Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Familiarity Breeds Contempt, Part 2

Let's see, where were we? Oh, yes. I have my intervention talk with E.

I told her I do not understand why she doesn't move home, back to Minnesota. She misses her family so much. She's really close to them. She doesn't own a house, she hates her job anyway, she doesn't have any money...if I were in her shoes, I'd pack up and stay with my mom until I got my act together. Maybe go back to school. Away from all the bars. I told her I don't understand why she won't leave her job, where she is overworked and underpaid, and now working with her ex-boyfriend AND his entire family, who never liked her and are mean to her. I mean, there literally is no good reason to stay at that job. Everything is so obvious to me, but she just sort of agrees and then makes excuses for why she can't change anything in her life. None of her arguments have any merit. I swear, she is determined to stay miserable!

I almost laughed when she said, "You know, it's so funny that you are telling me all of this. Almost like an intervention. W even said the same thing to me the other day. She said, 'I feel like I need to stage an intervention with you, E.' Funny, right?"

I swear, there could be giant, flashing signs in front of her face, and she would not even see them.

If two people who know you well are both saying the same thing, what does that tell you???

I am pretty surprised W never told me what living with E was like. She never gave me a heads up or hinted at anything. So when E began to do things like sleepwalk and handwash the dishes in the middle of the night, in a totally dark kitchen, I had to figure things out by myself. And E's most recent ex, B, also never gave me any indication that he was dealing with the same kind of wackiness I was, although I'm sure he must have. I can only imagine the long list of crazy experiences we have witnessed individually. It is pretty amazing, though, that neither of them have ever approached me to talk about E's antics. I wonder if W and B just have more patience than I do. Or if they were both relieved that she was living with me instead of them, so they kept their mouths shut. Can't say that I blame them.

So back to the intervention conversation with E. As she went on about her problems, I began to understand what was really going on. After telling her how worried I was and how abnormal her behavior was, I told her that she might want to think about getting a shrink or some kind of professional help, in addition to rehab. She told me that she used to go to a shrink, but that she stopped going.

Knowing she has pretty good health insurance and loves nothing better than to whine about her problems, I asked her why.

"Because he told me I'm bi-polar, and I know that's not true."

OMG. Lightbulb. As soon as she said this, it all made sense! The insomnia, followed by sleeping straight for 3 days. The anti-depressants (to counter-act her "down") combined with the Adderol (to counter-act her mania). The impulse shopping. The sad, weepy days where she would be totally bummed. Followed by days where she was in a fantastic mood. Yet nothing in her life had even changed.

Being a librarian, I decided to do some research and looked in the DSM-IV, one of my favorite books ever, because you can diagnose your friends, your family and yourself with mental disorders (you think I'm joking, but I'm not. It really is fun. And we are ALL in there, trust me. I'm in there at least twice.). Well, it turns out that E could be the poster child for Bi-Polar Disorder.

Negative thinking that stops you from making decisions? Check.
Self-medication with alcohol? Check.
Loss of appetite? Check. (The girl never eats, I swear.)
Problems concentrating? Check.
Bouts of rage? Check. (She can blow up at the drop of a hat sometimes -- she's one of those girlfriends who makes a mountain out of a mole hill, a source of lots of relationship problems for her.)

At this point, there is very little doubt in my mind that E is bi-polar. But I also know she's in a deep denial about this, which is something no one can help her with. So as irritated as I am with her, I am also worried about her and feeling pity towards her. She is so unhappy. Her life is a trainwreck.

Now, I don't know if her bi-polar disorder is responsible for her need to re-organize all of her worldly posessions twice a week, or her obsessive stalking of her ex, or her abily to dwell on things until the cows come home. Or her innate ability to call me at the worst possible times. All I know is that she needs help. And that I'm glad she's out of my house.

