I stared at her for a long time.
Her too blonde hair, pulled back in a pony tail, black yoga pants, and t-shirt wouldn’t have usually made her stand out, but it was the beginning of February and she wasn’t wearing a coat.
Maybe a friend had it?
She shuffled in circles around the table of cupcakes just inside the grocery store’s entrance, their colours drawing so many wandering eyes and hungry fingers, but not hers. She just shuffled around it, then back to the exit; out the in; in the out, around the table and back out the doors.
Over and over.
A cigarette; partially smoked, sat just barely in her finger tips, and her eyes hung heavy.
It was apparent she didn’t know where she was.
After watching her confused circles, and then her fall onto the floor with no one rushing to help her, I approached.
I asked her if she was okay.
Showing her a chair I asked if she wanted to sit down.
She was young.
She told me that she couldn’t sit down because the meds the hospital had given her made it impossible for her to be still.
“I’m going to stay with you because I want you to be safe. Is that okay with you?”
She nodded, and we walked in circles until a woman, wearing no shoes, approached.
Her sweetness overtook the space as she guided the pacing girl to a seat, removed the boots she was wearing, and placed a new pair on her feet. She brushed the hair off of her face, handed her a drink, and explained, “She was wearing my boots.”
While the girl shuffled the woman told me that she had found her in the hospital parking lot, leaving without a coat, boots, or any sense of who she was.
She brought her to the store not knowing what to do.
The police were called and came shortly after and she told them that she suffered from schizophrenia and a drug overdose. She didn’t know what meds she had been given or how she had left the mental health floor but she wanted to go back.
They reprimand the woman for removing the girl from the hospital and stated that she should have alerted staff or called police.
I believe she did what she thought was right at the time.
And she might have saved that girls life.
While I stood monitoring that young girl, before I even asked her how she was, a crowd had formed several feet back.
Not a single person asked her if she was okay.
No one approached her, offered her a drink, or directed her to a chair.
Mental illness is not contagious.
You can’t catch it by being kind.Pin It