Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Twin's birthday was Thursday, their 15th. I'd arranged to call them, via Skype, between when they got home from school and dinner. From the beginning I sensed something was up, they seemed worried and quickly changed the subject from themselves to asking questions about their grandmother and specifically about the onset of her mental illness. When I asked why all the questions, they were avassive.

Friday I placed a Skype call to my brother, he looked awful, but wouldn't admit there was a problem. My brother can be private, so finally I said, "Kenny, remember that you are talking to Itch." When I was a kid he nick-named me Itch, due to my doggedness when pursuing something I wanted from another family member. Then I told of my conversation with Amanda and Abigail and asked him why they had so many questions about Mom and her illness. He was quiet for a moment and then began to cry. The wall broke down and he told me that he's been struggling from depression for several months and that Tuesday evening Katherine had taken him to a crisis unit because he was feeling suicidal. They evaluated him, kept him over night for observation and then sent him home with some medications.

Remember I asked him, when I was cutting myself, you came to me and told me that you loved me too much to standby, knowing that I was in pain without doing something. "Do you remember what you said?" I asked. "That you should come to me when you were feeling pain," he replied. "Any place you were, regardless of what you were doing, you would stop and take care of me," you told me. "I never told you how much that meant to me and how that gave me strength in fighting those demons and now I'm here for you." "I know that now, thank you," he replied.

As our conversation finished, he gave me permission to tell our sisters and Dad. After hanging up with him, I called Katherine, who was relieved  that he finally told someone in his family. We spoke for over an hour as she needed an outlet for her worries and concerns.

Saturday morning, I had breakfast with Dad and told him, the news didn't surprise him. Dad has the most contact with Kenny and he began to feel that there was something amiss a few months ago, but Ken would deny there were issues. Upon getting home, I called my sisters and gave them the news. I heard later from Katherine that he had been flooded with support and he appreciated it.

Not long ago I realized that in the last few years my own mental health has been mostly stabile. Not that I've haven't had a few days of melancholy, it is just that during this time I've not been debilitated by my mood. The last time that I felt really depressed, with suicidal thoughts was when Wags entered my life. Since finding him in the park my mood has been "normal." Well partly anyway, occasionally mania makes it presence known with mostly the result that I have sparkling clean apartment and Marty and Buster get polished to the paint is nearly rubbed off them. That was over 4 years ago, what a difference from the prior years in Paris where depression and mania seemed to be lurking in the shadows of my life. Kenny is beginning a journey that I would wish on no one, I hope that he gets through this and knows peace again.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sad to read. - M

4:05 PM  
Anonymous Robert Taylor said...

I too had to battle the black dogs of depression in the 1990's. What saved me is that my physician referred me to a psychiatrist. There are now available antidepressants that really work. I still am on one. Some people are embarrassed by being on medication that keeps them mentally well. It is really no different than a diabetic being on insulin that keeps him alive (I am also diabetic). The thing with psychotropics is that there is no "one drug fits all". My shrink and I had to experiment until we found a medication that works and that my system can tolerate. But remind your brother that the real task of psychiatrists is not to treat the insane but to preserve sanity.

5:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this Kim. A loving family always helps, as do the meds and good quality medical care. Being around for awhile I can also attest to the added utility of dogs & pets as well. But sad to hear still. Good Luck, 'VJ'

2:34 PM  

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