Psyche is powered by Vocal creators. You support Denise Willis by reading, sharing and tipping stories... more

Psyche is powered by Vocal.
Vocal is a platform that provides storytelling tools and engaged communities for writers, musicians, filmmakers, podcasters, and other creators to get discovered and fund their creativity.

How does Vocal work?
Creators share their stories on Vocal’s communities. In return, creators earn money when they are tipped and when their stories are read.

How do I join Vocal?
Vocal welcomes creators of all shapes and sizes. Join for free and start creating.

To learn more about Vocal, visit our resources.

Show less

Mental Illness

A cold companion

I have a master's degree in psychology, and yet I am at a loss as to what is wrong with my roommate. Perhaps this is because we have been roommates for over three years, and I am too emotionally involved to be logical when it comes to figuring things out. Plus, I invited her into my home not realizing all the ramifications of her behavior, because I hadn't witnessed it yet, so that makes me a bit off as well if I have the education I have, and yet do not see what is right in front of my face.

I originally befriended this person, who we will call Jane, because I felt sorry for her. Nobody liked her or wanted her around and they talked endlessly behind her back.  One lady tore into her about a minor issue and brought her to tears, which I thought was overkill based on the event she was angry about. So, I began making friends, and I noticed she was a bit different, but not in a bad way. Maybe in an annoying way, and maybe I wasn't reading the signs as we went along. All I was focused on was helping another person I felt was being treated poorly.

She and I would often go outside the apartments we lived in, and take the radio and sit in the back area, listen to music, and draw pictures.  She would come to my house frequently and I would take care of her dog while she volunteered at the senior center. Things appeared okay, and then one day we were busted for smoking pot in the back yard, which is legal in Colorado, but not in subsidized housing, which is Federal. So, Jane was evicted because she was over her three write-up limit. 

Over the next few months, it became obvious that I was also going to be evicted for the pot-smoking incident, so I found a little place north of town in the mountains and rented it. Not long after, Jane began visiting, and she loved my place too, so we got closer and finally decided to be roommates. 

The first thing I noticed was her temper. I came home one day and she was stark naked and cleaning the house. She was yelling because she was the only one cleaning, but the house had already been cleaned, so it ended in a shouting contest and both of us walking away. Over the next few months, she showed other signs of odd behaviors, such as acting like a child, and talking as though she were only four at the most. Then there would be days she would switch into a silent, depressed mood, and not want anybody around.  She was abusive in her language toward me, and was very negative about others. She had no interests in hobbies, and didn't want to do anything I offered to do with her, so I stopped trying. We fought intermittently, calling each other horrible names, and yelled for the other one to get out. And then it all calmed down. I began to realize something was very wrong with her thinking, and I kept quiet a lot or used humor to dispel the negative atmosphere and avoid arguments.  That seems to still be working.

If I were to make a guess, I would say she has a dissociative disorder, because she puts things away and then has no memory of doing it, let alone knowing where she put things. She changes radically in personality, and she calls it moodiness, but it goes beyond that. She isn't familiar with other aspects of her personality. 

At this time I am planning on continuing to have her live in my house with me because I want to help her. She can't help the things she is doing or saying, and I don't have a clear view of her life except that her parents divorced, and she had an abusive mother whom she lived with. Her brother is also abusive, and the youngest sister is very over-weight and has all sorts of issues. I do believe parenting, especially in the first seven formative years, to be of much importance. Freud had some ideas that I don't agree with, but this particular one I do agree with: children at that age need a lot of love and time from their parents, and if they get abuse instead it can cause all sorts of problems. I sincerely hope there is help for her, and I now have her going in for counseling, and she is on medication, which seems to be helping enormously.