highlighting this story not to shame this woman, but to bring awareness to mental illness. Naomi Tetherly does not have your typical bio of ratchets featured on Turtleboy:
A former special education director and academic enhancement coordinator for Robert M. Hughes Academy Charter Public School, Naomi Tetherly was responsible for creating individualized education plans for students with disabilities as well as working one-on-one with those students inside and outside of the classroom. The holder of a Massachusetts vice-principal/principal elementary license, Naomi Tetherly also worked as a second and third grade social studies and language arts teacher.
Prior to launching her teaching career, Naomi Tetherly worked for three years as a disability claims examiner for Hartford Life Insurance Company. She earned a bachelor’s in psychology from Columbia University in 2001, and in 2013 completed a master’s in school administration at American International College.
In her free time, Ms. Tetherly enjoys attending services at Bethany Church as well as running in various types of races, from half marathons to cross-country and trail races. She is an avid traveler who counts the Cayman Islands and Dominican Republic among her favorite places to visit, and is also in the process of writing a children’s book.
According to commenters she was the valedictorian of her class at Chicopee High School in 1993 and an Ivy League graduate. She’s an avid runner, to the point of obsession based on her Twitter timeline that suddenly stopped the day she was arrested.
In 2015 she went missing in Chicopee.
Three years later she went missing again.
This woman seemingly did everything right in her life, never abused drugs or alcohol, and became this way due to something she has almost no control over. Look at what people are saying about her in the comments.
I’m not sure why this arrest was highlighted on Facebook by LPD. Maybe it was to bring awareness or maybe there’s more we’re not privy to. It’s just sad because mental illness is one of the worst things plaguing our society, and we’re not doing much to stop it. This could be me or you someday. It could your brother, sister, wife, husband, son, daughter, or parent. We can’t force people like this to be institutionalized until they commit a crime, and by then the damage is often done.
In 2017 a blog was published on Turtleboy Sports, not by me, but by one of my handful of bloggers I had at the time. Although I didn’t edit or approve blogs back then (I just let them publish and sometimes didn’t even read them) I still take full responsibility because legally the website is mine, and it has since been removed. It was about a mentally ill man named Conor O’Reagan who was arrested for stabbing a nurse at Harrington Hospital in Southbridge.
Conor was one of my students at Shepherd Hill who graduated in 2011, and I coached him on the track team. He was quiet, respectful, well behaved, and reserved. He was a good student who came from a good family, and he never gave anyone problems. What he did was horrible, but it wasn’t who he was. Although he nearly killed a completely innocent person it still hurt to see him in shackles because I knew a completely different Conor. He didn’t get this way by doing drugs and going down a bad path. He got this way because his brain became infected and he lost control of who he was.
I don’t know what the solution is for people like Naomi and Conor, who are clearly a danger to themselves and the public, but our society is failing them and other people besides them are being hurt. Luckily she didn’t hurt anyone, and being forced into state care may be the best thing that could happen to her. If you have a loved one like this the best thing you can do for them is get them into a mental health clinic where they can get the round-the-clock treatment they need. They’ll likely object and hate you for it, but it’s better that they hate you now than end up doing something horrible that can’t be undone.
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