Something that shook up my belief system

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I had a good friend once who had all sorts of problems. She was addicted to alcohol and had mental health issues as well. She was a single mum with two daughters. I met her through the church I was attending at the time. She tried really hard to keep on the straight and narrow but took two steps forward and at least one step  backwards.

She was  really gutsy woman with a glint in her eye and a great sense of humour. We got on really well together. I have lost touch with her in recent years. I became overwhelmed with the battles that she faced on a daily basis. I had to distance myself to save my own sanity – a very hard decision. Was it the right decision? I don’t know.

There was one occasion where she had drunk a lot and was very depressed. I happened to call  at the time and I was so concerned I went to see her straight away. She was distraught and shared with me some very dark secrets from her early childhood. She was inconsolable and I didn’t want to leave her alone as she was suicidal. After much persuasion she allowed me to take her to hospital emergency to seek help.

We waited for hours for her to be seen by one of the doctors. For reasons I will never understand, they would not admit her to hospital to keep her safe. No doubt they had some good reasons but I couldn’t imagine what they would be. I took her back to my place and cared for her as best as I could.

 This event and the lack of support from the “authorities” made me realise we, alone, are responsible for ourselves. Until that point I had always thought there would be a “safety net” to catch us should we fall into bad times. This was a major shift in my view of the world.

During some difficult times in my life as a sole parent with three children, I realised that it was up to me to protect our family. There was no-one else I could call on who would care about my family as much as me – no government agency or welfare organisation. Knowing this as a reality, helped me to survive the tough times. 

I hope my friend has been able to find the inner strength and professional help  that she needs. Our friendship taught me how tough life can get for some people but the human spirit is not easily beaten as we fight for our survival.

All for now

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6 thoughts on “Something that shook up my belief system

  1. What a wonderful, heartfelt post. I am very sorry that you had to distance yourself from your friend, but you were wise in recognizing that there were limits to how much you could help her. It sounds like you did your absolute best, and that’s all any of us can do. Ultimately there are some people we can’t save. Like you, though, I’m very disappointed at how the people at the hospital responded to someone who was obviously in crisis. As you observed: We really *are* on our own in this world. Good thing you’re such a strong person!

    • Thanks for your empathy and understanding. I appreciate that you took the time to comment – connecting with others does give me a sense of community that I value.
      Cheers
      Lorraine

  2. I think your post is a very good example of Rumi’s Guest House reflection. If you have time check it out….either on web search or on my post yesterday
    http://seraphim6.wordpress.com/2011/10/15/guest-house/
    I don’t know if I just did that right (still learning :(……) anyway, I think of your friend as an honored guest or the visitor that was sent into your life for a specific reason. It seems your guest was there for you to learn what strengths you had within yourself. Single parenting definitely is the toughest yet most rewarding life experience one can go through. I am deeply grateful for the challenge and also for your story today. Thanks!

    • Thanks for your comment and the link. I did have a look at Rumi’s Guest House reflection and I agree with your perspective that my friend was there at that time as there were things for me to learn.
      Thanks for taking the time and making such a thoughtful response.

      cheers
      Lorraine

  3. I do hope she found help and some peace… I still don’t understand why the hospital won’t help. Did she have insufficient insurance? What a sad story.. thanks for sharing it so bravely.

    • Thanks Elizabeth. It is some years since I saw my friend and I, too, hope that she has found some peace and happiness in her life. It was a valuable lesson for me at that time.

      Thank you for taking the time to respond in such a thoughtful way.

      cheers
      Lorraine

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