The Caregiver

It’s been a long hard day at work and she’s just about to wind up. Her mum calls saying her 13 year old brother is feeling sick again and doesn’t want to go to school in the morning. Her brother had a nervous breakdown in the middle of his exams last term and hasn’t been well since. The psychiatrist says he maybe bipolar a condition associated with episodes of mood swings ranging from depressive lows to manic highs.

She speaks to him on the phone convincing him to go to school that he’d feel better there than at home. He had spent a couple of months at home and it had been hard to get him to go to school again.  He cried on the phone and finally relented to the words of advice from his sister.

Her mum came on the line again. She was a constant support to her parents and helped them both emotionally and financially. They had come to depend on her. She solved her mum’s problem something about an ache in the arm.

On days she went to meet her brother she spent hours trying to bring him out of his depressive states. As he grew older she helped him with all the things he had come to depend on her for. She helped him with assignments, speaking to the Principal when he couldn’t sit for exams, giving him regular pep talks and trying to keep him balanced with regular visits to the doctor and a check on all his medication.

He faltered many times. Always going through obstacles, sometimes quitting and letting go of things he had worked hard for. She always somehow brought him on track by her careful counseling and helped build his confidence.

She was a busy woman held a high position in a company and worked hard for her living. Although she had her own family but always got caught up with her parents troubles and brother’s well being. While in the office she continually checked on everybody through the telephone. 

There were moments of anxiety even for her and sleepless nights. She quietly took pills without telling anyone. She battled her own demons never really confessing to anyone her state of mind. Not that anyone didn’t care for her but she was strong enough to deal with her troubles. She had always been that way from a tender age, bold and fearless.

Her brother now although working had constant trouble controlling his thoughts which bordered between the real and imagined. One day he confessed one such absurd and strange thought to his sister. It was not the best day for her and when she heard what he had to say in a message to her from her brother. She flew into a rage like she had never before and suddenly turned aggressive towards him. Go see the doctor she said something that she had always done with him. She never let him go alone since he was a teen. Things turned ugly and her brother in a fragile state of mind tried to attempt suicide. He thought as though the world wasn’t a place that he belonged.

Her parents told her what had happened when they found out next morning. She went cold but something in her changed she didn’t care much of what had happened and they all continued life as if nothing really happened. That’s what most families do, thwart emotions and feelings and let them rest till they surface again. Forgiveness of one’s actions is the key to staying strong as a family.

She was the caregiver. She continually devoted her time and energy to her brother sometimes at the cost of her own mental stability and poured her help towards him to reach him in every possible way. Her life sometimes took a backseat to his endless troubles. She monitored his medicines and his life both. She offered him solutions when there were none. Then she snapped and all her pent up feelings drove her to do what she had been protecting him from, all their lives. She the caregiver stopped being the caregiver that day.

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