End of a friendship: a story out of my distant past, 1982, 1983, 1984

I slept for quite a bit this afternoon and this evening and have awoken and have a lot to say about “treatment” right now.  I need to gather my thoughts on this issue, though, and will return to it momentarily.  I was out with Puzzle a bit ago and started thinking about ex-friends.

I can pretty much lump ex-friends together.  This may sound like a huge statement except that at one point in the early 1980’s when I first had the opportunity to speak with another person with a psychiatric diagnosis…let me back up.  It took a long time before I first had the opportunity to have an actual conversation with another person with a psychiatric diagnosis.  I didn’t know anyone, first of all. When I did meet some people with what I thought of, at the time, as psychiatric diagnoses, we did not converse.  The opportunity wasn’t there.  We didn’t cross paths and when we did, one or the other of us or both of us were too ill to converse properly or just didn’t feel like talking.

But finally, such a conversation did take place.  It was a historic event.  We introduced ourselves.  We were the same age, early 20’s.  We talked about what we’d been doing when our lives were interrupted.  Going to school in my case.  And then, the big, universal question:

“Did you lose all your friends?”

“Yep.”

“So did I.”

It didn’t take long before I found out that “losing all your friends” was a universal, I repeat, universal experience.  People with mental illnesses were not losing their friends because something was intrinsically wrong with their personalities or that there was something morally with them.   People with mental illnesses were losing their friendships because these ex-friends were scared by mental illness.  They had no knowledge and ignorance breeds fear.  People got fired from jobs and kicked out of school.  People were collecting unemployment and the unemployment was running out and they couldn’t find new jobs due to discrimination, rendering them completely unhireable.  School loans had to be paid off and people ended up defaulting.  Then a few years into this is the application and automatic first-time denial for federal disability payment.

1982, 1982, 1984.  I was friends with…I think I will give her a fake initial just so I can call her something…it is the friendship I want to talk about and not her.

Y was friends with me initially because I had a car and she didn’t.  She wanted rides places and would call me up and ask me.  She would “invite” me places only so that she would get a ride there.  This had been done to me before and I was very familiar with being “used” like this.

My arithmetic tells me that I was 24, 25, and 26 then.  I am 54 now and no way would I ever, ever allow a person to treat me in this manner.  I do not own a car.  I have not driven or owned a car since age 27.  I got used so badly for my car, that is, I was such a terrible pushover that in fact one of the biggest reasons why I became a non-driver and got rid of my car entirely was because of being used repeatedly and having these poor quality friendships and my complete inability to say the simple word, “No.”  It is sad that instead, I went to such extremes.

Y used me badly for my car but I started to like Y and enjoy her company.  I thought she was a caring person.  She had some eating issues and we talked about this sometimes.  Y was younger than me, a bunch of years younger than me, but I can’t really recall.  She was all over the place emotionally…up and down…believing one thing one minute, another thing another…trying out different things…this is true of every single young person there is.  She was a student but her heart wasn’t in it, and ended up dropping out of school to find a new direction in life.  I assume she found it.  Most people do.

If you’ve been reading my blog you know the reason for my massive overdose in January of 1984.  Since August 1981 I had been going to the mental health establishment and asked for help with binge eating, begged for help, and gotten none.  The bingeing had worsened and I had gotten no treatment, inappropriate treatment, or bad treatment.  I was told I did not have an eating disorder or told I did not need treatment.  I was told that I did not binge or that it was not possible that I binged because I wasn’t fat.  I was told that I was lying about it.  I was told that it wasn’t serious because I didn’t throw up.  I was told that I did throw up and was lying about this.  I was told that medication would not help even though I told them about new publically-available research on the subject that I myself had read.  I was told that I was not depressed.  I was told that I was doing great and making great progress.  This was the beginning of 1984.  I took an honest look and saw nothing but a life gone downhill not worth living.

Apparently, Y called my roommate, “Irene,” a few days after I took the pills and I assume I was on a medical floor at the hospital.  Y was trying to reach me to say hello or whatever.  Irene told her I’d taken the pills and I don’t know what else.  Irene called me and said that Y sounded tearful over the phone.  Irene said that Y was going to call me.

I don’t know what kind of shape I was in medically when Y called, but I believe I had already been transferred to the shit psychiatric floor where no one listened and no one cared…in other words, more or less solitary confinement…completely alone, not cared for, shunned, no one understood, no one listened, no one gave a shit at all about me.  I just wanted my life to be over.  Here is what my so-called friend said:

“I can’t be your friend anymore because of what you did.  I hope you understand my feelings.”

Her feelings?  Her feelings?  She is asking me, me, to understand her feelings?

She had plenty of people to understand her feelings.  She wasn’t the one locked up with untrained nurses that watched TV all day and didn’t give a shit about the patients.  Y had done nothing but use me and use me and use me for my car, be my fake friend, and then dump me.

Maybe ten years ago I got duped into buying one of those “where are they now” books that those organizations sold for colleges.  At the time, I remembered Y’s correct first and last name.  “Y” is a fake initial.  I no longer remember Y’s last name at this time.  But at any rate, I looked up Y.

Y, at the time that I looked her up, was still living.  She was employed.  Her employment was “Therapist.”

2 thoughts on “End of a friendship: a story out of my distant past, 1982, 1983, 1984”

  1. Hey, Julie Greene. Glad to read that you’re “free” again.
    To be honest, I was staying clear because I felt hurt by your last comment about my “enmeshment” with your eating disorder.

    I was concerned, not enmeshed.

    MAZ xox

    1. Hey Maz,

      I just figured you needed some space. The phone situation there was despicable and I generally didn’t get to use a phone in a manner that was private and confidential, that is, not out in the hall in a place that was easily overheard by passersby, until well past 9pm and often past 10pm at night. I was often denied use of this phone even though it was my legal right to use it whenever I asked to use a phone confidentially. I had to wait until the room was free, for one thing, and that was the reason why it usually had to be late at night. I knew you were asleep.

      Give Mercy a huge pat for me!

      Julie

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