Thursday, May 12, 2005

Embrace the Abyss (part 2)

This is part 2 of a story, Part 1 can be found here.

I sat opposite my friend - conscious of the situation, but not overwhelmed. She excused herself and the left the living room for a few moments.

I sat waiting, calmly smoking a cigarette and I heard her fiddling with the front door. She returned. It seemed quite certain that she had locked the front door and pocketed the key.

My understanding of mental illness is not vast, but being a madman myself and living with and around mad people I have figured out a few things. It was these things that I kept of almost repeating to myself like a little mantra.

How to be sympathetic without becomming embroiled in the delusion? I asked myself, so I listened and when confronted with something too challenging I just said,

"Hmmmm, that's interesting."

Luckily enough she seemed to calm herself down. I knew I was getting through. It had taken quite a while of me listening to me to find the correct angle to come in and offer the solution. But everytime it would slip away and I would lose the initiative.

So patiently I steered the conversation away and around back towards the hard part,

"I'm a problem solver," I said to her, "I'm here to solve - that's why I'm here tonight. That's why you invited me into your house - you know what it is you have to do. You said yourself that you're a fighter. Well you need to fight the good fight, one call and I can fast track you towards that fight. But we can't do anything unless you say you are willing to fight that good fight."

She was looking at a nervous breakdown, she knew that her perception of reality was not straight and she needed help. She was neither aggressive nor outwardly paranoid; at least as far as I could tell.

But she was all alone in that flat, all alone with these stories in her head, all alone with these problems (real or imagined) ... all alone.

I had done some simple homework before I went round, I had the numbers of the hospitals and clinics and also I had vaguely familarised myself with the informal admission process.

She looked at me, I could feel the relief, both in me and in her, I clutched my mobile phone in my hand,

"Just say Yes." I told her. "Just say yes, and we'll do this, we'll do it right now; tonight."

In the end she did say yes, but we never went that night. She went the next morning. It was the right thing to do for her and probably for me too. She called me the next morning and I took a prayer book to her in the hospital. She had sorted out her affairs and taken herself to the mental hospital to admit herself.

But after all that, after all that effort - after all she was willing to do in order to win the big fight - she was not admitted.

The doctor saw her and simply prescribed some medication. From what I understand, she will be on those drugs for the rest of her life.

I do not know whether that was the right or the wrong decision for her but she was willing to fight the big fight - which in my book was worth everything.

Today is now Thursday, she will have been on the drugs for 3 days. I hope she is okay.



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