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Living with Schizoaffective Disorder

Warning: TRIGGER!
My New Friend

Do not read this if you have ever been addicted or if you have ever practiced self-injury.

Wednesday, November 29 2017
Michael David Crawford

Copyright © 2017 Michael David Crawford. All Rights Reserved.

I made a new friend one evening during my homelessness. He was a great guy, but in a great deal of emotional pain due to some truly horrific experiences that he had been subjected to during his life.

He invited me to spend the night in his squat, which was a tool shed in a big garden. We moved all the tools outside, then he, I and one other guy sat on the floor.

On the way in my new friend stopped at the garden hose to fill a used 7-eleven soda cup with water. I thought that was a good idea as my medicine makes me quite thirsty.

Once we were settled in the two of them rooted around in their backpacks, with that other guy producing a real glass syringe, and my new friend retrieving a plastic bag containing a small quantity of black tar heroin.

I was quite dismayed but chose not to say anything.

"Be careful!" my new friend said to the other guy.

"Don't worry - I've only blown out one vein," he replied as he made a fist and used the other hand to wrap a rubber tourniquet around his arm.

That garden hose water was used to dissolve their doses of heroin. They both shared that glass syringe's same needle.

After they shot up that other guy left, then my host and I stretched out on the floor so we could sleep. It was cold, we had no blankets but at least I was sheltered from the wind.

After a little while my new friend started screaming. He was screaming like a wounded hyena. He continued to scream for the next couple hours.

Given what he has experienced I could well understand that he hoped to find some comfort in shooting heroin - but that's not what he got.

I managed to get some sleep. I don't know whether he was able to.

Suddenly I was awakened by him shaking my shoulder. "It's nine o'clock! We've got to get out of here!" - before the garden's owner caught us.

Despite that he needed help putting the tools back in the shed I was so freaked out that I ran away as fast as I could.

I didn't know what I could possibly say if I ran into him again, which would be quite likely as most of Portland's homeless hang out in the same general areas, in Oldtown and Downtown.

I needed to get away, to be somewhere safe.

I rode the MAX light rail to the Expo Center station in North Portland, then walked across the Columbia River on the I-5 bridge. I was able to get back to sleep by resting under the overhanging roof of the Vancouver public library.

When I got up I walked into Paul's, a restaurant in Vancouver then asked "Do you have any honest work I can do for you?" I was deeply disappointed that they handed me a job application. I had the hope that by performing such work as washing their dishes, I might earn enough to have something to eat that morning.

I just sadly put the application in my backpack then walked out.

To Be Continued

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