Apr 19 2010

Blamer Brain Trust Alert: Bad Vibrations

As a rule, the spinster aunt may be considered the world’s foremost expert on expertise. However, a matter has come to our attention here at headquarters, and we (me and Phil) are in just a hair over our head. So I thought I’d better put it up to the Blametariat, which, as you know, is comprised of geniuses of all stripes. Those of you in the mental health business, fluff up the grey matter.

The matter concerns a pal of mine. Let’s call her B.

B has an adult daughter. Let’s call her Offspring.

Offspring looks to have had some sort of psychotic break. Once a successful engineer pulling down six figures, she quit that gig, changed her name to Sky Cloud Butterfly, and now purports to be a psychic high priestess who can marshal the forces of “vibrations” to produce favorable outcomes for her clients. Apparently Sky Cloud Butterfly once exterminated an infestation of ticks from a distance of 2000 miles by the power of meditation alone. She believes she is the most powerful vibration wrangler in the world. She can’t do any sort of traditional income-generating work, such as engineering, because the vibrating spirits are against it.

Naturally this view of reality has produced for Sky Cloud Butterfly unfortunate consequences regarding food and shelter. Owing to the scarcity of paying clients in need of vibrational assistance, and having gotten kicked out of her last living arrangement, she arrived a few weeks ago at B’s house, where she lounges around all day claiming that she can’t do the dishes or weed the garden on accounta the vibrations. She also refuses to submit to psychiatric care. B walks on eggshells because she slightest little things sets the offspring off. Sky Cloud Butterfly has taken over B’s life.

B’s husband, something of an overbearing woman-hating asshole to begin with, wants to give Sky Cloud Butterfly the heave-ho. They live in a trailer on a fixed income. They can’t afford a free-loading adult daughter. B’s husband — we’ll call him Fuckface — has been making B’s life extra miserable ever since Sky Cloud Butterfly showed up.

B, of course, can’t throw her daughter out. She’s well aware of the future that awaits a homeless woman operating at diminished capacity. But if the daughter stays, discord in the home in the shape of Fuckface’s tantrums will blow B’s mind.

Naturally I counseled B, like I do at every opportunity, to get rid of the pig husband, because the last thing you need when your daughter has gone off the deep end is some rancid fuckface dude ordering you around. But, as usual, B declines to resect the festering tissue.

My question is this: what the fuck can B do?

Also, does anybody know what brand of utility farm tractor I should buy?


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  1. Fluff_

    I don’t know if such a program exists in Texas (or whichever state B resides), but in some places in California, there are psychiatric teams associated with local hospitals that can be called out to examine and aid people, which can be accessed by dialing 911 or a hotline number. When Offspring is ‘set off’ again, B could call a psychiatric crisis team, who could take Offspring away and administer psychiatric care on the mother’s consent. It’s certainly not the nicest thing to do, having your daughter hauled off by strangers, but it seems to me a damn sight better than watching her life be dissolved into a fantasy world.

  2. Ugly in Pink

    Hm. Well, she can try to get Sky Cloud Butterfly involuntarily committed based on inability to care for herself (it’s a pity this won’t work for Fuckface, but unfortunately toxic masculinity is not yet a recognized mental disorder) but I don’t know the procedure outside of MA. Nevertheless, a call to the good ole’ state government may offer some assistance if one is willing to spend a good amount of time patiently on hold and/or requesting the name and direct dial of the appropriate person to speak to. My sympathies for her whole screwed up situation.

  3. B. Dagger Lee

    I’ll ask Miss Patsy tonight, because her career is about housing people who’ve gone off the deep end. But I’ve heard enough about it at the kitchen table to bloviate on the subject.

    Sky Cloud Butterfly has to be wrangled into getting on disability, Medicaid, and also to getting a Section 8 housing voucher. Or at least that’s how it goes in my state. These are all Federal programs, so I guess since Texas hasn’t managed to exit the Union, it’s got to be about the same there.

    You must know some dyke social workers in Austin?

    Perhaps if your friend B has a plan (and it’s being implemented) to get Offspring into the above programs and out of the trailer, Fuckface will back off a little?

    Our neighbor upstate has a cute little Japanese tractor dealio that she uses for a lot of things and it seems compact, reliable and pretty darn cute.

  4. Notorious Ph.D.

    B. Dagger Lee has excellent advice.

    And if Sky Cloud Butterfly’s vibration-wrangling could be targeted at Fuckface to transform him into a patriarchy-smashing advocate for the mentally ill, that would also be cool.

  5. ashley

    This has happened to two people in my life.

    The daughter shouldn’t be abused with psychiatry unless it’s absolutely necessary for HER well being, not the mom’s. The things she’s saying aren’t actually mentall illness material per se, it’s all about what culture believes versus what’s personally believed. By the same standard all Christians are mentally ill, but society allows them to walk around. (I actually think the daughter’s beliefs make more sense than Christian dogma)

    She has probably had some kind of genuine experience with divine energy. I really don’t care if people think that sounds crazy and I realize Twisty, you’re an atheist and so am I but there are things outside of science that happen to people. The reason people develop delusional beliefs about them is because western culture has no paradigm for the experiences. In other cultures it’s not like that.

    The girl should be strongly encouraged to pursue information and techniques about her experience, and a mental framwork to file it because right now she doesn’t have one and it’s clearly spiralling out of control. Literature about spiritual coming of age in other cultures, specifically “indigenous religion” in Africa or any culture that allows for psychic phenomena/the existence of other energies. When she’s able to understand that she’s not Ghandi because she had an experience, it will normalize the grandiose delusions.

    Also there should be zero tolerance for not paying her way. The mother should put her foot down and insist that she start paying her own bills asap, explaining that this kind of experience has nothing to do with expected behaviors and no matter who she is, she needs to pull her own weight.

    Getting psychiatry involved is the equivalent of calling an exorcist. Please advise her to spare her daughter that horrific, massively patriarchal experience if there’s any change she can normalize and integrate this experience without it.

  6. ashley

    And yes I realize that the above requires a lot of investment on the mother’s part, but having someone drag her away to be “treated’? excuse me, but what the hell is wrong with you people. Hopefully you’re never a parent, because you clearly lack the compassion to handle it.

  7. Julie

    I think the reason people are suggesting professional help is NOT because Offspring is having experiences that are outside the realm of Accepted Norms. The reason they are suggesting professional help is because this person has shown an inability to take care of herself (feed herself, provide for her own shelter, take care of herself, etc.) That may be indicative of mental problems. The fact that she is in touch with vibrations is not the issue. Good parenting sometimes requires accepting the fact that a child, while gifted in whatever way, is no longer able to care for herself, and needs advanced help that the parental unit(s) cannot provide.

    Appropriate social work intervention may be crucial here, particularly since it does not sound like B has time for Offspring to just gradually come out of this on her own, since Fuckface is giving B hell. (Also, depending on the nature of the problem, Offspring may get worse, not better, over time, without help.)

    When I lived in Pennsylvania, I discovered that the local mental hospital provided a free outpatient service where you did an intake interview and then they recommended services for you, including finding a psychiatrist and/or therapist for you to see on an outpatient basis. This was great because when I tried to call dozens of offices for appointments, I kept being told about 6 month waiting lists. When this hospital called for an appointment on my behalf, I got one three days later.

    I do not know if this was a service only of that hospital, or if this service is available across the nation, but B might want to call a mental health facility to ask them where she could get help with Offspring. I also think that social work services would be helpful. Social workers are adept at dealing with non-mainstream people. The point isn’t to ‘normalize’ Offspring so that she no longer is in tune with these vibrations – the point is that she needs to be able to take care of herself.

    B might benefit from making an appointment with a social worker herself to discuss this issue; once she shares the details with a social worker, the social worker will know better what B should do. My ex-husband decided in his mid-20s that he was a Jedi knight and no longer had to work or take care of himself in any way. That was bipolar disorder. I’m not saying Offpsring has a mental disease, but I think a professional social worker should be consulted, just in case.

  8. yttik

    I share your horror about involving psychiatry and the system, Ashley.

    B needs to get herself some support and help. Ultimately the only one she can heal is herself. She’s allowing F-face and Offspring to suck all the good vibrations out of her and she needs to ask herself why. If she can learn to invest all that wasted energy in herself instead, the other two will be forced to change because she won’t be carrying all their baggage for them anymore.

    It’s counter intuitive for mothers to focus on themselves rather then to sacrifice everything for their adult offspring, but it’s the only thing I’ve ever seen that works. The more energy you pour into dysfunction the bigger it grows.

  9. hero

    I’m with Jill on this–Fuckface is the bigger problem. B could likely find many ways, some more creative than others, to deal with Offspring’s new uhm, situation, if Fuckface were absent. He is the source of the urgency, if not the source of the problem, since his tantrumming is the consequence for patience.

    That not being a likely happy ending, I think the mental illness issue is something for which to blame the P. If Offspring had been, as you say, an engineer (shall we not get into how much of the P we must put up with to achieve the training for such a title?), and is now looping out with the universe, I also agree with Ashley in that Offspring has had *something* happen that has rattled the P-based training it took for her to be an engineer, and she deserves to be taken seriously–WITHOUT the “gift” being so pandered to that normal life functioning is difficult/impossible. Is there a local guru-type loopster nearby who can provide “guidance” and “training” for the new experiences Offspring has encountered, while gently nudging her back to the take-care-of-yourself standard? Some hippy-dippy like myself with enormous earrings, but also a hand at supernatural negotiation? Who can navigate (and mentor Offspring to navigate) the treacherous waters between the Otherworld and Buying Groceries? I am not–entirely–saying “find a helper who will humor Offspring,” but. Well, yes I am. Sorta.

  10. BadKitty

    Offspring’s sudden dramatic change in personality, behavior and inability to take care of herself indicates some kind of mental illness. I’m with Julie. B should avail herself of a social worker and get Offspring evaluated.

    I’ll make no comment on ashley’s judgmental rant about other blamers lacking compassion and the ability to parent properly even though I really really want to go into smack-down mode.

  11. Cycles

    In the spirit of interblogularconnectedness, is there any way to get Offspring in touch with Teh Portly Dyke? She revealed her identity as a psychic channeler a while back. She’s been through the rigamarole and seems to have come out the other end with clarity on the spirituality vs. meatspace thing.


  12. blahdiblahblah

    I’m with B. Dagger Lee on this one, but it might not work. I have a sibling whom I suspect to have serious mental health issues. We got almost all the way through the social services applications when she borrowed the car (unauthorized) for 24 hours and came back to announce that she’d joined a fucking cult. 5 months later, she left the cult for her abusive ex. Oy vey. I do agree that applying for as much assistance as possible is the way to go. Then she can be as independent as possible as quickly as possible – basically it’ll get her off the couch without having to drag her to a shrink.

    As for Fuckface – can he take up bowling or something? Dude needs to stay the hell out of the house.

    Re tractors: I’m for Deutz. Nice and reliable.

  13. Intransigentia

    What Sky Cloud Butterfly needs is an agent. There’s plenty of money to be found in things like vibration-wrangling. If she can get herself onto a TV talk show, maybe in the same episode as Sylvia Browne makes an appearance, she’ll be set for life. And then if she shares her wealth her mom will be able to afford to throw out Fuckface.

  14. ehren

    Provided that this really is the first atypical behavior Offspring has ever shown, she is most certainly having a psychotic episode. The problem when someone feels they are at the mercy of/endowed with an unseen, non-tangible force, is that said force may not always have a benevolent agenda and the person could end up harming themself in some way. My suggestion would be for B to try and talk to Offspring to see if at any point the vibrations have suggested that she hurt herself or anyone else, if they have, B should call 911. Offspring will be involuntarily admitted to a psychiatric ward for a 72 hour observation period and will more than likely be admitted on a longer term basis.

    State laws on this sort of thing vary but, unless Offspring threatens to hurt herself or someone else, it is going to be very difficult to get her any professional help without Offspring’s cooperation. Getting her started on disability and section 8 programs would be a good thing as well, but will take a really long time to get in place and not be easy to do without Offspring’s participation. She should also talk to a lawyer about seeing what the legal process is in her state for having her daughter declared incompetent so that B has power of attorney and can have Offspring committed without having to wait until she threatens to hurt someone, but again, that will be a very long process.

    I’m really sorry, this sounds like a horrible situation, best of luck to B in handling it.

