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Recent Letter to the ElderWisdomCircle™

FRIENDSHIP: Torn Between Betraying Trust and Helping My Friend
Letter #: 399673
Category: Other

Original Letter

I have a friend my age, early thirties, upon meeting him about two years ago I was almost instantly aware that he suffered from some sort of mental disability. Other friends that were closer to him told me that he had been drugged at a night club one night many years ago and Was mentally damaged as a result, leaving his much older mother to look after him. I have met met 'Carl's' mother and have grown to love her and Carl like family.

My problem is that over time I have grown suspicious that that Carl suffers from mental disorders I have encountered in my own biological family members in the past. I finally asked him about it and he revealed that I was right and that the story about him being drugged is a cover story fabricated by his mother to keep others from knowing about his mental illness. He asked me never to tell her that I know but then revealed that he is very unhappy with his the meds and therapists she chooses for his care but is afraid to tell her. I desperately want to reach out to this woman that is like a mother to me and help her improve the quality of life of someone we both care so much about, but I am afraid of betraying his trust and overstepping my boundaries with her.

I have spent days researching the issues he is having with his medications and there are very simple solutions becauae his negatibe symptoms are common with his current treatment, but he is terrified to question her and asked me not to. I would be eternally grateful for a non biased opinion,especially from someone closer to her age. Thank you in advance, Lyndsey

Elder Response

This is certainly a tricky problem, Lyndsey.  I commend you on your caring and concern for your friend 'Carl'. Frankly, all I can do is give you my opinion as there is apparently no real right or wrong in this case.

While I understand that you recognize Carl suffers from a mental illness and you have been concerned enough to do research on his behalf, my choice would be not to go to his mother with your findings. It's unfortunate that people still feel they have to hide mental illness, as there is so much more acceptance and understanding for it today.  However, for whatever reason, Carl's mother has chosen to fabricate a story about his disability - I'm sure she meant it for the best for Carl as she sounds like a very nice person..

You say that she has chosen therapists to care for him and it seems inconceivable to me that highly trained professionals do not recognize his real problem.  As Carl IS an adult, and it sounds as if you and Carl communicate well, perhaps it would be best if you could persuade him to be his own advocate and talk confidentially to his doctor about this.  

This is only one person's opinion, Lyndsey. Feel free to write again for another elder's advice if you're still conflicted.  My best wishes to you. 

Best Regards,



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