I remember playing video games, I remember playing on the lawn, I remember how he screamed when he broke his arm, I remember how thrilled he was when he got a remote-controlled car for Christmas, and I remember the way he used to twirl his hair around his finger so it was always in knots. And now he is an abusive, destructive force that no one can stand to be around lest they get pulled into convincing delusions and psychoses or have to fear his violent rage. Being in the same room with him is like being hit repeatedly with a hard, blunt abject. There have been enough illegal drugs to fuel a Columbian cartel and enough alcohol to float an ark. There have been suicide attempts, hospitalizations and crazy, abusive behavior galore. And I don’t have a relationship with any of these mentally ill people. Not one of them gets help, follows a regimen, admits to the mental illness, or tries to get better. And my brother, the one I grew up with, the one who I remember with white-blond hair, the one that would sleep under the covers and wake with rosy cheeks, the one that had Winnie-the-Pooh fuzzy pajamas with booties, is mentally ill. I don’t believe in witches or ghosts or things that go bump in the night. I’ve always thought that the Salem witch trials were a result of mass hysteria (on the part of the persecutors) rather than a phenomenon of dark forces at work. We are a welcoming community that understands the trials and pitfalls of managing a mental illness.
When it’s just the victim and the abusive partner together, that mask comes off and the victim sees a different side that others aren’t allowed to see.
Pretty much weekly I get messages from people who are desperate to help a loved one with a mental illness. She has been living with bipolar disorder for 18 years and has written more than 1000 articles on the subject.
I hear versions of this story over and over, my child/parent/sibling/friend/spouse is sick and won’t get help for their mental illness. And sometimes you have to accept not everyone with a mental illness will get help. I don’t know whether he’ll even live to tell the tale. I don’t just willy-nilly tell people to distance themselves from intractable crazy for no reason, I tell them this because they need to be told. Find more of Natasha’s work in her new book: Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar.
Their behavior is destroying our family/relationship. Like many of us I’m related to a lot of mentally ill people. Stop arranging the desk chairs and get on a damn lifeboat.
There are at least a couple of bipolars and likely a schizophrenic or two hiding in the wings. People who won’t get treatment and continue to hurt you are the Titanic.
What are the symptoms of schizophrenia and how is it diagnosed?