  15. Virginia S. Wood, Psy.D.

    Sky Cloud Butterfly (hereinafter, “SCB”)is definitely having a symptom of something. Grandiose thinking is abnormal no matter what your faith, and can be a sign of any number of things from bipolar to schizophrenia. So is the sudden decline in functioning.

    But the first order of business is that she should have a complete physical, and possibly a neurological consult, ASAP. This may be physical. If money is as big of a problem as it sounds like it is from your post, they may be able to get this done through the local health department. But it is essential that this be done now, if not yesterday, in case there’s some sort of dangerous physical process going on here.

    ‘Getting psychiatry involved’ on some level is not necessarily a bad thing, once she clears medical, but in my home state, civilly committing an uninsured adult is a really, really bad idea. Our system is oversubscribed and underfunded, to say the least, and staffed with MDs for whom English is a 2nd language, which makes communication, without which psychiatry does not happen, a bit of a problem. She’s likely, unless Texas is really different, which I doubt, to be in and out of there in three to five days, which is not enough to stabilize her but more than enough time in which to screw things up worse than they ever were. Fluff’s idea is perfect if B. can swing a private psychiatric hospital bed, with a guarantee that SCB won’t be transferred when the money runs out. Otherwise, I recommend that B. proceed with caution on this one.

    But psychiatric treatment does not have to be an abusive experience, especially not outpatient, because there are feminist psychiatrists out there who won’t focus on the spiritual aspects of SCB’s experience, but on the goal of (at least partially) restoring her functioning, and approach it in a collaborative, respectful way. Perhaps SCB could see one of those on an outpatient basis.

    It’s going to cost well over $100 a pop, and medications are expensive too, but state Medicaid may help, and some pharmaceutical companies will “scholarship” you. B should shop for a shrink who (a) isn’t a Bible-thumper, and (b) is very conservative about meds.

    Getting on disability, also a good idea, can take years, and requires medical records supporting the disability and/or an evaluation by one of Social Security’s contract docs, so start now. B can put in an application for SCB, in case that’s against the vibrations, but sooner or later SCB’s cooperation will have to be enlisted. There are lawyers who specialize in the application process and take their fees out of your back-pay, which dates back to, I think, your original application date.

    In the meantime, getting on foodstamps and other State benefits is quicker, and will at least have her bringing a little self-support “income” into the home within a few weeks. B. should try to get a Power of Attorney and contact SCB’s last employer in case there’s some money in a retirement plan or sick pay or a last paycheck or something SCB forgot to bring with her. I’d be willing to bet they do not have her address, and every penny counts.

    As for Ashley’s advice about B expecting SCB to immediately begin functioning as a member of the household, I wholeheartedly concur. The last thing Mom wants to do is enable this kid to deteriorate further.

    Rather than arguing with the vibrations thing, I would get into her system of thinking with her–start with where she is. Dovetail what you want with her own ideas, couch it in her language. Put some effort into understanding where she’s coming from. Even “crazy talk” has its own internal logic, and may give clues as to what this is all about.

    If the vibes want her to cure ticks, I am sure they would want her to wash her own dishes, too. Why would they not? They’re both cleanliness issues, right? And how can you help your customers with that if you aren’t? That’s just one example, and if it doesn’t work, it shouldn’t hurt to try it. They’d be no worse off than they are, the dishes will just still be dirty.

    Many of us believe that behind every delusion is a kernel of truth. The Vibes probably did start out as an unconscious recognition that engineering is not right for her, even if only because she was getting too ill to cope with her job. Whatever, Ashley’s right that she’s had some kind of experience that’s meaningful to her, and we need to respect it if only to avoid further alienating her.

    We do in this culture put a terrific amount of emphasis on what one does for a living as not only one’s core identity but also as a measure of one’s value. Flip side is, it’s a reality that we all have to participate in the whole hunter-gatherer thing to survive, so somebody needs to talk with SCB about what vibes she’s getting about what she could do, especially since the vibe-consulting thing isn’t working out too well. Helping out around the house might be all the contribution she can make right now, but it would be something.

    Giving a mentally ill person the boot like Dad wishes to do is cruel, inhuman, and potentially lethal. So I’d add to Ashley’s recommendation about patient education that Dad needs to be force-fed some info about adult-onset severe mental illness. He needs a framework right now far worse than SCB does!

    He needs to get used to the idea that this may be a lifetime thing and that she may always need support from her parents in one form or another. Involve him in any consults on SCB’s behalf so that the pros can see him in action and help Mom handle his attitude. We’ve seen it all before and we can take some of the weight for her.

    In the meantime, if he’s really losing his temper at SCB, rather than fighting with B about her, that may qualify her for intervention from Adult Protective Services. This might be another quick way to get a social worker on scene to help with things as Supportive Living and such. Section 8 may be more than she can handle on her own right now.

    Finally, there should be chapters of NAMI (National Association for Mental Illness or the Mentally Ill or something like that–I’m awful with acronyms) nearby. They offer free literature like pamphlets, recommendations for books and stuff, and most important of all, they hold support groups for Families of the Mentally Ill. They would be the single best resource on local service availability and general coping skills for B, and would hook her up with other Moms dealing with the same thing. Perhaps FF could also be force-fed this material, and dragged to meetings.

    B. has my heartfelt sympathy, and best wishes. This is a heartbreaking thing for her to have to witness, and worse with her own husband fighting and undermining her every step of the way. I’ve been there, done that, (except for the husband part) and I can tell her from personal experience that mustering all the support for herself that she possibly can will be crucial to her survival.

    Sorry this is so long. Hope something in it helps. Lunch hour is over, and I gotta go.

    Sending good vibes B.’s way!

  16. ashley

    This is supposed to be a feminist blametariat. Very enlightening, it reads more like a canon of brainwashed-in Western values. Not being able to see that psychiatric labels are the patriarchy IS the patriarchy.

  17. Amananta

    Having both been that “psychotic break” offspring myself (although I *did* end up the homeless kid on the street) and also having known more than one woman who has been raped by psychiatric workers, calling in the “men in the little white coats” is the last thing I’d suggest to anyone. My best suggestion would be for her to find some way to convince her the vibrations need her to help around the house, oh and yes get rid of the worthless husband, but that probably won’t happen.

  18. veganrampage

    What Virginia said!Could be a brain tumor.

    Outpatient only. I am a volunteer mental patient and the male shrinks have no respect at all for any women-surprise!

    What state is she in? Section 8(on that too) is a job in itself and almost all the social workers really hate your guts for just existing. SSI is the disability for losing one’s mind, but that takes a long time and documentation too. The system is extra strained right now what with the blank check to the banks and all the wars; fuck the poor, the sick, the mentally ill, but more so.

    MA is a good state to be nuts in. I recommend Northampton as a town, it is run by lesbians mostly, but stay OUT of Smith for reasons previously stated.

    I am sorrier than I can say. I keep waiting to have a psychotic break with reality but no go yet.

    No idea about tractors.
    That is all.

  19. ashley

    Judgmental is what psychiatry does, not what I did by standing up for that women.

    Smackdown mode? Unfortunately I’m bored with this thread, but I trust that whatever you had was equally, well, judgmental with what you typed above and therefore just as easily sorted? And btw, has the concept of “smackdown mode” never presented itself to your mind as being patriarchal?

  20. otoc

    If the situation doesn’t change somehow, she’s going to eat B out of house and home.

    If she goes to a psychiatrist, even a wonderful, feminist one, and tells them she left her high-paying engineer gig to be a psychic, she’s going to be prescribed an anti-psychotic or 12. It could be exactly what she needs; or it could turn her into a zombie, carrying an extra hundred pounds or more and give her diabetes and/or akathisia and/or dystonia. She could try some meds short-term and see if they work wonders on her, but if the first ones she tries don’t work, the protocol for a psychiatrist is to keep trying different ones in different combination until something works. That can be good if she eventually finds something or it can be sheer hell with no payoff.

    Does she have access to nutritious food? Is she taking vitamins? Was she traumatized somehow (rape, harassment, death, etc.) and is just not fessing up to B because she hasn’t processed it yet? Is she just in need of a rest? Can she use her engineering skills to work from home as a contractor or something? B could try “accepting” Offspring’s new lifestyle, while talking Offspring into working part-time as a Normal to support her Vibrations. B could also try getting Offspring to volunteer with animals or something, to try to get her out of herself and her situation a little bit. Chronic acute stress is not good for anyone’s mental health and the more this situation MUST RIGHT NOW BE FIXED RIGHT NOW, the more stressful it is.

    Vitamin C in high doses (1,000 mg) and hemp protein powder theoretically work as mild anti-psychotics.

  21. otoc

    Oh, and the flipside to the hemp protein powder is that yes, pot can “bring out” psychosis for those susceptible. Offspring isn’t smoking, is she?

  22. Hattie

    One word: Drugs. She can’t go on the street. She will die. She needs a lot of help, not from her poor parents, who obviously can’t deal with things. They can’t even get out of their trailer.
    I guess all the daughter’s money went to people who prey on unstable women with money.

  23. ashley

    I don’t mean to offend the smart, compassionate responses that some people offered by saying I’m bored. It is, however, unbelievably frustrating when women think that things like psychiatry aren’t a part of the patriarchy. I cannot imagine letting “mental health professionals,” the modern day equivalent of witch hunters, drag my daughter away because I had to buy extra groceries every week. I found that offensive, horrific, abusive, and the negative response to my outrage lame and misogynist. I don’t want to offend the cool blamers but *some* of these commenters don’t belong on a feminist blog.

  24. buttercup

    First of all, I’m a social worker, and I do not hate my clients for existing. Nor do most of my peers, the occasional burnout victim notwithstanding.

    Now that that’s out of the way, can B find clinics or partnerships that involve alternative health practices as partners? I’m thinking Reiki in particular but anything dealing with new age, crystals, acupuncture, touch healing, etc, might be more able to talk to SCB and help her find her way around in her new place of mental residence. There do exist new agey folk who also believe in and avail themselves of actual modern medicine, the tricky bit is finding one who will work with you if your income is less than six figures.

    On the federal benefits front, SSD or RSDI, social security disability/retirement is for people who are mentally or physically disabled but have enough work experience that they’ve put money into the system and are now qualified to take that money back out. Medicare kicks in after 2 years on disability social security except for AIDS and stage 2 kidney disease.

    SSI is a federal benefit for those who are either mentally or physically disabled and have insufficient work history to have put the minimum money into the system. You can combine the two to bring the dollar amount to the minimum level, currently $674/monthly in PA, may differ in other states. With SSI, medical benefits from your state of residence should kick in immediately upon being found eligible but again, that may differ from state to state.

    That being said, the wheels of government grind slow but exceedingly fine, and it sounds like B needs help sooner rather than later. Does there exist a feminist therapists association in Texas or thereabouts who could recommend someone of a new age bent who is a)compassionate and b)not totally out of touch with reality who could work with B and SCB, to get her a little more grounded and able to start functioning? Getting Assclown the Deluded Patriarch out of the picture would be job one for me, but understandable that could be very bad.

  25. Bushfire

    My sympathies, B. I only have two cents here, but I thought I’d share them. My mother and I are both believers in “energies”, etc, and she even claims to be able to change another person’s subconscious using these energies; however, both of us are able to work in decent jobs and keep households running. In my unprofessional opinion, there is a difference between spiritual beliefs and illness; spiritual beliefs do not impede a person’s life, they just provide a framework for making sense of the world. I think it’s clear that Offspring has some type of illness since it she has experienced a sudden onset of maladaptive behaviour.

    There are many types in the world who are there to help. Psychiatrists are often drug-peddlers, but there are social workers, psychologists, holistic/alternative medicine practitioners, psychic advisors, etc. There are even nice psychiatrists out there! Offspring needs something because it could be that she has a serious condition that has to be identified and treated. It could be strictly medical in origin, rather than psychological (like a tumor, etc.)

    As for the dude, maybe she could give him some information on coping with disabilites, or go to a marriage counselor, or take her daughter and live with another relative temporarily. Although I agree with the rest of you that getting rid of him would be best, I’m betting that would not be an option for her. I’m hoping she has relatives who can get involved. In my family there have been some serious incidents involving mental health and the extended family unit plus neighbours and friends had to work together. B really needs others involved. Good luck!

