In response to today’s prompt:
Tell us about a time when you should have helped someone… but didn’t.
This may be more of a guilt trip I laid on myself, but it happened some years ago, and before anyone jumps on me about my reasoning about not helping someone, it was out of my control.
Several years back, one of my friends called me, and I was getting ready for family friends that were coming to visit. Based on the last few times I’d heard from the friend (whom I’d grown up with, but I’d since moved away – she did blame me for leaving the area and claiming “She didn’t have any friends” – first sign I should have just walked away), she had called upset about her health and her marital issues. I knew it was going to be a phone conversation where she’d make me listen to her cry for two hours, and I just didn’t have the time or the energy. It was known to me that she was medicating to deal with both physical and emotional pain (there’s therapeutic help, and then there’s medicating to feel numb – that’s where she was), and any attempt I had made to listen and help her were met with resistance and her not wanting help. She wasn’t ok, I knew this, and heck, I’m not a medical professional nor a therapist, so I was really out of my ability to help. And when it comes to a point where you can’t help someone, you just hope that the light bulb will go off in their head, and they’ll turn things around.
So that brings me back to this particular night, almost six years ago. I just couldn’t pick up the phone. The message left was long and upsetting, but I just couldn’t. There was nothing left that I could do to help, I was beyond my capability to help, and she didn’t want help. I eventually cut my ties and didn’t answer the next phone call I received from her (which resulted in no message left). I made peace with my decision – one of many decisions I’ve made in the last five years that I don’t regret making.
She did wind up getting the help she needed (She spent three years in an inpatient mental health facility), and while I do see her sporadically on Facebook, I’m only hoping the best for her. It’s all I can do. I’m never too busy for a friend who truly values me and I’m able to help, but sometimes, that’s not the case.