Yesterday I received a text from my mom telling me to call her as soon as I can. I took a break and stepped away from my desk, put on my coat, and lit up a cigarette before calling her back. With the way things have been going I just knew that it'd be a conversation that I'd need a cigarette to get through.
My brother was diagnosed with bi polar disorder about five years ago. Two years ago he also was diagnosed with schizophrenia, paranoid type. I have watched him go from a family man with a good job, a house payment and two cars, to homeless, toothless, drug addicted, and jobless within the past four years. He is a generally non functioning member of society. When he was still married, his ex wife did an excellent job of helping him manage the illness. However, after he cheated on her with a co worker and sat his family down in a manic state and told them "daddy is leaving for a while"... things have never really been the same for him or our family.
My family and I live in constant fear that he is going to kill himself. He has gone into manic states and made terrible decisions in the past. Two months ago he took his work vehicle (he was a driving instructor), didn't show up to work, took a bunch of drugs, and drove out of the state. While he was driving he was posting to his Facebook saying terrifying things like "this is going to be the best ending ever" and posting video footage of himself flying down the road talking to me about memories we shared together from our childhood. It was one of the most nerve racking and intense situations that I've ever been through. I was literally watching my brother, via Facebook, attempt to kill himself.
Needless to say he lost his job and eventually, magically came out of his Bi Polar fuge as soon as he ran out of money five states over and I worked until the wee hours of the morning with police five states away, getting them to 'ping his cell' so I could track down where he was, organizing a taxi to bring him gas for his work vehicle, convincing his boss not to press charges, and setting him up with a hotel and sending over some money for him to eat and use to get home.
He is addicted to the drugs that are in over the counter medications like Mucinex, and any nasal decongestant. Its called DXM and a quick youtube search shows how fucked up and droned out it can make you. From my understanding he has abused this drug almost daily for probably two years.
Back to the phone call with my mom, last night, my brother was fighting with my Dad (who he is living with at the moment) so he asked my mother if he could stay with her for a few days. Given the fact that he has burned so many bridges, verbally abused and taken advantage of all of us my step dad was not into the idea and they agreed he could stay for one night. Upon hearing this over the phone he freaked out and yelled and swore at my mom for never picking him over my step dad. He said he was going 70 mph in a 25 and was going to kill himself. My mom, panicked, hysterical was screaming at him to just come over, just come over...
He hit another car going about 65 mph. I haven't seen my brother yet, and I do not know what hospital he is in as he is likely on a behavior health floor so they won't tell me anything, not even if he is actually a patient there. From my guessing he must not be terribly injured as he'd be in the ICU or on a regular med/surgery floor and staff would be willing to share some information about the status of his health. At this time I have no idea how the driver of the other vehicle is doing. I have called the District Attorney to try and find out if charges have been filed but nothing so far.
My brother is on multiple medications for his mental illnesses. He was recently kicked off of state insurance because he made too much money at his old job (which he now does not have) to qualify. The company he worked for employed less than 50 people so they did not offer insurance coverage. My brothers last posting on Facebook said that he has not taken his medications since December 15th and got a letter telling him state insurance was being delayed from January 1st to April 1st. Meaning he can't get the medication he so badly needs to keep his illness in check. All these issues with insurance coverage come from Washington and changes to our healthcare system. But that I don't want to go on a rant because I support public heathcare for all but my brother could be the poster boy for a person negatively affected by said changes.
Our family all chipped in and helped him pay for a 90 day supply of medication a few months back, we ordered it at a discount from Canada and it was over $1500. In the states, without insurance, a 30 day supply costs him about $750. We aren't a family that can pay this amount each month. My brother is grown but we'd obviously be willing to help him as him taking these medications is a life altering issue for him. Luckily, we learned that Walgreens is willing to dispense a one month supply for free via an assistance program allowing us more time to get our ducks in a row and work on other means of obtaining his medications. I'm hopeful we will be successful and with what happened I feel confident that a social worker may be involved in the near future helping us line up some resources.
Anyway, when I first heard about what my brother did, I was so fucking angry at him. How could he do that to my Mother? Hasn't he put her through enough stress already over the past four years? She has her own health issues to worry about right now and he lays this thick layer of stress over her entire life. It is always a dark cloud hanging over her head. Every time he has suicidal thoughts, he reaches out to my mom and she just gets overwhelmingly stressed out. Understably so, but I just wish he'd go to another family member and give her a break. Yet all these times, hes never acted on it except for last night. Even with what he did, I dont' think that he chose a method to end his life that ensures death. So in my opinion it is a cry for help.
As a family, we are so tired of dealing with the drama. I know it isn't just drama either, it is a serious mental illness but Adam is very manipulative and sometimes the lines between what is the illness and what is just plain manipulation is blurred. Every phone call from every family member is all about Adam. Adam, Adam, Adam. But, there is this other, huge part of me, that knows that if he had the choice he'd probably choose normalcy over the drug riddled, mentally unstable soap opera that is his life. He is in pain and chooses to self medicated via drugs and alcohol, especially now that he is not on his medications. I love my brother so much and right now I think he needs aggressive, inpatient therapy vs. medication and his family trying to manage a manic episode every month and a half. He has now proved that he is a danger to himself and others. He also has an 8 year old son whom he has partial custody over and is often under the influence in front of. It is disgusting to see. I've put the word out to his ex wife that it is time for her to file for permanent custody so that my brother can't hurt his son, mentally, physically, or emotionally. Despite the fact that he loves him, there will be a price to that love if he is allowed to be in his life at this time. I don't want to betray and anger my brother but in the long run I feel that being separate from his son and not exposing him to the dysfunction is best. Obviously.
I don't know guys. Its seems hopeless. When I think about my brother and his illness in the grand scheme I feel on an extended timeline, if nothing changes, it will kill him. We are all going to look back and wish that we'd made different choices, drastic choices, choices that in the short term upset him and make him hate us. But in the long run will be best. But I don't know in my bones that taking his son out of his life is best? Will it give him one less thing to live for and then ulitmately lead to his suicide? Or will he take initiative and seek the help he needs to become stable and regain custody? ALso, I've contacted a person who can help facilitate having him committed if he refuses treatment. From what she is telling me it doens't seem as difficult as I imagined it would be. Should I have my brother committed?
These are the things that keep me up at night.