Today's Oprah

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Steely, Feb 18, 2011.

  1. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    OMG....Really the best show I have seen on National TV about the early onset of mental illness, possibly ever.

    If you did not record this, go back and find it on the internet. The parent she had on there, who like all of us - did everything she could, yet her 7 year old tried to kill her - was so honest and had so much candor it was amazing.

    15 million kids suffer from early onset mental illness, and Oprah is the first that I have heard to address this head on.

    When and if my book gets published, this is exactly what it will be about. Bringing light to the stigma of childhood mental illness.

  2. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Steely. It's rebroadcast at 1 am here, and I've already set the DVR.
  3. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I'll watch for it here - when things like Oprah or Dr Phil screen here is fairly random. We've only just started getting Dr Oz a fortnight ago.

  4. frustration

    frustration New Member

    Can anyone tell me where Oprah got her stats from of 15 million kids suffering from early onset mental illness? I do not believe there are 15 million who have the same thing as that boy on there did...I think by her saying that stat during the show highlighting his extreme case will just make it easy for parents with high energy kids who have tantrums and act out to slap a label on them. I think the stats of kids who have the serious condition that boy has would be low and I wish she would have clarified that. the reason the stats are so high i think is because of all the bandwagon jumpers who get a label on their kid for any behaviour that is not falling in line with the status quo.
  5. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    You may be right about the "labels" but they did point out that this little boy was a very extreme case. I found the whole episode absolutely chilling and I can't even imagine having to live the way that family did with that child. At one point it was so bad that the father had to move with to a different location with their younger child.

    I think the show did a very good job in pointing out that some young children CAN have very serious mental illnesses. There's a tremendous amount of ignorance out there. I personally know people who refuse to believe that a child could have a mental illness! They claim it's all the fault of bad parenting or neglect or a lack of discipline. They just have no idea!
  6. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    I thought Oprah did a really good job, and handled things as diplomatically as she could with a sensitive subject. For Oprah to air something like that gives knowledge to millions.
    (I also wondered where they got the stat of 15 million mentally ill kids in America.)

    The only thing that I was a little disappointed about was that the actual diagnosis for the boy was not made known (or I missed it), and the mom seemed to be pretty anti medications. Which made me wonder how the boy was truly being treated and helped. I would hate for parents with kids like that out there to think that a kiddo with that degree of a mental illness can live a healthy life with just imagery of light techniques, etc.

    I don't know maybe I am being too picky - there was a lot to talk about in that one hour - and a lot of political correctness I am sure had to take place.
  7. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    Steely, if you missed the diagnosis, so did I. I don't think they ever did say exactly what his diagnosis was. And I noticed that too about the medications. The mother mentioned that when he was younger, he was on medications but she did sound like she was down on that, almost like she thought that was an "artificial" solution and she wanted him to learn to overcome his problems himself (and not rely on medications?). At least that's the impression that I got.
  8. totiredtofight

    totiredtofight New Member

    it said Zach was diagnosed with sensory integration disorder..
  9. I watched this episode and found it to be both interesting and informative. They mentioned that the son had received several diagnoses, Sensory Integration Disorder (SID), and bipolar disorder, but they did not specify the others. Something about his interview with Oprah gave me the creeps, and I can't put my finger on exactly what it was. He seemed to be overly "controlled" for a child his age, and even somewhat "brainwashed". I know those are strong words, but he just didn't seem spontaneous and genuine. However, I can't argue with success. Whatever works for this family is great in my book.

    I also appreciate the education that Oprah's audience had exposure to... maybe some families will understand that they need help with their children - and that it is good to seek help.That alone is invaluable.

    Last edited: Feb 19, 2011
  10. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Yea, Valerie, I agree - the one on one with Oprah was odd. That was actually where I started to wonder - what is the deal here. I am sure there had been a lot of prep for the "talk with Oprah" but I wish they had been a little bit more open with his true diagnosis and his road to recovery.
    It's weird I watched it the first time and found it awesome, then the second time I started to wonder "why" certain things were not addressed.
  11. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I haven't watched it yet (it's waiting for me on the DVR), but I've refused to watch Oprah for years, ever since she had Tom Cruise on, and they both insisted that ADHD etc. were not real, and medications were unnecessary. What does Oprah know? She isn't married, she doesn't have kids, and even if she did, she could afford any and all treatments necessary with no fuss or arguments.

