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News of the nephews

When I think back and remember what a loveable little boy my oldest nephew Mick used to be, and I look at the young man he's become, I can't help but wonder what on earth happened to him. He started acting out when he was 13, but we thought it was just the onset of puberty; e.g. he got into trouble with the police by breaking in and stealing materials from a building site. When he was 16, we found out he had a tendency to self-harm. He's had periods of severe depression and has attempted suicide on more than one occasion. He thought he might be transgender, and got accepted into a counselling programme prior to having a sex change...then changed his mind about two years later. He's run away from home more times than we care to remember, ending up in squats all over the country, sliding into drug abuse and petty crime (shoplifting). He's dropped out of every school or vocational training he's ever signed up for and at 21, has no qualifications and no prospects. Two years ago, he was diagnosed as having severe bipolar disorder; today, the latest round of psychiatric assessment has labelled him schizophrenic. Yet when all's said and done, he's still our lovely, likeable boy underneath. Whatever is to become of him?

Meanwhile, it looks as if his little brother Romeo is heading back into hospital to have yet another operation to his lymph nodes. His neck/jaw area is full of lumps and bumps again that will need draining very soon. The infection has now been raging in his lymphatic system for a full 5 months -- yet his doctors are satisfied that it's nothing more than a case of cat scratch fever?

With all this going on, is it any wonder I like to escape from reality by looking covetously at footwear? Which reminds me, I was going to show you these I bought the other day:

To be honest, I'm not very excited by them, but they'll come in handy one day, I'm sure.


( 6 Speak Like A Child — Shout To The Top )
Apr. 12th, 2010 05:27 pm (UTC)
The poor lads - life is not being easy on either of them, is it? which is not good news for their Mum or yourself either.
Apr. 12th, 2010 05:46 pm (UTC)
Not really, though Romeo seems to be taking things in his stride. He's not even worried about the way he looks anymore, which is great, as we've been told there's a chance the lumps may not be disappearing, in which he will have to wait until he's 18 before he can have plastic surgery.
Apr. 12th, 2010 10:18 pm (UTC)
This is bullsh*it. I think you guys ought to take that kid for a second, third and fourth opinion. Cat Scratch Fever my ass. I know it can be serious, but FIVE WEEKS?

As the sister of an addict, I can vouch for the fact that it never goes away. You just cling to the good periods and try to forget how you wished they were dead during the bad periods. The thing about drugs and mental illness is: I always wonder if it's a chicken/egg situation. Drug-induced imbalance, or self-medicating in an attempt to ease the pain and symptoms of the imbalance in the brain. My sister - when she's not on drugs - is everything a sister ought to be for me. But when she's using, it's a nightmare. :( As they grope towards diagnosis and treatment for Mick, I hope your family clings tight to the memory of the boy and keep on trying to get him well. We still don't have a proper diagnosis to the other sister that I lost to mental illness.
Apr. 13th, 2010 02:10 pm (UTC)

Wish it were only five weeks, but no, it's MONTHS. He was first hospitalised a few days before his eighth birthday (Dec 8th). Anyway, I will keep urging my sister to seek another opinion.

The thing about drugs and mental illness is: I always wonder if it's a chicken/egg situation.

I've been wondering the same for years: is it nature, nurture, or a combination of both? My sister, Mick's mother, went through a pretty wild time when she was younger, and both she and Mick's father were addicts...actually, it's their drug use that brought them together. It wasn't until his father left when Mick was 6 (and Soraya a baby of 6 weeks old) that my sister cleaned up her act for the sake of the children, but by then, I wonder if it may not already have been too late for Mick.

And I wonder if my sister may not have succombed to drugs so easily because of our father's alcoholism, which marred our childhood years (until he sought help and overcame it, but by then we had left home already).
Apr. 16th, 2010 03:28 am (UTC)
It does seem to me that parents damage their children even when they don't mean to. My father too was an alcoholic, he's only been forced to reign in his drinking because he got gout and it became too painful! I do think that made more of an impression on my sister than me, but I'm unsure if I can blame that for the way she is.

What I am sure of is that my sister's passed it on to her oldest child, who's got a terrible substance problem (currently only alcohol) and is just a very angry young man. So much so that I consider it an achievement that we managed to keep him out of jail until he was 18! But not after that, haha. (I set our family a target of 16 for him, so we did quite well. You could tell from when he was 10-11 that he had problems) His sister (who is just 18) spurns drugs and can't understand the appeal, but has been drinking a cask (4L) of goon (cheap cask wine) a week for a while now and thinking that's value for money.

So it's a cycle - at least in my sister's case. I think it can be broken, though whether the in-utero exposure to drugs is damaging them as well is anyone's guess. It seems we do enough damage after they are born.

I do think I had much the same upbringing as my sister, though I got religion in my teens and didn't even start drinking until I reached 18. My mother wasn't keen on my going to church like I did, but I did prevent me from mucking up too bad. :) Not that I was ever likely too anyway. I don't really have it in me like my sister does.
Apr. 17th, 2010 11:20 am (UTC)
Not that I was ever likely too anyway. I don't really have it in me like my sister does.

How eerily alike we are in that respect! I only have the one sibling, and there is just a 15-month gap in our ages; but sometimes I have to pinch myself in order to believe that we're related. Having grown up in the same household, we couldn't be more different; and I often feel as if I must have been an only child, as apart from our genes, we have so little in common.
( 6 Speak Like A Child — Shout To The Top )
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