D Crisis

Friday, July 9th, 2004 | Friends

D came over yesterday afternoon, for a beard trim and to chat. He’s been hovering at a 3 on the Depression Scale–10 being the happy end of the scale. For the first time he was able to articulate his feelings beyond “I’m just depressed,” and that was cause for celebration, an indication that real work could commence. Unfortunately, what he told me has put me in an awkward position, and I’m not too sure what to do. I have a call in to his case manager for advice, but am wondering if any of you have some words of wisdom on the subject.

I am his main caregiver, I am also his only friend. I have him over for dinner, make him lunch, we go to movies, I give him the only physical affection that he experiences, I talk to him several times a day, I force him to exercise, talk about what he’d like to do eventually, involve him in situations where he could meet other people and interact socially, give him assignments, take him on day-trips–basically what his team of psychiatrists should be doing but aren’t. I want to help him actively, with the intent of integrating him back into social space.

Okay, so he tells me yesterday that he loves me so much that he doesn’t want to do anything else except be with me. He sleeps all day so that he doesn’t have to experience the reality of being away from me. He asked if he could spend the night with me, something that I had offered to him a while ago if he needed to get away from the halfway house. I told him that I didn’t think it was a good idea, given what he was feeling. Unable to cope with the obstacles between him and life, he’s chosen to take the easy way out, a one-way ride on the Coco Express. He was very articulate about it, the prospect of a return to his life just too distant to address.

I told him that he couldn’t be with anybody until he gets it together. I told him I couldn’t be that person, but that I’d continue to love him, and help with his development. Last week we addressed his housing anxieties successfully, and with the next steps being so overwhelming, I asked if he could start taking care of his body, the one thing really under his control. (He’s gained about 50-75 pounds since last August.) If he could feel that he’s making progress in one area, perhaps the other areas won’t be so overwhelming? But how to do it? I’ve been asking him to take vigorous walks, but he needs to be in a program, and could you believe that this completely subsidized program that provides free electro-convulsive therapy, psychiatric treatment, and around-the clock-care, doesn’t have any type of exercise or nutrition program?


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