Ladies and Gentlemen: My Brother

Dear Internet,

Because when it rains, it pours. Obviously.

My brother and I have had a tumultuous relationship stretching back to our teen years, but we’ve more or less made it work within the last few years with us living in the same city. When TheSoonToBeExHusband and I split, I started tapping those veins of people I’ve helped in the past financially to get some monetary relief as I was not bringing in a reliable income due to my writing sabbatical.

By this I mean, my brother.

I have a lot of open credit but after finally getting my credit in a really good place within the last few years AND not having currently having reliable income to pay it off every month, I was loathed to depend on credit to get me through the next six or so months.

So I asked him for a loan of $3K with a promise to return it back doubled when my divorce settled.

This was in late August.

He agreed to “whatever he could afford” and we were to meet up that weekend. Plans changed and near weekly, I’ve sent him a variation of the following text: “I’m leaving in X weeks. Please come by and pick up your generator and if you can, the money you can lend.”

For weeks he either ignored the text OR responded I needed to make shit right with our mother. I wish her the best of luck and wish her a long and happy life, but I have no intention of making up with her. This is why I grabbed a screenshot with the October 3 date in addition to today’s exchange, as proof of his lack of response.

In his late teens and early ’20s, he “borrowed” thousands from me to pay off his then credit card and medical debt (close to $15K).  Later, I also loaned him money to help with the deposit of his house. In 2005/06 when he needed money AGAIN because I was so weary of lending to him without making a dent in the past debt, I have a letter signed by him that was witnessed by a third-party with his intent to pay all of it back with interest.

After a few half-hearted payments he stopped, despite years of promises he would pay it all back. I didn’t even want all of it back or even half, just SOMETHING to show good faith.

Shortly after that, he started the training on becoming an electrician.

He now makes nearly $100K a year. He has a near or slightly over 800 credit score (he brags about it, how I know these things).

He has recently purchased a 2014 or 15 truck, cost was about $55K. Last year he bought and paid off (or nearly paid off) a $10K boat.

He also spends thousands on the restoration of cars and other big ticket hobbies.

So I would have thought that me asking for $3K (or anything really), given my own earning power (I made $62K a year while at my old MPOW. I’m now applying for jobs in my new area like mad that are all in the same range) and my credit history is top notch and how much I’ve loaned HIM over the course of his life AND WITH INTENT TO PAY BACK DOUBLE — would have been some kind of, “Hey. Lisa isn’t going to fuck me out of this.”

I was apparently wrong. But I’m not surprised.

Below is the text conversation from today. His last pot shot to me (not in the below exchange) was, “so get on twitter and report to the masses how bad a person I am.”

You asked and I delivered, dear brother. Don’t say I don’t keep my promises.

(Click for the full image. It reads left to right, top to bottom.)



P.S. After this exchange, I went through and unfriended his dormant FB account (he activates and deactivates depending if he’s looking to hook up with someone or not), people I’m related to by blood, and any of his and our mutual friends. Some of them were feeding him information because he knew things that were only published on FB when his account was dormant at the time.

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2013

she rides the sky in a chariot drawn by the horse Hrimfaxi

Dear Internet,

This has been my normalized state as of late; the moods cycling like the ever changing weather. I get some work done until my brain decides to be broken and then I stop. I rest. I wait. And then I do what I do best, I hide.

It does not take me long to get tired of these routines, because they are not healthy and also frustrating as fuck. I have shit to do and having a broken brain is not pushing me forward. So I do what anyone in their right mind does in these situations, I make a plan.

I went over that plan with Dr. P. Monday and there were a lot of tears spilled as I spoke (though to be fair, I probably would have cried at the leaves rustling I was so heightened by emotion). And I’m sure, absolutely sure, when this is all said and over, there will be more spilt tears and my own heart is going to be broken a million times over. That was hard to swallow, that realization I had to do this not only alone but that I was going to break my own heart repeatedly to get through to the other side.

A big chunk of that plan is getting back on the drugs. Two weeks ago I contacted my GP to make an appointment to get that recommendation. But her schedule for such matters isn’t free until mid-September. With my appointment with Dr. P. much sooner, I asked him for recs to see if I can get this quick started earlier. I am not in crisis, but I am in pain.

(For those of you playing at home, my previous medicating therapist, Dr. H., is not being contacted for this next journey because he does not take insurance and charges $300/hr. YAY being crazy!)

