Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Sadness and anger re a mentally ill friend


I first met G.B. when he began to volunteer at Resurrection House, Sarasota’s Day Shelter for homeless people.

He is a very personable and extremely friendly “thirty something”.  I like him.

As I got to know G., I encountered his sadder side.  It became clear to me that he has a mental illness (of which he is vary aware).

“On his meds” G. has great charm, and the ability to function in our complicated society.

“Off his meds” he goes into very dark inner places, and his behaviours become utterly impulsive.

Once, when my friend J.T. was visiting from Phoenix, she, G. and I went out for lunch. In the midst of that lunch G. went in to a total “melt-down”.  His inner agony was palpable.

Thank goodness that J.T.  was there. She used all her professional skills (she is a trained and qualified counselor) and her emphatic skills to talk and love him back into equilibrium.

Later I helped G.B. to move into an apartment complex where his rent would be subsidized   I bought pots, pans, plates, dishes etc. I helped him to buy some second-hand furniture.   I took him to the supermarket and paid for the staple groceries he would need.

But this dear man was ill-equipped for independent living. He needed almost daily support from friends, acquaintances and mental health professionals.

In the end I had to sever my close ties with G.B. because when he was “down” his needs were insatiable, and he knew no boundaries.

I simply could not meet all his needs. I could not cope with six or seven phone calls each day.

I last saw him about a year ago.  I was on my way home from Church and had stopped at my local 7/11 store.  G.B. was in line behind me.  He recognised me, and we began to chat.

It turned out that he had been “inside” for six months, having been convicted for some offence regarding illegal drugs.


Earlier today I began to think about G.B. for the first time in a year (Lord knows why!).  I was wondering where he was and how he was doing.

My wondering was short-lived.  He called me at about 2:40 p.m., all excited about a new coffee product which he was selling.  This coffee is supposedly enhanced with all manner of “natural” products from South America: - natural products which will lead (they say) to weight loss and muscle toning.

G.B. invited me to attend a “party” at which the values of the product would be extolled.

I was able to refuse his invitation with gentle grace.

Then I checked the website of this “amazing coffee product”.

Why was I not surprised to discover that the website had little to say about coffee, and a lot to say about a great money making scheme.

The basic idea in NOT about selling coffee, it IS about signing up others to sell coffee!  

Maybe a pyramid scheme eh?
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My heart aches for G.B.  He has a good heart, and a commendable desire to do well.

It makes me both sad and angry that, due to his illness, he is a prime target for the “get rich quick” merchants of false promise and deceptive hope.

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