Three Kinds of Problems

Water lilies at the Missouri Botanical Garden

In recent weeks, I seem to be presented with three kinds of problems. The first is the kind of issue where the next right step appears clear and straightforward. You spill the milk. You get a sponge and clean it up. Done. No need for discussion or drama. A fair amount of my time is spent in these kind of tasks.

The second type of problem is something that is beyond my abilities to tackle alone. I might need the help of other people or more research before I can begin to address the concern. This makes the solving of the problem more complex. When working with others, we need to elicit our shared goals and determine our individual roles. This requires dialog, negotiating, feedback and creativity.

The third is something beyond my reach, something that can not be solved according to my current level of understanding.

I have written before about my friend who lives with a serious mental illness. I help her out as I am able. Recently, during an exacerbation of her illness, she destroyed all of her identification. Driver’s license, debit card, bus pass, everything in her wallet. Which made her complicated life even more complicated.

I was able to drive her around to the DMV, the bank, the Metro station to replace all the cards that had been destroyed. [completing the tasks] With her permission, I contacted her psychiatrist to let them know that the current regime of medications was no longer working. Friend, doctor and I discussed the immediate and long term goals of her treatment. We came to agreement on next steps to take and how we could know if they were effective. We agreed on a feedback loop so we would be in communication how things were going. [working with others for common goals]

There are a lot of scientists working to discover the causes and find new treatments for serious mental illness and I read some of what they publish to keep myself aware of new developments. But in the meantime, my friend and I live with the mystery of mental illness.


  1. My mind is fazed at the thought of no identification. I wouldn’t know where to start to get documents re-issued. You are such a good friend to help her through all that plus being a POC for her doctor.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It is certainly a PROCESS! And people who work in government-retail (like the DMV) seems to have lost their souls somewhere….. Hey! Priscilla! There is a horror story for you. Where do the souls of DMV workers and city clerks go?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Love leads. Obviously, I can not reveal more of my friend’s identity. But I think Linda, in similar situations, that you would step up too.


  3. Love leads. That could have been part of the answer in our consideration of a query today. I need to make myself more available to those leadings.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It seems kind of cheesy, but this is the first question I ask myself when the path forward is unclear, “What would Love do?” The thing is, love is honest and kind and patient and diligent. So there is never a algorithm type answer: in this circumstance, you do thus; in this other circumstance you do that. And sometimes, it is confusing. Especially when Love tells us to go against our culture: family culture, culture of our place of worship, culture of our ethnicity. If, MaggieWeeder, you ask the question/query, “What would Love do in this specific situation?” And you give it time to season, you will find your answer. I think that you already know this and are just encouraging me. So, thanks!


  4. Beautifully written, Fawn. I like that you expressed that you help “as you are able.” That’s a great phrase. You can’t fix everything, but you are most certainly willing to jump in and get things moving in a forward direction. Mental illness is a cruel, invisible adversary.

    Liked by 1 person

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