I had one of the scariest experiences ever today. I went to our local salon to have a manicure. I sat on one of the empty couches as I waited my turn. About 15 minutes later an older woman sat down on the opposite side of the couch. I was reading an article on my phone and I could hear her talking. I thought at first she was talking to me. So I began what I thought was a conversation with her. It turned out that she wasn’t talking to me she was talking to somebody who was sitting next to me who I couldn’t see. There was a magazine between the two of us.
I went back to reading feeling like an idiot realizing she wasn’t having a conversation with me. The conversation began to get more and more animated. The woman began to get louder and louder. I started to feel really uncomfortable. Her daughter who was 5 feet away from us in a manicure chair looked over at me and said are you okay? And I nodded and said yes I’m fine. The woman sitting next to me turned and looked at me and started screaming. The profanities were horrible. I thought her eyes were going to come out of her eye sockets. She kept clenching her fists and raving about wanting to hurt people.
By now I am extraordinarily concerned for my safety- I’m not sure whether to call 911 or prepare to have to take her down if she attempts to assault me. The nail techs around me were all Vietnamese and they begin to speak in very low tones that were soft in short bursts. Later I found out that they were talking among themselves and wondering if they should call the police.
Finally the daughter said to her mother to be quiet and the woman got up and started flailing her arms and I was just ready to protect myself when she grabbed her mother by the arm and walked her out the door. The woman then proceeded to pound on the windshield and hood of the car screaming about wanting to call the police because I had stolen her air and committed grand larceny- Or something like that.
The poor nail techs got up and went to shut the door and lock it. They were that scared. The daughter got her mother in the car and it turned out all her mother wanted to was smoke. Something she couldn’t do in the shop. It was a trigger for her and she couldn’t use her words. Then the outbursts began and she couldn’t stop herself. She was just so incredibly angry. Angry and raving and furious. And in between the raving she would mutter and it was low and guttural and it was just so scary.
Her daughter came back looking defeated and she began to apologize and I thought she was going to cry. She said her mother was a paranoid unmedicated schizophrenic. Her mom lived alone and did call the police a lot and they knew her very well. But she was unmedicated and refuses medication. Even sadder was after talking to the daughter for a short period of time it was evident that this woman as well had some pretty significant mental health issues.
The only way this woman can get any help is when the police are called and they take her in and put her on a 72 hour hold- Medicate her while she’s in the hospital and then after 72 hours they have to let her go.
Now while this scared the shit out of me it made me angry and sad that there’s not more help for people like this in our society. I realize that this woman refusing medication is her choice but if she’s not altogether and her mental health is compromised to begin with does she really have the capacity to make decisions for herself and her health?
This is all very disturbing to me. Very disturbing.