This small incident has been running through my head pretty heavy. I even had a bad dream and ended up sleepwalking over it.
I think this is an example of why a family needs to take a break from Sz and leave the case study books on the shelf and go and just do as many “normal” family things as possible.
My parents have 5 kids.
Me… I’m diagnosed Sz and I’ve put my family through hell.
The successful brother one year younger then I… Was inspired by another brother to seek professional help for some out of control alcohol and pot use and other issues that have been going on.
The middle brother who has finally gotten a handle on his depression and his addictions and has come back into my life as a friend.
The youngest brother who was just involuntarily admitted and is finally getting some help for some very real problems.
The kid sis, very independent, no mental illness, no drug or alcohol use, has a job, has good grades, fast tracked into college at 17.
So my parents have two sons who are stable, two sons who are getting help to become stable, and one daughter who has never shown signs of weakness.
My parents have been very busy with us sons. It’s been a constant juggle. They have helped us, supported us, propped us up, and kept us boys alive. We have all caused them many sleepless nights.
They haven’t had to worry about the kid sis. (The good ole stable kid sis who never seems to ask for help.)
Last night over a tiny family dinner she mentioned to me casually that she was researching beach permits from the city because she wants her 18th birthday to be a midnight picnic on the beach. You need permit to be on the beaches after hours.
The parents and the middle brother was surprised to realize that yes, their last kid and only daughter/ only sister will be 18 in almost 4 months. ( ) They asked when she was going to let them in on her plans and she said, “I’m sorry, I didn’t think to ask. You guys are so busy with family stuff, I didn’t want to intrude” Jaw drops all around.
Then as she was surprised she said, “But this is just a silly little picnic, it’s not important. You all have more important stuff to take care of.” Meaning mental illness. Because she often says… mental illness comes first.
To put the foot further in her mouth she looked around rather dazed and asked, “If you guys want to come you can.”
To their only daughters/ sisters 18th birthday? Yeah… I bet they might want to show.
Our middle brother asked… "If you ever get married, are you even going to tell us?"
She actually said, “I hadn’t planned on it, I was going to elope so I wouldn’t bother anyone.”
Then my poor Dad almost cried. My brother called her a jerk. I don’t think she’s a jerk, I think we’ve just forgotten how to talk about anything other then mental illness. I just think we’ve sort of forgotten how to do normal family stuff. I think we have forgotten how to leave mental illness on the shelf for a moment and just hang out.
Just as there is more to me then Sz. There has to be more to a family then constant crisis management. There has to be just down time… Please put down the Sz books if you can and don’t let mental illness consume your family. I know my kid sis says mental illness comes first. But I would like to change that to mental wellness should come first.
Find away to not be on guard 24/7… It causes collateral damage.
I’m rooting for us all.