A Surprise Encounter

Last Wednesday (09/04/2012) I went shopping, or at least tried to. I was looking for a specific piece of computer hardware and I went to about three different computer stores. Or rather, stores that sell computers and other equipment, looking for my gadget, and I never found it.

I had my eye out for a ZipLink, which is essentially a retractable computer power cord. I had one for my netbook, which is infinitely easier to carry than a regular cord. I was thinking I could use my old Ziplink, but the old one uses a two prong plug and my laptops both require a three prong one. This was why I was on the hunt. I know I can probably buy the thing on line, but I’m old fashioned and love to go into stores, look at, feel and by things the old way.

On the way home I took the bus. I get on and a mother with her four sons are already on the bus. They were all out of control and raising Cain. The youngest, who was just a baby was screeching his little head off. The two middle sons were play fighting with each other and raising a ruckus. And the oldest son was hanging upside down off the seat and singing at the top of his lungs “It’s a miracle, it’s a miracle. .” over and over and over again. His mom was so busy screaming and cursing at his brothers, she didn’t have time for the older kid. Yep, a typical “Ghetto Family”.

So, I kept frowning at the kid because he was disturbing my quiet time on the bus. I like to spend my commute reading and I couldn’t read with all of that clamor. Not only was he disturbing me, he was disturbing other passengers too. Two ladies got up and moved to the front of the bus. I didn’t bother to move because I was getting off after a few more stops. But I tossed an evil eye or two his way.

When I got to my stop, low and behold, The Ghetto Family gets off too. Only I got off the front of the bus (in NYC we have those long “attenuated” buses on some lines) and people can get off in the back.

“Oh no!” I thought to myself, as I walked down the same block behind them. Now the oldest is following me and singing his song loudly, instead of keeping up with his brothers and mom.

“Oh my God! He’s doing this on purpose!” I thought as I walked. Because he was walking right next to me and looking up into my face! I was obviously going to have to go head to head with the “Demon Child”!

“Now remember, Nanci this is someone else’s kid and you can’t do a Johnny Bravo or Jackie Chan on him.” I thought to myself, wondering if I should abruptly cross the street.

“Are those the only words you know?” I asked on the spur of the moment.

“Yeah.” he replied.

“In order to properly sing a song, you should learn all the words.” I said.

“Were you mad at me back there on the bus?” he asked.

“Yes.” I replied.

“Why?” he asked.

“Because you are not supposed to sing so loudly in public like that because annoys people.” I replied. He had no reply almost as if his little ten year old mind was contemplating what I said.

“You better catch up with your family because they are leaving you.” I said, as I watch mom woman-handle the stroller containing his baby brother, down the subway steps followed by his rambunctious brothers.

“Oh they are not gonna leave me.” he said, confidently. Then he tossed off a quick wave and dashed off.

My heart melted at that very moment. His mom was so busy with his younger brothers, she simply paid him no mind. I guess she thought since he was older and therefore didn’t need any supervision.

What I thought was merely “acting out” was just his way of trying to get attention.

I hate to ask, but I wonder how many other kids do the same thing?


Mental Illness is no Joke

“Mental Illness is no Joke”  was the title of a NAMI pamphlet I’d picked up over 30 years ago.  NAMI stands for the the National Association on Mental Illness.  I was recommended to go to the Manhattan office of this organization because I’d been single-handedly dealing with my late Mom who was mentally ill.  

That pamphlet would probably be falling apart with age, but I wish I had it now, because the information included within it still relevant today.  Since then, supposedly we have made tremendous advances in technology, but we are still insensitive to the emotionally, mentally and psychologically ill.  

Yes, in this day and age, we still laugh at people who are mentally ill.  People think their so-called “antics” are funny. When in actuality those are not “antics” to provide mirth and merriment, they are behaviors which are indicators of serious illness.  In times where people are severely depressed, these so-called behaviors are silent cries for help.  

I say this because I am dealing with someone I work with who is in this condition.  Everyone else laughs about their behavior, but I don’t. I don’t find anything funny about “decompensation”. In “shrink” terms decompensation is: the functional deterioration of a previously working structure or system.  In other words, the person is falling apart before your eyes. 

From dealing with my Mom for 32 years, I know this is a clear sign that the person is in serious need of help.  I am just amazed that no one else around me can see the need.  Perhaps I’m just super sensitive because I’ve walked through the fire trice already.  Once with Mom, two over a co-worker who committed suicide, and three for myself. 

I am also amazed that a workplace which brags about having certain “resources” to deal with such eventualities, has done zip, zero, nadda.  I guess they are waiting until the proverbial kimshee hits the fan.  Then it will be too late to investigate. . . . . . 

Oh, it’s not like you can tell the person they are ill.  They believe that they are alright and everyone else is nuts. In trying to tell them they should seek help, it might be like stepping on a landmine.  The person may become openly hostile and combative.  

In that case, you need the civil authorities and professionals.  If the person won’t admit that they need help, they won’t get help, unless of course they commit a crime.  It’s when they wind up in jail, then court for arraignment, the judge will remand them to a mental health facility.  Does that have to happen?  

No it doesn’t.  If only someone cared. . . . . . . . 

If you have a family member, friend, or co-worker in this condition, please ignore or abandon them.  Don’t cater to them, because they can be extremely manipulative.  Stand your ground, love them up, but be firm and let them know they must get help.  If necessary alert the authorities if they are unable to care for themselves and/or children. 

Last but not least, I’m going to suggest something very radical.  Pray for them. . . . .

Just in case anyone is interested in more information.

Direct link to the NAMI site