  26. Comrade PhysioProf

    B needs to get herself some support and help. Ultimately the only one she can heal is herself. She’s allowing F-face and Offspring to suck all the good vibrations out of her and she needs to ask herself why. If she can learn to invest all that wasted energy in herself instead, the other two will be forced to change because she won’t be carrying all their baggage for them anymore.

    Indeed. B attempting to “fix” this situation in any way other than by making the best decision she can about seeking professional help for her daughter and maintaining her own boundaries is highly unlikely to improve things.

  27. Hector B.

    First, B. should advise Fuckface that if he’s so fuckin’ smart, he should recommend some solutions to her impasse with Offspring. Further, in the absence of constructive help, he should keep his pie hole shut, because God knows she is not enjoying their new roommate situation any more than he is.

    This situation reminds me that, when a friend’s husband became too bipolar to function, she divorced him. This is probably not possible for mothers, but it has a certain appeal. (They had gone through the process of trying to get a diagnosis, taking prescription meds, and finding the side effects to be intolerable.)

    My friends with 2/3 of an acre to mow bought a Simplicity, which was very reliable for some 20 years.

  28. Linda Atkins

    What a wealth of excellent ideas. I will not add anything except to say that I loved this from hero: “Some hippy-dippy like myself with enormous earrings, but also a hand at supernatural negotiation?” That made me chuckle. I hope everything will turn out absolutely fine for B and her daughter.

  29. Hippolyta

    Regarding mental health services in Austin. There are two main psychiatric hospitals. Seton Shoal Creek primarily offers 24-hour intensive stabalization and some longer term treatment for those who have medical insurance of any kind. Austin State Hospital (ASH) offers those services to the uninsured and those on Medicare or Medicaid.

    Austin Travis Integral Care (formerly Austin Travis County Mental Health and Mental Retardation) has a 24/7 hotline to get people assessed and placed in an appropriate program. However, this would require Offspring to speak to an intake counselor.

    Although this is an attorney’s website I found the information on this page helpful in explaining the committment process in Texas.


  30. ew_nc

    I’ve been there with my son. B can go to the magistrate’s office and have Sky committed for evaluation. She’s clearly had a psychotic break. Tell her not to hesitate. Too often in our society we deny treatment for those with mental illness because we think they can just “get over it.” No one says that about cancer, diabetes, etc. Sky is very ill and needs treatment ASAP.

  31. mearl

    I agree with Bushfire on this: “In my unprofessional opinion, there is a difference between spiritual beliefs and illness; spiritual beliefs do not impede a person’s life, they just provide a framework for making sense of the world.”

    My family, several friends, and many clients have provided me with firsthand experience with various types of mental illness as well as the difficulties in dealing with the system.

    I disagree that B. should just worry about herself. If her daughter is having a breakdown and is living in her home, it’s completely erroneous to expect the daughter to just go get HERSELF fixed. People who are experiencing mental health issues generally don’t think anything is wrong with them, but as adults they have the RIGHT to decide to seek help & take medication or not, unless they’re seriously affecting others (waving guns, threatening violence, running naked down Main Street, etc).

    An example I can speak to the best (since my father, both aunts, two cousins, a close friend’s boyfriend, and my uncle’s stepdaughter all suffer from it) is manic depression/bipolar disorder.

    Manic depressives, when they are in a manic state, don’t believe anything is wrong with them at all: meanwhile they tell off their bosses, lose their jobs, spend money like water, get into fights and assault people, start guzzling back cigarettes, alcohol, hard drugs, etc. and drive dangerously.

    My cousin was a graphic designer in Toronto until one day he had a similar episode, left his job, got on a bus and headed across Canada to get to his home province. He stayed with me briefly (we were 21 at the time) and I got to hear tales of how he had seen an entire dead horse in the middle of the floor in a convenience store, or how he saw people in goalie’s masks standing outside his window at night, showing him their knives. He’s never really recovered. After many attempts at trying to get him back into employment and leading a “normal” life, it became clear that his breakdown was the onset of a lifelong condition.

    It’s also wrong to expect someone in the midst of an episode to start paying rent or doing the dishes: I got mad at my cousin because he was leaving dishes piled up for days, meanwhile he was in a state of what the doctors called “catatonic schizophrenia.” (Later on the diagnosis was changed). He would talk, he’d smoke, he’d be alright to shower, get dressed and go out, but asking a mentally ill person in the middle of a breakdown to just pull up their socks and get mopping that floor is going to do nothing but make them worse, and more mistrustful of those who are trying to help them.

    With some people it’s just an episode (another friend of mine did too much ecstasy once over a period of a few years, flipped out, and spent two months in the pysch ward at a local hospital, but after that he’s been fine). With others, adulthood or stress or hormonal changes trigger a latent mental illness, and this is SERIOUS. The psychiatric system is not perfect, but you can’t just LEAVE it. Some people need to be on medication for the rest of their lives, like it or not.

    Intervention is another problem: when I was younger, my bipolar aunt would need to be arrested before being taken to the hospital and put on medication, because of the laws surrounding personal integrity. Depending on state law, B’s daughter might be harder to help because, as far as I can gather, she’s not a danger to herself or others, nor is she grossly neglecting her children or pets.

    In the case of my dad’s last manic episode (last summer), I found that my best bet was to go in person to see his psychiatrist and INFORM the psychiatrist of the massive behavioural changes. It was a delicate situation because my dad thought he was fine and no one in our family wanted to offend him (or set him off, he would turn angry in one second flat over almost nothing, also part of his condition), but left to his own devices he was lying to his psychiatrist, and he wouldn’t ALLOW my mom to speak to the psychiatrist in private. I had to go over his head because I was worried that he was going to kill himself or someone else with his driving, and he was going days without sleeping, and he was talking literally NONSTOP. Something needed to be done. This particular manic episode went on for four months.

    If anyone on this thread doesn’t BELIEVE in chemical imbalance, I would advise you not to give any advice. I’ve got ADHD myself, and it was messing up my life until I got on the right medication. It’s not patriarchy, sweeties, it’s neuroscience. Waving crystals around probably won’t help.

    I’m also not a mother but I can’t imagine abandoning your kid when the kid shows up with an illness. My other aunt refused to get help for her son (my cousin, also my age) when he started having problems at 18. They live in the U.S. 13 years later, he’s never gotten help, we think he abuses my aunt, he still lives in her house, and won’t let her answer the phone. He hasn’t come out of the house for 13 years. Sometimes he’ll do things like unscrew all the lightbulbs so she arrives home to complete darkness. Even her immediate family can barely do anything about it. We can’t do much from up here, and from what I’ve heard from my parents, when family members have suggested help or tried to help, my aunt has denied it or turned it down.

    In summary, tell B. to DO SOMETHING NOW. This could pass or it could go on for the rest of her life, but she has the opportunity to act on it when it’s a sudden change. Going to the doctors won’t necessarily mean they’ll take Sky Cloud and stuff her into a straitjacket. In my city we have mobile crisis vans that run 24/7. The best thing would be for B. to list her daughter’s behavioural changes and take them to a psychiatrist/social worker/outreach center herself. The psychiatrist will have resources and advice on what to do, and what B. can and can’t do. The advice of Fluff, Ugly in Pink, Reverend BDL, and Julie upthread are good starts.

    What the Fuckface thinks about it is unfortunate, but if B. won’t kick him out or is financially dependent on him at all, she’ll continue to get crap from him. Expecting him to change, or her to either leave him or kick her daughter out are all unrealistic. She has to deal with her daughter first. Wish her luck for me.

  32. Jezebella

    You know, Ashley, EVERYTHING is part of the patriarchy, not just psychiatry. And sometimes, what a woman needs is a psychiatrist. The caveats regarding the mental health system have been clearly expressed already, so I won’t repeat them. B clearly needs an assessment. She could have a brain tumor, for crissake, and the patriarchal surgery unit would be a fine choice for eliminating that problem, even if it IS part of the patriarchy.

    Based on something Virginia said, I wonder if B couldn’t ask to be one of Offspring’s “clients”, and ask the vibrations to solve the dilemma mom and dad are having, which is they can’t afford to support Offspring financially.

  33. Shira


    “She has probably had some kind of genuine experience with divine energy.”

    No, she did not “probably” have a divine experience. What she “probably” experienced, or is experiencing, are what’s called temporal lobe seizures. In fact you can induce the kind of experiences you are describing in anyone by sending magnetic pulses into the temporal lobe, or by ingesting psychadelics.

    Temporal lobe seizures are infinitely more likely than a genuine experience with divine energy, because the odds of the latter are zip, zilch, nada.

    It would be profoundly unethical as well for a medical doctor to include “genuine experience of divine energy” in the differential diagnosis of his patient. That is not “abuse.” What’s abuse is to ignore a long pattern of deteriorating mental status, and encourage the ill person to believe they are actually god. I am a survivor of exactly that kind of faith-based abuse of people with neurological disabilities.

    “there are things outside of science that happen to people.”

    Things may happen to people “outside of science” but I promise you, nothing happens to you outside of your brain.

  34. Silva

    Offspring definitely needs a physical evaluation as well as mental. Brain tumors, clots, inflammation, can all cause these kinds of psychotic breaks, as can even things like untreated Celiac disease. Once read an article about a psychiatrist who had a moment of enlightenment, tested his whole psych ward for a range of stuff, and found rampant Celiac, vitamin B12 deficiency, and thyroid disorders. Unsurprising really.

    I personally would not recommend sectioning, unless a person is actively suicidal it probably won’t help. Finding a sympathetic social worker or the like to guide B through getting all the help offspring needs, negotiating doctors and government and so on. There have got to be some hippie/new age/etc psychologists and counselors around who could assist, I agree that helpers with that approach may be able to reach offspring far better than a mainstream psychiatry approach.

  35. Dawn Coyote

    Tell B to take the best care of herself that she can, and to avail herself of things that give her relief from the situation in her home, so that her own health and well-being do not become compromised to such an extent that she is herself at risk of some grave outcome, as my mother and I were in the year and a half that we were engaged in helping my brother get care when he had a (meth-induced) psychotic break.

    In that situation, my mother played B’s role, and I played Fuckface’s (nurturing/enabling and tough love, respectively). We were often at each others’ throats over the most expedient approach, with her giving him care and succor, and me repeatedly calling 911 over his various transgressions, until such time as he could be held (all too briefly) at a psychiatric facility, and later remanded to treatment as a condition of the legal proceedings arising from a threat of bodily harm (made by him). This process allowed the authorities, such as they are, to accumulate a file on him, and to treat him without his consent when the opportunity arose. This was the event that led to his eventual full recovery, but not without some further complications along the way.

    Not to say that this is B’s ideal route to treatment for her daughter, but rather to note that the process of acquiring treatment for the delusional is long and circuitous, and one must be at pains to preserve one’s own mental and physical health in order to see it through.

  36. mir

    Joining the chorus of everyone championing the idea of B taking care of herself first. And a reminder to those distressed by the idea of professional intervention, a reminder: B is a woman too. We don’t get to suggest that she run herself ragged trying to help her (adult) child all by herself because she’s a mother.

    Outside assistance can have lots of facets before it becomes hauling Sky off to an involuntary committal. If B’s faucet were leaking there’d be no shame involved in calling in a plumber. Her daughter is going through something, there’s no shame (and so much possible good!) involved in reaching out for help.

    PS- Is Fuckface Sky’s father? If not, B needs to get him on the horn- he can pony up some time/effort/financial help with all of this.

  37. niki

    My friend and high school prom date had a schizophrenic break in the mid 90’s that sounded a lot like what Offspring is going through. His parents actually took him to an exorcist. Psychiatric intervention may be harsh, but it’s nowhere near the same as being told you have demons that need to be expelled from your soul when you’ve already got only a vague clutch on what most of us perceive as reality.

    If indeed offspring is suffering a schizophrenic break (sorry psychic healers, but it sounds pretty traditionally schizophrenic to me) the treatment and meds – much like cancer – are still pretty medieval (unless they’ve improved them since the mid 90’s). Offspring might be subjected to medications that will bring her back to a level of self care tolerable for her whole family, but they will also make her very slow and tired, and she will likely fight taking them.

    I am so sorry for your friend B and for Offspring too. The situation is terrifying and sad for all parties involved.

  38. Kiuku

    Personally I don’t believe in any Psychiatry, as anyone can probably tell. I’m actually an activist against Psychiatry in all its forms, especially coercive treatment. It’s still a recession, and well, unfortunately it is the norm all over the world for family members to share housing, despite the fact that they are routinely assholes to eachother, psychic energies aside. She should be persuaded to join one of the few remaining communes.

