Jun 12, 2005
Crazy is Catching
Perspective by Finijo
I spent an hour and a half on the phone today with my friend who is losing her mind. She is on heavy antipsychotic meds now and even though she is coherent, she is still off. The phone call shouldn't have taken more than 30 minutes, but she rambles and she is repetitive. She wants me to come for a visit and to bring Con, but I am hesitant to commit to a time. She is so different from who she used to be. Everything is negative and she emotionally draining to deal with. She seems more and more like a mental patient and and less like the friend I knew and loved. I know she's feeling lonely and sad, but I feel like anything I do to help will lead to her draining me of my emotional and physical strength.
Once she told me "crazy is catching." I didn't understand what she meant by that, and she explained that being around people who are mentally ill could cause you to pick up on the behaviors and get caught up in the drama. She said it happened to her when she dealt with people with mental illness. I know she said it as a warning, but what didn't occur to me at the time was that it would apply to my relationship with her.
In addition to all my reservations about seeing her, I really HATE smoking. She has always smoked heavily, but now and she chain smokes in that way mentally ill people do. My lungs can't take it at all. I ended up with an upper respiratory infection last summer after going to a get together at her home, then I stayed on antibiotics for one thing or another all the way through Christmas after that. The longer our phone call went on, the more I realized that I don't want to see her or talk to her, and I am being driven by guilt, which is an emotion that I am not accustomed to. I work hard at not doing things that would make me feel guilty and not falling into the guilt trap that can be laid by some of the consumers I work with. I know I'm going to have to process this some more before I can deal with her again.