Please how would you like to be treated when you are nervous and erratic?


What the heck is going on?
What the heck is going on?

I am throwing this question out there because I know I’ll get genuine answers.

I do know how I’ll like to be treated when I am nervous and erratic. I told my friend to remind me in such moments to breathe. Sometimes he should let me rant, but he should after a while if he’s that patient, tell me some to my face and then leave me alone for a while. It was difficult getting to that point and facing it on my part, and I know for those without similar mental challenges, it is difficult cultivating that patience and empathy. But as I constantly advocate, if you can do those for a cancer patient, why not not for a mentally ill or challenged?

And this brings me to my concern of this evening. You see I had wanted to relocate to the USA to live with my brother of blessed memory. I thought I could help him get or feel better (or whatever it is could be done for his care), and when I never got to do that, my ‘guilt’ (yes I use the word because I often blame myself that I could have helped him more only if…) pushed me to start looking to share an apartment with someone with mental challenges too.

Now my landlady has mental challenges and even takes some medication. She often tells me how glad she is to have me around, how I calm her down, and she gives me a gift or two and hugs. We talk a lot and help each other out. I think I am much better not only because I don’t take medication, but also because I’ve been through much of what she is going through now. Yes lot of it has to do with love and self-esteem, and I just see how such issues don’t spare even the old.

This night however, she is so nervous and outright erratic and I am ‘lost’ on what to do. I know what may work for me may not necessarily work for her. I already did what I usually do by first listening to her rant and then imploring her to breathe – but it didn’t work. Now I have just left her alone in the sitting room and am alone in my room. I must admit I first wanted to shut her off completely by locking my room with the key which we never do since I moved in; I did for a brief while but thought that was going contrary to what I’ll expect to be done to me.

Thank you therefore gentle readers for your comments. she may just be my landlady and am not obliged to stay with her, but she could very well be my mum a decade from now, or my own self 3.5 decades from now.

Update this morning 08/01/2015

I wasn’t so sure how to face her and just told her good morning when we met on the staircase. She warmed up and started talking like nothing happened, sharing breaking news and then eventually hugged me and thanked me. I was relieved. It is indeed never that easy but I am glad to say that I plan to stay with her for a few more months.

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12 thoughts on “Please how would you like to be treated when you are nervous and erratic?”

  1. If it was me: ask if I want/need anything, don’t touch met don’t say much. Anxiety can make people feel trapped/claustrophobic. Eratic … ask if they have prn meds for anxiety, if so, suggest they take one. Hot sweet tea. If blood sugar is low, anxiety etc increases. Be gentle.

  2. When I am nervous and anxious, it helps me to know that someone cares about me and wants to help me, even if there is nothing that I want them to do.

    It is also very important to me to feel like I am understood and accepted, just as I am. On the other hand, I feel worse if I get the sense that I am being judged. When someone looks at me like they think I am weird or crazy, that makes me feel a thousand times worse.

    Some things that might be helpful to say: “I want to help you feel better. Is there anything you want me to do for you? Or do you prefer to be left alone right now?”

    I also feel better when someone says to me, “I know how awful it feels to be nervous. I have been nervous, too.”

    Blahpolar’s suggestions are excellent. Especially the last one: “Remember you are not responsible for it.”

    You are very kind, Marie. Your landlady is lucky to have you.

    1. Thanks so much Alaina,

      I did most of those things given that I have been there sometimes and know how it feels to be nervous and erratic while the other person seems scared and yet threatening.

      I hope she feels better this morning and we can carry on as usual.

      I don’t know if she’ll want to discuss last night (sometimes I like to revisit what happens with the other person, calmly – but again it must not be right away and I should feel that he/she is genuinely empathetic). I’ll just see how it goes.

      To be honest, I am also happy to live with her and to sort of mirror myself in her. I don’t just want to leave her like that or because of that but I also hope…whatever right?

      I sure am not responsible in the end…

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