Yeah, I know what follows is long-winded and maybe even boring, but I’m crying out for help! No, not money or material goods. I just need my friendly readers, many of whom have become friends, to listen and possible offer understanding, some guidance and direction, as well as emotional support and encouragement… Yes, I’m admitting it and crying out! I need your help and will deeply, deeply appreciate what you have to offer! Thank you, and now on to the matter at hand:
My housemate is fully schizophrenic, an adult schizophrenic. This is her diagnosis, and she frequently ~ well, everyday ~ presents multiple symptoms. (And, of course, I don’t blame her at all … not one bit. It’s not at all her fault, and she deserves love and compassionate, as well as tender loving care, probably necessary on a daily basis.) Yet even though I’m no psychologist or psychiatrist, still I’ve lived with her around two years now, with the last eight months in close quarters. And I’ve just about concluded she also has some sort of dissociative disorder.
Well, okay, I’ve looked it up in the DSM-5 and the APA Dictionary of Psychology, and I’ve researched some articles over the months, especially recently, and … no, of course I can’t say for sure. Still, some observations can be made, and I’d like to share these and then move to something more personal. Anyway, my friend and housemate self-reports having at least one other “spirit” resident in her body. In other words, someone else is co-habituating. This other person has a name, Leonard, and according to her, he was a Korean War veteran-turned-preacher.
Somehow, evidently, Leonard “lost” his body. I’m thinking he just died, but anyway… At some point after this, he “met” my friend, whom I’ll simply call Jane Doe, and decided to make a home in her body or, as she puts it, live in her body until he can find another one for himself. And yeah, it kind of, sort of sounds like possession, but she’s fully aware of his presence, and she always seems to be fully aware of herself at all times. Really I’ve concluded that the best way to describe Jane Doe’s situation is with the word “cohabitation.” Leonard and Jane are cohabitating in her body. More specifically, it seems to be a spiritual cohabitation in one physical body, stemming from an otherwise disembodied spirit’s temporary need of physical “housing,” or “residency,” as it were.
Jane Doe carries on full-fledged conversations with Leonard throughout the day (and night!), and frequently receives instructions from him. This cohabitating spirit has, by her own admission, claimed authority in her life. Furthermore, she fully believes Leonard has something like a direct line to heaven, to God. God, or the Lord, speaks directly to Leonard, who in turn speaks to her. And if she does not cooperate and/or obey Leonard, she has many times since I’ve known her ~ rather consistently, in fact ~ claimed that Leonard has, or would eventually, punish her somehow. These punishments can come in the form of, say, stomach ache, headache, painful ear infection, vomiting, etc.
There are other “individuals” in the scope of her “reality,” or unreality, though. For example, there is someone named “Nancy.” I cannot say for certain (believe it or not!) whether she actually converses with any of these other individuals. Jane Doe speaks about them. They are very much part of her “reality.” And this all leads to something even stranger, which is what Jane refers to as “doing” someone else. For example, she frequently talks about herself “doing” a little girl, or Nancy “doing” mother or wife, or Leonard “doing” one of her (Jane’s) three sons, who haven’t even been born yet. Jane has even taken to telling me that I’m going to “do” someone in her life … sometimes one of her little boys, for example.
Stemming from this very odd idea is also the thought/belief that she will live (somehow) for centuries to come. And I’d almost say this partly comes from some deep desire not to die, of course, but when she talks about different possible stages in an ongoing mutating “life” or existence, it doesn’t sound to me like Jane Doe is really grasping the concept of time. And it doesn’t seem to bother her, or even be particularly important to her. And I mean lengths of time don’t seem to be crucial. What’s happening, or is supposed to happen, is what’s crucial. And let me try to be as clear as possible in the picture I’m painting here:
- Another spirit, “Leonard,” is cohabitating with Jane Doe within her physical body
- This spirit will be resident along with her in her body until he “finds” another body for himself; in the meantime, both spirits ~ Leonard and Jane Doe ~ reside in the one body more or less equally and are (seemingly at least) equally conscious at all times. (In other words, Jane Doe never apparently “checks out,” and neither does Leonard.)
- Other “individuals” are also very much part of Jane’s unreality, and figure prominently into her ongoing view/perspective/grasp of “reality”
- Jane and Leonard, along with x-number of these other “persons,” sometimes including me, will eventually live out another life together not currently being lived, and this other life will indeed be very different, i.e. essentially a different existence that will play out sometime in the future
- Finally, many such “lifes,” or radically different existences, will unfold in the future, evidently one following another, with no end-point in sight
Now, some things have come to my mind, even if they’re a bit wacky, but I’ve been trying to make sense of it all. Of course, like I’ve already said, classic spiritual possession comes to mind, although in Jane’s case it doesn’t manifest like typical spiritual possession. There’s also the New Age concept of “walk-in spirits” that seems to fit the bill here, but I really don’t know much about this. Then living out different existences in the future has made me think of reincarnation, but … I’ve never heard of anyone knowing beforehand how and into who or what they’ll be reincarnated. I mean, supposing reincarnation is real ~ just a fact of life in this world ~ still, do folks typically know who and what they’re going to be over the next few centuries … along with all the situations and circumstances … including who and what several other “individuals” are going to be, specifically their identities and roles in life??? I don’t think so. At least, I’ve never heard of anything like this associated with the idea/belief in reincarnation.
Well, enough psychoanalysis from me. I’m at my wits end just continuing to live in and with this situation. I love this Jane Doe, as a friend, and care about her, but the constant almost-insane conversations with Leonard, or whoever, along with frequent maniacal laughter (which is rather disturbing in itself) has all left me drained … almost totally wiped out. Eight months living with her in close quarters, with very little interaction with others (mostly because we live out in the boonies), and being subjected to several such psychotic manifestations has really taken its toll on me. And I don’t know what to do. I’ve come to the conclusion, as I shared in another recent blog post, that I cannot provide Jane Doe total care. I cannot, as my friend and landlord likes to put it, “handle” her, much less actually cure, or heal, her. I’m just not able, but what frightens me more now is what’s quite evidently happening to me. I’m losing my grip, to put it mildly. I’m on the edge of just totally falling apart, and believe me I know what that’s like! Been there, done that already! And I don’t … I can’t go down that road again.
So what do I do? Well, I’m thinking it’s time for me to move, perhaps closer to town, and involve myself in good, healthy extracurricular activities with healthy, stable people. Also, since leaving the group home I’ve seriously intended to continue my education, and that’s something I can do online. I’ve planned on working on an MA in either liberal arts or community counselling. I’m seriously thinking I need to really pursue that goal now. No more time to waste! Somehow, though, I’ve got to move on and into some better, healthier situation in life … for my own good. But then, what about this Jane Doe? What happens to her? Well, of course I want her to be safe and secure. Certainly I want her to have a roof over her head, bed to sleep in, at least two square meals a day (if not three), the professional care she needs, etc. But is it realistic to think I can provide this? I don’t think so. In fact, ultimately I can’t even make sure she ends up in a good facility of some sort, like the group home where we originally met.
Ah, now I’ve gone on for so long! Well, if you can, please help me sort through all this! I need your good counsel/advice, as well as any encouragement you might graciously offer. And thanks!