Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mary doesn't live here anymore.

This weekend Mr S. was talking to his mom and the conversation drifted to a girl he had grown up with. His mom, and her mom, are life long friends.

She made some vague comment about how hard it was on the other family's parents. Because "of the voices".

Wait.. what?! He said.

The story she had recounted gave news that this girl had joined a cult about mind control, gone a little crazy and lost her job and house.

At first my response was - wow, that really sucks. None of these things actually seemed very alarming to me. There are many scenarios where I can see people have a little psychotic break. Or mental breakdown. When pushed the brain reacts in very unexpected ways. It is a sad truth of life.

Then Mr S. googled her. She has a blog - he reported dreadfully.

Oh shit. No way - I replied. This is where we learned that she had lost all grasp of reality. People were trying to kill her. Anal probes. Government control. And then there was the voices and her trying to build a Faraday cage to keep them out. Posts over and over with the same repetitive delusions. Her insanity on display for all to see.

I don't understand why this particular illness manifests itself with "radio waves". It must be a particular short circuit of the brain. But it was pretty clear this girl probably will not be coming back.

This whole thing was particularly unnerving. For both of us. Mr S. for obvious reasons. He grew up with the girl. Though he hadn't seen her in a couple of years.

Unnerving for me because - I've met this girl a couple of times. I've met her brother. I've met her family. All smart, technically educated professionals. There was nothing about her that made me think - well... yeah. You couldn't see that coming a mile away?

And - crazy lives in my neighborhood. Crazy attracts crazy. We even had a family friend who would check herself in the psyc ward for "holidays". I fear crazy, like some people fear heart disease.

I thought I knew a lot about crazy.

Although to be sure - describing it is a little like describing back pain. One persons muscle twinge is anther's completely debilitating suffering. No two crazy is the same.

Sometimes when I feel a little out of control I wonder if I'm getting it too. Like a cold that can be caught. Then I look at other peoples behaviour and think - no.. I am totally okay. I'm okay.

Even the schizophrenics who popped up with crazy in their 20's, I'd always felt had the signs much earlier. If distance would allow you to see them. This girl was having a very late onset. In her mid 40's. That is a long time to be masking symptoms.

Anyway. I always felt crazy had a predictable (if you can call it that) path. You expect people to get cancer. You don't just expect people to pop up with crazy out of the blue unless they are under severe distress.

You know, when you get to my age I kinda had a feeling I would be out of the woods. But, maybe I'm not. Maybe no one is. And, that is what is troubling.


  1. I, personally, think we routinely overestimate the sanity of those around us.

    The simple fact that you worry about it, sets you miles ahead of so many others.

  2. Perhaps you are right. We do reward crazy these days. I mean - we can't all be Charley Sheen. One or two of us have to keep it together.