My mind has been going crazy ever since I learned that my brother committed suicide recently, and I don’t know if this post will make any sense, but I feel I have to get my feelings out somehow. Hopefully this might help someone struggling with mental health issues.
My youngest brother was very smart, but like many smart people, he also had his issues, especially social issues. He didn’t have many close friends, and wouldn’t express his feelings, especially as he grew older. He wanted everything organized and was really quite hard on himself, holding himself to an impossible standard. Although never diagnosed, I’m sure he suffered from one or more mental health issues, including possibly depression, OCD, and who knows what else. Most of the time, he seemed fine, but wanted control and balked at anyone changing his schedule.
From what we could tell, things seemed fine. He was studying in college and did well in his classes. My other two brothers attended the same college. We are a religious family, but in college my brother found some websites that railed against our faith, which caused a bunch of doubts to come up in his mind. As far as I know, he still continued living the standards, but lost his faith. These websites gave him nothing to replace it with, so he had nothing to center his life around. We were all concerned about him and tried to help him regain his faith without shoving anything down his throat, but he just couldn’t resolve those doubts.
Later, he transferred schools, getting away from my brothers and starting anew in a city two hours away from the rest of the family. He was basically alone and wasn’t good at making friends. For a semester he seemed fine. He would send us weekly emails, seemed positive, got involved in clubs. But I don’t think it was enough.
I visited him about a month before he took his life. He seemed fine, normal, and liked the way my baby waved at him and played with him. He kept sending emails until the week before he died. They all seemed positive, he had plans for the future. I’m sure underneath it, he felt depressed, but something must have happened during that week to make things much worse. He never sent us anything, but the police found a note on his computer saying that he felt he had nothing to live for. Since he had his own room, he overdosed on sleeping pills and no one found his body for over a week. By then my parents were getting anxious, but no one expected that he had taken his life.
We are all devastated. My baby brother is gone from this life, and I don’t fully understand why. Why did he do this? What set it off? Why didn’t he reach out to us? And I could drown in the what-ifs, but that wouldn’t help anything.
It’s been a hard time, and the only thing that keeps us together is our religion. It’s pretty popular to attack religion these days, but I believe lack of religion is a major factor in my brother’s death. It gives us purpose, and without that, what’s the point? So next time you go out attacking someone’s faith, think about the consequences. How many people are you killing? What’s wrong with letting people believe what they want? Many people claim that the pressure of religion is what drives people to suicide, but in this case, the opposite was true. Sure, some people take their religions to the extreme and exclude others, but for the most part, religious people are more open, empathetic, and caring.
I’m sure people will attack me for this stance, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that we shouldn’t be attacking each other at all. That kid who’s silent, he needs a friend. My brother needed a friend. I’ve needed friends. Don’t think of him as aloof or arrogant. Don’t demonize him. Care for him, because all your other popular friends can have all the friends they want, while the people who need one the most don’t have anyone. And we shouldn’t have a stigma against people with mental health problems. They need a doctor, too. My biggest regret is not getting my brother to a specialist. I don’t know if he would ever have actually gone, and it might have been in vain, but I wish I had tried.
I miss him so much, but I believe I will see him again. His body died, but his spirit lives. And it’s no longer afflicted with the mental health issues that affect physical bodies. No more chemical imbalances.
If you have thoughts of suicide, don’t hesitate to reach out. Life gets better, there are people who care for you, and any damage you think you are doing them right now will be much worse if you actually take your life. It’s not a mercy to them, it’s a terrible blow. There are ways to get past this. Medications that fix your imbalance, professionals who will hear your fears, worries, and problems. You are not worthless, you have infinite value, no matter what you’ve done or failed to do.
At the very least, contact these people: www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org