It is with a heavy heart that I write this post on my one and only brother’s birthday, I really wish somebody could tell me what is wrong with my brother?
I have an idea, l know some of what he’s been through, l have been with him some of that grueling journey. But that’s all l have – ideas!
l once wrote a post on my brother, whose brother? in which I reminisced or childhood and how l fought to defend my brother.
My brother wasn’t always sick
My brother was and still is my mum’s favorite. I mean, that is her only son and our only brother. In addition to that, he was super intelligent. He could remember so many things and much more, an aunt of ours always says his brain is a computer which needs downloading. He was my best playing mate at home, I was the closest to a football mate he could find. My brother loved his mother’s skirts, and often hid behind them to avoid our dad’s ‘stare’.
Then, something went wrong
l sincerely can’t tell but l know something happened over 15 years ago. They said it was whatever then. We were in boarding school and l just recall my brother going into fits and l having to cry for help and go along as he was taken to the hospital. I would visit often and stay some with him, but l noticed my brother was changing and beginning to behave ‘queer’. For example, he would discharge himself and get lost just walking away in some direction.
It looks like a depression though no actual diagnosis to date?
Strange it may seem, I have still not heard what is wrong with my brother. l know for a fact that he suffered some nervous break down, several times, and is no more the brother l grew up with. l can’t tell what is the name of the mental illness, but l saw him suffer breakdown after the other, go from one hospital to the other, and behave in the most abnormal and violent of ways l could ever imagine.
Do l have a right to know?
For crying out loud, l am his sister, as affected by his condition as anyone who truly cares can be. l know l am not his mother and don’t want to be, but l think l have a right to know. l however know it is not witchcraft. This is a practice and belief still very much ingrained in the ‘African Mind’. l would be lying if l say it wasn’t initially considered a cause of my brother’s ailment.
Why all the Stigma?
l am beginning to find out a lot about mental illness and l am reading lots of stories and reaching out too. l now see why some people prefer not to know what is happening or better still, don’t want to identify with someone suffering a nervous breakdown. The stigma alone can make the patient and his family go real nuts.
Oh, please it will be more consoling attributing the illness to witchcraft or a ‘demonic attack’ right? l have always loved such ‘sick’ people like ‘mad men’, prostitutes, street kids, you name them. Maybe in them I see a little of myself and my brother?
I am on a mission
Whatever be the case, l am on a mission. l want to learn as much as possible about mental illness and how those ‘angel patients’ live it all. Men, l am sure l survived by a string. Now, many people are opening up and some good networks exist for patients and affected members alike. The Mental Health Talk blog by Trish, is my blog of choice for info and l am so grateful for my pal H&J of the Bipolarbum for visiting me here and following me. Thanks to him, I learnt of the Skype Peer support initiative and l signed up to be a support peer.
Dear gentle readers and followers of mine, am l the only one with such a brother and tale? Sharing is caring! May whoever is going though a dilemma like mine or still affected by the loss of a loved one to mental illness or a changed life due that, find strength in knowing they are not alone. l just hope, sometime sooner than later, someone will tell me what is wrong with my brother?