Thursday, June 01, 2006

Frightened...

I'm not easily frightened.

I don't jump when things go bump-- in the night or otherwise. I don't freak out over bloody noses, or kid inflicted wounds, or broken bones and such. I do think pet injuries are gross, but even that I can handle.

An angry man is unsettling, especially if he is angry with me, but I can stand my ground, or walk away if necessary. An angry man is more likely to make me become angry...but not fearful.

What does frighten me are crazy people, and I encountered one yesterday at Kroger (the grocery store).

I actually passed him on the road before I got to the store. He was walking in the center lane of a 5 lane street. He looked mad, out of sorts, hot, and unstable; and had I known he was headed for the store, I would have turned around and gone home.

About halfway through my visit I heard him yelling...I just knew it was him.
Sure enough, he came down the ilse towards me, being followed by a store clerk who was trying to get him to leave the store. I'm not sure if the man saw me- he kind of looked through me.

I felt sorry for him. Sorry for his state of mind. Sorry for the battle raging in his head. Sorry that he was hot, and needed a shower, and needed a famliy to take care of him. Sorry that I could not step in and make things better.

And, I was afraid of him. He looked angry and crazy enough to grab someone and do something desperate. Securtity was called, he yelled and screamed all the way out of the store. Everyone I could see looked nervous...looked somehow "paused", as if we all had gone into slow motion...waiting for something.

Quiet returned, or the normal sounds at least. The crying of children, the squeek of the shopping carts, the stocking of shelves, the rings of cell phones...

I finished up my shopping and exited the store, and I wondered if the man was outside waiting.

I passed another man, elderly, waiting ouside of his van, breathing hard, sweating (it is getting hot here!), looking a little bewildered. I wondered if he was having chest pains or something...I stopped and asked him if he was ok...

Got a long story about being legally blind, and having disks removed from his neck (he showed me his scar!), and not being able to drive, and to make a rather long story short (for you, my friends) he was waiting for his wife and enduring the heat as best he could.

Not crazy, just lonely...and doing as well as could be expected under the circumstances.

The truly Crazy Man was nowhere to be seen. Maybe he was lonely too...

But he really scared me.

9 comments:

X. Dell said...

Psychosis is a scary thing to encounter, and the drugs we have nowadays can contribute to the problem, even though they help in the short-term. The drugs make up for neuro-chemical deficiencies. Problem is, because the drug does all the work, the body stops manufacuring the chemicals naturally.

Meanwhile, being on psyche drugs is awful. Imagine being numb about everything and anything, and you get the picture. Understandably, psychotics often don't like taking them.

But when they stop, the drugs can't produce the necessary brain chemicals. And neither can the brain, because it shut down production because of the drugs.

The result: crazy men raising havoc at Kroger's.

I don't blame you being scared. The person simply cannot be responsible for himself at that point, and there's little you can do except get out of the way.

And you're right: I'm sure he must be lonely.

kate said...

Perhaps he is lonely or out of it enough not to notice... who knows.

It gutts me to see people like that (and homeless folks on the streets) because I look at them and think that that is someones mother or father or uncle or at least child. I look at the loss of value in their lives.

I work for this homeless shelter on Tues's and my experience is always monumental there... I have come to realize that we are all just a step away from that possibility. One bad health issue and inadequate insurance, a bad divorse or loss of jobs, I have seen it happen time and time again. If there is no family to help out... where do you go? Shelter or streets I guess. sobering for sure!

Mayden's Voyage said...

Hmmm...X, sounds like the cure is worse than the illness. I know someone who endured shock therapy for their depression. That frightened me too...that a person could feel so bad they would submit to that kind of treatment.

Kate,
A homeless shelter...wow. I volunteer at a Retirement/nursing home once a month to speak (on Tuesdays!), just devotional stuff, but the feelings I have are similar to yours. This is their home, and while it meets their needs, it isn't what I'd call "home". Most are there being supported by the state, no place else to go, and they are so grateful for the interaction. They always hug me and thank me for being there, but it is me who feels the greater blessing. I always walk away humbled, and grateful. More people should spend time in these places full of forgotten people...

schaumi said...

Poor guy! I also would have been very wary. Sometimes mental institutions for lack of funding or overcrowding dismiss folks as cured even though that is where they really ought to be.

luxlucisvita said...

I have a neighbor...they live in this big house...really big house...

I heard they used to be rich...like owned 5 cars and had great parties...The husband was a really good lawyer and the wife was a teacher...

Anyway....every morning the husband goes wandering around...who knows where...He simply walks out the house and walks...walks...walks...wherever his feet would lead him...He comes back in the evening though...just in time for dinner...

I asked a common friend why he was this way and why his family allows him to do this...

My friend said reversal of fortune drove the man into a deep depression and he never pulled through...in short...he is...crazy.....but in a way that isn't really that obvious...

He should be helped...I have no idea why his family allows him to be....

loneliness...depression...neurosis...psychosis...the ones that aren't obviously manifested are just as dangerous as the obviously demented...

I would have been just as scared as you were...

X. Dell said...

Maybe the cure fits the ill, or the person. But it would seem that everything comes with a price.

I saw a friend of mine minutes after she had walked out of shock therapy. I knew that the only reason a doctor perscribed it was because she had a repuatiation as a troublemaker--and she wasn't, really; she just wasn't about to kiss anyone's backside.

The temporary change in personality creeped out me and her other friends so badly that after we talked about it with her, she refused further "treatments."

After its thorough discrediting, a number of shrinks wish to bring back shock therapy. Leeches are probably not far behind.

Valerie - Riding Solo said...

People in the grip of their emotions instead of their reason are frightening because we are so rarely exposed to that state in others. I don't blame you for being afraid.

We had a war vet that shopped where I worked and he had two incidents of becoming incoherent and violent while I was there. I managed to talk him through one and got him to leave because he was scaring kids. The next time my boss was there and didn't do so well, he had to call the cops.

While I don't believe there is any theraputic value in shock treatments I believe there is a place for leeches. They have been used to keep blood flowing to re-attached limbs while they heal with good results.

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