Some of us are born with a few bits of us kinked and curled around behaviours that can harm us but opt for the soothing relief of brief sedation until reality seeps into the pores once again. I know. I've had a bit of work to do myself in the field of change when the pain of my knots and whorls outweighed their sedative effect.
The reason I bring this up is that I've got a friend of over forty years who has her own demons which are worsening (they always do unless stopped in their tracks). I worry about her. I feel helpless as I can't change her. I can't change anyone, just me.
Ever since I've known her she's surrounded herself with clutter. Not your 'normal' type of clutter like six china cabinets or 100s of Dresden figurines. No this clutter is newspapers, magazines, plastic bags and boxes, the kind your toaster comes in. Retail boxes that go back years and years. Clutter fills every corner of her home. None of us, inluding family, have been allowed beyond her front door in years and years.
The last time was many years ago to once again go in and attempt to clean her up. 2000 lbs of garbage came out of her kitchen alone (it was weighed at the dump). Her groceries lie in plastic bags on the kitchen floor with a tiny pathway wending through them. Her counters are unusable. There are mice. Her bed sits in the middle of unpacked boxes (some from thirty years ago), she has to crawl over them to get into it and watch the TV, which she does incessantly all day, all night. Everything overflows. Her pitiful collection of clothes hangs off a doorway.
She blamed her boring job for not being able to control her junk even when we all cleaned her up a few times. She's retired for two years now and blames taking her mother, who's 92, for medical appointments.
Her sister and I just know the house is worse than anything we've ever seen now. If we are picking her up, she races out front and locks the door before we can even peek in beyond a black garbage bag that she has hung on the door window pane. We live in fear she has crossed over into mental illness. But the fact that she can string herself together and behave normally at outside social events puts the denial on that.
I have personally confronted her a few times. Gently. In a non-accusatory way. I tell her we love her but hate how she treats herself. She cries. She promises to change. And she doesn't.
What is totally ironic is that she's worth close to a million dollars and lives the life of a slum-dweller. Her aged mother cries openly about it. She blames herself for spoiling her.
I love her dearly, she's a kind and honourable human being, compassionate and caring. But I'm at the point I won't enable her anymore. I won't step around the 1000 ton gorilla in the living room, so to speak. She has dropped even the flimsiest threads of human communication, email, telephone, cards. And I don't like myself when I find I respond by not providing that tenuous outreach to her as well. If I ask her why she won't call after I've called her numerous times she says she has nothing to talk about. Her life is boring, she says.
I wrote a little prose-byte about her when I got home last night which sums up the frustration I feel:
Back and forth I pass your house,
Imagining the cups of tea we've missed.
Maybe thousands of little dots of glue
That would have bound our friendship tighter.
Rather than me thinking
As I drive by
Of the blocked threshold of your existence.
Imprisoned by the crumbling files
Of sixty years of musty memories.
Anyone have any insight?