Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Living with Mental Illness - A Brother's Perspective

This summer at Pike's Peak.

When I found out about my sister's illness, I was mad at her. I really didn’t even understand how it worked. I didn’t understand that it was a chemical problem, I just thought she was being a wuss. So when my dad told me we’d have to move to the States [from Berlin] I was really pissed. We’d just settled in and now we had to leave. I felt like she was just using it as an excuse to sleep in. It sounds bad but it seemed like she was using it to her advantage as much as possible. 

Fast-forward, we’re in the States and I’m still pissed at her. Whenever you’re dealing with somebody with depression, you have to know that walking away can be the best course of action. Sometimes it’s best just not to argue. I didn’t learn this until recently and I wish I had known it long before now. Sometimes the things that she says, like, “I hate you,” can sting for a second, but then you realize that she doesn’t mean it and she’s not in the right state of mind.

When she’s on medication, it can seem to be worse. Sometimes she’s really sleepy and refuses to get out of bed, sometimes she’s practically bouncing of the walls and won’t stop talking/singing. She might be laughing with me one second and snap and start yelling the next. But I always think to myself just to walk it off, and yelling won’t do you any good. I seem to always end up yelling back. It’s really frustrating, but I earnestly try. It’s always a pain, but it’s worth it.

I’m trying to think of a good memory we share…

Back before she was sick, we used to have a lot of fun playing Playmobil. We used to play for hours with these intricate set ups of castles, villages, cities and it was awesome. Obviously we don’t do that anymore, but we still have fun talking. We do that a lot. I’m glad that considering everything, we’re still friends.