am so in awe at how much I personally stood to loose if I didn’t face myself in the mirror at one point. Frankly speaking, one of the reasons I miss my brother most is because I was hoping to walk the path of mental illness awareness and possible recovery with him, and that is – for both of us.
I know several people who know me (including my family) are and will continually be in denial of my having mental challenges. Actually, if my brother’s journey hadn’t leaped from epilepsy to what I know was Bi Polar and SAD and some others I still don’t know, there would still have been no ‘evidence beyond doubt’ that he was mentally ill.
Before I left to go bury my brother, my psychiatrist asked me a startling question. I still have to write a whole essay on that and revisit it with her. She asked me if I saw myself in my brother? Oh , I took it lightly then but with each passing day and having read his journal, I realize just how much similar we were. There sure are differences too.
I am Stubborn and he wasn’t
It is I who started combing the internet to research on various mental illnesses, people living with different conditions, medications and their side effects and much more. I mean, even starting a blog was a stubborn initiative in itself giving that I had to seek some ‘sort of approval’ (say inform her maybe?) from my mum knowing much of what I will blog about will be considered ‘dirty or private laundry’. My brother simply never did that and wouldn’t have. When during some of his manic episodes he thought it was his duty to save America or inform even the White House of one thing or the other via email, that was ‘prayed over’ until it passed. Eventually, he withdrew from social networks and even isolated from us all for a good while.
He had a Signature Smile and I don’t
My brother had what I now consider a signature smile. Indeed, even during his manic episodes like when he held my 10 month old son upside down and threatened to drop him down, he had that smile on. That is why in a post I wrote on his (or even our) being just another figure to add or to subtract, I said I am not sure he ever consciously harmed a fly.
I don’t have such a smile, hell no, no more. I smile now when it’s ok by me, and piss people off when I think the situation so deserves. Men, I took off my mask and I am so glad, free and proud. If doing so will reduce the rate at which I was called a nice girl, so be it.
I will rather be mentally ill and prepared to thrive than otherwise
I admit it over and over, there is no need to pretend to be normal anymore. It’s my life and I have just one shot at it. I am not looking forward to meds and all, but I will rather stay with my Shaggy bunch than with the ‘normal ones’. I mean, for me it is similar to my having sinusis right now or any of the other ailments which come and go. I didn’t create my genes, or my environment or my psyche or whatever is the cause. But I know I can seek help and I can go for therapy and I be better alert and even read all those dreaded side effects of meds if need be.
I know we all (My family), deal with my brother’s passing and face the future differently. I am working on his book and I am telling it as I rightly or wrongly lived it. No editing of content will be allowed without my approval, they could simply write theirs if they wish.
Dear gentle readers and followers, I urge us all to take good care of our hollistic well being and be full of empathy and understanding towards those suffering from both diagnosed and undiagnosed mental illness like myself. We are just humans, (intelligent ones for that much) who are trying to understand their own selves too.