My best friend Jennie is half crazy. I only say half crazy because no one can figure out what the other half is yet. If I were forced to put my finger on it I’d have to say paranoid, but last week the National Association for the Advancement of Paranoid Schizophrenics sent me a cease and desist letter. Evidently Jennie is too extreme for them. They threatened a defamation lawsuit if I kept referring to her as paranoid. But only after the Invasion was over. And only if we weren’t all replaced by doppelgangers hatched from green seedpods.
Which some thought maybe Jennie was.
No one was able to reach a consensus, though. One group put out the opinion that Jennie was being manipulated by broadcasts from alien satellites. Another claimed the satellites belonged to the CIA.
The rest felt like groups one and two were the aliens.
Apparently the organization still believed she was giving them a bad name. They couldn’t make up their minds because no one could pinpoint exactly whose mind needed to be made up when someone was already doing it for them.
Groups one and two thought maybe it was group three.
Group three said it was the CIA.
The rest said that they were the CIA.
Whatever the case, I knew exactly who it was because one of the organization’s members tried to cover their tracks by employing a clever bit of misdirection. The letter came attached with a bomb, but it was postmarked as the Ted Kasczynski Institute for Better Living. I was suspicious when I noticed that the package was shipped wearing a tinfoil hat.
I think that these people might be onto something, though. Really, I do. Jennie has good reason to be a bit off kilter. She graduated from med school almost 15 years ago and works for the DOD as a medical provider. I live with her now because she is going through a bit of a rough patch.
And by a rough patch I mean when she comes home she has to be kept from going outside because there’s a busy intersection in front of her subdivision and she likes to stand at the corner prophesying the coming of Cuthulu.
Problem is, when she gets that way she thinks my van is Cuthulu.
That’s why I park it around back. I’m afraid I’ll come home one day to find out she’s raised an unholy demi-god into my Dodge Caravan from the Outer Realms. It’s going to totally suck to see a wholesome family vehicle rampaging across the mortal realm demolishing cities with wave after wave of legions of undead Ford Edsels running over small puppies and old ladies, or something like that.
Jennie regularly tells me that if I make her mad, she’s going to slit my throat with a scalpel. Maybe she’s not paranoid, but rather a tad bit homicidal.
All joking aside, Jennie was abused physically and emotionally by her mother. She fled home following high school, where she worked her way into med school. Several years into her marriage, her husband realized that the one thing he was missing in his life was a punching bag.
Eventually he realized that’s what Jennie was there for.
Matters went from worse to Jerry Springer when he had an affair with Jennie’s own mother. Two years later my best friend’s older brother killed himself after falling into a severe bi-polar spiral exacerbated by a fatal addiction to the designer drug marketed as “bath salts.”
THEN… while she was going through this excursion into hell, she was assaulted by a man who was supposed to be a good friend.
You really would be hard pressed to make a story like this up. I heard even Jerry Springer turned her story down because he couldn’t believe it.
Or maybe that’s what the CIA mind controllers wanted him to think….
I honestly cannot imagine what it must be like to wake up every night in to feel wave after wave of an unnamable dread sweeping over me. That’s just one of the leftovers from her past that Jennie has to deal with now. I’ve sat beside her couch and held her hand as she attempted to soothe herself by rocking back and forth, as if each metronome-like sway could somehow move traumatic past events away one millimeter at a time.
More, I’ve stood beside my best friend and watched—literally watched—her fall asleep standing up because five days of catching sleep in brief snatches does very rude things to the body. A week ago Jennie fell asleep at the dinner table with her hands in ranch dipping sauce.
My ranch dipping sauce.
If it had been my girlfriend, I’d have done something slightly naughty to get the sauce off of her fingers, but Jennie’s not my girlfriend. Plus, she really does know how to use a scalpel.
I hate seeing what fear and incessant anxiety attacks do to my friend. Currently she resists seeing a therapist. I think that is one of the worst decisions she can make, and all I can do is watch. No amount of talking is doing any good at the moment. For now it’s extremely painful to watch moments of irrational panic take an amazing, vibrant, and professional woman to her knees. If you suffer from anxiety attacks, there is help. The first step is to know the nature of the beast that you are facing. Please realize that you are not alone. Get help. There are people out there waiting with techniques that can alleviate the symptoms you are facing. YOU have to do something about it, though. YOU. Please don’t wait. That’s what Jennie does, and it scares me a lot. I suspect that when she falls off of her wall, it’s going to take a lot of the king’s horses and men to put her back together. Age, experience, and wisdom tell me that I, alone, am not enough.
Please get help!