Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Over my head

Kitten had to play therapist today. Two different callers. Clinical depression. I've been through it enough myself to know it when I hear it.

Two separate desperate people. One, a 74-year old woman, so angry and discouraged she rejects all options as not worth trying. The other, a 60-year old man (not that old any more), crying over the phone, but ready to do what I say.

Promise me. For me. What are you going to do for me? You're going to call the hospital. You'll ask about support groups. Ask about a mental health clinic. Tell them you are very, very depressed. Tell them you need help. Promise me.

They need antidepressants. Both of them. Not that I can say that. I'm not a doctor. I'm not a therapist. But I know. I've been there. The man might get some. But the woman? No. She's too far gone. Too hopeless. Wants to be dead. Won't kill herself but wants to be dead.

I know that one, too. Used to happen to me late ever fall back in Michigan. November on top of clinical depression is a nearly lethal combination, except when you are so paralyzed by autumn and/or life that you have no energy to hurt yourself. So you just wish yourself dead.

She won't kill herself. And she won't get real help. But she called me right back after I hung up the first time. I'm not a therapist. I'm not a counselor. I'm not trained. This isn't my job. But by the end of the second, long call she sounded a little calmer, she was saying nice things about me, she was grateful... it was a start.

This isn't my job. I'm not supposed to do this. But they were desperate. I can't turn my back on the clinically depressed.

A lot of people thanked me today, blessed me today, were grateful for me today. That helped.

But when I hung up from the crying man, I put my head in my hands and sobbed.


My naughty thoughts said...

I could see how that could be draining... but I hope you know your compassion has helped people get through their difficult time.

mamacrow said...

babe (((HUGS))) i've been there. I worked in mental health but on the clerical side, but sometimes we'd end up with the most peculiar calls... I spent an intire afternoon talking to one woman once. I still think about her and hope things turned out ok.