From the outside, people assume that I live a charmed life, one that has been seamless, perfect and pure. It’s not their fault; I live my life to the fullest and don’t allow anything to affect my happiness.
It isn’t until they notice the tattoo on my shoulder or ask me about my family, in depth, that they begin to understand the perma-smile on my face is a result of fighting through years of darkness — against an illness that is unforgiving and relentless.
Even though I wasn’t the one suffering from the delusions, paranoia and episodes, mental illnesses know no bounds. They affect all those close to the person battling them.
I was born into it. Our 10-year age difference accounts for the fact that my only memories of my brother are post diagnosis. His illness affected me directly. It made it difficult for me to form friendships, participate in activities or think.
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