Marta: Impact on Work and Relationships

Marta finds support in her work environment. Coworkers were especially concerned about safety for Marta and for the disabled, vulnerable clients in her work setting. Tim called her workplace and made threats. At one point, the police became involved.

It got to be really uncomfortable for me but there was nothing I could do but just face it. Everybody pretty much knew my business. I don’t like to mix work with that kind of stuff. Unfortunately, there was no way around it. I had to kind of accept it. They were very supportive and very concerned. But then also because I work with vulnerable adults, there was that concern too—their safety as well as me being there and how we were going to protect them, not knowing what he was capable of doing.

Friendships have changed for Marta. She chose not to maintain some friendships that were primarily with Tim. She remains in contact withTim’s family because of her children, but the relationships are complicated.

Relationships are good and bad. I think they could be doing more. He lives with his mom so I really don’t talk to her. . .They reach out to me because of the kids, because of the relationship we’ve had with them. But I don’t look at them as having a lot of support for him.

Marta spoke about the challenge of talking to Tim’s family members about his illness. They do not understand mental illness and believe his symptoms result from drinking. She reflected on the challenge of recognizing how mental illness contributes to Tim’s behavior.

Sometimes I look back and I’m like, did that really happen. Why didn’t we see it at that point? Different signs of different things. For whatever reason we didn’t. But I do think some people just think that it’s going to fix itself. Or he’s just got to realize that he needs to take meds and he needs to make better decisions. Great. It would be fabulous if it was just that easy. That gets frustrating to me. Sometimes that makes me shut down and not want to talk about it.

For Marta, conferences and education sponsored by her company are helpful in expanding her knowledge base about mental illness.

More of the Story: A Changed Life