Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

My "Secret Life" This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

By

   My life is not what it seems. I go to school, church, friends' houses and everything else teenagers do, but when I go home my "secret life" begins. I call it that simply due to others' ignorance and fear. My ten-year-old brother, Josh, has bipolar disorder, a mental illness caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. Josh's disorder can cause him to become very depressed and suicidal or violent and harmful to himself and others. See where the fear comes in?

I don't blame others for being scared of Josh. I was too when he was first diagnosed. Now though, I am not because I understand what bipolar means. While it can be scary, with the right medication and services, Josh can have months when he is stable.

Right now Josh is living at a treatment program where there is a school. He has been there for nine months and made incredible progress. Josh comes home on weekends. Some may think that my family is cruel for sending him to a school far from everything familiar to him, but we aren't. My parents, my brother and I sat down and decided that the treatment program would be the best thing for Josh and the family as a whole. Sending him to the school wasn't a punishment for his actions. It is a way for Josh to learn how to cope with his disorder.

Josh will be coming home soon. Although he will always be bipolar, he has learned different and better ways to deal with his feelings. Knowing that he is coming home, my mission to increase people's knowledge about bipolar and other mental illnesses has become more intense. My brother is a ten-year-old like any other. He loves the outdoors, animals, and drawing. Josh may have some learning problems at school but when grade-appropriate work is presented, he understands and completes it. My brother is a very smart, talented, loving, caring person who just happens to be bipolar.

Children with mental illness are often misunderstood. They are smart kids who can achieve a lot with the help of others. Just because you can't see my brother's disability by looking at him does not mean it is any less real or severe than one you can see. So, please, take the time to learn about mental illnesses so fear can be erased and family members can make our "secret lives" public. tf


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




Join the Discussion


This article has 3 comments. Post your own!

This*Lit*Is*BananasThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 18, 2010 at 12:17 pm:

This was great! All the best to your brother! I have a friend who suffers from PTSD and depression, so I know what it's like to have someone you love struggle with a mental illness. Best wishes!

Also, what does tf mean? I've seen it at the end of a lot of articles here.

 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
Pompom94 said...
Nov. 30, 2009 at 8:33 pm:
Ok, I think yall are cruel. hes just a little boy and cannot help if he is ill.
 
rawr5 replied...
Dec. 10, 2009 at 3:08 pm :
i don't think they are,if that's what EVERYONE including Josh decided was best then good for them.
i hope Josh comes home happy and healthy:)
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
Site Feedback