My mom calls to tell me this story tonight. As she is relaying it to me I can't help but think, "Where is she going with this? This can't be real." Apparently, it is. My mom's best friend has a friend. This friend has a sister who has a son. Still with me? This son has some type of mental illness (I don't recall the specifics other than that he lives in his own apartment -- he's in his early 20's -- and most of the time controls this illness with medication. A few times a year he has "episodes" that require medical intervention).
The son calls his mother and tells her that she needs to come over because he has a "red-headed troll" in his closet. The mother tells her son that she will be over after work. I don't have any first hand experience caring for someone with a mental illness, but it would seem to me that if I had a child with an issue and he/she called with that type of information I might drop what I was doing and go check it out. But I digress. For whatever reason, the mother doesn't go over after work. The following day she gets another frantic call from her son insisting that a "red-headed troll" was in his closet and she needed to come over immediately. Again, she didn't. The third day he again calls and this time she goes over.
When she arrives she finds that he had boarded up his closet and had pushed all of his furniture up against the closet. When she opened it she found a red-headed midget locked in the closet along with three days worth of bodily waste.
Apparently, the son had gone to the library and heard a story about the troll that lived under a bridge. He arrived back home, when shortly thereafter this man appeared on his door step. Thinking the "troll" followed him home from the library he literally picked the man up and barricaded him in his closet. Turns out the midget was a Jehovah's Witness and was more than gracious, even apologizing for "scaring" the man. The mother was profusely apologetic. The midget refused to press charges and from all accounts was unbelievably forgiving.
When I first heard the story I laughed because it seemed so unlikely. Plus, what are the odds of someone hearing this story and then having someone who "matches" the description show up at his door? But really, it's pretty sad. It's sad that the mother didn't come to her son's aid prior to the third day. It's sad that this young man, who struggles with mental issues, was so scared that he literally locked another human being in his closet with no food or drink for 3 days. It's sad that this midget's family, assuming he had one, didn't report him missing -- not to mention the other Jehovah's Witnesses who he presumably went out "witnessing" with. It's incredible to me though that this man, who probably thought as some point that he was going to die in that closet, was so forgiving and apologetic when he was clearly the victim.
Shortly after talking to my mom I read a story about a young mother who fled her house in a manic state (she was bipolar and off her meds). Her husband and father informed the police who apparently searched for her, but were convinced she hitchhiked and probably met her demise that way. Turns out they discovered her body today, a mere 1/2 mile from where they found her car. She died from exposure.
It just seems like there are a lot more young people suffering from a variety of mental illnesses and when properly medicated do okay, yet you hear/read so often of them going off of their meds for whatever reason and it results in some type of tragedy. As far as we've come in understanding mental illness and accepting a variety of what the societal norm would deem "abnormal behavior" we still as a society seem to be fairly ignorant when it comes to the seriousness of these illnesses.
It's just sad to me. Maybe if people took these illnesses more seriously these types of occurrences and tragedies wouldn't happen with such frequency. I don't know; maybe I'm naive to think that, but it just seems that so many of these mental issues are brushed aside or downplayed.