Bipolar roommate?

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by Savanna, Oct 7, 2018.

  1. Savanna

    Savanna New Member

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    Hey everyone,
    I’m a USNA midshipman class of ‘22 and...
    my roommate lately has been acting very strangely. First off she’s failing all but 3 classes. Seconds, she never does her part in the room, and stays up all hours of the night doing weird things like folding clothes and doing her nails and hair among other things. She keeps the light on, talks loud on the phone late at night when she sees I’m trying to sleep, never makes her bed or gets up. She waits for me to tap her awake every morning, even when she hears reveille plays and she gets on her phone and goes back to sleep. She often broadcasts weird things to me like peeing in bags and throwing it out the window to avoid greeting. She is oblivious to her rude and belligerent behavior even when I tell her what it is.
    Well,
    I heard her talking on the phone with her sister about her bipolar meds and how she’s doing good in her chemistry class now. This explains a lot.
    Is it possible that I can report her to mental health anonymously or even up the chain of command? I’m in part annoyed at the behavior but mostly worried about her safety and the safety of others quite frankly. I know CDI’s have been launched at midshipmen before but I’ve never understood who initiates it or how that works. Could anyone give me some insight into this situation?
    Thanks so much.
     
  2. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 10-Year Member

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    Go talk to a chaplain first to help settle your thoughts in a setting outside the COC. I suspect Chaps might then coordinate a chat with the company officer, leaping over the midshipman chain of command, given it could be a sensitive mental health issue. Your midshipman COC is learning by OJT, but this is heavy stuff.

    In the meantime, collect your direct observations and set them down as bullet points with as much detail as to time, place and nature that you can recall. That will be helpful to anyone you speak with.

    Once you set this ball rolling, it will not stop. Be sure in your heart that your motivation is roommate’s mental and physical welfare.

    Sadly, these things happen. Mids with issues cover them up, until they can’t.

    Find a chaplain today, Sunday. If you don’t know a chaplain to talk to, one of them is probably over at Mitscher this morning. There will be a duty chaplain, probably on call. Main O should have the number. Or if you’re familiar with the service schedule, try to catch one after service.
    https://www.usna.edu/Chaplains/Contact_Us/index.php

    You don’t have to tell anyone why you want to talk to a chaplain. If asked, say you have something on your mind you want to talk through.

    Do try to not get put off until tomorrow. The pressure-cooker of USNA is not an ideal location for anyone who may be having mental health challenges.

    I commend you for knowing you should take some action. You are not bilging a classmate. If roommate is already struggling, your input will help the chain of command in determining the best course of action for the mid and for USNA.

    Edit: Your screen name. If true to your own name, there can’t be that many “your names” who are Navy plebes. You may want to pm @TacticalNuke to change it.

    @NavyHoops
    @usna1985
    Additional thoughts from you grads?
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2018
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  3. NROTCdad

    NROTCdad Member

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  4. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Super Moderator 5-Year Member

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    I had a very similar situation as a Mid minus the phone calls... well... because I am old and cell phones were just becoming a thing. I agree with the advice Capt MJ gave. Go see a Chaplain. I also agree on writing things down focusing on facts... date, time, behavior, or actions. Focus on that, not your frustration or emotions about it all. Oh and get yourself a pair of ear plugs. You still need sleep and to make it through. It appears this young lady is not adapting to USNA well. If she is in fact on bi-polar meds she won’t be around long. She could just be talking the talk with her sister. My room mate as a Plebe had a very similar spiral. She hid it better. Major eating disorders, anxiety, extreme religious beliefs that she continually shouted at me, crazy up down mood swings, no sleep. She was eventually processed out for mental health issues as a 2/C. It was a barrel of fun. Sorry you are going through this. Plebe year is tough enough without having to deal with a room mate who sucks and is actually being counter productive.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2018
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  5. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 10-Year Member

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    Equally good. Both offices work closely together. I was thinking of the typical plebe schedule and who the OP could easily find on a Sunday. Both should be findable today.
     
  6. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 10-Year Member

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    There are roommates who are just annoying...or thoughtless...or self-absorbed, and then there are the ones with severe problems that do not mesh well with USNA pace and pressure. Kleptomania, eating disorders as Hoops mentioned, video gaming addiction, drinking too much on a regular basis, inappropriate sexual behavior, extreme procrastination, OCD flare-ups - things triggered by the stress.

    To the OP, great advice by Hoops. Focus on the facts, speak of this only to those who need to know, put roomie’s well-being first. Look after yourself through this. If this plays out and word starts circulating, there may be those who want to poke at you for it. You control your boundaries. Learn the art, when thoughtless people seek to draw you into a conversation with an agenda, of saying something non-committal, in a neutral tone, such as “Thanks for that. Interesting. Can you believe we are on all calls again (or whatever conversation detour feels like a good breakaway).” Maintain even and pleasant tone. For select circumstances, a simple quiet “Wow” and walking away, in a peer situation, can be effective. These techniques come in handy for the people you will encounter in life who like to play power games. You have to live in that company the rest of the year, and maintaining composure around the occasional thoughtless nitwit is a life skill. Sorry to get off on this tangent, but you’ve already seen how inter-personal dynamics work inside the Brigade, when it comes to something interesting to chew on.
     
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  7. pleber16

    pleber16 USNA 2016 5-Year Member

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    In addition to everything else already mentioned, have you tried talking to her yourself? Not about the potential of a mental health issue or possibly hiding medication, but maybe a "Hey, are you doing alright, I've noticed you're having a bit of a hard time, is there anything I can do to help?" And do you have an additional roommate or is it just the two of you?
     
