One of my responsibilities at my church is as the leader of an intentional community for young adults. They are doing good work with non-profits for very little money and living together in a “simple living” model. This week I had to release one of the participants after 2 months with us.
This young woman was having a hard time living in shared space and with the staff of the church. She had only mentioned this is passing and no one realized she was secretly suffering intense feelings. Her supervisor tried to commit her to the hospital last week after she locked herself in the bathroom for hours and had some kind of break down. They did not commit her but calmed her down and sent her on her way. Her supervisor waited several days before discussing it with me. I spoke with the young woman and it was clear that she was in a state of paranoia and her anxiety was through the roof. She was having difficulty just walking past the staff at the church. Every little thing had her thinking people were plotting against her. There were no accommodations that would have helped her be more comfortable. Her mental state was extremely fragile and everyone was/is concerned for her. Her agency was concerned that her behavior was going to negatively effect the population they serve. They could not babysit her every day as well as function properly. In our point of view, the staff was afraid that her anxiety was making them feel like they were on egg-shells so that she didn’t do something bad to herself. I do not believe she was ever suicidal but she was going through some serious emotions that we were not equipped to assist with. I spoke with her parents who were begging her to return home, they recognized she was unwell. We had the conversation on Wednesday night that we thought it was best if she returned home. She said it was a relief for us to say it because she wasn’t sure she could. The next day she was on a plane to California.
It all happened so fast and I feel so drained from the intense conversations with her, the church, and the agency she was working with. On top of my full-time work I had all this extra going on every night after work. The young lady is with her parents now and hopefully will start to feel better being surrounded by people who know and love her and getting some mental health care. I cannot imagine every day feeling like what she was describing. I wish her only the best and hope that our remaining participant can move forward without too much negativity.