Which are some pretty bad mixed feelings. I'm sitting at the intersection of Guilt Street and Annoyance Avenue, a very odd place to be. You see, I have so much pity for the girl. Her sister died at age 30 of breast cancer, and E was very close to her. E got tested and found out that she also has that breast cancer gene, which means she has an 80% chance of getting breast cancer. So to prevent this, E had a voluntary double mastectomy. Which totally sucks. And I just feel so guilty bitching about her. For a long time, I kept giving her the benefit of the doubt. My internal dialogue went like this: "Well, I'm sure I would be a basketcase, too, if my sister died that young and I might die of the same thing, causing me to volunteer to remove my boobs." (This health concern did not stop her from smoking like a chimney, btw. Another example of her great decision-making skills.)

But after a while, this argument couldn't justify her irritating habits or soothe my frazzled nerves. I began to divorce my worries and pity about her health from my resentment towards her. I compartmentalized these emotions. My internal dialogue turned into: "Well, I lost my brother and my dad in the same calendar year, and I don't feel the need to ruin other people's lunches or drone on and on about what an asshole my ex is."

And I grew weary of her. Exhausted, even. Encounters with her, which used to be friendly and exciting, were now dreadful and redundant, not to mention absurdly pathetic. I'm afraid I didn't do a very good job at concealing my joy when she told me she was moving out. I couldn't wait, to be honest.

The day her new boyfriend came to load up her stuff, I was in an excellent mood, I must say. I even smiled as I watched them load up the truck. I even offered to help. :D

Almost as a final parting gift from E, I have had to deal with The Table Incident. Let me explain:

When E moved in, she brought with her a HUGE, gorgeous kitchen table, with four chairs, all painted a glossy white. It looked like it was designed for my house, it went so well with my living/dining area. I love big tables, where I can spread out with books or projects. That table almost made living with E worth it.

So I was ecstatic when she told me she was moving out BUT was leaving the tables and chairs with me until further notice. She didn't need them at her new place, which was fully furnished. This was fabulous news.

A couple weeks later, E moved out. Not in the traditional sense of the word, in that all of your stuff is now at a new location and you no longer reside at your previous home. No, no. Not with E. For her, moving out takes a solid month. Which was, like most things E does, annoying as shit to me. I also happen to consider taking your sweet time to move out of someone's house to be fairly rude. But that's just my personal opinion. By that point, I just wanted her OUT OUT OUT. And all she did was drag, drag, drag her ass. So instead of having my house all to myself, I had to deal with random phone calls during that time: "Hey, I am coming over tonight to get some more stuff, ok?"

Most of you are thinking, "So, what's the big deal? You can just be conveniently not there when she comes over."

Oh, but I can't. Because E seemed to have a difficult time remembering what was hers and what is mine. She walked off with my George Foreman grill, after I told her which one was mine. In an admittedly childish retaliation, I hid her pizza stone until she brought it back. And she also managed to take one of my trashcans, which is only mildly irritating. If she managed to get anything else, I haven't noticed. But my point is, I had to be around to watch her move all her stuff out. Argh.

Finally, after weeks of this crap, she had moved all her stuff out. She also conveniently forgot to clean her bathroom or her bedroom, which were both filthy. Whatever. I certainly was not going to invite her back to clean them.

Breathing a deep sigh of relief, I thought I was free of her until further notice. I was enjoying the table and chairs so much, I was beginning to forgive her of all of her pain-in-the-ass ways.

But of course, nothing is ever really finished with E. She obsesses and dwells and changes her mind as often as she opens her mouth.

A couple of weeks after she had moved out, she called me to tell me she had changed her mind about the table and chairs. She was coming by to get them after work on Friday.

Leaving me with no table or chairs.

After she had told me 3 times that I could keep them until further notice.

Maybe I was overreacting. Maybe it was just the straw that broke the camel's back. It also could have been PMS. But I was royally pissed off about this and bitched about it incessantly for the entire weekend. Ask CN. He was sick to death of hearing about it, poor guy.