That conversation with Dr. P. on Monday was the apex of the appointment and I thought my request was easy enough. Apparently, not quite. There is an aging population in Grand Rapids in regards to psychiatry so finding someone to do treatment AND within my insurance network can and could be difficult. Dr. P. gave me a few easy things to begin the search while I wait to see my GP.

The first was to search my provider’s website for medicating therapists, which surprise, turned up no results. They want me to go through the GP first. Okay, sure. That appointment is already made in September. What’s the next step? The second of Dr. P.’s recommendations was to go through a local psychiatric hospital and get in on their day patient list to see a medicating therapist whose sole job is to keep my meds inline.

This is the same hospital where Mumsy was committed after she attempted suicide back in 2001. I can still recall the emotional naked vulnerability of the patients and how desperate I was (and still am!) to not end up in that place. That was my arrogance then, how I was that much stronger than they were. I could handle myself better. I was faster, stronger, and more in control of my disease. Jesus, even as I write this I cannot believe this is how I often feel at times. Like they are weak and I’m the superhuman who could save the world. (But I can’t and my own arrogance is also my own shame.)

Even when I had been adamant for ages on not getting back on the drugs again, it changes because often I feel defeated about my brain. I feel so fucking broken at times that everything with me is opposite of what is supposed to happen. Giving up on the drugs, claiming it is easier to go without then to fix, seems reasonable after you been psychotic because of drug interactions. It all seems reasonable. (It really isn’t.)

But I am telling you, seeing people get their lives together and seeing someone have pure unadulterated joy can begin the digging deep of what you need to change one’s mind. And there is a LOT OF DIGGING.

Here is where the system falls short. The phone calls I’ve been making to the psychiatric hospital? There is a wait. There is always a wait. I am not in crisis, so my needs are not as important. Yes, there is no reason for me to continue being in pain (or suffering), but I am waiting. This is my life now, I wait.

I leave messages and wait for phone calls that come a day later. Which, of course, I miss because I did not hear my phone ring or I’m on the another line. When I return the call, no one answers, and it goes directly to voicemail. I leave my message and the clock resets. This has been the theme of dealing with this hospital this week. They have still yet to return my latest telephone call and it has been over 24 hours. (And they still have not returned my call.)

This morning, however, luck finally decided to hitch herself to my side. I tried the third path of Dr. P.’s which was to call several medicating therapists offices directly and see if they were taking new patients and if they took my insurance. Snake eyes. One of them accepts my insurance AND she’s accepting new patients.

Thank the gods in all their glory for listening to me again.

But there is a catch. (Always.) I need to get my GP to sign off on it (medicating office will fax her the referral, they will fax their assent. Since I already have an appointment with the GP next month, this quickens that process and I can more than likely cancel the appointment). Then my records from Dr. H. need to be sent over, which is a truck load. Then they need to pull my records from 2005 when I was outpatient at another local psychiatric hospital. They can pull out the full list of my drugs from all of the combined records and figure out what drugs I need to get on next. (No SSRIs and no ADHD drugs. Definitely not. I am not depressed. If the bipolar gets stabilized, then I will not need the ADHD drugs.) Then they can schedule me in as a new patient, probably in early October. Now I have a time frame.

Nine years ago, not long after TheBassist and I broke up and I was simultaneously preparing for undergrad graduation, I started looking at getting a more definite clue as to the status of my brain. I wanted nothing more than to be stable and ready for the new life ahead of me. After receiving the results, I said,

There are three main things I want to accomplish with this:
1. I want to be stable. I want to not to feel the alternating mood swings, crying jags, suicidal thoughts, and what have you on a almost daily basis. I want to be able to maintain a job, social network, and intimate relationships without feeling like these are difficult things.
2. I want to keep my personality. I like my personality, just tone down the aggressive behaviour and some of the exhibitionist that seems to pop up occasionally. My experience with legal drugs in the past have left me meandering as a zombie and felt like I had zero control; I don’t want to go through that again.
3. Manage my life more efficiently without this constant UP swing that seems to prevail where I get lots of work done coupled with weeks/months of time where nothing is done and shit just slips by.

And here we are nine years later, better in a lot of ways. Able to handle the impulsivity and other traits better. Able to recognize when the crazy hits and when my brain is on fire.

But even with all of that self-check in place, I am still broken by the hypomania that continues to wreak havoc in my life.