  39. Shelby

    Yeah, at what point is it acceptable for a parent to step back and say I can’t deal with you and I’ve got to hand you over to the community to deal with?

    My sister’s son received a severe brain injury at 10 and as he got older he just got angrier and more violent. The family put up with alot of shit for many years. When it got too bad they’d take him to the local hospital, tell them they could not cope, and leave him there. At one point my sister was seriously considering killing her son and herself. There isn’t alot of help out there.

    The son is 25 now and living on his own (he received a compensation payout and is able to rent). She visits him once a week and takes him shopping for food and they make a day of it, but sometimes the shit still goes on. When it does, when my sister is threatened or abused, she takes a step back and says to herself and her son that she is not going to own her son’s issues and she is not going to be anybody’s whipping boy (her words) and she refuses to have contact with him.

    Your mate has been dealing with this for a few weeks. I guess she’s got to see how it pans out over the next month or so. If it gets worse and she’s not coping then she’s got to get some community help, in whatever form, for her own sanity. Even just finding out what her options are, knowing there are options, can be a great burden lifter.

  40. Mortisha

    Regarding small tractors.

    Make a list of the activities you expect to carry out around the farm. Shifting compost heaps around and scraping out drainage channels are relatively light work, but if removing tree stumps or drilling fence post holes you will need to consider total HP (horse power) available.

    You also need to consider the type of implements you might want use – a good medium size farm mower/slasher for instances might need at least 40 HP to run properly.

    It is best to have a bit more HP that you think you require.

    Not sure what makes you have available there. But the availability of reasonably priced replacement parts, and a reliable service agent should be high on your list. A second hand reliable known brand can be a good investment.

    I lease a basic Kubota 75 HP tractor. With a bucket, forks and PTO for implements. Leasing includes yearly full service and is claimable against farm expenses.

    It is good for what I do – it can lift a pallet of fertiliser, hay bales or one large roundbale off the back of a truck easily, drill fence posts holes, clean out dams and clear drainage lines, dig holes for burying old horses (sob) and tow a heavy duty slasher/mulcher.

  41. feral

    When I was 14, I was committed because I’d been raped and, surprise, surprise, didn’t handle it so well. What I needed was some compassion, understanding, and oh, I don’t know…someone who believed me? Being forced into psychiatric “care” was the most horrific experience of my life. Avoid counseling B to have her daughter committed if at all possible.

    By the way, I am certain that I have Professor Fuckface for class. They must be related.

  42. Val

    Alas, I am but a lowly animal doctor, so I’ve got nuthin’ that hasn’t already been said on the B/Sky/Fuckface situation. But I still have the # of the Crisis RAAD team I called in desperation 12 yrs ago, when ex-hub was threatening a “3-way” which was completely asexual: he was offering to solve all our problems by killing me, the baby, & himself.
    Enough of that old story – I’ll dig the social worker’s card out of my desk in the AM & post the emergency # – granted, it’s for Big D, but they’re sure to have an Austin branch.
    The best small tractors, however, are made by Kubota.
    I can’t think of any work you couldn’t get done w/30 hp or so.

  43. magriff

    B needs to take a load off somehow before anything constructive can happen- telling Fuckface to back the Fuck off whilst simultaneously navigating the state’s mental healthcare system sounds like more than any one person could do without assistance. So I’d take B for some margs and ask her some questions with the aim of sharing the load, like:

    Does hippy Sky have an ex-partner or some friends or college roomies who might help her mom out? Any aunts, grandmas, or cousins who might be pressed into assistance? And if Fuckface isn’t hippy Sky’s dear old dad, then bio dad should be alerted, if possible.

  44. otoc

    Were we meant to take the above description of B’s current situation with her daughter as literal, factual and objective? I took it as more of a somewhat colorful, general picture. I’m not intending to ask snarkily, I’m just wondering if I’m confused.

  45. Andrea

    I’m with ashley. Being a mental patient against your own will is a hideous, misogynist experience. I mean, holy shit, I was so traumatized that I’m reading this.

    You know who needs the cops called on them? Middle class white people. Stuffed banana bozos.

    So. Get rid of the dude. Bring the hammer down on pulling her own weight. Survival is a very serious matter.

    But come on. Whitecoats are a death sentence. The best way to prevent someone from ever functioning in this society again is some uppity, liberal do-good western-science-worshiper shit like that.

  46. Citizen Taqueau

    OK, this is a great thread, obvs.

    Thoughts passing thru the old brain-pan whilst reminding myself to RTFT were as follows: first, there is some information missing, to wit, how old Offspring might be. Psychotic breaks can mean really different things depending upon how old a person is. Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder tend to manifest in adolescence or very early adulthood, and it seems unlikely to me that a female engineer would be making 6 figures anywhere in her early 20s. Beginning engineers with Ph.D’s can start by making about $80K. So I don’t know about that. However, Offspring should get checked out by a doctor, especially if there is Bipolar Disorder or Schizophrenia in the family.

    Adult onset epilepsy is something I know very little about. I know a few people with epilepsy, and all of them were diagnosed in childhood. Offspring should definitely get checked out by a doctor for this.

    In the case of other grievous physical brain disorders, the sudden change could possibly be explained by a brain tumor. Has Offspring been experiencing physical symptoms of any kind, and has this been going on for a while? Headaches are not a good way to tell early on if it’s a brain tumor, because brain tumor headaches are caused by pressure of the tumor inside the skull. What other cognitive disturbances are going on besides the odd preoccupation with vibrations? Does Offspring have problems with cognitive tasks that used to be simple for her, like, oh, math. Have her moods changed drastically? Does Offspring have bizarre impulse control problems with her speech, or a sudden, unconcealable interest in sex (no, really, unrestrained sexual preoccupation with a sudden onset can be a sign of brain trauma). Offspring should also get checked out by a doctor for this.

    Commitment may be jumping the gun if Offspring is her regular self but happens to be having weird ideations. What the hell happened to her at work, would be my question. Having been hospitalized for depression in my early 20s following years of overprescription for mood swings following molestation and rape at age 16 (and an abortion because of that at 17), I can say that in the years leading up to and following that experience that I have never met a feminist psychiatrist in my life. I was in graduate school training to become a clinical psychologist at the time of my hospitalization, and my level of education combined with the behavioral manifestations of anger over my sexual abuse (plus, I’m queer) led to a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder, which most of the time is P. for “Violated and Subsequently Angry While Young and Female.”

    Although I am an atheist (formerly pagan, and before that christian), I have had what could be described as transpersonal experiences that at the time seemed like a psychotic break. I have found the work of Emma Bragdon on spiritual emergency helpful. If Offspring is just having Vibes, then perhaps she’s breaking open into a state of consciousness that could, if she learns how to handle it, result in her greater well being and she will learn how to share the wealth. And wash the gol-darn dishes.

    In the meantime Offspring is a pain in the ass.

    In short, medical examination is indicated for Offspring’s safety and health, but possibly not a looney-bin trip.

    Also, this has got to suck for B. And Fuckface has to back off if his solution is to toss Offspring out on the street.

  47. allhellsloose

    I’m with Jill on this one. Rancid pigface has to either be supportive or go. It takes less effort to be kind and understanding on this issue than to fester in the bad luck of the situation. I’m not necessarily into bright and breezy approaches but in this case united positive action on the part of the carers will bring about the better result for the whole family.

    As for utility tractors, I suggest you chat to a local farmers cooperative for the best results.

  48. polarcontrol


    I think it’s great that also those who don’t believe in chemical imbalance, give advice here.

    Neuroscience is not always the explanation and the solution. And there are huge debates on notions such as chemical imbalance, also within the scientific community.

    “Biochemical imbalances are the only diseases spread by word of mouth.”

  49. mercurialsunshine

    I’m probably being naive and overly optimistic, but since Fuckface is concerned about finances, could he be convinced to start the process of getting Offspring on disability?

    Yes, psychiatry has some hugely problematic elements. I blame the patriarchy. But Offspring can’t wait until we get rid of the patriarchy; she needs help (and likely medication) now. Skepticism and second opinions are a great idea, though. Online research is very helpful, and it’s free. Also, many psychiatrists have a tendency to prescribe newer drugs that don’t yet have a cheaper generic option, so it’s important to make Offspring’s financial/insurance situation clear.

    And I agree with Blahdiblahblah. If Fuckface isn’t going to be helpful, he needs to develop an interest that gets him out of the house. Hiking/backpacking trips that take several days would be great. And B could probably use some time away from the house as well so she can unwind a bit.

  50. Kiuku

    I don’t really see the big deal. She’s an adult living with her family and not doing chores. B lives with her husband on fixed income; I’m assuming his income. It’s not unlikely for women to be in financial difficulty, education or otherwise. So she became a total hippie. What can you do; it’s a typical situation. I don’t see the medical diagnosis here but then again I don’t believe in Psychiatry.

  51. speedbudget

    Kiuku, the problem is the sudden onset of symptoms. I am with the group who believes a physical check is in order. She needs a complete work-up, and I would suggest going to a female doctor. Male doctors tend to poo-poo and minimize women’s symptoms. It will take lots of appointments and tons of vials of blood for tests, but she needs the works.

    In the meantime, might I suggest that B look in her health insurance booklet under therapists for a Licensed Clinical Social Worker? Again female. I went to one when I need some counseling and advice, and not only was she feminist, she was awesome. Maybe SCB can at least get out of the house a couple hours during the week to visit and give B a break.

    Also, disability is a long, arduous process and requires lots of documentation. I doubt she will be able to get on any disability until she has seen a few doctors and has some kind of diagnosis or prognosis. HOWEVER she can immediately get on Medicaid and foodstamps and maybe even get a tiny bit of welfare each month. Get in touch with the local Division of Family Services (or Division of Health and Social Services) and get the process going for food stamps. I’ve been on them and Medicaid, and both are very easy to apply for. The good thing about those is you are assigned a social worker who can then be used as a conduit to get more services.

    I also agree that SCB’s prior work needs to be contacted not only to get her pay and bennies but also something might have happened at the workplace to lead to this break. Maybe a co-worker or friend can be prevailed upon to give more information. These sudden changes don’t just happen in a vacuum.

    I agree. Kubotas are nice.

  52. Comrade PhysioProf

    Whitecoats are a death sentence.

    The medical profession–like all human enterprises–has its problems, some of them severe. But as a general assertion this is complete bullshit.

  53. Jezebella

    This is turning into a freakin referendum on psychiatry, innit? Here’s the thing: some of us (myself included) might very well be dead if not for Psychiatry and its medicines. You might argue that patriarchy causes depression – and I would agree with you – but until the patriarchy is out of my head and my life, there are chemicals that help some of us keep breathing in and out. Some of us, obviously, have had godawful experiences in the maw of Psychiatry. As the Comrade notes, the medical profession, being professed by humans, is by no means perfect. But tossing out psychiatry wholesale would leave a lot of women stranded in post-partum and other depressions and a whole host of treatable mental illnesses.

    Kiuku, you need to re-read the post if you don’t see a big deal. A formerly functional adult woman, a scientist even, is vegging in her mom’s trailer and spending her days grandiosely communicating with ‘vibrations’ – this IS a big deal – she’s not just a kid who stopped doing her chores. It’s certainly, in any case, a “big deal” for her parents, obviously, and it’s kind of shitty for you to dismiss B’s experience out-of-hand. It’d be a big deal to you too if you were in her shoes, stuck between unwell daughter and fuckface husband.

  54. Kali

    First, check for obvious physical problems, e.g. brain tumor, and insist on a female doctor. If no obvious physical problems can be found, I have more faith in Pranik healing than in Psychiatry. Check out some pranik healing centers around the area where they live. I agree with others that involuntary commitment should not be an option at all.

  55. Intransigentia

    My original comment – getting SCB an agent and a TV show – was intended as snark. But it sounds like some of y’all would watch her show and call her 1-900 number.

    My earnest take on it though, with my 3/4 of a psych degree: something is seriously wrong. The tumor or other organic brain damage hypothesis is particularly plausible, with temporal lobe seizures often causing the kind of experiences SCB reports having; tumors and organic brain damage being a significant culprit for causing seizures; and cancer being more common in people old enough to earn six figures than a first appearance of serious mental illness like bipolar or schizophrenia. Those two would be my #2 guess, for what it’s worth.

