Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Mental Illness

Yes, I've seen the nut cases as I drive in downtown Eureka just as everyone else has. The people walking down the street talking to themselves. The guy and girl screaming at each other on the sidewalk where the whole world can see them (yes, I think that's not normal). You see it downtown and even in some neighborhoods.

I've recently had my first close, up front, experience with someone who is mentally ill, if not totally out of it. I've known him for many years and understand he's been treated for chemical imbalances in his brain before. All in all, though, he's seemed pleasant most of the time and even helpful. What started this recent deterioration I don't know, although some suspect he stopped taking his medication.

I noticed it start a few months ago. The guy seemed more than depressed at times, but that can happen to the best of us. Then maybe a week or two ago he started getting real weird. He came over one afternoon acting weird and then confessed he had something bothering him. He explained it to me and I told him I thought he was way overreacting. No big deal, but he wouldn't accept what I had to say, no matter how many times I said it. 

Then I heard through the wife others thought he had some mental condition. Asperger's Syndrome being one mentioned. I checked that out and it seemed to apply to just kids. The wife, who used to babysit him as a child, said she thought it might be something like that as he was weird even as a young kid.

Then it got real weird a couple days after he explained that first problem. I believe it was this last Saturday afternoon he came over and started rambling almost incoherently about things he'd "seen" and heard in church. A statue of the Virgin Mary that supposedly spoke to him, for instance. Probably not too out of line for a church boy but the way he told it sounded bonkers.

He went on to explain he had two different messages. One was God and the Virgin Mary might be teasing him, or he'd blown it and was going to hell within a week. Then he asks me something like whether I thought what he saw was real or just "war games". I had no idea what he meant by war games but I told him it was probably war games. He wasn't satisfied and got even more incoherent, starting over with the same rant every five minutes or so. Real bonkers stuff.

In between all this he'd helped himself to beer in my refrigerator, then went out to the back yard and started the same rant with Connie. Then he comes in and starts in on me again. I keep telling him it's war games and he's likely hallucinating. He just ignores that and keeps going at it over and over. Finally, he's got church again in an hour or so, so he leaves.

Monday was what finally did it. He comes over at 8 in the morning asking for beer. He comes in. I'm on the computer. He grabs a beer from the fridge and power downs it. Then grabs another one. This would piss me off regardless, as nobody interrupts my mornings, and he's even worse this time than last.

He starts in again on how he wants to please God and asks me one thing or another about that, over and over again. I tell him he's not pleasing God power drinking at 8 in the morning. He ignores that and keeps going. Connie comes in and he starts with her. She just tells him he's not well and needs help. She asks if he's been taking his medication. He just looks at her as if she doesn't know what she's talking about. He's looking like a madman.

After power drinking 5 beers in less than ten minutes, he goes into the bathroom where he's talking to himself. He comes out after a while, grabs another beer and chugs it. Then he goes over to the kitchen sink and throws up. Mostly beer, the way it sounded. I'm already pissed and am getting angrier. 

He starts in with his God thing again. I tell him in no uncertain terms God does not approve of what he's doing right now and he needs to stop. He says he's fine and will just do it for a couple more days, then he'll be fine. I tell him no he won't. He asks if he can have another beer. I remind him he just threw up but he says it's just from drinking too fast. I say he can't have another beer. I'm raising my voice. He looks at me as if I'm kidding.

I finally tell him he needs to leave and if I have to I'll call the police. He doesn't look as if he's taking me seriously, but he walks over to the front door, tries some last minute manipulating to stay. I tell him no. He leaves. Within a minute or two he's knocking on the front door again and asks if he can just watch TV for a half hour. I tell him no, close and lock the door.

I expected him to try and come back later in the day as he often does, but he didn't. I had decided, and told the wife, I'm just going to tell him he's not allowed in our house anymore unless he gets professional help and goes back on medication. Luckily, or not, I haven't had the chance to tell him that yet. 

The latest word is that he's really bad today. The plan is to get his daughter to try and convince him to get help, maybe at some live in place, or she won't see him again. That's about the best I can think of, aside from him getting arrested for something and let the courts try and force help on him.

