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