But those three tenets from nearly a decade ago? Those have not changed. They were what drove me back to getting on the drugs two years ago and what drives me now. This may be the recurring pattern in my life — get on the drugs, let me body go to war, go off the drugs. Rest. Began the battle again.

I do not want to exist in this place as a mass of water and bone, just waiting it out until I can collect my pension and then one day die. (If I do not take my own life before hand, because this is also a truism. If I cannot get my brain sorted, I have no problems doing just that. Demons not of your making that cannot be exorcised, haunt me.)

I want to have a fucking life. I want to enjoy the world and not be imprisoned in this gilded cage of my own making.



This day in Lisa-Universe: 2013, 2003, 1999


The art of judging character or telling a person’s fortune from the forehead or face

Bors' Dilemma – he chooses to save a maiden rather than his brother Lionel. From  Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris, via Wikipedia.
Bors’ Dilemma – he chooses to save a maiden rather than his brother Lionel.
From Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris, via Wikipedia.

Dear Internet,

I woke Sunday morning buried under the covers and clinging to TheHusband. With my penchant to sleep late on weekends, to make up for the shortened sleep cycles during the week, I was surprised to find it was barely 9AM. The clawing fear of sinking deep again has abated for the morning, but hangs over me like a terrible rain cloud. It was not helped when as I was preparing for bed last night, I remembered I was teaching a college-wide class this week and needed to finish the prep work, thus my anxiety shot through the roof.

After getting out of bed, and spending several hours of catching up on newspaper reading, both this weeks and past editions, TheHusband and I began the yearly house cleaning. We’re having friends over this weekend for the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary, then the following weekend is Thanksgiving which will mean people will be coming and going all weekend. With the addition of my mother-in-law is coming between Christmas and New Year,  we could not procrastinate any longer.

In the past, we’ve divided up the housework one to two days, which is overwhelming for two people in a house as large as Throbbing Manor. TheHusband’s recommendation this year was to break it up into chunks, and pace it over a week, and we decided to start in the Rumpus room in the basement and work our way up.

The Rumpus Room and other rooms in the basement were to get a once over on Saturday, but we ended up not getting to it so we tacked it on to today’s work. Within a couple of hours, we had swept, vacuumed, mopped, dusted, and sorted the Rumpus room, foyer into the Rumpus room, stairs and landings down to the basement, the upstairs pre-foyer and foyer, first floor living room, solarium, and dining room. Monday is the kitchen and downstairs bathroom, Tuesday will be the stairs and landing connecting the first and second floors, then Wednesday will be our bedroom and respective bathrooms. Thursday I’ll be on campus for roughly 12 hours as I’ve organized an author’s reading so no cleaning, and I’m off on Friday. So whatever we don’t absolutely get done will be done on Friday and allow for any other errands I need to run.

We were done with Sunday’s bits within a few hours, which beats the usually 8-10 hours it takes us to get the whole house down, giving us time to do whatever else we planned for the rest of the day. The one task I’ve been dreading all week is responding to my mother, and after much discussion with my shrink about it, opted to send her a decline to her dinner invite for Thanksgiving. I wrote something along the lines that I appreciated the thought, but we must respectfully decline and perhaps another time in the new year. Maybe I’ll be up for talking to her then, maybe I’ll be up to sorting us out, but not now. Not here. Not because my brother is desperate for our family to be whole.

As I paid bills, and did a few other administrative tasks, I kept an eye on the weather – ready to run down to the basement, the dog under my armpit, at the very last minute if need be.

Grand Rapids did not get the brunt end of the storm band as some areas did, but the wind was obnoxious and the rain, sometimes mixed with hail, pelted against the house. TheHusband predicted the storm would passed us by quickly, which it did, but several hours later we’re now getting the second wave. I’m grateful we didn’t get hit hard, and it seems no one I know across the storm’s path were in trouble. Many blessings were sent to the gods and fates for sparing us today.

I fretted, as I always do, about the safety of the house – did shingles get ripped off in the storm, did a leak spring up, did something happen that I may not have been aware of? TheHusband tutted my fears – the house is made of brick and has stood for 90 years and will probably stand for 90 more. He then pretended we were one of the three little pigs and the wind was the big, bad wolf. TheHusband huffed and puffed, and the house did not fall down.


This day in Lisa-Universe: 2010, 2010, 2009