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A story about a little blond boy who had big dreams and important plans

On Second Thought
Lead Summary
Lori Sorenson

Once upon a time there was a little blond boy who grew up near Luverne between the Rock River and Blue Mounds State Park.
He was made of “snips and snails and puppy dogs’ tails,” with boundless energy and an effervescent love for life. Behind his blue eyes sparks of mischief and brilliance.
He’d leap out of bed at sunrise and grab his bicycle and pole to go fishing in Hallett’s Pond on Darling’s Bend.
The little blond boy had big dreams and important plans, and he couldn’t wait to get out into the wide world to conquer obstacles that might stand in his way.
As he grew, he found a rewarding and challenging career that let him be his own boss and work with wonderful and interesting people.
He married a girl who appreciated his free spirit and nurtured his quest for adventure. Together they built a home with two little boys of their own.
Life was good.
Or so it seemed.
But clouds were gathering on the horizon.
The boy began to falter. He learned that a drink helped to calm his mind, which often spun faster than his feet could keep up.
There was so much to do and too many opportunities to seize and not enough time or resources — or focus — to accomplish them.
One day he found himself alone in his truck with a nearly emptied 12-pack of beer.
It scared him.
And he told his wife. And together they sought help.
But it turns out the help for too much drinking didn’t help to quiet his unquiet mind.
He discovered some street drugs could help him fall asleep at night and get up in the morning.
There were arrests, and jail time and in-patient treatments. And eventually a bipolar diagnosis, which led to a long list of trial-and-error prescriptions.
Which made him feel numb. And apathetic. Which was at times worse than being depressed or manic.
The boy with the big dreams and important plans had become a man searching for the boy he once was.
He watched his marriage, career and other cherished blessings slip through his hands and out of reach.
And hope for a better life began to dim.
How had this happened?
Here’s how:
The little blond boy with big dreams and important plans grew up in an era when brain health was spoken of in whispers.
Brain health professionals were only guessing at how to treat diagnoses, and health insurance reimbursed for brain care at a fraction of what it’s worth.
Which means promising brain health doctors left for specialties with better pay.
And patients had fewer options for care, leaving many innocent souls unable to find relief for their brain health conditions.
The story of the little blond boy doesn’t have a happy ending, and his obituary appears on Page 7 of this week’s paper.
It's the same sad ending as the stories of so many others who lost their hopes and dreams — and their lives — to mental illness.
Rest in peace, Scott.
We’ll keep fighting for better outcomes, but your free spirit is free at last.

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