Annie’s Mailbox for May 18, 2011: Worried about neighbor’s paranoia controlling his life
Dear Annie: How can I help a friend who is convinced his neighbors are bombarding his house with rays that have affected his health and caused the death of one of his dogs?
“Edwin” is a retired engineer in his early 70s, divorced for 10 years. When my husband was ill, Edwin was the only co-worker who bothered to visit. In the 15 years since my husband passed away, I’d lost track of Edwin until he showed up at my door six months ago, haggard and disheveled. He then told me of all the strange things that had been happening — the rays that caused him to suffer abdominal pain and drove his dogs to whimper and hide under tables. He said the dogs refuse to drink the tap water, and when he showers, his skin burns and tingles.
In an effort to protect himself and his dogs, he has papered his walls with aluminum foil and put plastic and newspaper on the carpet so the dogs can relieve themselves indoors.
Edwin has called the police a number of times, asking them to check for rays emanating from neighboring homes, but of course, they labeled him a crank. The last time he called, he was put in handcuffs and taken to a mental health facility for two weeks. He said they gave him drugs that made him nauseated and confused.
Edwin’s stepson refuses to help, and his ex-wife lives in another state. If I were to tell Edwin that he’s suffering from severe paranoia, he’d think I joined the ranks of his tormentors. Please tell me how to help.
— Want To Make Things Right
Dear Want: Start from a place of reality. Edwin has abdominal pains. Regardless of the cause, he should seek medical attention. Call the National Alliance on Mental Illness (nami.org) at 1-800-950-NAMI (1-800-950-6264) and ask for a referral. Perhaps you could offer to go with him to see a doctor. And it is possible there is some environmental contamination that is causing Edwin’s problems. Try the Environmental Protection Agency (epa.gov).
Dear Annie: I live in a semi-rural area where people tend to “drop off” unwanted pets. I hope you can find room in your column for my message.
To the person who left three small dogs on a hilly road near my home late last fall, here’s what happened: One of the dogs disappeared, probably prey for a coyote. The remaining two survived the winter without starving to death. We often saw them near the road where you left them, watching the cars and waiting for you to come back. When we tried to catch them, they ran off. This morning, I saw one of them dead on the road, hit by a car. He was probably still watching for you to return.
If you can no longer take care of your pet, please don’t believe he’ll be fine if you abandon him in the country. He will not be fine. Your pet is dependent upon you for his survival. If you can’t keep him, please take him to an animal shelter.
— Elaine in Kentucky
Dear Elaine: Thank you for reminding our readers that domesticated animals do not fare well in the wild. Readers, please be kind to your pets. If you can no longer keep them, make sure they are placed where they will be cared for.
Dear Annie: I empathize with “Quiet and Scared,” who had to give a speech. Many years ago, I had much the same problem. Only in my case, I was singing solos.
Someone advised me to ignore everyone else and devote my full attention to one person at the back of the room and perform only for them. It worked. My voice projected out across the entire room. This was the best performance advice I ever received, and I have since passed it on to my children and grandchildren.
— Aging Grandma
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