Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

Crazy George and Hidden Blessings

I also loved this comment from reader Lynn on the message board of my “You Are Not Your Disease: You Are Not Your Pot” post.

My schizophrenic partner for many years has lived in his pot, or I should say stayed in his pot for at least 30 years. I somewhat understand why this happens with mentally-ill people. For him, his voices have been his constant companions for the length of his illness. For him the fear of what lies beyond his illness keeps him there. He also holds on to the fact that he is unusual, or different. He has always been crazy, George. I truly believe that he thinks by giving up the “friends” (or voices), negative and positive, he will be left completely alone, and will have no one to be. His fear paralyzes him so he stays where he is safe.
He is a truly kind and loving soul who suffers every day. He now also suffers with the many side effects that 30 years of psychiatric drugs have caused. His struggles are endless, yet he continues to love us: his daughter, his grandchildren and myself. It is a battle for him to remain present in this reality. The anxiety and depression that goes with all of it takes a huge toll. These illnesses ravage self-esteem and relationships. The loss of human potential is beyond understanding.


A doctor told his sister years ago he would probably never marry, have children, or even work. He has done all of this and more. Was it easy? Were we happy? Did we succeed in having the American dream? Not by most standards. We fought through it everyday. We lost much, gained multitudes. We never owned a home or drove a new car. We lived hand to mouth most of the time, and my children and I wore second-hand clothing. But we always had a roof over our heads, and enough food.
We were looked at like we were less—we were criticized, stigmatized, and ostracized at times–but in truth we are more because at the end of all of this we can all say we know what real LOVE is. His family never let him be homeless, his uncle gave him a job, his family helped us with money and support, still do. My daughter has a mental illness, takes medication, and struggles with her moods. They believe she is bipolar. The family helps with her two kids. Will they, in turn, be mentally ill? Time will tell.
We no longer live together—George and me—but we speak everyday.
How do I feel?
Like the universe cheated us big time! But sometimes I think that because of all of this I am able to truly love and give. I owe this all to Crazy George, his very supportive family, and my very difficult but beautifully crazy daughter. This huge gift was very hard to see most of the time. It still is hard to make it out sometimes, a lot of the time. At the end of the day, when I do stop to think about it all and try to make sense of it, there it remains bigger than life: this ongoing lesson of real LOVE. Sappy but true. :)

  • Larry Parker

    What a remarkably graceful — and grace-filled — perspective! There is a non-coincidental resemblance to Alicia Nash (as she was portrayed in the book, not so much in the movie) in A Beautiful Mind.
    I wish I could focus on the love. Maybe it’s not having enough life experience (although I’ll be 40 in 16 months, go figure) to appreciate that, for all the bad things that can happen to us in life, this is not the worst. (Intellectually I know that, of course, but rarely do I realize it emotionally.) Maybe it’s that my disease has broken romantic and family relationships, out of others’ stigma (or sometimes my own deepest fears — some of which were/are realized in your biography) instead of healing and cementing them.
    Or maybe I just focus too much on “The universe cheated us big time!” instead of all the rest. As my commentary (which I stand by, mind you) on Therese’s other thread today analyzing yesterday’s Gospel reading, would make clear.

  • Wisdum

    I guess a lot of families have a Crazy George among them. I think my family has more than their share. I guess heredity and breeding has something to do with it. About the only Way we get through it, all our lives, is to never take Life too seriously…In fact my mother taught me when I was very small “It is a great Life, if you don’t take it too seriously !” (and I never have !)
    The most interesting thing for me, was All my Life, I was taught “Fear God, worship God, pray to God, take all your troubles to God, talk with God” … But the minute that God talks back to you, you are crazy, and they will lock you up ! hmmmmmm … What’s wrong with this picture ! You know what, if it is a choice between talking with God and having a personal relationship with God, as opposed to the rest of the world … I’m choosing God every time … and I don’t care what they do to me or what they think !
    LUV 2 ALL

  • Margaret Balyeat

    I agree with Larry; this perspective is BEAUTIFUL and life/love affirming, but what a DIFFICULT reality! I can only believe (pray) that the mansions for pwople like Lynn and her children will be above and beyond those of the rest of us. What an inspiring message and how lucky “Crazy George” was to find Lynn on this side!
    Those of us who remain in our pots out of fear, and, let’s be honest, that’s most of as at some time or other, must depend on people like Lynn to nake sure we’re watered and weeded enough to continue to survive, and it sounds to me like she’s a natural-born gatdener!

  • Lynn

    Dear Margaret, I hope that you read this. Your comment made me cry , though my love for george has no bounds, suffering in my own personal pain, some of my actions caused him great pain. The fact that I could not bear up continuesly and longer for him , causes me much grief. I want to thank you for saying the lovely things that you said, and appreciate them, I do not feel I deserve them. I wanted to help him to wholeness, to love him better. I could not. These afflictions are among the sadesst and most wasteful. George , is a borderline genius on the intelligence scale, he would give anyone the shirt off his back ,His potential was held down by the voices and delusions. My greif is never ending. He could not be close to me, he was always afraid. He isolated him self, so he could be safe.I fell far short of being the nurturing gardner I so wanted to be for him. It is like watching someone you love drown, but very, very slowly and try as you might you cannot save him. So I thank you with all my heart for your kind words. I was not the best gardener, but I do hope that in some way and that somehow George will know how much I love him , even though I caused him emotional pain , and let him down.I must stop now , the tears are not stopping and I am overwhelmed.

  • Margaret Balyeat

    Dear Lynn: How could George NOT know how much you have loved him? and even though you feel that you failed him, i’d bet my next disability check (and I NEED it desperately) that in his perspective you have been one of the best parts of his life1 Maybe you couldn’y “love him healed” (NO ONEcould), but I’ll bet you “loved him better” since my stroke has put me in the unenviable position of having to rely on others for eberything by exacerbating every,edicalcondition I was ALREADY dealing with as well as creating NEW struggles, I know EXACTLY what it feels like to need a gardener–even when i’m curled up next to the ssnakes that live in my abyss. Tough there a (in all honesty) moments when I resent the need for others to water my pot, i nonetheless am deeply humbled and grateful by/for their presence in my life. Don’t discount your gifts to George; think about how much worse his life would have been without you!

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