A Sister's Story
My brother is actually 51 years old and hearing impaired. His speech is affected, and he wears a hearing aid. His whole life he has said he was caught between 2 worlds, the hearing and the deaf world. (without his hearing aid he is legally deaf and cannot hear water running, the wind etc.) He has always been “different” than everyone else. Over the years he has been having these bouts with depression and bizarre behavior. Everyone chalked it up to his “quirkiness”, “moods”, “funks” etc. I always thought he had a drug problem because he had classic cocaine abuse symptoms.
I have worked with substance abuse, mental health and other populations throughout my career in social services. I had tried to tell my mother for years I though my brother had some secret life, and that he wasn’t going to live long. He looked terrible and was addicted to nose spray, slept all the time and was unbelievably irritable. He had high blood pressure and just looked run down. Because of his hearing my parents over compensated for him, and protected him. He lived off a trust that they set up for him and controlled. When he started to go through money like crazy and was coming to them to ask for more almost weekly, they thought maybe he had a gambling problem. I have believed for years he had a drug problem but they dismissed it, because they weren’t ready to even think about that as a possibility.
3 days before Thanksgiving of this year, my brother showed up at their house and he was hallucinating. He thought someone was following him and something was going on in the town, that aliens were coming. They didn’t call 911, they let him in and he slept for 2 days straight. It was during that time my mom called me and told me. I told her he was either mentally ill or doing drugs, and he needed to get checked out. That is when my brother in law ( who is a retired police officer) suggested cutting his hair and sending it in.
My mom said she had to see it for herself because she didn’t want to believe it. Well, he was and yes, his levels were very high. He is now in rehab and has been there since the Dec. 17th. My mom has accepted it and now knows all of his bizarre behavior was due to his drug use and having to lie about it so he could hide it. My mom’s level of denial was very high and it is only because of the test that she now believes he did drugs. All of my siblings and myself would tell her, but she always would say we were to hard on him and we didn’t know what it was like to have a disability. This has completely changed the dynamics in our family for the better. We always were close but now we are even closer. My brother has a big fight in front of them. He was so angry at first when he found out we cut his hair but he couldn’t deny it! He used to say people slipped him something in his drink etc.. When we confronted him he could say nothing. I think because it was confirmed through his hair, it is the only reason my mom accepted it and he couldn’t lie about it. He is where he is today because of it. He has a way to go but I think rehab is a lot better than the Cemetery and that’s were he was headed.
~ Leigh A.
A Sister's Story
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