For about 24 hours now the conversations with invisible others and the maniacal laughter has been almost incessant. My housemate seems to be going off the deep-end and there’s nothing I can do about it. Perhaps it wasn’t a good idea for her to leave the group home after all, something at least one mental health technician (MHT) told me at the time. How was I to know, though? She seemed so … well, okay.
Having lived with Mary in close quarters for 14 months in the Samson Group Home, I figured I knew her well enough. Yes, I knew she talked to her “boyfriend” every day. I even knew she believed he somehow lived inside her, but it never seemed to make that much difference. I mean, all in all, she was not only functional, but she became a good friend. So I guess I allowed myself to believe I could “handle” her “eccentricities.”
More recently, however, she has been talking to “people” about dark rings in the bathtub, someone being “blind as a bat,” ladybugs, whether to drink beer or Coke cola… She’s even been talking about me while I’m present, as if I’m no where around! And with all of this ongoing, convoluted conversation has been the constant, maniacal laughter … very loud, very insane, like something out of a dark movie.
Well, this has caused me to take a step back, and take a good hard look at Mary’s situation here, and I’ve had to conclude that it’s not been healthy for her for quite awhile now. Since leaving the group home, she’s devolved into basically sleeping irradicably, drinking mass quantities of coffee, and smoking up towards two pack of cigarettes a day. No real exercise, no reading, and the only good meals being the ones I prepare for her.
All in all, I simply am not able to provide the kind of stability and structure she evidently needs. I hate it, too, because I feel like a failure … and, in some sense, I feel like a traitor. I spoke with her this morning and encouraged her to please call her case worker to see if there was an opening at one of the four group homes in the area. I did my dead-level best to be kind and loving, to explain why … but, of course, she was hurt.
More than this, though, our landlord, who also happens to be a lifelong friend of mine, has really been strained by some troubling tendencies anyway, such as: Throwing hot ashes in the kitchen waste-can, urinating in the bed without cleaning the mattress (at least without being told), and not doing laundry on a regular basis, which leaves an odor in her part of the house. He is a kind soul, who wants what is best for her, but…
At any rate, my friend certainly agrees with me that dear Mary will, in all likelihood, be much better off in the more stable and secure environment of a group home. This still does nothing to alleviate my sadness. Hopefully one day, maybe sooner than later, she will be able to see that this was best. I pray so … but even if she never can, even if she never forgives me, this is for the best. Period.
Right now she’s out on the back porch holding a multi-person conversation, and frequently laughing maniacally. And this comes after being up all through the night last night… Now I believe I know better than ever why good, healthy group homes with dedicated MHTs, nurses, counsellors, psychiatrists, etc. are so very necessary. And just to think, we’ve been gutting mental health funding in this country for decades! (Perhaps another article for another time…)