Apr 4, 2014|
Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)
This was set to me by Leslie. And I'm gonna try to do it justice. And you have to hear this if you want to understand what it's like to be a quote normal person. Whose life has been touched by a family member with mental illness this this should go viral this this is like reader's digest quality stuff. You know that sort of creepy looking guy who you may occasionally see walking on the sidewalks in the village and town of arcade. The guy that -- figure cross between an aging homeless man and a character from Tim Burton movie. That's my brother. He is mentally ill. And I love him. People unfamiliar with mental illness react to someone who is mentally ill and a number of different ways with -- stain revulsion ignorance ridicule suspicion. And in some instances. Kindness. But for people unfamiliar with mental illness kindness may be difficult to Muster because a person with a mental illness may look. Or act a lot worse Gary were on approachable many adjectives can go there he doesn't look like most people's version of normal. My Big Brother has -- so affective disorder. And has been mentally ill for as long as I can remember because in ten years younger I can't remember how it all began. I do remember however that when I was a very little girl in the late sixties. My brother was the coolest guy in the world I distinctly remember the music you listen to his long dark here he. This slender stoke white pants guys his age wore his friends and the call motorcycles and cars he -- He had a purple Ford falcon used to let me steer while he drove he definitely loved his little sister. I think it was in December of 1969. My brother hitchhiked his way across the US to California I miss him terribly. He eventually came back. Brought me a suede purse with fringe I love their purse I still haven't. As the years went by he. Began to change. I'm not sure of all that contributed to his illness he is an alcoholic but that doesn't cause schizophrenia. But he receded into his mind while I grew up eventually I've moved away and started life on my own. He liberal -- mom until she died. Then his life became a series of ups and downs so very random and unanticipated they were staggering -- Lived in Niagara Falls and buffalo on and off for years motels halfway houses boarding houses missions doorways boxes branches open fields. I lived in development. I had a husband and children. And while I help my brother when I could I couldn't have him live with me and my kids and he wouldn't want to docket or are. He was not violent -- so -- violent but his paranoia. Drinking. Rambling. And sometimes nonsensical talk was not something I can have around my young children. You know if you stop drinking it maybe you could go make a change of life. Maybe you can get a job I'd tell him and frustration hollow words however. They were words borne of frustration it wasn't the drink. Although that certainly didn't help. It was his mind. That was distorted my words. Made sense to him when spoken but always quickly forgotten. He's been in and out of mental hospitals I'll never forget the people I saw there when I visited. And I thought to myself he's not gonna get better here if any thing he's gonna go more nuts. That's how I thought about it I can call my brother nuts he's my brother. Today I live in freedom with my family. My brother lives in this area also but he has his own place it's pretty worn down but it's a roof when it rains -- when it snows. And shade in the hot sun. Being warm is especially important to -- having lived so often outdoors in all the Western New York wherever. Years of drinking. Getting mugged. And all and sundry other events have changed his looks a lot I'll even admit if you don't know my brother and you see him in the store. You might think he's up to no good. He is not violent as I mentioned but he angers easily he's always clean it sometimes looks on count. He can detect the antipathy in people's looks and mannerisms when he goes into the grocery store to pick ups and staples. Takes a bus to get around he's beholden to the bus company schedules are sometimes he waits on the bench at the grocery store -- He's often told to leave I don't doubt he's ruined is welcome and some of these places because he's quick to be offended and there were quick to anger. He doesn't like to ask for help arrives. So all this puts him up there by himself at the mercy of whoever or whatever he encounters. My feelings. They go from embarrassment anger I -- defend him when your body's been treated -- always been treated at some places I wanna shout. That's my brother he was a really decent guy at one time. He's in pain don't be mean -- room. But I think not he can be such a pain in the ass sometimes popular blame these people for their preached preconceived notions. Right now it's raining. The bus dropped them off and Yorkshire shopping for a duffel bag to put all the stuff then when he's on the bus. He's gonna walk to the grocery store and if he doesn't attract attention to get asked to leave he'll have some groceries to put in his duffel bag. Then he'll find a place to hang on to the bus comes back to get. Because he has so friendly. He wants to help everyone with their problems in spite of his. This takes him into dark territory and their problems become his on top of his own my husband and I try to tell him to not get involved. That's like trying to tell water to not run downhill he simply cannot help himself he just wants to help. Alcohol helps -- deal with -- problem so. Pete thanks anyway he quits drinking for months at a time but boredom or paranoia always brings him back to it's such is the life of my Big Brother. So what do I hope to accomplish with this letter I don't know. I guess I just wanna make people aware that we're not all the same. You may already know someone like him mental illness can happen anyone at any time including UND. I wish for people to show a little kindness to smile. Hello. Can go a long way to making any Wednesday a little better. There are several people like him and our area. If you smile one of them. You might be just smiling at my brother. And for that. Little effort. They're being kind. I. Thank you. IA rarely. Read. Such. Heartfelt. Eloquent prose. In emails I receive. For any national columnists. Do not do. To me what this letter. Has done. To me. I read it. Rewrite it. I told my boss I was gonna start off my show whether. It's that good.