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  8. momofmod

    momofmod Member

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    How in the world did a bi-polar diagnosis never mind the medication slip through the DoDMERB screening? My son had one MRI that turned up nothing and needed a medical waiver?
     
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  9. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Super Moderator 5-Year Member

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    It could be she never reported it, she did and some how got waived (I highly doubt this), she is lying or she was recently diagnosed. If she was recently diagnosed my suspicion is USNA will eventually process her out. I have no proof of any of this, all assumptions.
     
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  10. MidCakePa

    MidCakePa Member

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    @gonavysophia, if that’s your real name, please change it, for your sake and your roommate’s sake. Contact @TacticalNuke to do so.
     
  11. Devil Doc

    Devil Doc Teufel Doc

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    Yep, the military is loaded with undeclared conditions. I've seen them all.
     
  12. momofmod

    momofmod Member

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    That's nuts and also speaks to the lack of character if dishonest on the questionnaire.
     
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  13. Devil Doc

    Devil Doc Teufel Doc

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    I agree and have no knowledge of this circumstance but have had patients with pre-existing conditions that were not documented on their SF 93. Examples of this include asthma, mental health, chronic low back pain, various neuropathies, etc...
     
  14. MidwestDad

    MidwestDad Member

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    A little hard to believe she has access to her Rx bipolar meds [as a plebe] with an undeclared condition but then again worse things have been hidden in SA barracks . . .
     
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  15. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 10-Year Member

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    Mail from home + con locker, or whatever they are calling the lockage space in rooms these days.
     
  16. jaglvr

    jaglvr Member

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    What I thought too
     
  17. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Super Moderator 5-Year Member

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    Just want to note it’s all speculation on our part. It’s really not that hard to get these drugs from home. Also, just to throw it out there as an option, this Mid could be under medical care by USNA for this condition. If that is the case, USNA is going to stabilize and treat her. If in fact it’s a bi-polar diagnosis I would fully expect a discharge to come with it too, but that won’t happen until she is treated and in good condition. I know we are all speculating here. And yes, As mentioned, folks do hide conditions. I have seen it first hand. Can’t tell you how many people we sent home from war zones when things suddenly appeared and then find out they knew all along. Stress does a number on the body. Hopefully this young lady gets the care she needs. She is not adapting well. It’s a tough spot for a 17-19 year old room mate to be in during the height of Plebe Year. Good on her for recognizing things aren’t right. She should sit down and have a chat with her room mate first. If she has is in a team reaching out a team mate or a close friend she has can also help as I am sure they are noticing things too. Talk with a Chaplain who can help map out a plan and best path forward for handling this as it is a sensitive topic and someone’s future is at stake.
     
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  18. Old Navy BGO

    Old Navy BGO 5-Year Member

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    There is a lot of speculation and discussion here based upon an overheard phone conversation. CAPT MJ's advice is sound ... get to Chaplain or Midshipman Development Office ASAP .., let the professionals handle it. If the situation turns out as OP reports, I suspect the roommate may be relieved when she is caught, and may thank her someday.

    This is a good lesson for all Midshipmen, and prospective Midshipmen. There is often tension between roommates, particularly with Plebes who are thrown together randomly, and may have different views on how strictly to follow rules, worry about things like cleanliness, etc. (Upperclass pick roomates, and tend to gravitate towards those with similar attitudes). That was my first thought when I read the first line of the post...but then it went darker. USNA (and other Service Academies) can be a pressure cooker, and I suspect that most graduates have a story or two about someone in the class that went off the deep end and lost it . Mental health is serious business, and the kids that are attracted to Service Academies are typically not the type to ask for help themselves. That's why its important for Midshipmen to look out of each other, and get help for your Shipmate when they can't, or won't get it for themselves.
     
  19. OldRetSWO

    OldRetSWO USNA 78/parent 11/BGO for >25yrs 5-Year Member

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    So very true and sometimes, we're trying so hard to make it through that we focus right through some pretty terrible stuff without seeing it at the time. Case in point, post plebe summer,m I was placed into a three man room with a classmate who was a distance swimmer who spent a huge amount of time away from the room and another guy (Roommate B) who'd had a year of College NROTC under his belt. Both the latter and I were not regarded as good plebes and got run pretty hard. I remember not liking or having much of anything to do with Roommate B but not a lot of specific reasoning. As it happened, our room was on a different deck than most of our company and we were actually next to a room of plebes from the another company and they became and remain good friends to this day. I served with one of them in the fleet and over the years, he'd often laugh at how many times he'd heard me yelling "(Roommate B) Put me Down!" repeatedly and that it seemed to be pretty often. After hearing this over the years and having no memory of it, I mentioned it to a counselor who I was seeing due to a nasty divorce. She worked with me on it and in the end, it turned out that he used to throw me around the room and generally beat the snot out of me, probably to work out his stress. I should add, that I was 5'6"/150 and he was 6'4 and about 250 ellbees. Nobody knew or if they did, they've never said anything except for the guys who thought that we were horseplaying. I can tell you that most assuredly, there was no horseplay between the two of us. I think that this was totally him working out his frustrations of plebe year on me. After plebe year, we found other roommates and I don't think we ever exchanged a single word with each other.

    It's tough to even write about it. I've told a few friends from my company and even the third roommate from then had no idea that this was going on but when he sat with the guys from the other company who told of hearing me yell day after day, he was convinced.

    PS: He died less that 20 yrs after we graduated - reportedly a heart attack.
     
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  20. Landy91

    Landy91 Member

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    Sorry to be blunt here, but stop reading any further posts and go talk to your Chaplain and don't write anything down because your roommate may find it.
    Do what the Chaplain tells you as far as reporting this up the chain.
    Good Luck.
    And again... go do it now.