Monday, October 19, 2009

Someone once said that time and hope are all you can depend on when mental illness touches your family. That person could not have been more insightful. This past weekend was quite eventful for my family. One, my brother was finally released from the hospital (after a seven month stay). Second, I surprised my family with the news that my husband and I are expecting  our first baby. What made the announcement even more meaningful was the fact that my brother was there to hear it. And finally, Josh met his niece for the very first time.
I know now that part of Josh's improvement occurred shortly after his return home from the hospital. He could not WAIT to be out of that confined institution. I understand how spending most of your young adulthood in a mental hospital can actually hinder recovery. If anything, I hope Josh realizes that working on recovery will keep him out of that place. 

Upon his release, Josh finally shaved his beard and cut his hair. Two things he refused to do while in the hospital. I think that was his way of regaining control since everyone was telling him what to do and when to do it. Now that he is home, it is like we have the old Josh back. He was able to hold his niece for the very first time. It's hard to believe that months ago, when he became an uncle, he did not believe we were his family members or that he had a niece. It is amazing how you have to force yourself to ignore these delusions. I still remember when my sister was still pregnant and we came to town to attend a family meeting. He looked at us with a blank stare and said he was not our brother and in no way would her baby be related to him. Of course, it was hard to hold back the tears at that moment but not because he hurt our feelings, rather, we realized how strong of a hold this illness had on our brother. 

Me, Joshua, Whitney and our niece Arden, my mom made Arden's hat, sweater and booties:)

Joshua is the most sensitive, kind and loyal person I have ever known. I am not surprised that this illness continues to take advantage of him. I hope that in the future he will think of the time he first held his niece in his arms. Maybe that moment will give him strength to fight this illness and choose recovery. After all, it is up to him and only him. We are simply here to help guide his way, nothing more nothing less.