Originally Posted by trumptman
I'd say you can indeed confront but the person isn't likely to listen or change.
Perhaps it is just my ever increasingly grumpy age talking, but the line between nurture and nature becomes very blurry in this day and age when we allow others to "nurture" themselves negatively for so long. If she is of the nature that she is seeking justifications like chronic fatigue to explain her problems (and she isn't alone, society is doing the same) then there really isn't anything you can do. In her mind she is objectively a victim and broken in some capacity. The whole rise of all these mental and semi-health issues that can't truly be diagnosed, have evolving definitions that accommodate the very behaviors that should disprove it, and really have no treatment reveal the end of stage of people who are just sad because they have to move, live and make efforts to themselves. I'm reminded of the Fight Club quote involving killing panda's who basically won't screw to save themselves..... life involves energy and fighting to survive. If you don't want to have either, then....well......don't.
If you don't have to engage this person, I would say don't. The reason you can't say "Hey mate, your mind doesn't seem right" is because society has conjured a rationale for why the mate's leg shouldn't have the bleeding stopped, how letting them bleed or applying the bandage is a bad thing and how anyone who suggests otherwise is a bullying, oppressive asshole.
This is a wise and relevant comment, thank you. Yes, I am becoming more centrist in a fashion because the mollycoddling of society is getting a bit ridiculous.
Not that I don't think "chronic fatigue" doesn't exist, but psychiatrists have presented the case that who cares whether it is a "disease" or not, it obviously comes from some underlying issues. In the case of this lady, I overlooked her clearly irrational, unhealthy lifestyle because I simply thought she was dedicated to the "cause" of the project we were working on.
Only further probing, discussion of financial affairs (because there was supposed to be revenue sharing), and trying to figure out what the hell it was she was actually trying to achieve... Led to me finally seeing, luckily only after 4 months (could have been a year or more), that something was very, very wrong.
In the past few days since I wrote the first post above, it's all starting to make sense.
If anyone is reading Tribal Leadership as well, this is all Stage 1/ Stage 2 behaviour that is portrayed, either falsely or under a delusion, that they are actually collaborating with people and building a better world, which they are not. I don't blame the "left wing" for this but this is a serious concern for those on the left, or simply those in charities and non-profit. There are good people trying to do good things, and there are, for lack of any other term, simply wackos.
Now check out how she covered it up. I know because I've done it before, but eventually I admitted I was f*cked and needed medical help.
Serious eating disorders
This lady would not eat much at lunch, tea or dinner. She did admit she didn't have much of an appetite, and we were only at her home office a few days a week. During which she made up for this by trying to make us lunch and tea, which was hospitable, but she herself would rarely eat a bite. She would be very picky about food, like trying to favour organic food and "classy" cafes. I love organic food, but I'm not a nutcase that only eats once slice of organic toast and drink only peppermint tea all day.
Serious sleep depravation
Again, this is a tough one because some people believe if they sleep only 3-4 hours a night they're really "hard-working", sacrificing for the greater good, etc. This, I feel, is bullshit. This lady would sleep only at 11pm and wake up at 3am or 5am. At first, I thought that was fine because it meant whatever I was doing, she would do her part ready for me the next day so I could easily continue my part of the work. The problem is that with this level of sleep depravation, your mind and body simply deteriorates rapidly. Mood swings, lack of cognition, lack of emotion... And work-wise as well, when we discuss stuff in person, she would agree and we would find solutions, then she spends 5 hours that night itself undoing whatever we discussed and going off in her own direction. Then she comes back to me, and says, well, I spent all that time preparing for you that night, you only used what I did days later...! She kept trying to cover it up by saying, "Oh, some people are owls, I'm a fowl". No, you're crazy and seriously sleep-deprived.
Extreme social isolation
This lady has very few friends and family, and almost never goes out of the house other than with her partner or for grocery shopping. She was very smart in covering this up, mainly saying how wonderful it is to be able to just chill at home, and saying that she just moved to the city... Which she did, but later on another volunteer's car was bumped by the neighbour opposite her home office. She said, "Hmm, I've never seen that neighbour before". Alarm bells should have gone off in my mind, but again, she was very smart in enlisting the help of student volunteers and organising meetings once a month, to cover up the fact, that her personal and work life was utterly devoid of reasonable or healthy human beings.
High levels of irrational guilt
This lady kept saying how she was running out of money constantly but was always trying to "help" others. Then feeling guilty about herself not helping herself or not being able to help others. With her charity, she was mismanaging the funds by ~not~ asking people to pay for the service the charity was providing. "Charity" in this context actually means non-profit but that any money given to the non-profit is considered tax-deductible. Why would someone do this? It's an irrational guilt that she wasn't doing enough for the charity, so she couldn't ask people for money. But what we had been working solidly on for the past three months has a real monetary value of tens of thousands of dollars for someone else to do. I told her repeatedly, why don't you continue to solicit funds as per your normal practice, and this will give us headroom and financial space to continue what we are working on... aka sustainability which is what is so often preached. You're not scamming people this way, because the members pay for the service you provide according to the standard terms and conditions.
Obviously I am upset by this situation, only because I see people throwing away their lives for no apparent reason, and throwing away some beautiful tech and innovation I created in the past few months, let alone squandering the expertise I lent which was not easily obtained.
There's more that I can write about.
However, my main point in mental illness is this. We can spend all day debating DSM-IV, what's bipolar, what's not, what's chronic fatigue and so on. Sure, such understanding is important for treatment.
But at the end of the day, unlike say, cancer, the cause is very, very simple.
Your life is fucked. Either you don't want to admit it, or you genuinely believe you are somehow "cursed" or "bear the burden for healing the world". None of this changes the fact that your life is fucked, and that's why you have anxiety and depressive symptoms... All of which end up as bipolar, chronic fatigue, "problems sleeping", or whatever you want to smooth over.
Yes, there is always underlying medical and biochemical processes that go off track. But in many, many cases, it is a gradual process of denial, angst, unhappiness, past abuse, delusional beliefs and so on.
I don't mean everybody should be "shaken up" and given "tough love" through all their trouble. But, it does mean, that if we do care about helping them, they must be able to see how that whatever good intentions they have, underneath that, there is something messed up that must be sorted out. We are here to help them sort out this mess, for that is what I feel makes us feel good as well. But covering it all up and packaging it as some sort of puritanical purpose (framed in religion or atheism) is dishonest as best.