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For the sake of friendship.
Jim Broede
Posted: Saturday, June 6, 2015 10:25 AM
Joined: 12/22/2011
Posts: 5462


I’m learning. To treat Julie as my off-and-on friend. Not a dear friend, not an always friend. For good reason. Julie really isn’t Julie any more. Only a slight resemblance of her former self. Julie is mentally ill. In despair. In depression. Crazy. In a not very nice way. Especially when she drinks too much wine. Imbibing. It dramatically changes her personality. In the worst way. Yes. Yes. I should be forgiving. And learn to accept Julie as she is. Recognizing that she’s ill. And can’t totally help herself. But I’m drawing a line. I absolutely cannot accept Julie as she is. I want a better and nicer Julie. So does Julie’s husband. He’s had enough of the ill and erratic and bitchy behavior. The Julie that steadfastly refuses to obtain help. As if Julie has the capability of making a real choice. Maybe Julie is unable to make rational decisions. Oh, for the power and authority to put Julie away. In a sanitarium. In an asylum. Until she becomes well again. Yes, I insist, dear Julie. That you go in for treatment. My ultimatum. Take it or leave it. Find a way. For the sake of friendship. –Jim
Jim Broede
Posted: Saturday, June 6, 2015 12:09 PM
Joined: 12/22/2011
Posts: 5462


I'm capable of writing off virtually anyone. If they annoy me. And make me feel uncomfortable in their presence. For many years, that included my sister. When she was a drunk. Tried valiantly to do something constructive about it. But it didn't work. So I declared adios. Finally, 10 years ago, she saw the light. Quit drinking. And we are on good and friendly terms again. Yes, I insist mostly on conditional friendships. Had only three unconditional friendships so far. Maybe I should have more. But I can settle for three. True, true, true friends. Maybe everyone else qualifies as acquaintances. Maybe that's a rather harsh definition. I like many, many people. But not so sure that I'd sacrifice virtually everything for them. Three at the very most. And even then I can't be sure. If I were really put to the test. --Jim Broede
Jim Broede
Posted: Saturday, June 6, 2015 1:01 PM
Joined: 12/22/2011
Posts: 5462


The baffling thing. About my semi-friend Julie. Seems that she doesn't want to be happy. That she prefers flagellating herself. As if she deserves to be punished. When really, Julie has many, many reasons to be happy. But she refuses to savor what she has. Yes, it's a mental illness. A sickness that may be even worse than death. To exist in a pool of unhappiness. That must be Hell. Makes me wonder if that's how Robin Williams felt. Moments before he decided to hang himself. On the surface, Williams had so very much to live for. Yet he chose death. His way of finding peace. Believe me, I have a better way. Yes, it would be far better to listen to me. Than to Robin Williams. --Jim
Jim Broede
Posted: Sunday, June 7, 2015 1:44 AM
Joined: 12/22/2011
Posts: 5462


I'd rather cope with depression than Alzheimer's. For an obvious reason. With proper treatment, depression can be brought under control. With Alzheimer's, one can expect a steady decline. No matter what. Therefore, my empathy is more with the Alzheimer-riddled than with my depressed friend Julie. I really don't feel all that sorry for Julie. Because she has the option. To go into psychotherapy. And to take an effective anti-depressant. Unfortunately, Julie has been slow in seeking help. She dilly dallies. Procrastinates. And continues to get more and more depressed. And it doesn't help, either, that she exacerbates the depression by drinking too much. All of this is happening to the alarm of friends and cohorts. If they had the power and authority, they'd force Julie into treatment. Instead, Julie resists their anguished pleas. And drifts into self-induced despair. Of course, I'm annoyed. With stubborn Julie. She doesn't follow my advice. I tell her that our friendship is over. Unless she takes steps to become well again. I refuse to watch. As her condition steadily worsens. So sad. After all, there is treatment. And a cure for depression. Better that. Than what really amounts to a slow form of suicide. It'll be reason for me to lament and grieve. Briefly. Then I'll get on with the rest of my happy go-lucky life. --Jim
Jim Broede
Posted: Sunday, June 7, 2015 8:47 AM
Joined: 12/22/2011
Posts: 5462


I take charge of my life. By steering clear of bothersome people. I even let go of certain friends. If they go awry. And refuse to help themselves. Take Julie, for instance. I try to have great influence. In the way Julie handles her life. Unfortunately, she does it in a self-destructive way. If Julie wants to commit suicide, I won't be a part of it. I'll go my way. And eventually allow Julie to go her way. Julie has the option. To be a free and independent woman. And to do as she pleases. As long as she refrains from doing harm to others. Julie does emotional harm to me. Only if I allow her to. I have the option to write-off Julie. So does her husband. So do so many people around Julie. I insist that Julie find ways to help herself. To become a reasonably happy being again. That's the only way I want Julie in my happy go-lucky life. Does that make me selfish and uncaring? --Jim
Jim Broede
Posted: Sunday, June 7, 2015 9:14 AM
Joined: 12/22/2011
Posts: 5462