    I am seriously gobsmacked that anybody would recommend against medical evaluation and treatment for SCB. I agree that involuntary committal should be a last resort. I also agree that getting SCB to consent to see a medical professional is going to be tough. But it really needs to be done.

    Saying psychiatry is not without its problems is a serious understatement (count me as “another angry and hurting young woman == Borderline”), but it’s also the only thing we’ve got any reliable evidence that it works. As a person whose continued corporeal existence and employability are the result of psychiatric drugs, I admit I’m biased.

  56. slade

    I’m with Citizen Taqueau….how old is Offspring? I would think B needs to speak with co-workers or friends and find out what her daughter has been doing and who she was seeing. Was she doing drugs?

    Was there a horrible event that occurred to Offspring? At work? Broken relationship?

    I worked as an Engineer….ugh. Those dudes are awful. I changed careers. Was she working for a big Engineering company like KBR? How long has she been working as an engineer? Same company?

    Talk to the old roomies. They must know something. Did she have friends or a SO? Someone has to know something about this ‘change/break.’ I feel as if I’m missing a big piece of a puzzle.

    And maybe it is a chemical imbalance and nothing triggered this.

    My best to B and Offspring. Fuckface can ES&D.

  57. slade

    Shit. I’m sorry, Jill. I used those dots that you don’t like. It’s a terrible habit. I went back and took out a bunch of them. Now I reread my post and I left two of them.

    Please forgive me. I really like them for some reason. I guess I don’t like my thoughts to end. A period is just so final. But I will try not to use them.

    See? Better.

  58. QueerReader

    The rabid anti-psychiatry comments about make me suspect there’s a Scino in the commentariat.

  59. Hurricane Bacon

    Depending on how functional she is, it seems perfectly reasonable to say, “Here are some pamphlets on Section 8 and food stamps, here’s the number to the local psychiatric ward, choose by the end of the month because you can’t stay later than that.” If she’s so far gone that she can’t be trusted to feed herself absent supervision, then the involuntary commitment discussed upthread is basically the only recourse; even if they’re willing to care for her indefinitely, she’s presumably going to outlive them. What then?

    And in defense of “fuckface,” it’s his home too. I somehow doubt there would be such quick and universal condemnation of a dudely husband who granted permission for an adult child to move back in and ignored his wife’s concerns on the matter, particularly if the adult child had a significant adverse impact on their quality of life. Fuckface may indeed be a fuckface for reasons not stated in this post, but I find it difficult to condemn him for not wanting to share a trailer and a fixed income with an adult who should be able to support herself.

  60. Fliss

    Agree with others, a feminist therapist all the way.

    Grr I hate psychiatry and labels, but if it’s a physiological problem it needs seeing to the sooner the better.

  61. Val

    The number of Big D’s MHMR Crisis RAAD team [ain’t that a great name?] is 214-330-7722. I’m sure there’s an Austin branch.
    [“RAAD” stands for Rapid Access, Assessment & Diversion]
    It would almost be a relief if Sky DID have a brain tumor – remote diagnostics R Us!

  62. Fliss

    Imagine going to the doctors and saying, I think the world is subtly trying to tell me it hates me, that I have no hope in life; and I have a little voice telling me I should act, dress, behave in a certain way. ‘I’m going mad, surely doctor?’

    A feminist going to a male doctor about an unliveable situation I’m guessing would be like a Jewish person having gone to a Nazi SS officer/ therapist.

  63. Caukee

    Wow, Fliss,you are so wrong. And offensive. There are men out there who get it, and some of them are therapists. One of whom saved my life, at reduced rates, no less. And as a Jew, I’m sure he would have been hurt by being called a Nazi, even though he would have understood your point, such as it is.

  64. Roving Thundercloud

    No mental health advice here, but offering more love for Kubotas.

  65. Alexa

    ‘there are men out there who get it’


    This isn’t the place to talk about the dude who is totally different. Sexism only works one way.
    I wouldn’t put my daily stresses into the hands of any male therapist – whether he’s intentionally oppressive or just soaked in the privilege of being a male.

  66. squeyres

    Here’s the question: Is this a real and true psychosis, an actual break with reality? Or is it some form of an Emily Dickenson-style break with society? Don’t get me wrong, I’m completely sympathetic to both, but they are very different creatures.
    Assuming that this is actual psychosis, that Offspring is past the age of about 25, and that she has never been diagnosed previously with a severe mental illness, there is probably someone B can sue.

    Organic mental illnesses, especially ones severe enough to cause psychosis very rarely manifest themselves past a person’s early twenties. If this is happening to Offspring something is very, very wrong. And while I’m suspicious as hell of western medicine, it’s usually the best (or only) thing for the big, bad stuff. Yes, psychiatry is part of the P, but so is oncology, and sometimes you just gotta survive. B would have to reinvent the world to get Offspring help that is P-free, and there’s no time for that.

    But back to the suing: What is causing this? Was Offspring taking any prescription medicines at all? What was her living/working environment like? Did she suffer a physical trauma, and if so, who/what caused it? It might seem vampirish to some, but it could take some serious cash to care for Offspring, and B needs to start blaming the hell out of some folks early before the covering-up starts.

    I can’t be of much help as far as treatment goes without knowing what’s actually wrong, but Jill if you want to email me, or if B does, do it. I’ve been through a lot, and I have friends at Shoal Creek (in Austin) and at MHMR if it helps. I can call around and make recommendations.

    As for Fuckface – how does Offspring feel about him? If she loathes him there might be some remedies. If she doesn’t, then I don’t know. Just as there’s no reasoning with a person in the depths of psychosis, there’s no reasoning with daddy’s little girl, no matter how much of a shit stain daddy might be. (He seems like a step-father from the post, but who knows how she feels?)

    Also who owns the trailer, and whose money is it? If it’s all B’s and Fuckface is nothing but a barnacle, then he’ll probably become strangely deferential once he figures out that B will chose Offspring over him when it really comes down to it. Sure, he’ll still be Fuckface, but he’ll probably at least fix some shit around the house or something if he feels like he has to.

    If it’s Fuckface’s trailer and money then all you can do is plant drugs in his car and hope he swerves enough after bar night to get pulled over. If you can aim him at Williamson County all the better.

  67. MPR

    It’s a “not my Nigel” moment!

  68. squeyres

    Oh and I completely forgot your second question.

    If you want a compact unit, go for the Bobcat. They do everything a John Deere does, but are easier to handle, especially on inclines, and they’re usually cheaper.

    If you want something full-sized with the enclosed cabin and everything, the Deere is probably your best bet. They tend to have a good warranty and almost anywhere will service them.

  69. kristinc

    “I cannot imagine letting “mental health professionals,” the modern day equivalent of witch hunters”

    Fuck you and your arrogant, ignorant generalizations. Those fucking “witch hunters” make it possible for me to not spend every goddamn day sobbing under my blankets and/or coming up with ways to kill myself. They keep my life from being hell. I am in their debt for every day that I spend functioning normally.

    You can take your health-privileged bullshit and shove it.

  70. anna

    Personality changes so severe that the person loses the ability to function are signs of illness, mental and physical. Suggesting her drift to “vibrations” is voluntary is as fatuous and ignorant and gratuitously pandering as saying we choose our sexuality or inferiority.
    We’re not talking giving up stockbroking for raising sheep alternatively. This is a functional woman suddenly unable to hold down a job of any kind, feed herself or obtain shelter. Judge her previous lifestyle as an engineer, if you’re so stupidly inclined, but see the reality of her situation as it truly is. She is helpless and has returned to a mother in a trailer. With a jackass man there. That is not good on any level.

    As a survivor of a mental breakdown that claimed the life of a pet as well as the near claiming of my own life, I say hie thee to the hospital by any means necessary. They don’t care about the why, they want to to help you be and live. Nobody ever questioned my job, my sexuality, my beliefs. What they questioned was why I wanted to die, why I couldn’t handle providing for myself or for my pets, and asked what they could to to make basic life necessities possible. I was in there with people who “spoke to god” who starved themselves, harmed themselves, believed in fairies & could “predict” earthquakes and scribe babbling writing all night. The common thread- these recent obsessions had robbed everyone of the ability to function and provide a livelihood. They were cut off from work, friends, housing, food, and most urgently, the knowledge that their situation was NOT OK.
    Commit her, get the public services she can, and seek help ASAP. She can’t even clean the house or cook! This is sickness! I committed myself, but had things gone any longer I too would have been strung out in negativland, fighting anyone who dared to help me.
    Ask my mom. I’ll give you her phone number.

  71. JustKasey

    I just want to say I’m a late comer to your word corner you’ve got going on here but I just love reading you. I don’t have any good advice — I’ve never had good advice to give, and if I ever was lucky enough to come across some, I certainly wouldn’t be so dumb and reckless as to share it with some idiot who probably wouldn’t appreciate it anyway. Nevertheless, you’re an official bright funky spot on my GoogleReader. Thanks. I’ll be around.

  72. cardinal

    @kristinc Thank you for concisely saying what I was trying to formulate. Health-privileged nailed it.

  73. Alexa

    God why the need to swear?

    I don’t think that type of comment is conductive to anything unless slamming the p.

  74. Alexa

    Ps I just meant the swearing and agressive tone, not the argument itself.

  75. katrina

    Did Peggy McIntosh imagine when she wrote that essay that 20 years later Americans and their imitators would be screaming “privileged” at each other to win arguments the same way that misogynists scream “fat and ugly!” and conservatives scream “family”?

  76. Citizen Taqueau

    Katrina, it’s not the same thing at all. Telling someone to unpack their proverbial kit-bag and check their privilege before they further embarrass themselves. Reminding Blamers that we are not here to further marginalize the disabled is not the same as calling names based on physiological characteristics or calling for the imposition of oppressive gender and religious strictures. Someone chronically healthy has an extra layer of advantage over someone chronically ill or disabled. This is not a 101-level commenting area, and so it’s not unreasonable for a disabled Blamer to expect her fellow Blamers to get that, and to take angry and frustrated exception to a health-privileged argument that dismisses a pretty crucial part of hir existence. This expression of dismay just might involve cusses.

  77. Alexa

    A ‘fuck you’ is abusive, and I’m not the only feminist to notice how most of my time as feminist is spent hopping on eggshells at someone somewere being dismayed.
    Piling on responsibility while removing authority is a tactic of intimdation and bullying. If you people spent the same time telling misogynist dickwads to check privilege instead of telling rather innocent patriarchy blamers to fuck off and do one, we’d be forwardly thinking.

  78. Hector B.

    now purports to be a psychic high priestess who can marshal the forces of “vibrations” to produce favorable outcomes for her clients

    Having worked with engineers for years, I know they are devoted to facts, reason, and logic, so perhaps presenting Offspring with a tightly constructed argument would lead to a resolution.

    Now, I don’t have a tightly constructed argument. But it seems reasonable to me that a psychic high priestess who can marshal the forces of vibrations to produce favorable outcomes for her clients would likewise be able to produce favorable outcomes for herself. Or if there is some loophole in the rules of vibration that prohibits self-outcomization, surely she could produce a favorable outcome for her dear mother. Or if helping relatives falls into that same loophole, why not produce a favorable outcome for the asshole that B. lives with, apparently not related to Offspring in any way?

    At least Offspring could try to upgrade the trailer to a double-wide, free of charge.

    Has B. tried such an argument on Offspring?

  79. yttik

    Why must we always insert a privilege scale as if suckiness should be measured and rated and lorded above others? This just reeks of a patriarchal structure of hierarchy. It’s like playing oppression olympics. I’ve come to despise the word privilege. It’s all about separating, dividing, and denying other women’s experiences.

    When people insist that others “check their privilege” I just want to say fuck you. It stinks as much as being told to be grateful to the Lord that your life doesn’t suck worse.

  80. slade

    kristinc, feel free to swear. It feels good, doesn’t it? It somehow reduces the frustration and anger one has dealing with this world.

    I wonder if the medical community has a term for the ‘perpetually incensed?’

    I’m glad I’m not in high school today or I would be classified as ‘ODD.’ Better to be classified as ‘ADD.’

    I’ve been under the blanket and often return there. The medications do help. But unless one has been there, there is probably no understanding of the darkness.

