Mental Illness In The Family

I filed a crime tip report on my brother today. At about 8:00am. What a way to start the morning, eh?

Back in January when Jack was diagnosed with cancer, my brother took a distinct interest. He started emailing me every day. Then several times a day when I didn’t answer. He sent me articles about cancer, “tips” about how feeding kids hot dogs could cause cancer, and then he contacted some ‘homeopathic healers’ on my behalf. I asked him to stop. He responded by sending more. So then I blocked him on Facebook.

After that, he posted to my Facebook wall by using my mother’s account (he borrowed her computer) and also sent me a message from her phone. Each time I informed my mother and asked that she not let him borrow her stuff! And asked her to please get him some help. I live over an hour away, have a kid with cancer to take care of, and do not have the medical history records that she does.

No luck. Actually my mom thinks maybe my brother was misdiagnosed as Schizoaffective…that maybe he just has depression. And that my pulling away from him is making him behave this way.

Ok, Mom.

My mom did call the police on my brother at one point because he was talking about slitting her boyfriend’s throat…she had been advised by his therapist to do that in order to create a record of my brother’s behavior. My grandmother (they live together) assured the police that my brother just needed to take his meds and he’d be fine. He wasn’t arrested at all.

Around March or so he got to Jack’s CaringBridge and posted the following message in the Guestbook:

“You’re really shitty parents and don’t know how to take care of kids so they get sick and get cancer and your treatment sucks.”

I secured the CaringBridge site and blocked him from that. I told my mother not to give my brother any of my contact information. I was done with being stalked and harassed, especially after finding out he’d been trolling a friend’s website and emailing my family members to see if THEY could see my Facebook. He didn’t understand why he couldn’t send me messages anymore.

A couple of months later I was speaking with my mom on the phone and she let me know that my grandmother had been sleeping with a knife because she was afraid of my brother’s behavior. When I asked if my mom had taken my brother to a psychiatric hospital yet, she said yes and that he’d been turned away because he didn’t want to be admitted and “they were full.” I spoke to my therapist, who then called Elder Care on my grandmother’s behalf.

Unfortunately nothing resulted from the house visit by Elder Care – my grandmother doesn’t want to leave the house (she has legit reasons). I encouraged my mother to keep trying the local psychiatric hospitals – to INSIST that they take my brother in. He needs specialized care and my mother is not equipped to give it to him. My mother has been dealing with a lot of health problems, though, and has not gotten anywhere with getting help for my brother.

This morning I got an email from my sister. She had seen on my brother’s Facebook wall that he was threatening to kill our cousin. His exact words were:

“If I see him I will fucking kill him I want to beat him so badly I fucking hate that shitty guy.”

There were two posts related to my cousin, and then a third discussing bullying:

“I hate those bullied people. I can’t stand them. I support everyone in hurting them. I will support the bullies to be extra viscious to those annoying bullied people. Get those bullied people to kill themselves.”

There was a lot more than this, but I’m sure you get the point.

My brother is not well. He is unpredictable and violent. He’s broken into a house, he’s destroyed property again and again, he hallucinates, and he’s told my son to go drink battery acid. He has not physically harmed a PERSON and he has not threatened to commit suicide, so police and the psychiatric hospitals will not take him. He is an adult (27 years old) and therefore in charge of his own care, and he feels that inpatient care is not for him. He’s fine – it’s everyone else’s problem.

I don’t know what to do. I love my brother. I miss the guy he can be when he’s not buried by his mental illness. I wish he could get help, but as time goes on it looks more and more like he will end up in jail. At this point I worry that he is going to be the next guy to shoot up a school or theater. There is no doubt in my mind that could happen. There was a time where I didn’t think he was capable of any crime, when I thought he harnessed so much potential for great things. Unfortunately that time has passed and now I just mourn the loss of a real brother.

So I filed a crime tip this morning. I encouraged my cousin to file a police report. I sent a follow up message to my mother, via cell phone, because she apparently didn’t get my sister’s e-mail. My fingers are crossed that during their visit together today to attend my great uncle’s memorial service, nothing goes awry.

My brother is sick. There seems to be nothing we can do to help him, and there seems to be nothing we can do to protect our family from him.


If you have any ideas at all about avenues we might not have tried, please, please share them.

13 thoughts on “Mental Illness In The Family”

  1. Sending love, light, endurance,wisdom, comfort, protection, so many things your way. *HUG* You are so brave, and I’m so grateful that you gave voice to your experience here.

  2. I wish I had an idea that would help you. I’m so sorry you are having to deal with this on top of everything else going on. I’m sending you love, and prayers for you, your family, and your brother.

  3. Wow, Crystal. I’m catching up on reading and wow… I knew some of this story, but things seem to have gotten worse. I hope the police report will help something be done. Love to you xoxo

  4. I am so, so sorry you are dealing with that on top of a kid with cancer. I also have a mentally unwell sister and she is spiralling out of control fast. It is so frustrating because they do nothing until something bad happens and we all know that bad thing could be really, really bad.

    The ladies over at DWIL might be able to help, if you are ready for some straight shooting. It sounds like you are doing everything you can, though. Report, report, report.

    1. Yes, exactly. He’s had the cops called on him several times, has been to jail, and still they can do nothing because he isn’t physically harming people (yet). And from what I understand his illness is degenerative so the longer he goes without help, the worse he gets. 🙁

    1. Everyone we’ve talked to says that he has to be physically threatening someone – not just using words. It’s easy to see how those big shootings happen, you know, when the family is totally powerless.

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