Laura taught me something that has helped me have a deeper understanding as a peer in this world. Her boldness and braveness about her mental health mended some wounds of mine.
Laura wasn’t my only family member who struggled day to day. My brother has schizophrenia. Growing up he was too young to diagnose. But he did have some unique behaviors. I have a core memory of telling him it’s time for dinner for distraction so I could let the frogs and lizards free that we had caught in fear of him killing them. Another one of me waking of to a bloody nose from being punched by him. This happened twice. It was in the teenage years where his behavior looked more rebellious on the outside and the rest of us standing helpless on the outside.
Everyone was aching. But he ached even more. Steamy tears drip down as I recall him being rushed to the ER the first attempt of suicide of his on Halloween night. His arms filleted open as his cry for help.
His chaotic episodes and behavior was his internal cry for help. I was angry and even bitter. The worry on our parents faces froze like stone became daily as they yearned for their son. The ache became agony for all of us.
I’m a firm believer of medication and if it weren’t for it I never would have met Laura and my brother wouldn’t be alive.
So when I hear comments like:
“There always seems to be something with your brother. “
“Your just going to enable him.”
“When is he going to grow up.”
There is always something going on with my brother. That something is something he never chose. That something is forever crippling and haunting his life if unmedicated.
Laura helped me see that. The people who are struggling hate their thorn in their side as much as we do. They are trying to manage it. They need to push a little harder then most just to function in the world.
As an outsider I support my brother the best I can by being his listening ear.
There’s a balance that needs to take place in taking care of my mental health while encouraging someone who is struggling with a weight that is unbearable at times. I let him know what times we can chat that way I can give him the best encouragement I can. As a mom and wife I’m split. If I’m going through a rough season that’s when I take a step back and take care of myself before reconnecting with him. I love my brother for who he is and proud of all the work he is doing to overcome this daily mountain.