Let's Be Real For A Second/The Truth
The thing about having an online presence is that you can literally choose what you show and what you hide. You could portray your life to be super joyful and happy all the time- when in reality nobody's life is without obstacles and hardship. I, for one have always been so open with you guys and recently I haven't been- and I'm sorry.
My main reason for all i do is to help people. To encourage, bring hope, and let you know that you definitely aren't alone. I do this by sharing my experiences and things I've been through.. if my story helps just ONE person, it's all worth it.
There's one situation/story that takes up a huge part of my mind every day, but I've struggled to find a way to explain it in a way that truly reflects the person/s involved and feelings surrounding the situations. I've come to realise that there will never be a 'right' or 'wrong' way to tell this story. It's filled with happiness, tradgedy, anger, fear, and so much more- anything you can think of- I've felt it in relation to all this. But I'm going to take a step outside of my comfort zone for a second in the hopes that this story may help someone.
*Warning* this story contains drug use and sensitive subjects.
Growing up I'd have confidently classed my big brother as my best friend. Same sense of humour, same love for adventure, and he was my biggest protector. We fought all the time, but we could never stay mad for long. We were only about a year apart in age, so a lot of friends we shared. For a few years in our teens we would meet before and after school, and, along with our friends, just chill out and have a good time. Among this time his rebellious behaviour started. He started lying, smoking cigarettes, getting in fights, and occasionally stealing small things like food or loose change. He was ditching school a lot, and started to hang out with people, who didn't have such a great impact on such an impressionable teen (although ultimately everything he did was his own responsibility). This was the time I felt us getting further apart and I hated it. We were running out of things in common and he became more protective of himself in terms of not getting in trouble, and meanwhile I was very athletic and threw myself into sports like rowing. I started going along to church and he began what would be a long period of rebellion.
The following year he became very distant. He moved out super young- I think this was in a moment of anger about being in trouble or grounded, but I vividly remember the first time one of our mutual friends told me he'd been doing drugs. I remember just feeling so gutted. This was not the incredibly smart person I looked up to. It couldn't be. For most of High school I'd had a hard time- I cared so much about what people thought and not enough about who I really was as a person. I put on this 'I don't care' persona and it was a way to cope, but also in a way I still wanted to be like my big brother. Underneath it all I was failing classes, not eating well, self harming, and ditching school sometimes. I was miserable. After a while I pretty much lost contact with him. If I heard about him, it would be through a mutual friend who'd seen him at a party or a rave over the weekend, and most of the time I was told he was very drunk and/or under the influence of drugs. I remember being so so mad because I needed him and I felt like he chose drugs over me.
Throughout the city many people knew his name due to the owing of money or drugs, or through a rumour. Either way, I became known as his sister. That was my identifier to everyone who knew him.. and that's what I became known as. It didn't bother me at first, because I felt I'd always be on his side. But after a while I felt like I needed to make my own impression and let people see who I really was- so I became friends with these people and got myself into the same peer pressure situation that he had once found himself in. I saw first hand how easy it was for a teenager like him to access drugs and alcohol. I quickly stopped seeing these people (thank goodness), but I started to realise how deep in he was.
Over the next year and a bit he got in trouble with the law a couple times, and I am honestly surprised he didn't get incarcerated at some point. He also moved about 5 hours away, so my hopes to see him around town were crushed and all I could do from that point was worry for him and hope that someday his drug days would stop. For a long, long time I heard nothing. I lived life with worry for him, and tried to play it off as no big deal. If I acknowledged how important he was to me, I felt like I'd just crumble. I'd needed him more than ever over those past few years and he needed drugs. It was a hard pill to swallow (no pun intended) and I started to become bitter. Every day I didn't hear from him was a day I'd make up reasons in my mind as to why he didn't call. Maybe he didn't care? Maybe he lost his phone again? Maybe he's passed out on the side of the road? Who knew.
The next time I heard from him was from a psychiatric hospital. He spoke to me over the phone, and in the 3ish minutes we spoke, he went through happy, sad, angry, confused, and told me he loved me. Hearing him in that state, so affected by drugs, shattered me. I was living in a flat by myself at the time, and he was released from hospital to my parent's house. I was sooo excited that he'd be close again. I thought everything might get back to normal. He might get back to his old smart, hilarious, fun self! ....but that wasn't the case. The person that came back wasn't the person I knew. It was like I had to try and get to know him all over again. In front of me I saw a person that looked a lot like my brother, but hugely altered by so many drugs that I didn't recognise the person inside. A mix of synthetic and other drugs, over a long period of time, while his brain was still developing had taken a toll. The person I was speaking to would forget what he was saying mid sentence and stare off into the distance, and would repeat himself many times without realising it. I wouldn't see him very much because I hated seeing him like that.
Now, I wish I had. He ended up moving away again and before long, ending up in the same phsychiatric hospital- allegedly after making his own synthetic drugs with various chemicals. I spoke to him over Facebook a few times and he would mention stories from our childhood that I knew weren't close to true but in his mind he was convinced they were. The hospital again discharged him after five days. With no follow up help.
I feel like what happens afterwards isn't something I'm yet willing to discuss on the internet. Out of respect for all involved. However I need to stress something to you guys- and I feel like this is not something that's taught as often as it should be.. if you see someone using/abusing drugs, TELL SOMEONE. The person may not love you for it, but in a lot of cases it becomes a case of life and death. I lost my intelligent, kind, hilarious, and talented brother to drugs a long time ago. He became someone he wasn't. It ripped apart family, and hurt so many people in the process. I lost my best friend. I will forever be waiting for his advice or for him to say he's proud of me. I lost my biggest protector. And for what? A temporary high? I'll tell you first hand- it's not worth it.
I wish nobody had given my brother drugs at 16, I wish somebody would've stopped him, I wish somebody would've told someone if they saw him passed out or so high he couldn't even remember his name... if someone had said something before it was too late. You could potentially save a life by telling someone. Or by not selling a kid drugs. I encourage you, no matter how 'uncool' it may feel, say something. It's so important.
Love you guys, take care of each other, take care of yourself.
Till next time, ✌️