I have also put the Chicago Cubs on notice. They must become a consistently winning baseball team. Otherwise, I will renounce my allegiance to the Cubs. Another example of how I am taking charge of my life. --Jim
Jim Broede
Posted: Sunday, June 7, 2015 9:30 AM
Joined: 12/22/2011
Posts: 5462


My truest friends are the ones that genuinely care about themselves. If they can't do that, there's no way that they can care for me. That's why Julie doesn't qualify any more as my true friend. She doesn't even care about herself. --Jim
Jim Broede
Posted: Sunday, June 7, 2015 12:35 PM
Joined: 12/22/2011
Posts: 5462


Please don't get me wrong. Julie and I can be friends again. Some day. But that depends on Julie. If she shapes up. And becomes a happy go-lucky being. I'll welcome her back into the fold. Yes, I've established a friendly sort of condition. There's hope. A way for Julie to end our estrangement. I want Julie to learn a lesson. I'm out there. Waiting. To become her worthy friend again. In a sense, I've been sent into exile. By Julie. If she truly wants be back, I'll come. But she has to make a sacrifice. A payment. Giving up the booze. And her unhappy ways. Otherwise, it's over. Forever.--Jim
Jim Broede
Posted: Sunday, June 7, 2015 1:00 PM
Joined: 12/22/2011
Posts: 5462


I can see friendship from many angles. Many slants. And the hardest kind of friendship is the one that comes without conditions. At the very most, I've achieved it only three times. Maybe that makes me deficient. Insufficient. And maybe I'm living a delusion. Those three friendships could be fake. Because I was never truly tested. Never sacrificing my life for a friend. Until I do that, it's all theoretical stuff. --Jim
Jim Broede
Posted: Sunday, June 7, 2015 5:04 PM
Joined: 12/22/2011
Posts: 5462


One of my dearest friends is a retired psychiatric nurse. Yes, a dearest friend. Though I've never met her in the flesh. Face-to-face. Maybe that's a pity. But I really don't think so. Because we have become friends. In a lengthy exchange of letters. Over the years. Actually, I met her on the Alzheimer's message boards. When my dear sweet wife Jeanne was riddled with Alzheimer's Disease. We've stayed in touch. Cultivating our friendship. With the written word. By the way, it's also on the message boards that I met my Italian amore. And we've done more than cultivate a friendship. She's the second true love of my life. Anyway, allow me to get back to my psychiatric nurse friend. She sent me an email today. About Julie. Here's what she had to say:

jim:
your neighbor Julie..may you consider.. just being kind to her..she must find her own way through life..not your way or my way..it is her choice..and sad as it may seem to you and me..she chooses to not feel...pain..so she drinks..she must love herself enough and decide..to surrender...

jim may you enjoy your walks with that (Julie's) dog..and know that dog loves you for it..
and know this may be as good as it gets in Life.. for Julie..this moment in time..
take care of you.

Indeed, that sounds like good advice. Thanks, Rosie.
w/e
Posted: Sunday, June 7, 2015 8:20 PM
Joined: 3/7/2012
Posts: 1751


Jim, I agree with your friend.
I'm no doctor. I'm no nurse.... Here are my two cents:
It seems to me that you are talking to Julie rather than conversing with Julie... Sharing with.
Maybe you need to learn to be a better listener. Sometimes it is better to talk less and to listen more.To really listen to the symphonic music behind the words. Julie is talking loud and clear... listen.
Also, if you continue "lecturing" her about her depression and about her excessive drinking, it could cause further damage to her already damaged sense of self.... Easy does it.
Everyone knows that Julie drinks because she is hurting... Behaviour is communication.
Julie feels misunderstood, sad, and probably a wee lonely. She feels awful. She feels useless. She is disappointed with herself. She feels ugly. Besides all that, there are probably some other "ghosts" inside her closet that only she knows.
Julie needs to drink to be able to "cope" with her pain. And her anxieties. The more she drinks, the more she slides further, and deeper, into her depression... My goodness, what a knot!!!
Julie is experiencing the darkness and the fire of hell inside her mind. Depression is an awful disease. And so is alcoholism.
I believe Julie will start her road to recovery and healing when she begins to forgive herself. Then, and only then, she will learn to accept herself with all her imperfections. Neither a pill. Nor a doctor can give forgiveness. Forgiveness comes from the center of our being. For Julie, it will be a courageous heroic act.

