Mercy

Not all caregivers are nice people.

I can say that with impunity because four years ago I ended up with a multitude of self-appointed caregivers. Some people were actually pretty good sources of support. And some weren’t caregivers but just came to visit and didn’t treat me like a freak. Like my friend and next-cubicle coworker Randy who clued into what a lot of people missed and brought me some books to read. Come to think of it my supervisor also brought me some magazines, along with info on the rights of committed individuals in the Quebec Health Care system.

But possibly the worst self appointed caregivers were my roommates.

I did get out for a week and then had to go back. It was an awful week. I’d been trying to communicate that I wanted them to find another place to live, because they were acting fucked up, but they kept ignoring me because I was “crazy.” Once they even started talking about me in front of me amongst themselves. Not only that, but oftentimes they would look at me with total disgust. It was really awful and it hurt my feelings but I had no idea how to show that. And then there was some abusive stuff that happened which I only remember in the sketchiest fragmented way, I know I was physically assaulted just before I went to the hospital again. By now they were so fucked that I was really happy to see the paramedics and get away.

So I ended up back at the hospital. And when I called to check my message manager the code had been changed, because I couldn’t be trusted with an answering machine. They had a really patronizing message on the machine all about loving me, but they refused to return any of my calls and never came to visit for the next four weeks.

During those four weeks I tried over and over to evict them. I left a verbal eviction notice on my hijacked machine, but nothing happened, except that now I was hearing from other friends that one of the roommates expressed thoughts of kicking me out into the street. Bear in mind this was my apartment, all the utilities were under my name (including the phone), and I was the only one with a full time job.

It was getting to a really scary point where I knew I was going to be released soon, but I didn’t want to go back to those people and they weren’t respecting the fact that I had given them an eviction notice. The landlord was starting to get upset too, not with me but with them. The boyfriend had some loud party and the poutine chef downstairs had to run up and get them to keep it down. I think the landlord was considering eviction, not for crazy me, because my family had let him know I was in the hospital, but for the bad bad roommates who he was worried were trashing his apartment.

To explain how extreme that is, picture this: The apartment walls were riddled with bulletholes, someone punched two holes in the walls, paint was peeling everywhere, and this was from previous tenants. So he wasn’t fussy, but something was making him draw the line.

So I felt trapped in a corner, I had one key to my apartment which I had left at work and told my Dad to get it and change the locks. He did get it, but James, the bad roommate, knew about it and locked that door in another way so the key wouldn’t work. The landlord let him in, the locks were changed, and holy hell broke loose. I was going to let them come back for their stuff, but I was damned if they were going to evict me from my own apartment and keep all of my belongings.

What followed was even MORE drama. James Diamond threatened to kill me and my entire family. My father went to the cops and I nearly got a restraining order. When I got out he started a long campaign of stalking me, including harassing phone calls several times a day. When I confronted his girlfriend about it she tried to justify it by saying I had been pretty fucked up in my phone messages. I said “Well I was committed for being a danger to myself and others, what’s his excuse?” Not only that, but he stole several things from me, including some objects with sentimental value.

I should also point out that James had his own apartment.

But possibly the weirdest thing was her saying to my dad “But how can we care for her if we don’t even live with her.”

Sometimes the best care someone can give is admitting they are incapable of caring for another person and just backing away.

I have never said the words “poutine chef” before. It’s kind of funny.

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