  81. Julie

    Kristinc is my hero. That is some excellently expressed rage. Yeah, I may not ‘like’ the white coats, but without the meds and care I got for my PTSD and depression, I’d be dead. And I’ll take being a live, raging feminist over a dead submissive woman any day of the week.

    B should ignore all this crap – we don’t have the whole story, do we? – and call NAMI: “Trained volunteers provide information, referrals, and support to all who have questions about or are affected by serious mental illness. Call 1-800-950-NAMI.” (From http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?section=Find_Support.)

    She should talk to them about her daughter but also about her own situation. It was during such a crisis that I was able to kick my own dear Fuckface out the door, with the support of a wonderful Licensed Clinical Social Worker. (She saved my life in more ways than I can count.)

    She doesn’t need to contemplate the issues of having her daughter committed. We’re pulling out the worst scenarios we can think of. (Way to go, hive mind.) She should just talk to somebody who can give her a trained outsider’s perspective on what’s going on, what options she has, and where she should start with dealing with this situation.

    Depending on what ensues, she might find *supportive* message boards like the one at http://www.dbsalliance.org where she can find a whole community of people who can offer her encouragement and support, rather than the crap we’re tossing about here.

    Good luck to her.

  82. jael

    i just love it when we fight. you’re fab jill, but the savage death island-ing is the most entertaining part of the blog.

    i’d seconding (third-ing, seventy sixt-ing what have you) the bdl-miss patsy connection. wishing your friend and her daughter a smoother upcoming period of time that might otherwise be hoped for.

  83. kristyn joy

    Well, as one of the blamers who has been committed against her will on three different occasions for three different reasons, all of which have been subsequently evaluated by a feminist counselor (those exist, but are as rare as two-dollar bills) and pronounced as “patriarchal bullshit” …

    I’m with the “convince Offspring to go to the doctor and get her head checked out, then get her brain tumor treated if she has one or get her to a commune if she doesn’t” camp.

    Meanwhile, I’m going back to my locked room to hide with my PTSD and try not to kill myself today. Seriously, it’s good that psychiatry can help some people, but it sure as hell didn’t help me. In fact, getting held down and injected with Lorazepam, then left in restraints to “sleep it off”, all for the “crime” of being upset after getting raped, is the reason I haven’t been to a doctor in over a year. Despite this “frequent heavy bleeding” thing that keeps happening to my uterus.

  84. Bella Donna

    Have Offspring tested for a strep infection.

    No, seriously, she shows high indicators of having a sensory disorder that has been recently triggered.

    Sometimes strep can cause that, and getting it taken care of can fix the problem.

    Look into getting her on the GAPS diet.


  85. Solniger

    Hmm don’t have time to read it all so here’s the skinny, apologies if it has already been posted before.

    Offspring will not be a candidate for inpatient psychiatric admission unless she is a direct danger to herself or to others.

    Best people to contact for the above scenario are psychiatric social workers, who have all been compassionate and knowledgeable in my experience.

    How long has this been going on? If it has been a month or so it could just be a brief psychotic episode and should resolve, but i’m guessing it has been going on longer.

    If she has been having these delusions for 6 months or more it could likely be first-break schizophrenia. That would be tragic.

    I can’t believe all the hooey i’m reading here. B is obviously at the end of her wits here and people are reccomeding diets and tolerance for alternative spirituality? I roll my eyes at that.

    Regardless of weather medical treatment is followed, Offspring needs to be evaluated by a psychiatrist so she can atleast qualify for disability and state support.

  86. Solniger

    Another point after reading through; I hope people appreciate that this is somewhat of an emergency for both B and Offspring’s mental health.

    Meanwhile, Fuck-face can fuck off!

  87. Kelsey B.

    Thanks, yttik! You have articulated the reason why something in my brain stubbornly closes itself off to a discussion or argument when someone uses the term “Check your privilege.” Double that for when the term is accompanied by the sarcastic use of the word “hon.” Blech.

  88. Katelyn Sack

    (1) To get appropriate medical care, it helps to know what specialist to go see. To wit, it is good to already have a differential diagnosis in mind in order to draw the straightest line between the two points of illness and appropriate medical care.

    There is a program called Isabel that you can access through some university/institutional subscriber libraries, to enter symptoms and get a differential to research: http://www.isabelhealthcare.com/home/default.

    From there you can get in touch with regional patient advocacy groups for people affected by that type of disorder, and from there sometimes get decent specialist referrals.

    Even relatively common disorders can take years to diagnose, mental symptoms can mask physical problems, and it’s ok to be an informed healthcare consumer.

    (2) Local social services and/or your regional United Way Information and Referral line should have a huge swath of other resources for you. To find your United Way, try http://www.211.org.

    As so many know, social services are not a magic wand. Most counties in the U.S. are part of a multi-county region that has a set number of Section 8 housing vouchers (although this is on the bleaker end of social services examples) –and the typical wait time for a space to open up is about four years. This is why we have a homeless problem in America — inadequate social safety nets on institutional and informal levels.

    One does hesitate to invoke luck and magic when the problem involves delusions of good and bad vibrations, but… Good luck.

  89. magriff

    yttik is pretty spot on in her latest comment. Further, I always counsel folks who are having trouble with squaring their, or others’, racial/class/sexual orientation privilege with the ideals of radical feminism to read Patricia Hill-Collins’ most excellent “Black Feminist Thought”. If Intersectionality isn’t in your blamer toolkit it oughtta be!

  90. Alexa

    Go yttik!! Such great commentry. Love it here.

  91. Humbert

    She is definitely having some sort of psychiatric problem. It sounds like schizophrenia. I have worked with some people with illnesses like this, and if B is still hesitant about having her committed and formally diagnosed, see if she will respond to 1-3 grams per day of fish oil, removing gluten and dairy from her diet, removing meat from her diet, and making sure her diet is high in folate and other b vitamins, as well as betaine, choline, magnesium, and lysine. I have literally seen people emerge from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder this way. Do not let her smoke, drink coffee, or have alcohol.

    Schizophrenia can be triggered by impaired folate metabolism (due to differences in folate metabolism, under-consumption, over-absorption of vitmain A, excessive sun exposure since only one hour a day can destroy 50% of serum folate levels, or celiac disease preventing the absorption of b vitamins), or by cytokine dysregulation (inflammatory chemicals being increased due to an autoimmune response, magnesium deficiency, omega-3 fatty acid deficiency, insulin resistance, and even the presence of an infection, like herpes), depressed BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor) due to insulin resistance (frequently triggered by a sedentary lifestyle compounded by a high fat or high sugar diet), or elevated homocysteine, which is toxic to the nervous system.

    You may think the “natural” approach sounds as bizarre as her hippie-dippy vibing, but I have seen people come out of it simply because it does address the underlying triggers. I know that fasting alone (the fastest way to raise BDNF levels and allow the brain to use ketones for energy if glucose transport is altered) or being put on birth control can work (estrogen offers potent neuroprotection, and is anti-inflammatory–it is telling that the peak onset for psychosis in women tends to be when their sexual hormones drop; progesterone is responsible for the integrity of myelination in the brain–the so-called white matter–which is compromised in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder).

    If there is any hope in the above listed interventions, it’s unlikely they’re going to work overnight. A nuclear bomb pretty much went off in her brain and her nervous system has to regenerate, to some extent.

  92. Humbert

    Just want to add that of all the things I listed above, the one that she absolutely has to do, no matter what the course of action, is the fish oil. The medical evidence is overwhelming; it’s not just anecdotal. Please tell her to do it today.

  93. norbizness

    It’s a good thing none of us are doctors, because in general remote diagnosis and proposing a plan of treatment based on hearsay is against the ol’ code of ethics.

  94. Humbert

    Good thing none of the things I proposed are remotely dangerous to anyone, norbizness, and explicitly offered in the event that B was reluctant to have her daughter formally diagnosed and committed.

  95. Ami

    I completely agree with norbizness. We don’t know the detailed circumstances – a lot of us are taking offspring’s transformation as if it was an instantaneous thing, a seizure or something, instead of a natural months long transformation and disenchantment with her job or something. The point is that we don’t know, and all these calls of ‘brain tumor’ are strange. There is a whole spectrum of sure-fine behaviors and expression.
    Talking about getting someone committed against their will is such a terrible thing, not least because offspring sounds like she is well over 18! I was crying reading some of the comments, as someone who has people say the same insensitive (and very threatening) things about me at various times in my life.

    KristenC, you’re not the only person who’s had problems.
    It’s honestly great that pills and psychiatric care worked for you, but everyone deserves the option to decide whether or not they want something for themselves. People (even people who believe in happy earth vibrations) are not dumb, and an honest conversation within their family is all that is needed to make the best decision. The mom in particular, I think, needs to make clear to her daughter that she respects and supports her in whatever she chooses to do, but that the daughter needs to be pulling her own weight. Now, if Fuckface is interrupting that conservation, I would agree that that is a problem.

  96. Jezebella

    Seriously, Humbert, that’s a very specific treatment plan for a person you’ve never met and know almost nothing about. Not to mention the difficulties of forcing a grown woman with a mental illness into a strict dietary regime on the off-chance that she is a. schizophrenic, and b. dietary changes “cure” schizophrenia. For example: “do not let her” smoke, drink, or have caffeine? How do you propose Offspring’s parents manage to control her every movement?

  97. Zygar

    The locals seem rather hasty to commit. Given that she has refused psychiatric help, and is refusing to do menial tasks, I’m inclined to agree. But this seems a bit harsh.

    It’s very hard to convince someone that they need psychiatric help, but this is perhaps the worthiest pursuit. Perhaps an intervention would be less nasty than committing her.

    Also, I’d like to see some evidence that diet can affect schizophrenia. My grandmother always tried to claim that diet was the reason for my mother’s illness, but no amount of dietary change reduced the need for serious drugs.

  98. feral

    The more I read this thread, the more disturbed I am by the eagerness of total strangers to prescribe medical or spiritual advice. Having been committed before, I feel gross even talking about this woman in the third person.

    And, as for references that those who express reservations to psychiatric intervention are exercising some sort of class privilege?! The reason I am so adamantly against recommending inpatient care or outpatient care against someone’s will has nothing to do with privilege. In fact, when I was forced into therapy and later committed, I was receiving free school lunch and never saw my mother because she was forced into low wage work under the Welfare to Work program. How about check your class generalizations. The tendency to treat those who are poor and suffering from emotional/mental problems as criminals or moral subordinates, worthy of lower quality care, is a big part of why treatment was so ineffective for me. I was put on large doses of psychotropic drugs at the age of 14 when I was only responding the way women respond to being raped. For the poor, it’s by and large a quick fix, fast-food system. Sure, there are exceptions, and I hope that people in situations like B’s can find them out. This is just my experience and certainly should not be applied to another case, other circumstances. I find it hard to believe that Jill is honestly asking our advice, here, for either B or Offspring. I feel gross even referring to this woman as “Offspring.” At least, I would hope that Jill wouldn’t subject an individual woman’s life and will to the opinions of bloggers, some of whom seem far more interested in demonstrating their expertise in a certain area.

  99. otoc

    What feral said. We’re getting a third person account, lacking in a TON of detail, and we don’t even know if B was just letting off steam when she gave her own account of the situation to Jill. We know so little here, I am in complete shock that such intelligent LAYpeople would diagnose someone they don’t know, have not talked to, have very little context about, over the internet with a major mental illness, let alone demand that she be committed.

  100. feral

    otoc, to be fair, I haven’t noticed anyone demanding that she necessarily be committed, just a lot of suggestions for psychiatric intervention and psychiatric advice that seem largely unjustified considering how very little we know about the woman in question. I am concerned about any treatment which the patient herself does not initiate. Of course, I’m not entirely against psychiatry or quality psychological care. We just don’t know the specifics.

  101. otoc

    You might be right, but I’m not about to reread the thread. It seems to me there were a few people emphatically stating that commitment was the only option.

    I agree with you and I’m not entirely against psychiatry or psychiatric care, either. It helps many people, many people are functional because of it and I would never say people shouldn’t utilize it. My thing is I want people to be aware of what they’re getting into.

    We just have so little information that it is shocking to me that non-psychiatrist* people think they have her DX nailed.

    *not that I think a psychiatrist should be trying to diagnose anyone over the internet, either, at least not without much, much more information

  102. Comrade PhysioProf

    Just want to add that of all the things I listed above, the one that she absolutely has to do, no matter what the course of action, is the fish oil. The medical evidence is overwhelming; it’s not just anecdotal.

