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.