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My Brother: My First Friend

Author: Tafari, Wednesday, August 28th, 2013 at 10:55 AM

Bygbaby.com Mindspill

I wrote this story about my brother months ago but was afraid to post it but with many stories out about mentally ill citizens, I found the courage. --------------------------------------------------- My Brother, my first friend, has always been special to me. Growing up, it seemed like I was the only person who understood him. When he would talk, it was like no one knew what he was saying and would often asked me what he was saying or trying to say. I always understood him perfectly. Although he was my best friend and brother, I used to get mad when we were kids and I would attempt to leave the house to play with my friends and my momma would say, “Take your brother with you.” As we entered our teens, we went our separate ways socially. Topot became much more outgoing and popular. When he entered high school, all of the sudden I became his cousin. That’s what he told people. He was TOO cool to be my brother I guess. But in his first couple of years in high school even with his popularity, he became different and it came and went. I did not understand this change in him. Eventually he started talking in different voices, had severe mood shifts and his sleeping pattern changed. Later he was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic. This was a familiar term to me because my grandmother, “Mommie,” suffered with the same illness for many, many years. It’s brutal…. With the help of medication, Topot got much better and was back to himself. We went back to being normal but only when he took his meds consistently. As he got older, he was not as keen on taking pills to make him “normal” and this started his journey that would take him away from our family. Fast forward to today…. When I see him, I recognize him but not as my little brother and my friend. He’s different, despondent, disconnected from reality, in his own shadow world of happiness fueled by nicotine, blank stares and self-soothing behaviors. He reminds me of the homeless guys you see downtown in any city, kinda minding his own business, sometimes in your face begging for money. It hurts to see him this way. We’ve tried every avenue available. There is usually success for a while but then it always slips back. On one of the last occasions I saw Topot, he looked into my eyes but all I saw was this blank stare. I felt his eyes should have connected with mine but the forces in his head created difficulty. Having a loved one who’s dealing with a severe mental health issues is daunting. Not a joke. Certainly heartbreaking!


10 Responses to “My Brother: My First Friend”

  1. mofunk Says:

    Thanks for sharing Tafari.


  2. Shanti Says:

    I can completely empathize. I’m praying for your family.


  3. G. Greg Wells Says:

    Thanks for sharing that story bruh.


  4. Anna Says:

    It is heartbreaking … but having lost both my older brother and sister this past year, all I can say is hold on as tight as you can. Be the connection … you have strength for both of you.

    My heart is with you.


  5. J V L I V S Says:

    I’m sorry to hear that, man.


  6. los angelista Says:

    Thank you for writing this…and maybe one day there will be meds that let our loved ones who suffer from mental illness feel more like themselves. I sure hope so because the pain of seeing them suffer is real.


  7. Jay Taylor (aka Sirfishalot) Says:

    Thanks for sharing this Tafari. Stay in his corner and don’t ever give up on him. He loves you even if he seems to lack the ability to express it. People need to have more understanding, tolerant and helpful to those who are struggling because it could easily be anyone of us in a similar state of mind. I’m a firm believer in intercessory prayer as it helped change my life dramatically. I will definitely keep you guys in prayer!


  8. Craig Says:

    Man, I am so with you on this. Having family members with mental illness. It is heart wrenching and emotionally debilitating. It’s such a game of hope, and the odds never seem in your favor. The way you pray for the off chance that person will “be themselves” or better still recognize you from whatever self they are…

    I can’t even finish writing, that’s how much it hurts.


  9. Tafari Says:

    Friends, thanks so much fir the feedback and support. Mental illness is not a sexy topic and many are afraid to talk about it. Im happy that I moved past my fear and started a discussion on something that affects many families.


  10. CAP Says:

    Been meaning to thank U for sharing this for awhile. Being a family member or child of someone with emotional/mental damage is INDESCRIBABLE … there really are no words to sufficiently express how heart-wrenching it is. All I know how to do is pray and keep living to the best of MY ability. I may need to post something about this…. not sure I’m ready to look this reality in the eye, yet. But your post has helped. Thanx again!



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