    Jeezus fuck.

  103. Hector B.

    it is shocking to me that non-psychiatrist* people think they have her DX nailed.

    Agree 100%. In the case of my friend’s husband, even trained professionals who had examined him disagreed about his diagnosis, which made prescribing medication all the more difficult.

    But if treatment cannot start until B.’s daughter understands she needs treatment, how can she be made to realize that? It seems intuitive that there’s something wrong when a formerly high-functioning adult can no longer support herself.

  104. Humbert

    Good to see the mansplainers are out and about. They clearly didn’t even read what I wrote.

  105. coral

    Ok, I am an outsider here and fully expect to get my throat now torn out. I’m a regular reader of IBTP but not a commenter. I’ve read this entire thread, and it’s gone from people offering opinions and suggestions as Twisty asked to just about every individual being shamed and told off for their viewpoints and opinions. The information given is coming from a distance and will be filtered through Twisty to B if Twisty chooses to even pass any of it on. I’m guessing people are diagnosing because they’ve been asked for an opinion, and they’re drawing on their own personal experiences. When reading this thread, the line between attacking people’s opinions and attacking them/their experiences has become really blurred. I feel like people might be outraged that I haven’t had the same experiences with psychiatry as them. I doubt people would be so definite about what should be done for B and her daughter if we weren’t on the internet.

  106. nails

    My advice-The bottom line here is that doing nothing isn’t going to produce any result, something must be done. Start as small as you want, B, but this won’t get better on its own. The brain tumor thing went through my head too, after seeing how some patients act on neuro units after strokes or head injuries. If you cannot get any compliance out of Offspring at all, there are some court procedures in order to get control over her medical and psychiatric care. I know that people with severe eating disorders who refuse to get help can be forced into treatment via courts. A consult w/a lawyer should clear up how to do it if you need to.

    As for the rest of the thread-jesus christ people, this is exactly what science is for.

    I really hate the idea that knowing someone that was helped by psychiatry/knowing someone who was hurt by it is the standard for recommending it. Who you happen to know is so meaningless when it comes to determining how worthwhile a treatment is. The fact that there are people who know both kinds of people proves how worthless our anecdotes are as evidence. Questions about how often it helps, to what extent does it help, how helpful it is compared to placebo, etc are the real questions here. This is why studies are done, and patriarchal anything will not alter the reality of a well done study. Patriarchy cannot make drugs have a significant effect over placebo. patriarchy cannot produce the anatomical brain differences, genetic predisposition, and consistency in symptoms of disorders like schizophrenia. Not without some kind of 9/11 truther style mass conspiracy, which I find to be incredibly unlikely. ANYONE can access Pub Med to review 50 odd years of scientific study in the medical field for free and see what I am talking about for themselves. Bepenised folks have an unfair amount of power, but thankfully that does not include the power to alter the reality like scientific results. I blog about the problems with medicine but I realize that it has a lot of value.

    Ashley- for fucks sake, it is not at all likely that Offspring had an encounter with divine energy. It is almost too silly to discuss such a nonsense idea. If I started saying that I saw Gandhi riding around on a pink unicorn no one would say that it is anywhere near likely to be what really happened, it isn’t that different (evidence wise) from Offspring’s delusions. But Offspring happens to be deluded in a way that mimics current new agey bullshit so she will find tons of people willing to enable her and prolong whatever problem she is having. Gandhi on a pink unicorn is just as likely as vibration harnessing. Religion is actually one of the most common subjects of delusion/hallucination in people with mental problems, and what sort of religious ideas they hallucinate about seems to be largely culturally determined. Near death experiences follow this same pattern (people ‘go’ where they think they will).

  107. Intransigentia

    Calling a hypothesis plausible is a lot different from claiming to have diagnosed. Pointing out that particular Very Serious Problems are plausible inferences from the limited data is also not diagnosing. Nor is pointing out that because of the possibility of Very Serious Problems, she needs real medical care from an actual medical professional, proposing a course of treatment. Just for the record.

    I think we might be of a bit more use here to this family if we quit bickering about whether alternative medicine works and whether psychiatrists are the devil, and agree on the following premises:

    1. SCB is in some kind of serious trouble.
    2. Things going awry physiologically can cause the kind of trouble SCB is in.
    3. SCB needs to be evaluated by a medical professional – we don’t have to agree what kind for now; just, an actual medical professional and not a crystal-peddling charlatan.
    4. SCB doesn’t want to be evaluated by a medical professional.
    5. SCB is an adult human being and as a result can only legally be compelled to get treatment if she is likely to harm herself or others – which at the moment she is not.
    6. While she’s not physically harming B, SCB’s problems and Fuckface’s reactions to them are creating an untenable situation for B.

    Things we can brainstorm on that might lead in a worthwhile direction:
    – how to get fuckface to fuck off or at least shut the fuck up
    – how to get SCB a better living situation – financial aid, assisted living, improving self-care and self-sufficiency for example
    – how to negotiate with SCB to go for medical evaluation/treatment voluntarily
    – finding resources to help B cope

  108. pedxing

    Why did she break? If the choice is between an unpleasant and stressful job and a fantasy world, it’s an easy choice. The presentation of alternatives, combined with a solid, disinterested third party councilor would likely be helpful. Talking it out is essential, and talking to family is sometimes harder than to a stranger.

    Fuckface should get fucked. That aside, if he’s invested in the healing process (as in he can’t afford to keep her around), then he needs to realize what ways he can help, rather than exacerbate the problem (assuming he’s not fuckface to the core).

    And I’m having a lot of fun with my boss’ Kubota diesel – very powerful for a smaller tractor.

  109. Jezebella

    Oh, it’s so fun to get accused of mansplaining by a man, who just splained why fish oil will cure schizophrenia.

  110. nails

    Oh dear god no. People are suggesting woo diets now.

    I can’t stand this crap. Some rich republican senator from Utah (Orrin Hatch) is pretty much the entire reason why so many supplements are available in their current form. He is why you can buy untested supplements with ingredients that are not accounted for. Most of the supplement industry is here in Utah, and people put whatever they want in the pills. It screwed over an olympian or two, when the olympics where in Salt Lake City, but Hatch didn’t care. That goes to show how much dough he rakes in from this whole scam.

  111. Shelby

    There’s a very recent study which shows that women who take vitamin supplements are some lobe blowing percentage more likely to get breast cancer. In Australia we’re now being told not to take supplements unless we actually suffer from a vitamin/mineral deficiency.

  112. bradybunchhater

    This is really tricky because both B and Offspring are in need of help. If Offspring’s problems are mental then she would likely love to have them solved, even if she is unwilling to do stuff to solve them at this point. However, if B can summon the large amounts of energy to try to get her phych type help, the best she can probably do is learn as much as she can about the different hospitals, laws, government programs, etc. around her because the more you know, the less likely it is that Offspring will see the dark side of “treatment”. I’ve been committed against my will before, by the police, to the nearest possible hospital and it is a horrible thing, but the more you know about your resources the less nasty stuff you tend to be exposed to. However it seems that B will be doing all the research and other work alone, because Offspring dosn’t sound like she can or will help. It will be a long long haul to get Offspring to improve, and she’s going to have to be her parent all over again (planning appointments and forcing Offspring to go, as though she were 10 years old, as well as pushing her to do other recovery type things). If B can’t do that for any reason then my best guess as to an “easier” option is for her (and not Fuckface) to get legal control of Offspring and put her in the best live in treatment available, and visit as often as possible. She should talk to most of the staff and see how they treat her kid, especially around the time when they give the meds. The way that they give the meds is a good indicator, in my unprofessional opinion, of how well the place works (because this is a transaction that is really difficult. Some patients refuse to take meds, how do the staff react to that? The more gracefully they can do that, the better the place is). B’s kid may not be able to tell B about any shady business going on, but the more B visits, the more likely she is to know when she should get Offspring out pronto.

  113. yttik

    Fish oil is not a bad idea. B should make sure there is nothing to eat in the house but fish oil. If Offspring is still not motivated and passively consumes the fish oil, something is definitely wrong with her brain chemistry.

    None of us can really tell what is up with Offspring. She could simply have decided that earning six figures is a sham and she would like to have more meaning out of her life then chasing the almighty dollar. I do know boys who have decided to become artists or rock stars, moved back in with mom who provides a free meal ticket, and refused to help around the house. Nobody ever calls them mentally ill or suggests involuntary commitment, they simply call them boys.

    Even if Offspring does have an organic brain disease, B is still the one that needs to seek help and support for herself. She cannot fix her daughter or F-face. She cannot make Offspring get treatment and there is no magic wand she can wave to cure her. Offspring has to do it herself, even if she’s ill. As long as mom is around providing her some basic comfort, she’s really got not reason to even try.

  114. rootlesscosmo

    Lots of useful suggestions above, many of which assume that the problem is to figure out a way that B. can stop being miserable. Is this feasible? Maybe so, maybe not. A fair working definition of oppression: you have choices, and they’re all bad.

  115. speedbudget

    Maybe B should avail herself of the Licensed Clinical Social Worker. A feminist one. At least then she would have someone to rant to about Fuckfase. And maybe the counselor would be able to help B get hold of some more resources that might make it possible for her to kick Fuckfase to the curb.

    Failing that, she should get the fuck out of the house as often as is feasible for some “me” time. Perhaps to El Rancho Deluxe for some margarita therapy.

  116. Foilwoman

    Assuming B and Offspring live around Austin, here is a link for subsidized assistance (includes everything, rent, food, etc., but a few links are for medical or mental health care). I’m assuming B is near Austin, but if further out possibly one of these agencies’ social workers could steer B and Offspring (or whoever is helping B, as it seems like B might be too overwhelmed to make these calls and Offspring probably just plain won’t) to something local. http://www.kimdara.com/shac/assistance.html

    I have no knowledge of the quality or politics of any of these institutions, aside from the obviously religious ones, but this would be a place to start.

  117. Jill

    Looky here, diagnosers. I was clearly unclear in my post. What I was looking for was suggestions for measures — a support group, for instance, — to be undertaken my pal B, not for diagnoses of her daughter or recommendations for psychiatry or diet regimens.

    Feral, rest easy. I am in no position to subject B’s daughter to anything, and would not dream of urging B to get her committed or prescribing her fish oil.

    Although I do take a bit of salmon oil myself. It keeps the obstreperal lobe lubed up and humming along.

  118. feral

    yttk said: “She could simply have decided that earning six figures is a sham and she would like to have more meaning out of her life then chasing the almighty dollar. I do know boys who have decided to become artists or rock stars, moved back in with mom who provides a free meal ticket, and refused to help around the house. Nobody ever calls them mentally ill or suggests involuntary commitment, they simply call them boys.”

    Fuck yes. It’s a documented generational trend (Michael Kimmel has referred to it as Guyland) which is hardly raising anyone’s eyebrows. Whatever course of action B takes, I hope that it involves validating her daughter’s experience and doing her best to not condemn the real dissatisfaction she seems to have with her previous life. Shit, recognizing that could have some positive effect on her, also. Maybe it could help her understand the source of her own dissatifaction: ye olde Fuckface.

  119. kristyn joy

    This is reminiscent of a post from yon ago which somehow got to the point of women cleaning. Some women chimed in to say, “Well, I surely don’t bow to the P in this way — I hire a cleaning woman!”
    Someone pointed out this was not exactly feminist, someone else chimed in to say she was a cleaning lady, and before long everyone was defensive and no one got anywhere.

    “ye olde Fuckface”, however, will go down in time as a beautiful quote.

  120. Yankee Transferred

    I don’t know jack (or jill) about mental illness, psychotic breaks, or vibrations, but I can say this with certainty: FUCKFACE NEEDS TO GO.

    I recoil at the thought of forced psychiatry, as I have always observed it as patriarchal, but I do know some women psychiatrists who are gentle, caring people who might be able to help. Like I said: I don’t know anything about this situation. I’m a freakin’ travel agent, ok?

    I’m so sorry for B and Offspring, and I hope they find a balance. That is, after they get rid of Fuckface.

  121. speedbudget

    Most fuckfaces are like chocolate stains, ya know? You gotta get rid of them RIGHT AWAY or they linger forever.

  122. Cranky Old Coot

    1.Tell the asshole male in the family to shape up or ship out.

    2.Get as complete a physical as they can afford for the daughter.

