"PULLMAN, Wash. — An Idaho man accused of striking two Washington State University students with his car has been charged with two counts of vehicular assault and two counts of hit-and-run.

Daniel Noble, 31, was also charged Wednesday with one count of resisting arrest during a bizarre court appearance in which he refused to sit behind his desk and then sat with his hands in a prayer-like position.

Noble’s attorney, Mark Moorer, said it was likely Noble suffered delirium during the incident Monday, which Moorer attributed to many things, from face cream to excessive caffeine consumption."

Thank God, the two WSU students (my son's best friend goes there!!) are going to be OK even though they do have broken bones. I know, full well, that this case is going to become fodder for late night TV jokes. But, I happen to think that it's another wake up call for our society.

Note how this man had a good job (interviewed well, has an income) and is married. Note how Noble's wife noticed something amiss three days before the accident. Do I think caffeine is the cause of this? Of course not. Do I think stress and mental instability played a part? You bet!!

I know that there must be some of you who roll your eyes and think, "Poor Missizzy has mental illness on the brain." I admit it, I do. I have chosen to live my life around loved ones who suffer from serious mental illness and see the day to day challenges they deal with. These are the children whom our family chose to bring into our family. I don't believe I've ever shared this next bit of info before, though.

Our only three birth children (as in...planned pregnancies, loving bonds, everything done "right" by two adoring parents) are all mentally ill. Very mentally ill. Each one had a sudden onset of bipolar disorder at age 28 (mixed with the hereditary neuro-immune disease which affects my side of the family). All three young men were vibrant, successful and healthy. All are well educated, brilliant, handsome men. They were all business owners and had families. Each one is a man who you would welcome into your home and have a fabulous time visiting with.

Within months of turning 28, though, each had breakdowns and their lives literally crumbled. They did things that I never in a million years would have imagined. The grandiosity, the depression, the rage, the wicked words, the risk-taking behaviors--the absolutely violent swings--took me and my husband's breath away. We spent almost all our money and a good five years of our lives getting them back on their feet and to a reasonable level of stability. It's a tenuous stability, however. A tight rope of a life.

I vividly remember one son regaling me with the number of cups of coffee he'd drank that day, the number of hours he'd been up straight, the speeds at which he had driven, and the amount of alcohol he'd imbibed--all while holding down his own business. I remember the shock of learning that a son had flown to Europe three times in a single month. I remember the broken-hearted loving daughters-in-law who were literally shell-shocked. They didn't see it coming either. We all valued their eccentricities and joie de vivre, their creativity, their charming ways. We didn't see the illness until it had run us over. And then it happened again. And again.

This is why I sound like a broken record. I live with the people you and I write about each day--not monsters, but people doing crazy and unbelievable things. People who were raised with love and direction and respect. People who should "know better".

I can't tell you how often I rush to open a thread quickly so I can learn if one of my children was involved. I check the police calls for our region before I have my coffee each morning. I adore my sons and am constantly amazed at the tenacity they have to stay on their meds (most of the time) and to cobble together a respectable life for themselves and their families. Their strength and fortitude are awesome. They inspire me.

I'm totally bedbound with an neuro-immune disease but I consider myself blessed beyond all belief that I don't have to carry the burdens of mental illness. I see the good in life, I laugh, I relax, I love. My default setting is on "blithering happiness" without a whit of effort. I consider that a gift beyond all others. Those I love with mental illness often struggle to hold it together day by day while trying to squeeze a tiny smidge of happiness out of life. I do not pity them but I do NOT envy them.

We've got to figure out, as a nation, how to respond to the ever-growing numbers of mentally-ill and stressed out people. These are not our enemies. These are not all monsters who were "born evil". They are our sons and daughters whose brains are not working properly. We can't be ashamed to ask for help. We can't be afraid to be confrontational and to bear the brunt of stepping on toes. We need to talk to one another and communicate our concerns. We need to figure out why so many many wonderful people are doing crazy things.

Off the soap box now. Thank you.