Tag Archives: Mental Illness

Mind Your Own Business

8 Jun

I have a question to put out there for you all: When do you step in and get involved?

I assume that each of us has our own line – until a situation crosses that line we don’t get involved in situations and we let the person take care of their own business themselves. I am trying to determine what my personal line is. I don’t want to turn into that person who interferes in people’s lives and situations because I think they need help, or because I think I know best. I don’t want to be the busybody who is blinded by her good intentions.

But more than that, I don’t want to be the person who did nothing. The one who stood by and watched.

We have a neighbor who I have come to believe should not be living alone. There are various reasons that I think this: she has fallen down twice in the past month (that we know of), and each time she cannot get up on her own. The last time my husband helped her to her front porch where she wanted to sit, and she said she was fine. Almost two hours later, at around 11 o’clock at night, he got up with the baby and heard her asking a passerby for help getting up and into her home. She had been out there almost 2 hours. She forgets to shut her front door, to roll up her car windows, turn off her car, close the trunk, she backs out of her driveway at an alarmingly veered  path, and I suspect that she is a borderline hoarder who has not cleaned up the feces on her floor from the dogs that she no longer owns.

Is this my business? I want to call Social Services and get her some help, but I know nothing about her personal situation – only what I see as a spectator and occasional person who helps her get a delivery box into her house, or whose husband jump starts her car from time to time. A few years ago she had mentioned that she was selling her house and moving into an assisted living complex, but her house never went on the market. (And the family members who were helping her get her house in order don’t come around anymore.)

If I wait too long, I am afraid that something may happen to her or someone else, and I will play the “shoulda’,woulda’, coulda'” game.  A game that I am not too keen on participating in.

But if I talk to her about it or call social services, I risk offending her and insulting her, and adding fuel to an already tenuous property line partnership. (Did I mention that she is..um, salty?) I thought about consulting with the other local neighbors, as we have all mentioned the situation to each other here and there.

I guess it comes down to: do I really think that she needs someone to intervene on her behalf? Do I honestly think that she is a danger to herself and to others, or do I just think that because she conducts her business in a way that I, personally, don’t consider to be “normal’? (The only time I think that I would ever let my mail pile like hers is if I died in my house and no one found me for several weeks. Seriously)

So my next steps are to coordinate with neighbors and see if they too have witnessed incidents as well, and get the older couple to talk to her about it: She doesn’t much like my husband and I (she doesn’t much like anybody for that matter) and out of all of the neighbors, she has what most resembles a friendship with them. I think a conversation like this needs to happen with someone she has a level of comfort with.

So what are your personal lines that when crossed, you get involved? Do you have the same thoughts about whether or not to get involved, or do you just jump right in?

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