Thursday, January 19, 2012

It sucks.

Not sure exactly what sucks though.

Over the last two weeks of an ordeal my husband & I have been called a number of things...
Too Nice
Too Trusting
Bloodless Family

But really?  Why?

We had a friend in need, in an extreme sort of situation, and we stepped up to help him out.  Unfortunately along the way we learned that he also suffers from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).  Not terribly sure when/where his stress started, but after doing some intense research & asking the right questions, or sharing the right info we've learned the signs have always been there, or at least have been for a number of years, but everyone has blown them off as "just the way he is".

I know Brian and I haven't known him long, but the things some folks that he's loved & trusted for years have said about him just don't make the least bit of sense. 

One person said that he was violent - like BADLY violent.  We've seen him upset, HIGHLY upset, held him as he's broke down into tears & all during a very bad week where if he went off & punched a tree until he broke his hands it'd be completely understandable.  But no.  He didn't even swear until after I found out his (now) ex girlfriend had been having an affair behind his back...and even then it was just a very sad "oh my god, she's a bitch" Over and over.  Like he couldn't believe that the woman he loved & idolized for 5 years was actually having an affair.  He'd simply thought she was having a hard time over her son leaving to go overseas with the Army and was just having a mental breakdown when she kicked him out.

She turned around a few days after he'd left & tagged a vehicle that she'd signed over to him and called the vehicle in as stolen.  Even then, after the cops stopped by to question him about it (with all the paperwork in his hand showing that it was legally his) he gave the vehicle back to her, just so she'd leave him be.  Not once did he cuss her.  He did say she needed some mental help, but he didn't cuss her or get angry...just sad.

Later that same evening she filed a temporary restraining order against him.  The statement she gave for wanting the order didn't make the least bit of sense, especially since he'd already been gone for over a week at the time and had not once even shown the first sign of wanting to cause her harm, as her statement claimed.  He did send cops to her place a few days after he left to have them check in on her & make sure she was okay....he was a 10 hour drive away at the time.

But after the day of dealing with the cops & detectives coming in & out of my house it was like something snapped in him.  Continually flighty, scared, worried, and deeply heartbroken.

By that time he'd barely had any sleep whatsoever.  Of course neither had I since he was back to staying at my place.  It was almost like he was afraid to go to sleep, completely amped up on everything that had happened just days before.

His mental health only continued to deteriorate.  One bit of vital-ish info - he's not from the US.  He's from England.  He's not totally wise to the way all the laws work, has never had an encounter with the law, not even a freaking speeding ticket in the 8yrs or so he's been here on & off.  The girlfriend he'd had for the last 5 years kept him secluded from people - I'm quite sure she's been feeding his paranoia/PTSD tendencies all this time and knew exactly which buttons she'd be able to push to get the right break.

The whole ordeal over the last two weeks has done a number on my family.  On our finances, our mental well being, physical well being, & definitely has played havoc on our emotions.

It'd be fair to say we care for the guy, he's a VERY lovely & likeable guy & since he has no family here in the US we basically adopted him quickly into ours.  He does have trust issues and I really don't blame him given the mental abuse he's been through over the last several years he's been in the US at the hands of people he'd care about & trust.  We did all we could to help him through all this.

I kept a very select few in the loop with what was going on, because, even though he seemed like an awesome terrific guy...there's also no telling if a person is actually how they seem to be and it's always a good idea to let others outside of the immediate circle know what's going on, as it goes on.

Of course that had me having to hear about how I was stupid, I was being used, being taken advantage of, etc. and that they would never do even an ounce of what we'd done for him for someone, much less a 'stranger'.

Yes, it's true.  Brian met him in early November.  They bonded over music & cars almost instantly.  Then right after New Year's all the crap started with the girlfriend, from out of the blue.  They'd both boasted about having been in their relationship for almost 5 years and never once having a fight, rarely even had disagreements, etc and he was convincing.  I never really trusted her.  She seemed too sly...and really didn't like when I'd question things or talk about my past with an abusive/secluding husband.  Here they'd lived in the area she grew up in, together for 5 years, and until Brian started coming around never once had visitors over, not even her grown kids...They never went out to friends' houses or family's houses..ever.  New Year's Eve was the first time they'd been to ANYONE's house.  He's a LOUD outgoing, person.  EVERYONE that knows him loves him & adores him.  There's absolutely no reason for him to not be surrounded by tons of friends...I really don't think he's ever really met a stranger.  Yes, he's leery of people, and doesn't give everyone his life story, but his job is a stage entertainer - and he's AWESOME at it.  And yet not a single friend to turn to in a crisis?  I only voiced my skepticism about it all to Brian - and I was just concerned that many of the things the guy would say about himself were far fetched...of course as I got to know him & such  I no longer had a reason to doubt him...everything he'd say panned out.

