WHAT I'M GRATEFUL FOR: MY BROTHER'S DEPRESSION EDITION
Following my list about my brother's depression, which can be found here: AFTER MY BROTHER SAID "I DON'T KNOW IF I'LL LIVE TO SEE 2015...". A personal perspective of what made a difference to this journey.
- •His therapistShe's an angel. I have no other words to describe her. She gave him life again.
- •Our financial situationKnock on wood, I know there are a lot of things we were able to do simply because we're a middle class family. Most importantly, pay for my brother's therapy.
- •My momQueen. She lived with this cloud over her head 24x7, the only one in my family to do so. It consumed her entire life. She is so incredibly strong, and it is hard to understand what she went through and how it continues to affect her. Heartbreaking quote: "I would go up the stairs to his room every day, never knowing what I'd find on the other side of the door."
- •My dadSometimes, he would be the only person my brother wanted to talk to. I'm glad he could be there and relate to him. He spent every weekday away from the family due to work, scared of what was happening at home and upset that he couldn't be there to support them. It's not easy.
- •My mom's progressivenessYes, my mother gets two bullets because she's a fucking badass. Okay, this woman is so progressive, particularly within the Indian community. My mom encouraged my brother to go to therapy and take medication because she knew that he needed help we could not give him. She NEVER let it seem like it was wrong to get treatment for mental illness.
- •My family's opennessWe REFUSED to shy away from talking about his mental illness with our friends and family. My mom insisted that it was nothing to be ashamed of, so we should be able to have a normal dialogue about it with other people. This is a BIG deal, y'all. Indians don't talk about mental illness or therapy.
- •My positivityI called home the "House of Doom" for a very long time. My dad, mom, and brother were all down. I flew home from college once a month (oh yeah, it was hella expensive) in order to give my parents one weekend of joy and cheer. I was perky and fun and lively at all times. They say it helped.
- •My internship and campus organizationsIt's so easy to use a busy schedule to distract yourself.
- •My breakdownAfter spending the first three months of college pretending like nothing serious was happening at home, I had a breakdown two weeks before Thanksgiving. I'm glad I now recognize you can't shut down your emotions because then, they all get released in a very unhealthy way. Let yourself feel, and then, control it.
- •My not-ex and his familyI'm an out of state student and never go home for Thanksgiving, so I was terrified of being alone for the holiday. One of the only local people I could count on was my not-ex, my former best friend with whom I had a flirtationship that ended up damaging our friendship. He graciously allowed me to come home with him for the holiday even though we hadn't hung out for months.
- •My not-ex's girlfriendShe was going to his place for Thanksgiving and allowed me to come along. She had every right to say no given my past with her boyfriend, especially considering I had only met her once before, but she put my situation above any potential jealousy.
- •My friendsMy best friends are family to me. They talk on the phone with my mom, make jokes with my dad, and buy presents for my brother. By taking on my family as their own, I truly felt like other people understood what I was going through. They also listened to me after I talked about how stressed I was 90% of the time. I needed them, and they never let me feel alone.
- •GodReasons described in my other list. Thank you, God, for giving my family something to cling to. For uniting so many people we know with us in the form of prayers for my brother. For the love my brother received that eventually helped save him.