I couldn't focus in school. I was so happy I had a little part time job at the college library. It was a quiet, productive time in my day. Even though I spent most of my time taking books from the shelves about mental disorders, scaring myself and reading of the horrors of old mental institutions and treatments, but it was a safe place for me. I loved to linger in the Arts section and let my eyes wander around paintings from France and Italy and then I could go over and relive history, the biographies of Lenin and Stalin, writings of Marx and Trotsky- imagining if I was part of the Bolshevik revolution, or in the Easter Rising in Dublin in 1916; I could read of secrets of Freemasonry and creation myths... I was in wonderland here, all up in my own head.
By day, I tried to keep busy in school and on weekends at work, another mental institution, hahaha, and at night visiting the body of what I knew as my brother, but now...
"Sean!" I whispered a little surprised, "Where'd you get that pencil?"
He made a face like why, what's the problem? Then he said in a funny voice, mocking the rules, "What, I'm not allowed to have pointy things?" and with a smile gently jabbed it toward me.
A nurse had told my mom that the robe and clothes she brought for him he put down the laundry shoot and they couldn't find them. He thought this was funny.
The nurses said he was charming and funny and did devilish little things like that. He had switched around the patient name tags that were on a panel outside each door- I kinda thought that was funny, too. The nurses also said that he was not sleeping.
We had asked if we could bring his guitar in. They allowed us to. He was o happy to see it, and to hold it. He looked right again. He sat on his bed and played. Patients and nurses gathered around to listen. Every one loved him there. This was a good visit.
At night, they were giving him doses of meds that could knock out a 300lb man, Sean was 5'9" and about 140-150 lbs. He would ghost the halls and go into other patients rooms while they were sleeping. He would sit up at the nurse's table while they did there work while the patients slept. The one younger nurse liked him. She said to me, "Yeah, your brother keeps me company at night."
He told me later, "They give me heroin in here."
Sean was not improving, i.e. coming back to reality- I could tell since he liked being there. A doctor allowed him to stay for another week.
This second week, was not as trippy for him. The phone rang one day. "Where the hell are you guys?" He sounded angry. We tried to explain to him and he would say, "Just get me the fuck out of here." Every hour it seemed of every day he was calling home asking why he was there and when he was coming home. I hated to hear the phone ring. My stomach would get sick and no one wanted to answer it, but we always did. He said he didn't want us to come there unless we were taking him with us.
One night, we had a meeting with a doctor who had a strong accent; he was from some country in Africa. Sean sat up on his bed; the soft lamp light behind him, the only light in the room. I sat at the foot of his bed and my parents sat in chairs across from me. The doctor explained that Sean was allergic to marijuana and that was why he flipped. I liked this doctor; he was friendly and took his time with us and seemed to like Sean. Sean stared at the bed, scowling,hating this man, slightly shaking his head, disagreeing with the diagnosis ands prognosis- no more weed.
Around St. Patrick's Day, Sean came home. Heavily medicated on Depakote and Abilify. It was hellish having him back home. His first night. He sat up like a child in bed, not wanting our mother to leave his side. He said that a guy from work was coming to get him. Mom spoke to him like he was 6 again. "No one's going to get you. The house is all locked up. Dad won't let anyone hurt you."
His eyes were serious, "No. Not even Dad can stop him. He'll come in my window."
T.V. frightened him. We put PBS on, we thought was a safe channel. It was late at night and there was an ad for a play in Philly. They flashed a face with a slightly deformed face mask, a mask that maybe one would wear if playing the Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Sean's fear heightened.
"Why do they have to show things like that!"
Our mom said answered, "Sean... it's just a mask. You can see it's just a guy dressed up."
"It scares me!"
We changed to the game show channel, this one seemed safer. I sat on his floor doing a crossword to keep my mom company as she sat up with him. As I got too tired to stay awake, she said, "Go downstairs..." She slept in the reclining chair next to his bed.
It went on like this for a while. He would lay on the couch during the day, and his face would twitch and grimace involuntarily, his hands trembled.
At night, he couldn't sleep. He said he couldn't stop adding the numbers of the clock. He was near tears saying he felt he was going to be tortured. He kept flashing back to the catheter. He said he felt like he was tied down. Soon, he was prescribed Seroquel, along with his other meds.
After a while, we believed he stopped taking his meds. He would stand in the kitchen with a tall glass of milk, pop in his pill, drink some milk and walk away with the glass, maybe spitting the pill into the glass, and going up to his room. He would throw up after his meds. He said they made him sick, so he wasn't getting them then for sure. It was torture for him to be on a med schedule. At the hospital, once I found a pill on the floor, under his bed. I don't know if it was his or not.
My mom suggested he play his guitar, to keep his mind off things. He angrily replied he couldn't control his hands, how was he supposed to play.
My mom and I took many walks as Spring was approaching. It was how we kept sane- thank God winter was over!
As it got even warmer and greener out, I took Sean outside and tried to teach him some Yoga relaxation. He couldn't keep focused on it and went back inside. Sometime during the spring and into summer months he weaned himself of his meds and began to feel better, back to normal. That September he even got a job at a place my best friend was working at.
He began going to church every Sunday. He was excelling at his new job. He got baptized and made a beautiful speech before the congregation that got people crying. We though he back from his detour and on the right road.
On a summer spirited day in September, I came home from school and Sean was wandering around our yard drinking from a thermos I had never seen. Sweating. I found out he had been sitting outside his new job, took his shoes and socks off and wandered off. He had wandered in a yard and asked for water when a lady who answered his knock on a door. He had spent his money on a devil's mask that he hung on a public phone booth, he had tossed his wallet on the side of the street before wandering off. He was eventually picked up by the cops.
It was going to be another 7-10 days at the Crisis Center. This time he wasn't there to revive the music, he was there to spread the Gospel. He was back to spinning stories in dizzying, manic logic.