Sunday, March 28, 2010

Memories of Pepper or how to cope

'Inferno' pepper
"Great wits are sure to madness near allied, and thin partitions do their bounds divide", wrote John Dryden.

In other words (not that Dryden really needs my help) - the margin between sanity and insanity is microscopic.  Many years ago, I interviewed a number of patients at the St. Thomas Ontario Hospital.  Even at that time, late '70s, that was the euphemism for Mental Hospital.  I was writing an article for my newspaper and really wanted to understand what brought people to this end.

One particular person stands out in my memory.  Probably because she stalked me for a while but also as a result of a special insight she provided.  Her name, not making this up, was Pepper.

Pepper was committed to the OH by her family.  She actually drove herself there, parked her car and delivered herself to staff thinking she was simply there for an interview.  Weeks later she told of sitting in her room, seeing her car in the parking lot and being completely helpless in her desire to climb behind the wheel and drive back to her 'normal' life.  Her insight was this - one person's ability to cope with seemingly routine tasks during the day can come crashing down with little or no notice.  She advised that the only reason she was confined to quarters and I could drive away in my Datsun 200SX was my ability to cope.  

See, Pepper wasn't nuts at all.  In fact she was a pretty normal person except for the fact that she just could get her act together IN THE EYES OF HER CHILDREN!

So why am I writing this now?

Not so several years ago, a friend did me the great service of encouraging me to seek some assistance as they thought I was sliding down the slope to gloom.  Recently, I had occasion to speak to someone in a similar situation and tried to share what had been helpful to me.  Don't know if it worked 'cause being in our current situation - 2.5 year old son, 2-month old son, selling a house, finding a new home, keeping a business afloat and managing a life - is why I started this blog entry.

Like Pepper, I'm finding it a challenge to cope with all of this but mercifully, because I have had some good lessons, I can make my way through the day.

Don't know where you are now Pepper or even if you're still walking among us, but I am thankful to have met you and learned your lessons.

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