Lets hope that your beloved Julie will find the courage to fly someday like a phoenix from the ashes of her depression. And begin to love herself once again.

Jim Broede
Posted: Monday, June 8, 2015 8:52 AM
Joined: 12/22/2011
Posts: 5462


Believe me, w/e. I am listening to Julie. And talking, too. Trying to deal with the delicate and tenuous situation. Rather than letting it fester. Communication is supposed to be a two-way street. Listening to each other. Talking to each other. I encourage Julie to talk, talk, talk. I listen. Avidly. And hardly speak a word. I absorb the essence of Julie's monologue. I encourage Julie to come up with practical and attainable solutions. She's in dire need of help. I suggest a gamut of alternatives. For coping with her depression. Simple stuff. Professional psychotherapy. Anti-depressant drugs. Julie agrees. This stuff would be worth a try. But she doesn't follow through. She has difficulty making decisions. Nudging doesn't do the trick. She needs therapy. Daily therapy for a while. A better understanding of herself. Her psyche. And her longstanding psychological problems. All the way back to her youth. To growing up in a dysfunctional family. And the long -term negative effects from her care-giving. Of both parents. In her own home. For over six years. The personal sacrifices. The constant and exhaustive day in and day out care-giving. For mother. For father. She's a casualty of Alzheimer care-giving. She toppled into the abyss. And has to find a way out. It's a sad, sad case. But it happens. To care-givers. All the time. Little wonder. That some don't make it out. But there are ways. That's my oft-repeated message. To dear Julie. What more can I do? --Jim


Jim Broede
Posted: Saturday, June 13, 2015 6:23 AM
Joined: 12/22/2011
Posts: 5462


My semi-friend Julie continues to mark time. She's supposed to see a psychiatrist. But puts it off and off and off. That's the unfortunate side of her life. Always postponing today. Until tomorrow. I watch from the sidelines. As do others. We watch and watch and watch. We all have our roles. In seeing that nothing ever seems to get done. Wait. Wait. Wait. Sad. Sad. Sad. --Jim

Jim Broede
Posted: Sunday, June 14, 2015 3:24 PM
Joined: 12/22/2011
Posts: 5462


Julie's neighbors keep asking me, 'What's happened to Julie? We don't see her any more.' I tell them only that Julie is in depression. That she has become reclusive. I don't tell them that she has a drinking problem. Maybe that's too personal. I take Julie's dog Sasha for a walk. Daily. Sometimes for 5 or 6 miles. Sasha and I are friends. Not so sure about Julie any more. I call her a semi-friend. Not quite a full-blown friend. I haven't seen Julie for several days. Even when I pick up Sasha. When I don't see Julie, it's likely that she's taken to her bedroom. To while away time. In depression. Away from people. Not so sure that's a good thing. Several neighbors tell me they plan to 'look in' on Julie. That would be a good thing. Julie probably needs camaraderie and inquisitive neighbors. Maybe Julie is plunging. To the bottom. That could be good, too. Because then there's only one direction. Up. Up. Up. Better days ahead. Beats the alternative. No days any more. --Jim
Jim Broede
Posted: Sunday, June 21, 2015 11:39 PM
Joined: 12/22/2011
Posts: 5462


Julie told me tonight that we are no longer friends. Of course. I more or less wrote off Julie weeks ago. Announcing that at best we are semi-friends. That I'll accept her as a friend conditionally. Only if she stops drinking and gets psychotherapy and other treatment for depression. I can't accept Julie for what she has become. A mere shadow of her former vibrant and happy self. Maybe that makes me a cad. But that's the way I operate. I've had only three true (unconditional) friends in a lifetime. Which ain't bad. Julie isn't one of them. Unfortunately. For me. And for Julie, too. Years ago, I would have considered Julie worthy of my friendship. But she doesn't meet my standards anymore. And apparently I don't meet her standards. That's the nature of life. Some friends come and go. But that doesn't stop me from getting on with life. In a reasonably happy manner. Without Julie. --Jim
Jim Broede
Posted: Monday, June 22, 2015 5:48 AM
Joined: 12/22/2011
Posts: 5462


I call it the tough love way. I insist that Julie gets help. To overcome her depression. And her drinking problem. I wish everyone in Julie’s life would take a tough love approach. Her husband. Her friends and acquaintances. The whole caboodle. We have been far too easy on Julie. We have allowed Julie to languish. In her self-imposed misery. In a living Hell. We have enabled. Rather than intervened. I’d carry off Julie. To a sanitarium. Or maybe the nearby Mayo Clinic. For a total evaluation. Mentally. Emotionally. Physically. That sure beats the present alternative. Allowing Julie to plunge. Into the abyss. From which she may never emerge. –Jim