How to Stay Safe around Violent Mentally Ill People.

There but for the grace of god…..

There are a number of homeless people that are crazy, sometimes because of prolonged drug use but not always.  It doesn’t really matter.  The point is, some of them are very angry and can get violent if provoked.

The church where I often get my breakfast attracts at least a handful of these people.  I have learned, that although I’m a naturally friendly person, it’s best not to talk to everyone.  I used to talk to ANYONE.  In my naivety, I though (cuz I heard it on TV or something) that I could make a homeless person’s day if I spoke to them or smiled at them.  Perhaps that is true sometimes but in my EXPERIENCE (which is always truer than what some talking head says) talking to everyone opens up a pandora’s box I usually want to shut as quickly as possible!  The crazy person will start telling fascinating tales of abuse by others and at first, when I first started listening to these folks, I gave them the benefit of the doubt, and believed that their stories COULD be true.  Stories of things stolen from them (everything from sleeping bags to million dollar inheritances) cops and government agencies following them and so on.  I consider myself a conspiracy realist (as opposed to a conspiracy theorist, because as the NSA taught us….they DO record everything we say/type, if it’s done electronically.)  So I would think to myself, maybe their story IS true.

But the stories got more and more outlandish.  I have learned that just because something COULD be true, doesn’t mean it IS true.

But more importantly, I’ve learned these folks have good and bad days.  On a good day, they tell their stories.  On a bad day, something sets them off.  Perhaps they ran out of cigarettes or they don’t like the free food that was served at the church.  In their confused mind, they seem to think their discomfort is being purposely caused by the people around them and they start to lash out at those people.

They start slamming things around, muttering, and sometimes, eventually shouting.  They shout obscenities.  When you try to reason with them (I don’t do this anymore) because you think you have a relationship with them, they lash out at you as well.

One of the recent additions to the homeless crowd here (they come and go) is a rather large woman who gets into it with everyone.  I’m told she pushed an elderly woman down already.  So when she started going off this morning, I quickly finished my breakfast and got out of her way.  No eye contact and certainly no words.

I feel sorry for her.  Everyone is afraid to talk to her.   I’ll bet she is very lonely.  I wish I could help people learn better coping skills.  But I can’t.  I barely know how to cope myself, some days.

It’s not a great way to start my morning.  I really need to make more money so I don’t have to eat at these places.

About Maureen, Living in a Van

I'm a free-sleeper living in a van in the prettiest part of the world. I do this partly due to financial circumstances and partly because I love a good adventure.
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