MENTAL ILLNESS not only affected my brother changing his life completely, it also changed the family dynamics. His health changed my life and the way I thought about life. Yes, I did wonder if it could happen to me, so I began to think about everything I said and did, wondering if I was being understood and sometimes to avoid a misunderstanding I did not say anything. After seeing what Nathaniel was going through with what seemed to be an over night turn from his norm, I believed that no one was exempt. Later I had to push myself to keep going.
When I was twenty-one years old and diagnosed with diabetes and began my medicine therapy, I did start to feel better, but before I knew I had diabetes I was feeling so sick. I would tell my college friends that I felt like I had “a brick in my head.” It took so much for me to concentrate. I would explain that I could hear what the professor’s were saying, it just took so much to comprehend. On some days it was no problem on other days it was the biggest battle. Of course now with my levels being under better control, I realize that on the days I felt bad and could not concentrate it was because my blood levels were not stable. Now I know the importance of checking my levels. As a college student I had no idea what to do, first I didn’t know what the issue was and I was afraid for a while about my mental health, not realizing that something was wrong with me physically, which was affecting me mentally. Imagine that having to be concerned about Nathaniel and trying to figure out what was happening to me. It took several years to actually get accustomed to taking daily shots and I can’t lie, I was totally rebellious and had the “woe is me” attitude. I actually wrote a poem about it. I felt for so long that what I was going through was not as important as what was happening to my brother. I felt that way for many reasons. First because that was how the situation seemed to be treated by everyone else around me, so I had to adapt to that. It took me many days of being sick from something I may have eaten to realize that if I did not take better care of myself I would be of no help to my Mom or Brother.
My brother often would make negative comments about the illness I had, something on the lines of, “that’s a stupid disease.” Which used to be hurtful at first, but I could see that he was disturbed by my diagnosis, just as I was about his. I used to hope that maybe someday there would be a shot to help him like there was for me. Now there is, and the struggle became getting him to take it.