    3.The daughter needs TRAINING more than treatment.Her experiences ARE real. The danger lies in not giving them a structure and context in which to deal and live with them.
    Interesting bit of synchronicity.I’m rereading for the first time in over 15 years feminist thealogian Vicki Noble’s excellent book SHAKTI WOMAN especially Chapter 3 where she describes a situation almost identical to what the daughter is going through.

    I believe the book is out of print but she should be able to get a low-priced used copy through Amazon.I think both mother and daughter would find it helpful in dealing with this.Reading the book is definitely only a start.It could easily take years to deal with this situation even if she does find a good teacher right away.

  123. Triste

    Am I the only one here who thinks that Fuckface, in this case (I can’t speak for him at other times – he might really be a womanhater, and I will take your word for it that he is), might actually have a point? Or at least as much of a point as B, who seems to think that If Hitler says 2+2=4, well, technically. Anyway.

    Since we can all, I think, agree that even if there are spirits (dubious), they are probably not telling anyone to quit their jobs and sit around all day managing ticks, we are, at this point, left with two possibilities concerning this daughter:

    1. She is a lazy, lying twit, possibly a sociopath for creating such an elaborate fantasy to get what she wants
    2. She is hopelessly confused, either due to some trauma or mental illness

    The first is not terribly likely but not impossible. As mentioned above, there are plenty of boys who do similar things, generally making excuses about how they are too busy playing guitar to work for a living. Because women aren’t taken seriously as musicians, a women looking to score such a meal ticket would have to change some of the specifics – bullshit superstition dictates that women are more sensitive to the spirits, probably because we ladies are just so flighty and emotional etc. etc.

    But the fact that she used to have a job as an engineer, pulling down 6 figures (keep in mind that engineering is hard as fuck and even harder if you have ladybits), seems to suggest that she is not so lazy after all. So some sort of mental illness seems the likeliest suspect. Either way, simply keeping things as they are is a bad idea.

    Now, it would be irresponsible for them to throw her out before getting her tested. She at the very least needs to be looked at for schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, maybe even a brain tumor. Since she is not currently dangerous to anyone, I don’t see why she should be involuntarily committed. I don’t see that group therapy would be good for her – in fact, it might be bad for her, since the people in said therapy are very likely to tell her that she is so right, man, the spirits really do want you to not work, totally. One on one therapy is likely better, but might I suggest family therapy?

    It is equally irresponsible to keep her in the house forever, simply because eventually, her parents will die. And then she will either starve to death on the streets anyway or have to try to get a new job as an older woman (a truly joyous experience, ask any former-housewife-cum-would-be-working-woman about how FUN that is) who has mysteriously been out of the workforce for a long time. At some point, something has to be done. As for her refusal to submit to psychiatric care – come on, now. The number of people, whether they are lazy or mentally ill, who make that threat and actually go through with it are close to zero. If you give her the ultimatum of “talk to a shrink once or you sleep out in the cold,” she’ll almost certainly go. If she doesn’t, then as awful as it is, involuntary commitment might be the only thing that keeps her off the streets.

  124. kristyn joy

    Wow, Triste. Great. “Lazy”? Would you say that about a man who moved back in with his parents and refused to get a job?

    Here’s an anecdote. I have PTSD, caused by rape and battery. I cannot work. My father tells me to “shape up”. “stop manipulating”, and “get a job” because clearly, I am lazy. I retreat into my room and weep for weeks because I have no other recourse. Cue involuntary institutionalization because obviously I am insane. That really helped, let me tell you. I’m definitely out there working right now! And not locked in my house shivering from even more flashbacks.

    While I may be bringing too much personal baggage to my interpretation, it does definitely seem like some compassion for SCB and B — not fuckface! — is in order.

  125. kristyn joy

    Oh, and no, I don’t even live with my parents, so mine is a slightly different and much more mansplaineriffic situation. But still.

  126. Stillwater

    If B hardly has the income to keep all three of them fed and sheltered, where will this psychiatric help come from. An evaluation from a psychiatrist can run 300-400 dollars and then there are the weekly sessions, medication adjustment etc. I hate the undercurrent that pops up in these discussions that people avoid “help” arbitrarily. It’s a bit like telling someone who is starving in poverty “silly, go buy some food!”. This is assuming that B could be healed through meds and talk therapy, and we all know about assumptions. I say get rid of/shut up fuckface, closely monitor daughter for signs of violence, and keep eyes open for help.. and good luck!

  127. Triste

    Uh. Yes, kristen, I would indeed say the same thing about a man. And did say the same thing about men, had you actually bothered to read past the word “lazy.” Specifically: ” As mentioned above, there are plenty of boys who do similar things, generally making excuses about how they are too busy playing guitar to work for a living.” In point of fact, I believe that men are significantly more likely to engage in this brand of laziness, because parents are more likely to indulge them.

    That having been said, I think my point was somewhat lost here. Again – I don’t think she is lazy. I mentioned laziness because my intention was to show my reasoning in full. I went into thinking about this open to the possibility that she was lazy, found that she had once worked in engineering, which is hard, and was then able to dismiss that hypothesis as very unlikely.

    As for your own experiences, I am sorry to hear about your situation and I truly hope that you will be okay, or at the very least that things can improve for you. If you are able to find some way to house yourself despite being unable to work (and I truly to believe you when you say you are unable, because I truly do believe that disorders like PTSD are every bit as legitimately damaging as physical disorders or disabilities) then I am glad for you, because one’s right to live with at least the basic necessities should not, in my view, be determined by their ability to produce goods for others. But it is a fact that you are, in this regard, somewhat fortunate. The world is fucking cruel to people who are unable to work – you, I am sure, don’t need me to tell you this, because you have lived it. In the case of someone like SCB, unless circumstances change drastically such that her parents are able to bring together enough money to leave her with a lifetime’s worth of inheritance, she will, eventually, either 1) work (either as a paid worker for some business or as an unpaid slave-girlfriend to a man), 2) be involuntarily institutionalized, or 3) live on the streets. Of those options, working as a paid employee strikes me as the least horrific, and as difficult and painful and terrible as the process in getting there may be, I think it is the goal towards which she and her parents must work.

  128. Humbert

    I find it interesting that Jezebella ingeniously assumed I was male. Wrong. Hilariously sexist, though!

  129. kristyn joy

    Triste, I did read your whole comment, I just didn’t believe you. Mentally insert a “really” into my question.

    “Of those options, working as a paid employee strikes me as the least horrific, and as difficult and painful and terrible as the process in getting there may be, I think it is the goal towards which she and her parents must work.”

    There may be more options in there, is what some commenters were saying.

    And if there was truly an experience wherein SCB found work to be incredibly traumatizing, maybe she does just need to go live on a commune. Which can hold its own wacked-out difficulties, as communes are also not non-patriarchal … but you never know.

    Work can blow. Work is really patriarchal. Blue-collar bullshit isn’t for everybody, and neither is food service. (Spoken as one who has had boiling water thrown at and upon her by a boss.) The priority is in making her life, and B’s life, better, and getting Fuckface out of the picture is probably a good call for everyone.

  130. jezebella

    Humbert, I find it interesting that you use a male alias & expect people to think you’re female.

    Oh, wait. No I don’t. I find it stupid.

  131. Robin Lionheart

    I’m not a psychiatrist, but… (oh, that’s not a promising start, is it?)

    While there’s a certain elegance to broaching the subject with Offspring by asking her to do her vibrational subluxions to the universe to solve B’s financial inability to support her, it seems to me that feeding her delusions of grandeur might be contraindicated. Some advice from an expert would be advisable before B starts humoring Offspring overmuch.

  132. AileenWuornos

    This entire situation is heartbreaking. After trying to top myself a few times I got sent to an adolescent ward involuntarily. I hated it at the time, and it was a fucking horrible experience but sometimes it needs to be done. Now I’m really grateful that my parents were kind enough to do what was best for me at the time, and in the long run it really helped. If it didn’t I wouldn’t be writing this comment.

    Similarly – a friend of mine was committed last year for drug-induced psychosis, and her situation was fairly similar to B & Offsprings. She was very bitter and resentful at the time, but a year and a half later, she’s actually a lot better adjusted and managed to regain a grip on reality. At the time she did not think anything was wrong with her, but now, also in hindsight she realises she was a very ill young womon and needed help.

    This comment has no real point and sadly I can’t offer any real suggestions being of non-US location, other than my heart goes out to B & Offspring. Fuckface needs to learn about mental health issues, stat.

  133. kristyn joy

    “She was very bitter and resentful at the time, but a year and a half later, she’s actually a lot better adjusted and managed to regain a grip on reality. At the time she did not think anything was wrong with her, but now, also in hindsight she realises she was a very ill young womon and needed help.”

    That can happen sometimes.

    Other times, in cases like mine, there is certifiably nothing even wrong. (I have the paperwork to prove it, although y’all just have to take my word for it.)

    And that breeds the bitterness and resentful feelings. It sucks getting locked up when nothing is wrong, because … well, doesn’t everyone say nothing is wrong with them? So why should anyone believe ME?

  134. Shermanvolvo

    There are a myriad of possibilities but a drastic change in behaviour where one can no longer function? Offspring deserves the option of psychological care which can include a variety of things from meds to more natural healers. I was saved because of evil psychotropic meds. Patriarchy and all.

  135. Miss Andrist

    Hi, Twisty. Sorry I’m late to the brain-trust. Work, et al. If you still need CSS help? Yeah I can do that for you, too. Anyway, on topic:

    I live in Austin and it’s been my privilege to befriend individuals who have made extensive use of Texas’ meager but extant social safety-network mental healthcare services. Having helped my friends navigate these labyrinth and tastefully concealed networks in strictly vestigial ways, I believe what Sky Cloud Butterfly needs is what used to be known as TDMHMR, now operating under Texas Dept. of Health and Human Services – Community Mental Health. Services are goddamn hard to get into, but once acquired, are free. Voluntary hospitalization for mental health care is apparently much easier, regardless of destitution. I may have a skewed perspective on accessibility of care because my friend had been a patient since she was a minor.

    However, getting rid of Fuckface, if he really is a Grade A capital Douchebag (and I trust your douchebag-grading skills, I’d speculate futures on them if they were a commodity) – is only as likely as Fuckface will allow himself to be gotten rid of. IE, highly unlikely. This being the case, if the situation becomes an emergency, extol your friend to persuade the fruit of her womb to check herself into the hospital. For the sake of shelter, food, safety – and if the hospital provides WombyFruit with some Seraquel, well, they give that to everybody and really, worse things could happen. Uhm, you could phrase it to WombyFruit like, “There are much worse negatives out there that could be vibrating you, so just go with it until we work out something better, ok?”

    Seriously, email me if you’d like me to try to get more info about case workers to appeal to, who my friend goes through. I live in Austin, too, so.

    -Miss Andrist
    Saving the world today…

  136. Mizcathi

    It is highly unlikely that anyone is reading this thread anymore, but I would like to comment that it’s very easy for people not living this nightmare to give advice. Mental illness is a horrible illness and is not cured by willpower. There is a neurological condition that causes at least 50% of all mental illness patients to literally deny there is anything wrong – anosognosia – and thouroughly believe they are well. It is a complicated and cripling condition.

    As for the poor young girl involved, I hope she’s found help. We took in our son 3 years ago who was experiencing late blooming mental illness, and two years later we found out quite by accident that the problem was a BRAIN TUMOR! We did everything to support him that we could, and it was quite stressful and traumatic. His delusions were violent and extremely disruptive.

    One year after the surgery he has suddenly come down with similar issues and appears to be quite mentally ill. This was after 9 months of a very good recovery from the surgery. He was working as a contractor for several months and it looked like he was going to have a life again. Then suddenly he became psychotic again and is suffering from Anosognosia. He absolutely believes he is perfectly fine and refuses all medical or mental health assistance. He no longer believes he had a brain tumor and instead insists that his father performed a lobotomy on him after slicing his head open with an ax.

    So all the theories about “kernal of truth” and laziness, and he needs a medical exam – none of this matters a bit! He refuses to apply for Disability because he “doesn’t want to be that kind of person!” Meanwhile, we shelter, feed, and clothe him… and he is 32 years old.

    Adult Protective Services won’t help, and even the Austin State Hospital won’t admit him, since they now say his issues are neurological and he needs a medical exam.

    Talk about Catch 22. Texas totally sucks.

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