Mental Health Awareness – about my brother in law, Christopher <3
Schizophrenia awareness – remembering my brother in law
I know it’s a bit passed MHA Week, but I wanted to write about my brother in law Chris, who dealt with Schizophrenia. We should always be reminded that people deal with some kind of mental illness for more than just a week.
I’m not diagnosed with anything so I feel it’s kind a responsibility of mine to remind anyone on the same boat as me that there’s people having a harder time than us. Don’t compare hardships, but we aren’t the only ones struggling is what I’m trying to say.
I wanted to write a post about this earlier before I came to California, but I wasn’t sure if it would be okay. But my husband Alexander brought it up first that I should make a blog post about his bro. So… here it is!
Honoring his decision
My brother in law Chris dealt with schizophrenia and depression. He took his own life this October, wearing his headphones and hoodie. I heard he did it because he believed he needed to make his family suffer less and this was the only way for him. I heard he believed if he left, then the world will get better and better. We can really only respect his decision and live on being better humans, become happier, and stronger.
I think his decision also shows us that people with a mental illness feel they need to leave us physically because we don’t know how to help and their struggle makes us too sad.
It’s hard for family members to deal with a loved one who has such a complex mental illness. It’s also difficult for the rest of us to approach or make relationships with someone who has a mental illness because of what the media says.
Many people take their own lives because of stress, depression, schizophrenia and other mental illnesses, so we should learn to take care of them the best we can and not be scared to help out or make a loving relationship with them.
Maybe if more of us knew about these illnesses, it would be easier to help each other and not judge or look with disgust just because we’re different.
What if it was you?
I didn’t know Chris much, but it was really easy for me to put myself in his shoes. If I had the illness he had, I would just want someone to let me scream and be there for me. Schizophrenia is a really hard illness to take on all by yourself.
It can be tiring for us who aren’t diagnosed with anything because we all have problems in life, but if we work together it can be easier for the ones who deal with those everyday problems AND a whole mental illness.
Let that sink in. Some of us are dealing with problems in our own life and the world, plus having to deal with something in the mind that can’t really be controlled, like schizophrenia for example.
Try to understand that Chris is just like you and me, he just has something going on in his mind that was difficult to control. It doesn’t mean he didn’t enjoy life, make loving relationships, have a busy schedule and wasn’t preparing for a successful future.
I definitely wasn’t doing as much as he was and I wasn’t as busy as him as well.
How to help someone with schizophrenia or other illnesses
For a lot of people dealing with a mental illness, I think just having someone there really helps make it easier. It can be difficult because we are all dealing with our own problems from home, work or school and sometimes we don’t want to put effort and energy on one person who has a harder time. That’s okay.
I mean, if you’re willing and able, have the energy and compassion, you can do your best. If they’re there for you then u can show that you are there for them too.
That’s the great thing about relationships!
Make them feel safe and less alone
Don’t be afraid to bring up talks about self-harm or suicide with someone with a mental illness. Make them feel safe enough to be able to talk about a subject like that with you. Suicide is a real thing that happens and keeping quiet about it isn’t helping. Just make sure you are bringing it up at the right time.
Really sit down with the person and be close to them. Let them know that you genuinely care.
I will end this post with a song from one of Chris’s favorite bands. Circa Survive is one of the first bands I got into so it makes me happy to have a brother in law that likes the same music as me 🙂
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Thanks to Tamaki for letting me use their art on this post. I think it’s super pretty and dreamy. They almost look life-like. I hope you check out more of Tamaki’s art <3