I wrote the other day about my experience with a woman who I helped get to a safe place when she needed it. There’s so much more to it.
She came back in on Sunday. I was happy, at first, to see her. Then I realized her real issues. Not that her fear and situation wasn’t a real thing on Saturday. I had truly never seen someone that rattled. But as it turns out, she wasn’t likely in a dangerous situation, she was mentally ill. Delusional and paranoid. I have seen it before, in my own mom, during her episodes before getting proper treatment. And it’s heartbreaking on a different level than if she had been in a domestic abuse situation.
It was all very real to her. She had a whole scenario of the danger she felt she was in, she knew all of this was happening. She said it was her judgement day. But it wasn’t, and that is what is so hard. How do you tell someone that what they are feeling is just in their head? They do not want to hear it, because that means you are one of them. You are in on the conspiracy against her. So I listened, I tried to make her feel safe, and I tried to help. She ended up calling her boss, or supervisor, and going on quite a rant. He was out of state, out east in Connecticut. Not in a position to really be of help, but he told her he would help her. I did what I could by letting her use the phone, but ultimately through a couple of phone calls, he pulled a trigger I wasn’t sure I could do safely. He called the local police to do a welfare check. I do not know how that played out, unfortunately, but I did what I could by talking to the police about her behavior over my 2 interactions with her.
She got nervous staying put, as the supervisor told her to do. She needed to retrieve things she had left at the shelter. So she took off. But I got a license plate number and car description, just in case. So when officers came and talked with me, I gave them information I knew. Where she was going, and the disjointed stories she had told me. They asked if I thought she would hurt herself, and I said in her mind she thought she was in serious danger. She had said she would kill herself instead of dealing with the torture she thought she was going to endure. I think that was enough for them to intervene, but again I am not sure of anything that happened after those officers left me.
That’s hard, not knowing the outcome, if they were able to find her and get her help. But I am sure that between the guy in Connecticut and myself, we did the right thing by trying to help. Mental illness is no joke, I say that often. And your mind can turn on you, make everyone an enemy. I do not know how she picked me as her ally, but I tried. If she know I spoke to police, I would now be an enemy in her eyes, I am sure. But I can sleep knowing I tried. Maybe I did it all because of my experiences with Mom. As a kid I couldn’t do much for her, but I can for this woman, even if it was only a small interaction. Do no harm, right? I would implore you to say a prayer so send out a good vibe to this woman. Whatever happened next, she needs any good vibes that we can all give. I may never know what happened next.
Helping people. We don’t always know how to do it. Without knowing what someone needs, how do you start? And let’s face it, not everyone is equipped to help in all situations. I felt I was doing the right thing, and I may not know how that went, ever. But I would do it all again if someone needed it. I learned quite a bit this weekend, about people and myself. I thought I knew a lot about people, turns out there is always something new. But I would say whenever you can, reach down and help that person up, even if they didn’t offer their hand. You may be the only person who offers.
Katie, whatever happened, I hope you and your mind can find peace.