Sunday, March 19, 2006

Rusty Yates Moves On

My friend Madame DeBarge told me that Rusty Yates remarried yesterday. Who is Rusty Yates? Why, he is the man who encouraged his wife, Andrea Yates, to do things that put her at risk of becoming psychotic. He's the one who stood by and watched his wife become progressively more ill, and who did nothing to help her. Eventually, Andrea drowned their five children. I couldn't find a link to a story announcing Rusty's happy event, so I'll just link to this story about Rusty moving on. Just in time, too, Rusty. Andrea's retrial starts tomorrow! But Rusty's a stand-up guy:

Yates continues to stand by his ex-wife, who has pleaded innocent by reason of insanity.

Excuse me (sniff). I think I have something in my eye. (cries quietly) Oh Rusty, you are an honorable man! What a way to help Andrea!

Let's review what happened, shall we?

Andrea, Rusty, and their 4 oldest children lived on a bus. Conditions were obviously stressful, and to make matters worse, Andrea came under the influence of Michael Woroniecki, the minister who sold them the bus. What kind of influence was Woroniecki?

He preached, "the role of women is derived from the sin of Eve and that bad mothers who are going to hell create bad children who will go to hell." Andrea was so totally captivated by Woroniecki that Rusty and Andrea's family grew concerned.

The stress built and built. Andrea attempted suicide, was hospitalized and released with medications. She didn't take the meds. If you've never been on antidepressants and/or antipsychotics, you have no right to judge her decision. These drugs can cause extreme illness, so it's understandable when patients stop taking them. This reaction, stopping medication, is why it's so important for other people to be involved in caring for a person with mental illness. Maybe Rusty couldn't figure out that Andrea wasn't taking her medication. Well, it turns out that the symptoms were obvious:

... she began to self mutilate and refused to feed her children because she felt they were eating too much. She thought there were video cameras in the ceilings and said that the characters on television were talking to her and the children. She told Rusty about the hallucinations, yet neither of them informed Andrea's psychiatrist, Dr. Starbranch. On July 20, Andrea put a knife to her neck and begged her husband to let her die.
(emphasis mine)

Andrea was a little too sick to tell her doctor about these problems. Rusty, presumably was not suffering a terrible illness, yet he did nothing until a knife was at her throat. Andrea was hospitalized, and responded very well to medication. Not all patients do respond to meds, so this was wonderful news. She was presribed Haldol, an antipsychotic. It stopped Andrea's extreme symptoms, like hallucinations. However, the psyciatrist warned Rusty and Andrea that pregnancy would be very dangerous. Getting pregnant could cause more episodes of psychosis for Andrea.

Life seemed to be going well for the Yates. They moved out of the bus and into a house, and Andrea was taking her medication. Andrea resumed old activities, and seemed to be managing motherhood and her life well.

In March of 2000, Andrea, on Rusty's urging, became pregnant and stopped taking the Haldol.

How could Rusty do this? Why would he knowingly encourage his wife to do something so incredibly dangerous? He wanted a child? They already had four kids. They could have adopted. But in spite of the doctor's warning, and in spite of the couple's experience, he wanted her to get pregnant again.

After her daughter was born, Andrea's father died, and she began to crash. She wouldn't feed the baby, she wouldn't drink anything, and she mutilated herself, and "frantically read the bible".

By the end of March Andrea returned to a different hospital. Her psychiatrist, Dr. Mohammed Saeed, treated her briefly with Haldol but discontinued it, saying that she did not did not seem psychotic. Andrea was released only to return again in May. She was released in 10 days and in her last follow-up visit with Saeed, she was told to think positive thoughts and to see a psychologist.

Think positive thoughts? Dr. Saeed seems to have the same mindset as Rusty Yates: Even if you're dangerously ill, don't bother me. She didn't "seem" psychotic? That's a statement worthy of a layperson, who doesn't know what they're talking about. Dr. Saeed is a psychiatrist, a medical doctor trained in the specialty of mental illness. A woman with a serious psychiatric history that includes suicide attempts and psychosis is just not released without medication and told to think positive thoughts! Would he deprive a diabetic of insulin and tell them to just "visualize low blood sugar"?

Two days after being released, Andrea drowned her five children. Immediately after being taken into custody, she explained that she was a bad mother and was condemning her children to hell. She was corrupting her children through her own vile flaws, so she had to do the only thing she could to save them from hell.

Andrea Yates was obviously and profoundly ill long before she killed her children. The two people who could have prevented this from happening were her husband and her psychiatrist. Andrea did not kill her children in cold blood; she killed her kids as a last-ditch effort to save them. Don't discount what she believed because it doesn't make sense. Her logic was rooted in her psychosis. She lost the ability to think clearly and to make reasonable choices. She was severly mentally ill and she was not getting any help for her illness. Andrea desperately needed help. Her children desperately needed help. Those kids had a psychotic mother and a father who didn't give a rat's ass about his family. They were in trouble long before the day they died.

Tomorrow, Andrea will be on trial for murder for the second time. The one person who could not be responsible for her actions is being held responsible. Rusty Yates is free to do whatever he wants. Dr. Saeed is free to live his life. Andrea has to live with the fact that she killed all of her children. I can't imagine the pain she suffers. All of this could have been avoided. Happy honeymoon, Rusty!


