My cousin was a brilliant guy once upon a time. He was extremely intelligent and killed it on an intellectual level. However when he went of to university things went downhill. When he stood in the hallway, unmoving and muttering for several days and refused to move, his roommates eventually called his family. They were afraid of him. It was his explicit intent to change the universe and scare his roommate by doing this. That was the start of a long journey and he has never managed to get back to any semblance of normal. This is a story about him, let’s call him Jack.

I never knew what happened all those years ago, I only heard whispers here and there. He has a fascination with death and feels much of this world we live in not real. He pushes away anyone who tries to help him and not in any kind of ‘get away from me because I fear I might hurt you’ kind of way. He emotionally levels anyone who sticks out a hand to help him up. He’s smart enough to know what buttons to push. For many years I felt bad for him. He had such a rough time and can’t help but be the way he is. He goes from psychosis to psychosis but I’d considered him harmless. By now I know that although he might not be able to help the way he is. He certainly isn’t harmless.

A while ago he showed up with torn clothes at his mothers place (who struggles with her own mental problems). He asked her if she could get it fixed for him but that he had to stay there and couldn’t go out because the cops were out to get him. When I first heard this story I thought that maybe this was another psychosis. My uncle was there and he was worried so he called his social worker. The social worker told my uncle that the police was in fact after him and advised him to stay out of the situation. You see, he’d been talking up a few young girls (and a boy?) and insisted to meeting them. He’d been trying to make them run away from home and we think more happened than just that. Considering how seriously the cops took the case.. I do believe he was eventually arrested and taken into custody. Although I’m not sure.

During the time that he was talking to these girls he was also paranoid so he made a new facebook account and changed all the settings and images to exactly mirror my brothers account. He felt that they had an inner similarity and that he would understand and agree. My brother found this out because he e-mailed him exactly that. Logically, my brother was not cool with this.

I take it that he has now been released for whatever reason. Considering I just saw a fb message of his pop up in my feed talking about how he feels that having sex with children is normal. I immediately called my brother. He feels that Jack is being intentionally shocking in order to pull people into his bubble. In order to get them to see the world through his eyes. In order to get attention. And in order to not be alone but have other people in his world that think the way that do. What I know about him and about his personality, this rings sadly true. It sounds harmless when I put it like this but it isn’t. The way he sees the world is deeply dangerous. To whoever he pulls in with him and the people around them.

He told me to ignore it, since I and the rest of our family are no longer his keeper. This is good advice. Over the years many of our family members have spent most of their energy to try and get him to some concept of reality again and all have failed. For a while things went better because our uncle (the same one who called the social worker) visited him every day, took him outside for walks. Spent more time on him than on himself or his son. But eventually he lashed out. Not once. In a way that was sadly, unforgivable. He took down my mother in the same process and there ended the seemingly endless patience of my mother (who spent 25 years, patiently, with an alcoholic husband who eventually got sober) and my uncle both. His sister and brother had to give up many years ago because she couldn’t both care for their mother, herself and him. Especially if trying to do so meant being mentally and physically assaulted. And even then it killed her to have to pull back. My brother himself even has tried, many times, to get through to him and sometimes this worked for a little while. But he too now feels that he can do nothing more.

I don’t know how to feel about this or what to do. I asked my brother if I should call the police because of what he’d been saying on Facebook, but he feels they will see it sooner rather than later, considering the kind of things he’s posting and I should try to forget it, for fear of getting dragged down into it. He knows what kind of person I am.

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I understand it’s probably not his fault. I know that about mental illness. And I don’t want to add to the stigma by being afraid of my own family because of their problem. But I do genuinely believe he is disturbed and dangerous to young people. And I don’t know how I should feel about that.. I’m worried and I’m scared. But mostly I’m ashamed. Of him and myself for feeling this way..

I don’t know how I’m supposed to feel about this.

ETA: I called my mom and asked her to call my uncle so that he can call my cousins counselor/social worker to inform them that things are going bad. We’ll see what happens..

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ETA2: Uncle didn’t have the number at hand. He’ll look for it tomorrow and then I can call the social worker. I stressed my mom that if my cousin was off his meds (and it looks like he is) this is a situation that requires some haste. But my mom told me to sit tight and try not to worry. Far more easily said than done :/