    The impression I get from some of her other shows is that if you just think you're all well, you are, and any disorder that remains is only because you don't have enough faith/belief/whatever. She is a huge influence on a huge number of people, and I find that very scary. She gives all sorts of advice with little to no real world experience to back it up.
  12. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    I thought too that the one-on-one interview she did with the boy was more than a little creepy! He was very "controlled" and seemed to talk much more like an adult than like a child of his age ... and did anyone else notice his eyes? His eyes kind of twitched and he looked around in all directions every time before he spoke. Very strange.
  13. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I don't get that vibe form her shows at all, Mary. Yes, she is a huge influence, and there have been times (such as Jenny McCarthy! GRRRR!) when I want to throw something at the screen, but her interview technique is largely reflection. She listens to her guest, lets them talk about what they want to promote, she asks a few questions where necessary to draw out the full story - and only sometimes does she show her own bias. When she does, her opinion is based on a combination of the pre-interview briefing from the guest and also from vast amounts of research and background work by her staff. She is a skilled and experienced interviewer and an intelligent person. So she is capable of finding out information and forming her own opinions.

    Those opinions are not always right, but they are based on information as well as her own point of view.

    She is now increasingly aware of the power of her influence - her trip Down Under was very much a coordinated effort with Australian Tourism Bureau and frankly was better than any attempted advertising they've done in recent years. For the last five years or more, our tourism ads have been an international joke. Even our own comedy/current affairs shows have been poking fun at them - the "Where the bl**dy he!! are you?" ad campaign morphed into a joky scare campaign about the wide open spaces and the number of mass murderers who have made their name killing tourists - it became "Australia - "Where the bl**dy he!! are you buried?" (reference - "The Gruen Transfer" - Aussie TV show which analyses advertising. Worth trying to find a podcast if you can]

    Back to Oprah - she is immensely powerful and influential. I do believe she is aware of the responsibility this brings for her - she does make considerable effort to get things right. She may not always succeed, but she has a high strike rate, in my opinion.

    I have not seen this episode - not sure when it will air down here. But on the mental health stats, I can tell you, from very high authority - a well-known and highly reputable mental health team here, often used as spokespersons in the media and whose research is often published in peer- reviewed journals, repeatedly report that clinical depression (for all sorts of reasons) occurs in 1 in 4 people. In a previous lifetime of mine (about 15-20 years ago) I spent a lot of time working with these guys especially in research and PR. I saw their research - epidemiological studies and longitudinal studies. That 1 in 4 statistic was just for depression. If you translate that to the number of kids in the US today, you have a starting figure. Add in other mental health conditions and their incidence and you may find that the numbers Oprah quoted may even seem conservative.

    She would not have plucked the figure out of thin air. It would have been provided by medical experts advising the program.

    I'm hoping she has learnt, over the years, to independently verify claims made by guests on the show. She shouldn't have to, as a reporter. But her high profile and reputation now mean she has a higher standard to adhere to. She can't afford to get it wrong any more. The world is just too vulnerable, and well-meaning mistakes are far less forgivable.

  14. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I'm not Oprah's biggest fan................not her enemy either, just some things she's done I don't agree with and rub me wrong. But I'm going to find and watch this when I get a chance.

    Although not her biggest fan.............I still respect and admire her for bringing child molestation out of the shadows as well as domestic violence.

    She is influential and powerful now, but I believe deep down she does try hard to do things right and to do the right things. Especially on these types of things. But she's as human as the rest of us, and so is the staff she has working for her.
  15. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I watched the interview this evening, and I felt the boy was very controlled, but his eyes were all over the place while talking. And there was a huge focus on "keeping away the evil energy,"and how he feels he has everything under control now because he's perfect the way he is. I totally disagree with telling kids they're perfect just the way they are. First, there is no motivation to make any kind of necessary change if their perfection is over-emphasized. Second, it puts an enormous amount of pressure on a child, who may not feel perfect, but feels the need to be as perfect as possible for someone else's standard.

    The mom also blamed the drugs for her child's difficulties now, not really saying if they were necessary at the time, or will they be needed again. At least the older boy they mentioned did emphasized parent support and the right medications were what helped him be successful.
  16. 4timmy

    4timmy New Member

    Just watched this. I think Zach may also have Tourettes Syndrome. This would explain the tics (facial and eye movements). Some of his responses seem scripted, however, it could just be him repeating what he has learned in order to control his rage. This doesn't mean he actually understands it, however. He didn't seem to me like he really truly understands it all yet.

