But while I was there I heard about the bipolar relative that lives nearby and the struggles they've been having with their daughter.
Last month they (bipolar family) invited us to their home in Northern Virginia to have a family reunion type Thanksgiving tomorrow, Saturday. But I'd turned down the invitation, saying that we had decided to do the low key close to home thing.
Listening to Laura speak of these relatives I sighed and realized that Jim and I really needed to go over to their post-Thanksgiving thing, if for no other reason than to make sure things weren't too bad or see what we could do to help out.
So I called this morning, asking the lady of the house if it was too late to add two more guests, asking what they needed brought for the meal. Then I got an earful. Accusations, statements with no basis in reality, she even said something not so nice about Jim!
I tried to be sympathetic, say the right things, be supportive of her, but it was just downright awkward as hell! She told me that I was welcome to come but I could not bring my husband. Told her I would not be attending after all since I didn't want to add to her stress levels.
Jim's done nothing, in fact I think it's at least six months since the last time he even saw that family. It's all very secret squirrel and sort of out there. Dealing with mentally ill relatives isn't easy. I really believe based on the conversation that the lady of the house likely is having medication issues and probably needs to be inpatient somewhere until the right chemical cocktail kicks in.
At first I got all amped up by what was said and happened, to the point where I was making plans to go to her house this evening and try to talk some sense in her... but I found myself suddenly drained, like I usually do when the drama is in high gear. I decided the most sensible course of action for me was to do as the Jimmy Buffett song I love the most says, breathe in, breathe out, move on. Excellent advice. I also passed out and took a long nap and felt better for it.
I realize it's not my job to make sure her meds are stabilized or that she sees her therapist. I can't 'fix' her so being stressed out by what she says is just silly. I think I'll wait for her to contact me again instead of chasing after her to make sure she's alright.
You can't fix other people, only yourself and your reactions.