Scary stuff when you see it up close and personal. I'll admit I am concerned for him, but it's also ruining my life and that of many others. I'm gonna do my best not to let him ruin mine.


At 2:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Just a few more days"....

Alcohol is a dangerous dangerous drug. Americans think it's safe because it's legal, but it's addicting qualities make it far from that. Hope the guy gets help before it's too late.

Alcohol causes bar fights, domestic disputes, child abuse, health problems, homelessness, unemployment, drunk driving deaths, hallucinations about god, ect...what should we expect when the media and country music in particular pushes alcohol on the public?

At 2:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Asperger's isn't just a children's disease, it doesn't magically go away once people hit 18. Plus, for people in their 30's, that diagnosis wasn't really around when they were kids, there was only autism, and the criteria was much different. Many of those kids only received the correct asperger's diagnosis as adults.

At 2:39 PM, Blogger MOLA:42 said...

For the record, Asperger's is neither a mental health issue nor is it a type of mental retardation. It is a part of the Autism Spectrum of conditions. And no, people with Asperger's do not "grow out of it." If they are lucky and if treatment works, they learn to deal with it. Not everyone does.

People with Autism (including Asperger's) don't hallucinate (at least no more than anyone else).

What you appear to be describing is a schizophrenic off his meds.

I'd limit contact with this fellow until he decides being back on his meds is the way to go.

At 2:50 PM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

I couldn't make heads or tails out of what I read about Asperger's. None of the stuff I read seemed to be anything I noticed in him. I was thinking Monday morning this is more along the lines of schizoid.

Yep, I want to limit contact. Easier said than done, though. The wife came home as I was writing this post and gave me the latest update. Then, within ten minutes she walks in the back door saying the guy and his father wanted to come in to say hi. They were out walking by and he suggested stopping by. What can you do?

He just walked in the door, looking quite bedraggled, said hi and stood there quietly for a minute with his father behind him. Then he left.

Kinda awkward cause I had this post finished and in draft form on my screen as he stood four feet away. He looked right at the screen. Don't know if he read any of what I'd been writing. Awkward, but if he did read it, just as well I suppose.No sense in pulling punches.

I didn't think it was the time to read him the riot act on not coming over anymore with his father standing there with him. It was all peaceful enough.

At 3:32 PM, Blogger MOLA:42 said...

"Bedraggled" could mean he's going back on his meds and his father is just getting him reacquainted with the neighborhood (and vice-versa).

There's a reason why schizophrenics go off their meds... they aren't much fun. They dull the senses and make thinking and feeling kind of an "uphill" struggle. Going off at first is a quite liberating feeling and by the time they start to show symptoms again they are too far gone to realize it for themselves.

However I am not a doctor (but I do play one on the internet).

At 4:19 PM, Blogger Julie Timmons said...

Dealing with mental illness is exhausting. You did well! Hope the poor guy gets the help he needs.

At 5:47 PM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

""Bedraggled" could mean he's going back on his meds and his father is just getting him reacquainted with the neighborhood (and vice-versa)."

Maybe I should have described his appearance as "disheveled"? I was glad to see his father seemed to have a rapport with him. Normally, he'd be at work at the time, but apparently took time off to help out and go on a walk with him.

As far as the meds go, I have nothing specific as to what meds he might have been taking, from when, or for how long. Just generalities about him being on them some time ago. I've also heard recently that he was in Semper Virens some time back- no idea how far back- but boasted later about tonguing meds and throwing them in the trash later. No idea about the specifics or how true that is.

Most recent news, though, is the father and mother seem to think he just needs a vacation- not that he works that much. I'm hearing they think if he just goes to their vacation property and swims around the pool for a couple days, that should straighten him out.

Total denial, imo. There's a serious problem here. but thanks for your input, MOLA and the rest.

At 9:26 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

Update: Whew! I thought this might drag out for a while. I realize it's not really over yet, but progress has been made.

Last I'd heard, his parents said he just needed "some time away". It took his daughter calling last night and reading him the riot act: Get help or you've seen the last of me. Not sure exactly what it took to get him in the car, but they took him to Semper Virens. I'm told he lunged at the steering wheel while they were driving there.

He's there now. A big relief, for now. No telling for how long, but hopefully improvement in his condition will be made.


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