Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Wednesday morning mulligan stew

Well, it's been a busy forty-eight hours here on the South Side... lots of thoughts roiling, and lots of news.

First, after being on the ropes for two weeks, I found out last night that I start a new temp-to-perm job with payroll outsourcing giant Hewitt Associates. I've been hoping against hope that the Accountemps folks would get this to connect right after the gig at the Park District ended, so I'm very relieved, from a financial standpoint. My prayer is that I can step up to the levels that this job will require - but right now, it's all good.

Second, a friend of mine who is bi-polar is going through a very rough patch of manic behavior right now, and it's been taking it's toll on me. Being a helper and a "wounded healer," I want to help him - but the insanity (for me) is trying to reason and be rational with a person who is clearly irrational. It doesn't help that he's been hospitalized for manic bouts before - and so his primary motivation is to seem solid, sane, and in-control - which means HUGE amounts of denial.

I kind of hit the wall last night, and had to tell him that I couldn't help him in a number of areas which he said he wanted help, but continues to do his own thing. I'm more than glad to invest the time to help someone - but if it's just going to be ignored, well, I've got plenty of things to spend time on. It's just frustrating - and I wish I could do more, but there's only so much of me to go around (even though there's definitely a LOT of me, by any measure...).

Needless to say, by the time I got home it was after 11, and I just ran out of gas, mentally and emotionally. I'm thinking that Thursday and Friday might be a good time to take off, and get some stuff done before the new work-situation begins. The work that I'm doing really isn't critical any longer, so I'll see what the boss-lady thinks.

A couple fascinating articles in the New York Times - one, on the Great Robot Race, won by a sturdy little robot Volkswagen for a $2 million prize. This race has always fascinated me, because of the great technology that's involved. Interesting stuff.

And, for those of us who are on the digital-photography revolution, there's this article about why printing color photos at home may not add up cost-wise for us. Definitely worthwhile reading.

It's interesting - commuting to the new job will mean spending time on the train into downtown. I may actually have to invest in subscribing to a real hard-copy


New Life said...

I have a close friend who is bi-polar. Man, he wants to remain stuck at times and for very long times... I found that he doesn't want to move beyond what troubles him. It gets frustrating. I realized I cannot help him. I can offer support and friendship, but the change is his. I guess the one way I can help him is not to get in his "messiness" and try to fix him.


Michael Dodd said...

I have several friends who are bi-polar (what does this say about me, you may be wondering?) as is my younger brother. During my thirty years in the monastery, I saw several guys go through psychotic breaks, one of whom I wound up taking to the emergency room in the middle of the night after a pseudo-overdose. That one was brutal and took months for the doctors to get his meds straightened out. (It was complicated by meds for a number of straight-forward physical problems.) In that case as well as another, once the meds were adjusted, it was like night-and-day. So, first things first. As you say, trying to reason with someone who cannot be reasonable, for whatever reason (no pun intended), is a waste of time.

Unfortunately, people who need meds don't always keep taking them. Things settle down for a while and they decide they don't need medical help anymore.

Years later, the young man who had made the suicidal gesture and in whom we had invested many years and much money and emotional care and concern and support, had another episode. I had the painful experience of telling him -- in a psychiatric ward where he was flinging furniture around and cursing the staff -- that he was undermining his own recovery by refusing to accept help and insisting that everything was fine.

He had dealt with a lot of physical limitations (cerebral palsy) throughout his life and had overcome great odds to get educated and become a CPA. But the stubborn determination that helped him then was getting in the way now. I was not able to reach him, and he left hospital and monastery, created huge problems for the community later, including lawsuits and all sorts of defamation. The courts -- civil and ecclesiastical -- all ruled for the community, but it was excruciating for everyone concerned.

I think I prayed harder for him than for anyone in my life, except for my sister-in-law when she had cancer. In the end, all I could do was leave him in the hands of God. Sometimes that feels like weakness, but God is the one who can do something, in whatever mysterious way God chooses. Letting go is the strongest thing I can do.

Erin said...

I appreciate how exhausting it is for you. Had a bi-polar roommate for 6 years.

Totally agree with Damien... until you get the meds right, it's just about survival (for everyone).

And don't spend too much time trying to understand where he's coming from. You can't. You just have to trust that Jesus does, and will show you how to roll with it.

I pray a river of blessing over you, as you pour out to him.