reply to post by jiggerj
I apologize for not responding sooner. I've had a busy day and have spent the past 30 or 40 minutes trying to find a way to phrase a reply that
doesn't result in me dumping a ton of my own past trauma onto the board.
Let me start by saying that what you did for your brother sounds amazingly caring and positive. THAT is the way that these things should be handled. I
know that dealing with depressed people is very taxing and takes a lot of patience. It seems to me that you did the right thing and acted in
compassion and patience to try and bring your brother back into the world.
Sadly this is not always how things play out.
My illness began when I was a teenager but I always managed to stay on top of it and remain functional. That is until August of 2007. I made it about
26 years faking it, ignoring my problems, and pulling myself up by my bootstraps. Then that failed and my entire life fell apart. The trigger was that
my ex left me for an 18 year old kid. If I hadn't have broken down at this time I'd have simply said "Fine baby. Your his. Now get out." - but this
event did happen to be the straw that broke the camels back... so I did not react at all correctly. I let her have it all. My house, my money, my
stuff... everything. It's hard to make people understand, but I was making life decisions then when I should have been in a hospital. I was NOT well
at all. My ex, being who she was, knew how to work me. She spent a few months telling me that it was all just a phase she had to go through and that,
if I just let her do it, without being a "jerk" ( her code for "taking back my stuff" ) she would eventually let me come back home.
During this period I turned to my family for help. Over the years I had been the patriarch of my family, I put my sister through college ( something I
had foregone myself because I was putting food on the table by working two full time jobs ). My mother has a gambling addiction and I've been bailing
her out of debt since I was a young man... as she, periodically, will gamble herself into a position where she loses everything. Literally everything.
So I didn't feel bad when I turned to them to say "I don't know what's happening, but I am not OK".
They reacted by deciding that all I really needed was to suffer for awhile. They felt that if they just let things get bad enough for me, I'd "snap
out of it".
My sisters husbands family owns a lot of houses in this area - as he has an uncle who rents out houses for a living. As it happens this man owned a
house that had been condemned but nobody was in a rush to demolish. A shack with no power, no water, overrun with kudzu and field mice - in the middle
Arrangements were made and my sister drove me there and dumped me.
I spent 11 months in that shack. The only reason I did not just die then was that a friend felt so bad for me that she would bring me some food and a
few gallons of water each day. I only had a few pieces of clothing - so this same friend would wash a set of my clothes each day. Still, while this
friend was compassionate, she was not equipped to deal with things. After 11 months another old friend, who was equipped to handle things, got wind of
my situation and did what someone else should have done a year earlier... she got me to a doctor.
Now, years later, my sister is the only member of my family who has admitted that she did not do the right thing back in 2007. Even though I've all
but disowned my mother, she still
tries to sabotage my life in the name of "tough love". Every so often I'll show up for an appointment only to
be told that my "wife" called and cancelled it - and other fairly creative things of that nature. She's still ranting to relatives that the world is
"enabling" me to be sick - and that if she can just make things bad enough for me, I'll have no choice but to "stop playing games".
Sadly, over the years, in my experiences with group therapy and other people who are sick, I've seen too much of this destructive approach. Mine is a
rather uncommon situation as it is most commonly the spouse who does these sorts of things. Nonetheless it is common. I know too many people with
issues who cry when they speak of family... people who say "My kids won't answer my calls anymore"... or "My wife gave me an ultimatum. I have to
______ within x number of days or she's leaving me..."
Too many people hold onto a belief that mental illness is a choice and it's tragic.
edit on 5/5/13 by Hefficide because: (no reason
edit on 5/5/13 by Hefficide because: (no reason given)