Kim said...

I hate him. I hate that guy and I remember reading about this story and thinking why did he just keep going off to work and leaving her alone with these kids when he knew she suffered from mental illness?" And of course, all these kids? Why not contraception? He could have prevented this--but just what--chose to pretend it would all be okay???

Is he facing charges, SE? Does anyone know?

Thank the heavens, I am fortunate to have been spared chronic, serious mental illness. But I had serious, disabling depression during my pregnancy and somewhat afterwards. It was horrible. I'm sure besides whatever her official MI disagnosis, Andrea probably some degree of perpetual post-partum illness.

I'm assuming she is taking medication again?
Does anyone know how she is now?

existsnomore said...

That motherfucking monster. He urged her to get pregnant and stop taking her meds?! What a selfish, disgusting excuse for a human being.

spotted elephant said...

As far as I know, he isn't facing *any* charges.

At least originally, Andrea was medicated in jail/prison, because she stabilized and realized what she had done. *shudder* How sad is it that the piss-poor care people get in prison is an improvement over what she got before?

manxome said...

What Kat said. Rusty Yates is a monster.

Briefly, I dealt with Bipolar I symptoms for 5 years (SSRI induced). It was a long 5 years, confusing, frustrating, a huge strain on our marriage.

Near the beginning, I remember when I was doing bad and my husband was about to go to work. (I don't remember exactly what my state was then, probably mixed, so I was kinda uselsess.) He made some comment about me and the kids well-being as he left, and I yelled that if really was concerned about the kids then why is he leaving me with them? Two minutes later he returned and called into work that he was taking the day off.

I've come close to psychotic twice (the above example was not one of those times) and even then I had no control, I only at times realized how not in control I was, the rest of the time I had no clue. Damn.

I just cannot imagine, even in a less supportive relationship, blowing off full psychotic symptoms and stressors like he did... damn damn damn. You just wouldn't. You couldn't. Not unless you didn't care at ALL about any of them.

Yes, a motherfucking monster.

spotted elephant said...

Manxome-Exactly. When you're that sick, you can't tell that you're sick. If married, your spouse has to pay the slightest bit of attention and notice it.

But it seems like most people blame her, not him.

Anonymous said...

That Mother Fuc--- needs to be in prision. Why is the system failing these children. He knew he put them in harms way. That Bastard needs to face charges too. Neglegent There is too much focus on Andrea FOCUS ON THE BASTARD HUSBAND.... He has a clean slate and a corvette and a new wife and life... whats he gonna do put his past in a shoe box and close it. He gives men a bad name. I hope they go after his ass. John

witchy-woo said...

I agree with all of the above. He is the real guilty party in all this and should stand accountable for his (non)actions.

Something else that's struck me, though, is how women's experience of mental illness is so often ignored or misunderstood by the psychiatric profession. Although it happens in every sphere of medicine, I can't think of another area of clinical/medical practice where the perceived 'otherness' of women serves to negate and dismiss their reality quite so much.

Andrea Yates deserved better care than she got.

fiercelyfab said...

Unfortunately this happens a lot for many women that are also mothers.

Thank you for the history on her--wow, this guy is heart less.

Like kaka mak I too suffered from a pretty bad depression during pregnancy and afterwards. Only through intensive therapy and on hands family support am I able to stay afloat. So this story resonates with many women even though we arent' at that point or will be (let's actively try not to).

Hexyhex said...

And then I read a little further and realise that this particular feminist blogger who likes bunnies has a focus on mental health issues.

Thank you for existing.: )

At least originally, Andrea was medicated in jail/prison, because she stabilized and realized what she had done. *shudder*

That moment, that she experienced there? The one where the meds kick in and it slowly dawned on her what the "actual" events of the last little while have been?

I'm so fucking terrified of that moment ever happening to me.

spotted elephant said...

witchy-woo-Yes, I guess it shouldn't be surprising, since women get that response throughout health care. Doesn't make it any less revolting. Plus, women aren't considered rational, so I wonder how many psychiatrists just label a mentally ill woman as "normal", you know for a woman?

anon-Exactly. Why hasn't the focus been on good old Rusty? I've heard so many people wish Andrea *dead*.

fabulosamujer-I'm so glad that you got both the support and the help you needed. Like you pointed out-even with all of that you were just staying afloat. Women who have to go through this alone? Unbelievable and inexcusable. I hope you remain well.

hexyhex-You're making me blush. But isn't it great to find like-minded people? I love the internet!

That moment-I won't even pretend to have any idea of what that must have done to her. I hope that you have a good support system in place. In any event feel free to email me if you ever need an ear.

hexyhex said...

>>>That moment-I won't even pretend to have any idea of what that must have done to her. I hope that you have a good support system in place. In any event feel free to email me if you ever need an ear.<<<

Thank you, that's incredibly sweet of you.

I'm actually doing pretty well at the moment, in my own mutliple-disorder little way. Life is cruising along in a fairly ordered and reasonably healthy way.

But, you know, when life has completely turned inside out and upside down before, you're always scared it'll go even pointier one day.