Of course over the duration of the last two weeks I learned even more about him and her.  She'd been divorced twice - the first time she was with her husband for 14 years, had two kids.  The marriage ended after she was thrown in jail for beating her husband at the time & it ended in her losing all rights & custody of her children.  The second marriage only lasted about 5 years.  That second husband went as far as to seek out our friend after he'd started dating this psycho woman & warn him to get out as soon as possible & to buy him a beer when it was all said & done.

Our poor friend was so completely enthralled by her that he didn't see the signs.  As I said previously he also likely showed signs of having a weak streak to him that she easily preyed upon.  His previous relationship he had to leave the state completely because he'd awakened with a gun being pointed to his head & then the chick stalked him for months before he left.  I understand his fear.

I worked to get him help, but there's only so much one can do in a short amount of time, especially when one has a family to also consider.

I'm saddened that during this whole ordeal that the persons I'd confide in would call me crazy, would warn me, and state things like they'd never do half what we did to attempt to help him...because they "don't do crazies".  To me that was even more incentive to try to get him some help.  He's not processing things mentally like a normal person would be, making him in need of more help.  I don't believe it to be enabling someone to "be crazy" if you do what you're able to do to help them feel safe, especially if you're trying to make them feel safe enough to accept help.

Maybe I'm overly sensitive to persons in similar situations because I've heard the same things about me when I was going through my one point I asked a family member to pray for me, to help me get back into going to church, and to just help me care for my toddler; my request was returned with the statement: "you don't need help from us, you need to get some serious psychological help".  I cracked that day completely.  Of course I needed some psychological help!  I also needed help restoring some sort of peace & order to my life as well!  That's all our friend was needing - some peace, stability, and order - so that he may be able to get the mental help he desperately needs.

Both the psycho girlfriend's actions and the actions of persons I'd confide in about the situation make me sad.  It's very disheartening to know that so many believe that it's perfectly acceptable to take advantage of someone's mental shortcomings or acute illnesses.  Doubly disheartening that persons would rather turn their back on someone in need of obvious help than do anything to even attempt to help.

Our friend is now on his way back to the British Consulate so that he can get back to England.  My prayer is that he stays in contact and that being back home does him some good and he's able to get the help that he needs to be well again. 

To our dear friend, if you happen to read this in the future, do know that we love you & hope to see you around again soon after you've had time to get well!  Oh...and I'm keeping your CD!


  1. I read the entire ordeal, then both of the epilogues. There is only 1 thing in all of this I need to point out. One person told you you were "enabling someone to be crazy". I need to speak to this point. As a mother with adult children. One of my children has severe mental issues. Beyond my or apparently anyones scope of care. Not once, in the 21 years of raising, and attempting to help this child did anyone dare say, " I was enabling him to be crazy". The point is the mental illness will be there, enabling or not, you very likely were an anchor, to reality, your family a life saving grace for a person who had mental health issues, and had gotten into an actual physically dangerous situation. You didn't enable him to be crazy, you enabled him to be safe. I have been blessed in my life to have friends that have went above and beyond, any imaginable sacrifice of their families and themselves personally for me and my family. When the opportunity for me to step in, lighten the load, go out on a limb or give beyond what I have physically or emotionally, I do it. That is why we are all here. It is also why people like you and me will more than likely never been incredibly financially rich. However we will know we lived and gived, to the best of our ability.

  2. Thank you, dear Peachy. You're absolutely right. I enabled him to have a safe haven, nothing more, nothing less. There's not a single person that I have come across yet that I wouldn't do just as much for. I know I can heal from the emotional, physical, and even financial toll such actions can take on me. I know that I am setting a good example to my children and the type of adults I dream for them to be when they grow older. They may not always understand everything at the time and sometimes it may get to be a bit taxing on our family, but at the end of the day we can sleep easier knowing that we did what we could for someone and are no worse off for doing it.

    If only more people in the world cared more about being humane than living up to some fucked up ideal that the best way to 'deal' with someone with mental illnesses, permanent or short term, is to ignore them or walk away from them. It matters not the age of the person suffering from mental illness, or any other affliction, someone needing help needs help, period, end of story.