Today I am fighting a losing battle with Insanity. He’s been loitering around on the edges of reality all morning…..his dark presence has been floundering in the shadows there, trying his best to break down my defences. Insanity and cynicism……two entities I have no time for in my little sunshine world…but today their attacks have been unrelenting.
It all began about 2 weeks ago when an old family friend was admitted to the psychiatric ward in the nearest hospital. She is a wonderful person, but in recent weeks she’s been acting a tad odd. So odd in fact, that her closest friends finally admitted her to the hospital against her will. We’ve all be worried sick, and nobody has been able to tell us exactly what’s going on. My first thought was that perhaps she had developed a brain tumor, which often causes odd and neurotic behaviour as it puts increasing pressure on certain parts of the brain. But that fear was laid to rest early on.
Because she had pretty much become part of our family, her family was also part of our family. I’ve been friends with her nephew for over 16 years. We went from hating each other’s guts, as ten year olds do, to being close friends…and in 16 years you get to know someone pretty well. He’s like a second brother. When i had my accident he took 2 weeks off to come and stay with me at my folks. His sole purpose – to chase away even the slightest signs of boredom during my long period of being bedridden.
So last night at about 7 i decided to give him a ring to find out what exactly was wrong with his aunt. I realised that i would get the truest answer from him, as they would have been in contact with the psychiatrist and doctor treating her. As usual, I had impeccable timing. He was preparing to kill himself. What the hell is up with that????????
Of course he didn’t say so immediately. The conversation didn’t go:”Hey Ruby”, “Ola Gimli!!! Whats up dude?”. “Ag, not much hey, I’m just sitting here, trying to kill myself. So if you won’t mind putting the phone down I’ll just get on with it”. Although, considering the odd evening i had, that probably wouldn’t have surprised me! No,we chatted about a couple of mundane things, then he volunteered information about his aunt. She had been diagnosed with Schizophrenia . Apparently she’s had it for years, but the chemical imbalance had been so minor, that even though she often had vivid dreams and visions, nobody ever worried about it. The doctor recons that something must have triggered an increase in the imbalance which caused her to become totally batty, to say the least. They gave her medicine, but she’s discharged herself, and refuses to take the meds. This is a big problem.
My heart is truly breaking for her. But as i was talking to him, i realised that he was rumbling it off like a little robot, totally devoid of any emotion. Not good! So i tried to coax him into just unpacking his feeling on me. I don’t mind, i listen, it’s one of the things i do best. But today, there is a part of me that wishes i didn’t have so much perception into the minds and souls of my friends. A sordid little tale unfolded last night. One of his best friends, also suffering from schizophrenia, has been arrested, along with her brother, for the murder of her parents. She didn’t take her medicine. I remember reading about it, and thinking that the name seemed faintly familiar, but i never made the connection.
He was tired. The world had turned him into a cynic. Life just really sucked…..and i can’t even blame him for thinking that way. He was simply tired of sitting on a roller coaster ride that he didn’t enjoy, but constantly made him puke, a ride on which friends fell out of the carts and died. He wanted to get off. He has reached a point where he just refuses to continue playing the game.
So what exactly do you say to someone who is tired of living? I didn’t say much…but i listened. Knowing him kept me from being my opinionated self. He didn’t need advice, he didn’t need me to try and stop him, he just needed me to listen, to understand, to just be there.
The conversation lasted 2 and a half hours. He finally said goodbye. I couldn’t say much, i was trying my best not to become hysterical, not to cry, not to freak out completely. He left me with a promise not to kill himself just yet, to face up to life knowing that it is almost always unfair, to phone me in the morning, and a statement that chilled my heart. Coming from the man who has inspired me to grow so much closer to God, to grow in my relationship,this was scary. “I don’t believe anymore. I control my destiny. I’ll be my own God thank you very much.” Wisely, i kept my mouth shut, this was something he had to sort out on his own……I can help him get through tough times, but i can’t make his choices for him, and i can’t force him to believe something. I just told him that i loved him, always have, always will, no matter what he believes.
As i put the phone down i received a text from Jack, wanting to know how I was. My indifference was immediately noticed. I spoke to him for quite some time on the phone….mostly crying. He gave me advice and understanding. And as usual i felt calmer after talking to him. I still find it amazing to see how incredibly close we are as friends despite the fact that we’ve both moved on.
So, this morning I’ve sms’d gimli a stupid “good morning” message, filled with bullet type questions, ensuring that he has to answer me. My motivation behind it………i simply wanted to check if he was still alive. His reply to it was probably the best sms I’ve ever received…”what’s so good about it”. Not because of the words, but because of the message behind it. yeah yeah, I’m still alive. No worries.
To top it all off, my stalker, which had become ominously silent in recent weeks, decided to start torturing me again. I’m not quite sure i can cope with this right now.
OK, so I’ve read through my post and realised something. I’m OK. I think I’m a whole lot stronger than i realise. Yes OK, so i don’t exactly feel like my normal little ray of sunshine…this is a weird and horrible experience for me. But it’s not that bad. I’m not depressed, i haven’t broken down and cried yet, I don’t feel like chewing my wrists. I can still flash a brilliant and honest smile at a loved one. My friends bring out the best in me. I have friends that care. Am i allowed to worry? Of course! Am i gonna let this get to me…giving in to those two little bastards loitering around just outside my defences? No freakin way! My little world will always have some form of sunshine in it……..now I’m hoping i can share some of those rays with the people who need it. Wish me luck:)