"What are you going to do if she calls you in a couple of weeks to tell you she wants to keep them at your house again?" he asked me.

"I'm going to tell her that if they come back in, they are mine forever," I said. "And if she remembers that she left her computer monitor here, I'm going to tell her I haven't seen it. I'm sick of playing Little Miss Nice Guy. I am having an E-botomy. She's being removed from my life. No more phone calls. No more hanging out. I do not care to ever talk to her again, to be honest. She drives me nuts."

"She left her computer monitor? Can I have it?" he asked.

"Consider it yours," I replied, happy to be 100% E-free at long last.


Meghan (The Declaration of MY Independence) said...

Holy cats! I had no idea this was going on with her. I am SO SORRY you had to go through this. I know what its like to not get along with someone that you live with.

Well thank goodness she is gone. And I wouldnt even worry about the table. If she calls you to come and drop it off again, tell her no.

What a PITA.

kimmykins13 said...

Ask her if you could buy the table and chairs from her if you love the set that much. As money hungry as she sounds she might let it go at a reasonable price ESPECIALLY as much as you have done FOR HER!!! Also, if she is as manic as she sounds she will probably just use the money to go out and buy herself another bag or and outfit-seriously(?!!). I do feel sorry for her too though -- she needs someone to help her control all of those hella meds she's taking because it doesn't sound like she can do it herself. Good advice you gave her in that maybe she should move back to MN. Whether she does it or not isn't your problem anymore. She's a big girl, She will work it out if she wants to be healthy, otherwise she will just continue to stagnate like you said. Deep down she probably realizes that she is out of control.

Stuck said...

Is it a nice computer monitor? :)

Stuck said...

Bah... I hit post too fast.

I did want to point out one thing, in defense of bi-polar folks. While it may make perfect sense to a sane person what the BPD person should do, it doesn't work like that in a BPD brain. Logic does not have a place there. It's a land ruled by emotions. It's okay to be annoyed with her, even mad at her, but it's not entirely her fault. (Well it IS her fault for not getting on the RIGHT medication... but it's not her fault that she's got BPD.)

Virginia Belle said...

meghan -- if anything, this whole experience has made me more determined to manage my money better so that i NEVER have to have a roommate again!

kimmy -- i did offer to buy the table and chairs from her. but they belonged to her sister, who painted them right before she died. so they are pretty sentimental for E. i totally understand why she won't sell them. and part of me feels like i should stay in touch w/her to help her and encourage her to get better, but part of me is saying, "she's a big girl. only she can change her life." -- it's hard to know what to do, really. i feel guilty for being glad she's gone.

stuck -- thank you for telling me all of this. i will be the first to admit that i'm a little naive when it comes to mental disease. i don't really understand it and i REALLY have no idea how to deal with it. it hadn't occurred to me that that she can't think logically. what you said makes sense, though. thanks for educating me about this. you're right -- it's not her fault. now, if only i knew what to actually DO about it -- keep encouraging her to get help and remaining her friend? or let her run her own life and stay out of it?

Stuck said...

It's tricky. Telling them will usually put them on the defensive, so you have to stay patient and not let their anger rub off on you. Suggest that it couldn't hurt to at least try the medication that was recommended (these days it'll probably be Cybalta or Effexor) for a week or two and see how they feel. The booze will definitely have to stop, though, which is usually the hardest thing to talk them into.

As for the insomnia, that might be caused by an evening Adderoll. It's like drinking a case of Red Bull. She could change that dose to mornings only.

The Popcorn Bowl said...

I'm a little late but this girl needs her parents. She needs drugs and therapy and help.

She does sound bipolar although since she's playing with drugs/alcohol/over the counter its hard to say. Having bipolar is a hard diagnosis to accept but it's frightening to hear her say "the doctor said I'm bipolar, I'm not going back". What? So if you were diabetic, you just wouldn't go back?