My shirt would say:
sister (of depression)
ex girlfriend (of severe bipolar disorder)
granddaughter (of schizophrenia)
mother (of severe depression)
daughter (of something very serious but remains undiagnosed)
I lost my only brother, Brandon to suicide at age 23. He was my best friend, and I’m certain that deep down he didn’t mean to hurt us by resorting to ending his life to end his agony. He was brilliant- when he was only 20 he refurbished computers to accommodate the handicapped. My last conversation with him was on my birthday, January 13. He sounded happy, but made one comment that has always haunted me. I had said, “I’ll see you this weekend when you’re back from your business trip.” He replied, “Well, maybe.” I thought he meant he was delayed, never imagined that he’d made up his mind to end his life two days later. He knew already; my birthday wish was actually good-bye. My daughter was born one week later. He must have been in a lot of pain to leave me like that.
I have been waiting for more people to open their eyes and have some compassion. Men have gone running from me because of the mental illnesses surrounding me. I’m waiting for more people to understand that so many on welfare are mentally ill or affected by someone who is, and that many addicts are self medicating an illness because help isn’t there. I’m waiting for truth to be faced- that psychiatric help is grossly underachieving it’s goal, that when you check a 13 year old into a mental hospital they can get thrown in with 40 others of varying serious problems. That there is no counceling for the parent who left a child there, trying to get her help. They say “go home and take a nap” and the doctor fails to call for 4 days (my experience with my daughter).
The next generations depend on us to get the mental healthcare up to date and researched very seriously. My grandmother likely went off of her meds for schizophrenia and deteriorated. She was too paranoid to go to the doctor, and by the time she went she was covered in cancer. She believed the doctors were all aliens in human hosts.
It IS terrifying, exhausting, debilitating, as a caregiver. You miss work, have to apply for welfare, then endure people making jokes about people on food stamps. There are no directions, no advice on how to reach someone so far gone that you had to say goodbye to them to protect yourself from emotional and physical abuse (my father, and child’s father). I hope people won’t lose this focus on mental health while they are dumping buckets of ice water on their heads and buying pink items. We need one for mental illness support to go viral. Thank you for this group, living around mental illness is a lonely place.