- Politics and Social Issues
Destroyed by LSD - Bruised and Broken by Hate - How I Learned From My "Special" Brother
As far back as I can remember, my brother has always been "the brain". His IQ was tested at a genius level at a very early age. Of course, this meant he was considered a target in school at all times. From first grade on he was teased, beaten up, had his glasses broken, etc. Yet when someone wanted help on their studies he would be the first they turned to. Nice.
When he was in 11th grade, someone decided it would be a great joke to put LSD in his school lunch to see how he would react. A lot of LSD. They found him wandering the streets later that day yelling and crying about fires all around him. His brain was destroyed. Well, part of it. The part of his brain that handles reality, that knows the difference between real and not real. The part of his brain that handles socializing, self care, etc. That was all destroyed by this fun little joke played by his peers. The part of his brain that can create a computer program in under 3 minutes, the part that can write an equation that none of us can even imagine and can write it correctly, that part survived. Basically, he is now "Rainman", this brother of mine. In the blink of an eye and the playing of a joke, he went from sane and wonderful genius to "Rainman".
I will always remember him growing up. He was the youngest boy, I was the youngest girl and somehow that brought us together in play and friendship during those days before the fall. Or shall I say the push, that took him from me in the worst way. His innocence was gone. My innocence was gone.
For the longest time, as my parents and the rest of our family dealt with this, I was consumed with hatred. Strong, deep, unending hatred. I hated everyone at the school to which I still had to go. They never caught the kids or kid who did the deed. No one ever admitted to it, tho I had my suspicions. I lived off my hatred for the next 20 or so years. Every time I saw or spoke to my brother it was reinforced. I wrote hate letters to the entire city, hate letters to kids I suspected and their parents. I ignored every one's attempt at talking me out of the hate. Counselors, pastors, teachers, parents. They all tried. None succeeded.
One day I was sitting and trying to have a conversation with my brother. Emphasis on the word trying. He had come to visit me out in CA and I had taken him to Disneyland. We were sitting at an outside table eating french fries drowned in ketchup, the way we both loved them. At least some things had stayed the same. Suddenly he said, completely out of the blue and totally unexpected in it's clarity, "Do you think I'm weird? Some people think I'm weird but I'm not. I am having very much fun. Fun is good. Are you having fun? In your whole life I mean? It is important to have fun."
Wow. I was blown away! For years I had thought that he couldn't conceive of certain concepts. Fun and being weird being just a few of them! That day at Disneyland, that talk over fries drowning in ketchup, that was the biggest eye opener of my life. We spoke at length about how he was not weird, but one of the most special people in the world. We spoke of fun and how there had to be fun in life. He told me he had a "sort of" idea on what had happened to him. I asked him if he was angry. He then spoke a sentence that I will hold on to for the rest of my life and beyond. "Being angry is stupid. Then you can't have fun."
Words to live by. Words from the mouth of one of the most wronged people on the planet, in my opinion. Words we all must heed at one time or another in our lives.
It's been three years since I received a call from his caseworker. He had been living independently for many many years. He has a job as a dishwasher, has a friend he goes to the movies with, does artwork at a center. When we moved my parents out to be with us in CA due to their declining health, he decided to stay there. His choice. He was happy. He was having fun.
I have been in touch with him twice a week on the phone. We send letters by old fashioned "snail mail". He sends me pictures of the latest art projects he has done.
His caseworker called me to tell me someone had assaulted my brother. He was walking to his friends house a few doors down and someone had beaten him up severely. His face was bashed in, his ankle broken, he had a concussion. Before they took him to surgery, they had to check to see if he had any brain damage. Ironic, that. They asked him what had happened and who did this to him. His answer was this:
"I don't know. Someone should call my boss and tell him I can't work today. I don't remember who did it. Someone who isn't having fun. I hope they have fun soon."
There it is. My brother's take on life. I flew there the next morning to be with him. He needed special care for a while to stay off his ankle until it healed. The caseworker and doctors are told us it was best for him to stay there and not move out here to be with us. He had a traumatic experience and moving him out of the life he has created for himself would have caused more trauma. So,I went to be with him. We did eat fries drowned in ketchup and talk. We colored some and admired his artwork. I found someone to be with him full time for some months. I couldn't bring him back with me, I couldn't stay. My 8 (now 11) year old daughter needs me here.
His caseworker is an angel from heaven as far as I'm concerned. She had assured me he will be well taken care of and he was, and still is. She knew I'd be calling her two to three times a day after I leave there, and she was fine with that.
He's going to be okay. He's all healed. He will go to his movies, create his art, wash his dishes. But most of all, he will have fun.
- NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness - Mental Health Support, Education and Advocacy
The National Alliance on Mental Illness is a nonprofit, grassroots, self-help, support and advocacy organization of consumers, families, and friends of people with severe mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression, ob