Not a Day Promised

Battling mental illness through education and resources. "Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance." Proverbs 1:5

Monday, November 2, 2020

They Weren't Just Brothers

by Julie Brooks

(The original date of this Facebook post was 10/20/2017.)

This is one of my favorite pictures of Carson and Pierce.

They weren't just brothers. They shared the the same mental illnesses...bipolar and OCD. 

They could relate to one another in a way that no one else in the family could understand; it was that kind of bond. Carson was diagnosed in 9th grade, and Pierce was diagnosed in 5th grade. Carson felt protective of Pierce in certain situations. 

They went through two psychiatrists together. When we began visits to the second psychiatrist, whose office was on the 2nd floor, Carson would always wait for me at the bottom of the stairs until I was ready to go up. His fear that something would happen to me or our family was very real to him. I was the person he told everything to. He always wanted to tell me if he had done anything wrong. 

The medicines prescribed by these psychiatrists unfortunately never stabilized Carson's bipolar illness. He always told us that he would never take his life because he knew how much pain it would cause the family. But, it was his pain that he could not get away from.

Some may think suicide is a selfish act, when a loved one takes their own life. So not true. We merely observe their suffering. They experience overwhelming and real mental anguish, great enough that their suicidal ideation turns into an irrational but final decision; the only way to stop their chronic suffering.

After Carson took his life, the Lord made a way for Pierce to begin seeing a third psychiatrist. And with this change, Pierce's bipolar & OCD are for the most part stable. Praise God!

Those who suffer from bipolar have different triggers that cause different levels of mood swings. Even the time change (Daylight Savings) is very difficult. Difficulty sleeping is something normally associated with bipolar, and can be very difficult to regulate. Those with bipolar are rarely able to enter the REM part of the sleep cycle. Medication is usually necessary for just this condition alone.

Pierce entered his 6th grade school year one month after Carson took his life. Our middle school did everything they could to make provisions for Pierce to come back to public school. I felt that I would never agree to homeschooling, that the LISD was the best for our children. But, the grieving and stress made Pierce's bipolar worse. It was very hard in the beginning, but I can honestly say I had the pleasure of homeschooling Pierce. It was a pleasure, and I have said it many times, it's because of the kids (especially with a mental illness) and the adults that had already braved the homeschooling way before me. The are my heroes. Their understanding is how I made it through each day. 

One beautiful gift we still have of Carson's is a Thank You note he wrote to Pierce. It said, "Pierce, you are an amazing lil bro, you are my fuel to do better and I am very proud of you. Keep up the good work and keep with God." Carson wanted to be better. It was so sad to see him suffer. 

#mentalhealtheducationisthekey #suicideawareness #hope4mh #hoperising #mentalillness

#lovethispictureofmyboys!

Monday, October 26, 2020

He'd Be Married Now

by Julie Brooks

(10/18/2019 Facebook Post)

I am continuing to share stories about Carson, leading up to his birthday 10-23-91. He would be turning 28 years old.

One of the difficult realities about loosing a child or loved one (especially to suicide) is you wonder during each future year...would he be married...children by now? I am pretty sure Carson would have reached both of those milestones.

Carson loved family, and he was always so proud to tell people that Todd and I had been married for for so long. 

Carson, his siblings and cousins loved visiting their MawMaw & Pawpaw in Temple, where Todd and I grew up. Everyone would play cards, board games or even a game of croquet.

My Mom would make big breakfasts; pancakes, waffles, French toast and other treats (they didn't get at home). Mom would always warn, especially Carson, that he was going to choke on the amount of powdered sugar he put on his waffles.

Carson enjoyed those times, but the return home was always returned him to the reality of the life he lived inside his unstable bipolar mind. There were few people he trusted, to really let into that painful part of his life. I am thankful Carson would come wake me, at any hour of the night, if he needed to talk. It was heartbreaking at times to feel his emotional pain, and to know that the people he thought would be there for him were not.

Perhaps the most important thing Carson taught me was to listen and trust, to always ask God to show me others the way He sees them...as unrepeatable Miracles. God sees them as He created them, with a purpose. Through God's guidance, it is up to us to help them discover their purpose. 

I miss you Carson. Sometimes tears are the only way I can express how much I miss your presence! 💘

The LORD has called me to listen and minister to those that others can't or won't reach out to! I am dangerously surrendered to the LORD...SEND ME! ❤