I got a new roomate the other day. Of course, I made certain assumptions about what brought her to the crazy farm. She’s of retirement age – a sizeable proportion of the population “on the inside”. So, I assumed, naturally, she must be in for depression or some such.
When I decided we had established enough rapport, I asked THE question: “So, what you in for?”. Her answer both surprised and frightened me.
Basically, she was recently retrenched and at age 59 with a masters degree under her belt, she has rendered herself unemployable. And, therein, lies the rub.
Her kids organised an intervention (a family braai with a twist), fearfull that she was withdrawing into a deep depression. They announced that they had arranged for her hospitalisation and begged her to play along for their sake.
The psychiatrist can’t find anything wrong (obviously) and she’s seeing the psychologist, Dr Phil, tomorrow. Apparently, he is very much like his famous namesake. Teehee!
But it all got me thinking. I mean, obviously, her kids were acting out of genuine concern for their moms’ wellbeing. But it just sounds drastic to me: having someone admitted to a mental care facility, sparing no cost, in search of the one true happy pill…the unrealistic, unattainable “cure all”. If I have learnt anything from my journey with mental illness (this, although my first hospitalisation, is not my first rodeo into the doldrums of depression) it’s that there are no quick fixes. My roomie will still have to return to the outside world, where her joblessness and greatly minimised job prospects hang uneasily like a old dusty housecoat on the inside of the door. And her kids will be left footing the (hefty) bill for their ill-fated quest. The road to hell is paved with good intentions!