I’ve been by my older brothers side for as long as I can remember. My 14 huge file folders stuffed with letters from him that stretch as far back as my memory, my spoons, all the shell rings he’s made me, even some of the scars in my very skin are all a tribute to my life with my older brother who is fighting his illness.
There is also my own diary. I have a journal of odd reactions and rude comments I’ve gotten from people in this life. When something comes up and I do act polite and try and educate and I try never to perpetuate a stereotype or talk of illness in a glib or flippant way.
But then, that night as I lay in bed recalling the people I’ve met in my day, my brain shouts out, “Poo on being polite, I wish I would have said this”
I’ve journaled many of the responses I wish I would have said.
Some of the top 10 things I wish I would have said at the time.
Number 10: (because he’s functioning) By George your right, the voices, the hospital stays, the meds he takes, it’s all part of a clever ruse. He’s not ill at all. Or “Ignorance is a mental illness too, read a book and cure yourself.”
Number 9: He doesn’t need a smart phone app to figure out it’s raining on him. My brother is smarter then you.
Number 8: Just because you don’t get what he’s saying doesn’t mean he’s wrong.
Number 7: No it’s not his Sz acting up, he is ignoring you. I should do the same.
Number 6: Yes, you are correct you can’t tell he’s Sz by what he does. But I can tell your ignorant by what you say.
Number 5: Stop telling me about what you saw in the news, my brother isn’t violent. I am. You should run away before I hit you
Number 4: He’s not the dangerous one. I am.
Number 3: Just how does a person with mental illness “LOOK” exactly?
Number 2: Could you please tell me the exact definition of “NORMAL”
Number 1: My brother has a mental illness. He’s not deaf. We can both hear you.
an extra one that I DO say often: “Please believe me, he’s much nicer then I am. Please walk away and no one gets hurt”