“False! Tricksey! False!” Gollum accused Sam. Frodo turned on his friend, his mind clouded by the malevolence of the ring burning his skin, hanging around his neck. Frodo sent Sam away, and he went away for a distance, but could not give up on his friend because he knew his friend needed his help, and was being affected by the burden he bore. He understood that while Frodo’s behavior was not acceptable, it was the result of a psychological burden he struggled to carry.

When the effects of a serious mental illness or disease of the mind make the person affected unpleasant to be around, it’s hard to accept that it’s not just a choice to be an asshole. Loved ones, family and friends who are trying to support the ill person in their treatment, frequently need breaks from the person, but that makes them seem antisocial.

I want my loved one back. I want her to care about herself as much as I care for her. But I doubt my ability to raise her again. Two obvious observations could be made at this juncture: 1)well, you did such a fucking fantastic job the first time, and 2)I’m exhausted. I can’t raise anybody else. I’m no longer the fixer. I’m not the enabler. I’m tapped out. I supported other family members as a child and younger adult to a great extent, and I’m simply done.

Real life, for me, has not looked anything like a Norman Rockwell painting. Some of the awful experiences were my choice, others found me powerless to affect a change. Every moment of each of those experiences has added another layer of understanding to the lens through which I view life. I would take her affliction as my own, could I make it so.  Watching a loved one suffer is heart-rending.

But the ability to live with someone whose temperament is so dramatically mercurial, and who seems to thrive on drama, is not one I possess. I left her father because he was only happy when he was stirring up shit. I like peace in my life. I want to do my work, enjoy life with my husband, and appreciate each moment we find ourselves in. I cannot live with someone who causes drama, even if it is a part of their disease.

She must actively seek independence, because we will be forced to leave this house at the earliest opportunity, to get from under the tremendous debt. This should force the two other adults in the house to step up their game.


By Gomorrah

My fiction reflects things I've seen, bits and pieces of thousands of cases I worked as a criminal defense investigator. My nonfiction true crime is harder to write, so it gets short shrift. But I have several stories that need telling, so hang around.

One reply on “False”

I love the parallel you make between caring for someone who is mentally ill and Sam and Frodo. It’s not a connection I’ve made before reading this. And I consider myself to be a reasonably big fan of the books and films!

I like that you realise that friends and family, no matter how good their intentions, need to take breaks away from their loved ones. I also think that sufferers like myself have a responsibility to try and understand that being mentally ill does not excuse us from taking out our inner frustrations on others. Or at least, we have to do our best not to.

It’s something I should remember more myself in the future. Either way thanks for writing this, and I hope your situation improves in the future 🙂

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