This past weekend, the center was vandalized- benches overturned, trash cans overturned, picnic tables overturned, and concrete benches torn apart; seriously. We were able to put everything back together (minus 1 concrete bench that we were unable to save) before church Sunday morning, but it was a Saturday night surprise.
We had thought it might be the kids going back to school, that was what some folks said, but then a community member came to me and told me that he saw who did it, and it was the person that I suspected. It’s a community member who is new to us. He started out as quiet, not really saying much or making a fuss, but he’s gotten increasingly more talkative, talking in a loud, fast, jumbled way, and I know that if he was once a medicated person, he isn’t right now.
Today, he was in the shower truck cursing and screaming up a storm. He yelled about demon fairies. He sang loudly. He freaked out a lot. That was when I was approached by one community member and told that they were driving by and saw him break the concrete bench. It all made sense. A few days ago another community member with Schizophrenia told me that he often saw demon fairies in the shower before he got on medication. Now here is this guy yelling about demon fairies in the shower- this man has Schizophrenia and the things that he sees are terrorizing him.
Later, out of the clear shit blue, while I was talking to another person about where he could do his laundry, our friend asked “What’s for lunch?” I told him that I would have to check in with Billy. He then called me a “piece of shit”. The staff had done nothing to him, we had tried to be understanding, tried to offer whatever help we could, and tried to be very empathic. Tomorrow, if he shows up, I’m going to have to ask him to leave.
I hate having to do that. I know that he is suffering. I know that he needs help, but I can’t force him to go get any. The best that I can do is maybe call the police and have them take him to one of our local emergency mental health facilities. A person who could do the type of damage that I saw outside of LW, by himself, is not a person that can be reasoned with right now. He’s being tortured by things beyond his control, and he’s scared and angry.
We have a lot of folks who experience sights and sounds that we can’t see. Most of them are gentle people, and go through bouts of issues when their medication gets stolen or they run out of it. Most of the time they can still be reasoned with to some extent, but I think this person is past that. His belongings were recently stolen, and I’m betting he had some medication in those belongings. Right now I’m going about the thought process of the kindest, most ethical, safest way to get him some help before he hurts himself or anyone else, so that’s what’s on my mind.
Schizophrenia is one of the only mental illnesses that cannot be dealt with any way but with medication, and it is hereditary, so a person is born with it. Bipolar disorder also needs to be treated with medication and people can be born with it too, but they can also be triggered into it by trauma as well. For this man, there is no amount of kind words or meaningful gestures that can help him right now (other than helping him to survive to see another day), he’s really going to need someone to notice that he is suffering and people to figure out a way to help him get back to himself. I’m going to be thinking a lot about that tonight.