    Awesome show. What's ironic is I had this conversation with my difficult child this afternoon. He is extremely negative almost all of the time. We were driving home from the YMCA and he says to me out of the blue "I'm going to get shot one day". If I could bottle up positive thoughts and send them to school with my difficult child every day, we'd be set.

    I think the trick here is that these kids may not have the capacity to recognize a negative thought or feeling coming on until it is too late. They need to learn how to recognize the feelings and learn coping mechanisms to deal with these feelings. My difficult child has improved greatly over the past year, but he has only learned how to calm himself during or after the explosion has occurred. He just doesn't seem to have the ability to understand and express his feelings in a healthier way or recognize that he is angry before the explosion and then click into preventative mode.

    I am not convinced from Oprah's interview with Zach that he did either. A lot of what he said sounded as if he was repeating what someone at some point explained to him.

    What Zach expressed is truly a scary thing. I'm not saying that Zach could have symptons of psychopathy, but I've watched several documentaries on psychopathy that present some really interesting findings with the chemical structure of a psychopath's brain. In a nutshell, the theory is that a person can be born with the chemical makeup in the brain that's the same as a psychopathic killer. Areas in the brain that allow you to feel emotion basically don't exist or aren't developed. The belief is that a person born with this brain deficiency are at a higher risk of becoming a criminal, killer, etc. Life experiences along with this deficiency play a role in predicting whether or not the person will become a killer. In one documentary, they had even discussed the development of a brain chip that could some day be implanted into someone who has this condition that would lower or eliminate these risks.
  17. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    I watched it and I have to say that I had tears in my eyes because I felt like someone was on television talking about this and it was not a blame-fest on the parents. I found that refreshing. For so long I have heard that it was all fault and that if I "parented him properly" difficult child would not behave the way that he does. Someone was on televison saying that they did everything they could and he still had behavioral issues.

    I also heard what she said about the medications and I didn't agree with her about it. Yes, it's great that she wants her son to learn to hold himself together, but sometimes medications are needed. No amount of training to look for the white light is going to help everybody.

  18. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    That is really interesting - I would like to learn more about.
    That is also why I wish they would have said what the kiddos current "diagnosis" is - but I understand also that he is only 10.
    I also assumed the eyes were Tourettes, or something like that - he knew what he should say - and I felt like Oprah did a good job of trying to relate to him.

    As you all have said Oprah has had her moments of cr@p (I personally will never watch a Tom Cruise movie ever again) - but for the most part, and from what I see, her heart is coming from the right place. She truly wants to help.
    And, even more importantly, this show was about kids with mental illness, and she has the media power to bring this to the light to try to help remove the stigma - and she did. To me, that is HUGE. If you have power, by golly, you better do something to help people.
  19. 4timmy

    4timmy New Member

    I posted a 5-Part Documentary about new discoveries in the study of Psychopathy.

    I didn't feel it was appropriate to post it here so I've posted it in Videos under "Other Topics"

    I found it extremely interesting, however, I should confess that after I watched some of these documentaries, I worried a lot for awhile.
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2011
  20. 4timmy

    4timmy New Member

    Zach's mom posted the following on Oprah's website... just thought I'd share...

    "LaurieFerris : This is Zach's mom. I'd like to clarify a few things. He was diagnosed with Sensory Integration Disorder, Severe ADHD, Unspecified Mood Disorder and Tourette's. Zach was on a variety of psychotropic drugs in the early years which for the most part did not help. He has been off of all medications for the past year and 1/2. We are strong believers in alternative and holistic approaches to helping these children besides using drugs. Proper nutrition, exercise and limited exposure to television, computers and violence are also important. The reason he is living away from home with me is so that he can attend a special school that utilizes alternative approaches such as energy work, yoga, vegetarian diet, meditation etc. to help him with his attention and focus issues, which are also greatly improved. The tics are a result of his Tourette's, and they are actually much milder than they used to be several years ago. What has helped Zach the most has been "energy work" that he has done for the past two years with an extraordinary counselor who taught Zach to shift his thoughts from negative to positive ones. We believe that Zach is an "energetically sensitive child" and that he has great potential to do wonderful things in the world as long as he stays positive and in the light. Thanks to all who have taken the time to post comments on Oprah's site.. For more information, you can contact me on facebook at SavingZach or at"
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2011