Sorry kids, got out to the dock to smoke and finally remembered the one thing I had really wanted to share with y’all.
So as you know, I’ve offered my listening skills to you. I’ve told you that if you need me for something, I’ll be here. Several have taken me up on that and I’ve made some great friendships out of the deal. I think this is wonderful.
I’ve got lots of folks I’m “friends” with on Facebook that I’ve met over the years. Quite a few are old classmates, some I’ve picked up along the way, a few of you are also there. I check it frequently and try to offer what love and support I can.
I have a “friend” named Craig. We met through a mutual friend when she and I were both running mental health support groups. Craig attended her group in her city. Several times we all got together and hung out. He also has Bipolar and was always very nice to me. I kind of lost track of him over the last few years. He’s still on Facebook, but isn’t a rabid poster like I am.
Yesterday I saw his name come up. The status simply said “broken.” The alarms started going off in my head. “Broken” – when uttered by someone with a mental illness – is a trigger for me because any time I feel bad enough to drop that, it means I need help, pronto.
I left him a comment reminding him of who I was and told him that if he needed something to feel free to get in touch. I meant it.
I was sitting in the classroom yesterday afternoon around 2pm texting Josh when my phone rang. I didn’t recognize the number, but I have an ad to sell a chair on Craigslist and had given my number in the ad so I felt I should answer it. I stepped out into the hallway – it was Craig.
He did remember me and found my cell number on my profile. His girlfriend of 4 months had suddenly and unexpectedly broken up with him the night before and he was understandably shaken. We talked for probably 20 minutes. I asked if he was safe – the first question I feel compelled to ask – and he assured me he was. I asked if he had people nearby that could help him through this – yes, he lives close to his parents and has friends he can rely on. I asked if he was still taking his meds – yes, though this is what was worrying him because he tends to run on a 5 year cycle and this is when the cycle would be up. He usually ends up back in the hospital to get his meds adjusted, and that scares him – understandably so.
I listened and asked my questions and told him to just try to do his best to take care of himself – keep busy in appropriate ways, reach out to his support network when it feels right, and try very hard not to blame himself for what happened.
When we hung up he sounded better. Not great, but well enough to keep on for awhile. I told him to call again if he needed me and I’d be there. And truthfully, I will be.
I have only gotten as far as I have in this life because of the people around me who refused to let me fall. I do my best now to pay that positive energy back to the universe and not let those I care about fall. If you ask me for help, I will do my damndest to not let you fall. I mean that.