A Personal Credo

By , Houston, TX
My heart was pounding… my arms were pumping… I was screaming at the top of my lungs. My brother was trying to kill me! Fear cut through me like a knife through butter. What was I going to do? I continued - for my life. I was five years old, and my brother, Connor, seven, was chasing after me. He had recently been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, a mental condition that is marked by alternating periods of extreme joy and depression. But, for a five year old, this meant nothing to me. All I knew was that my brother was infuriated and my parents were not home. I was in danger.
As I grew older, I realized the effects this disorder had on Connor. Connor was easy to anger, and once he was angry, there was little hope of calming him down. Although I constantly struggled with adapting my life to accommodate for his disorder, such as having to realize the varying effects that my actions and words had on him, I later realized the monumental importance of accepting things for the how they are.
Not many people can say that someone has attempted to kill them, especially not by their own big brother. When my brother and I came home from school that fateful day in 1997, we had been constantly bickering about little things, such as who was bigger or who was better at the newest video games. For any other kid, upon arriving at our house, we simply would have separated and gone to various rooms to enjoy what should have been a time for rest and relaxation. However, Connor was not a normal kid. He decided to go to the kitchen and grab an old, rusty knife from the drawer. As I rounded the corner of the kitchen to get an afternoon snack, he struck. He ferociously pounced on me. I jumped away, running and screaming through the halls as adrenaline flooded my veins. Was he really going to kill me? I ran not for something as whimsical as a competition, but for my life. Suddenly, I heard a loud thud. My oldest brother, Bryan, had tackled Connor. As I caught my breath and thanked him, I could not help but to realize that, although I had heard my parents talk about my brother’s disorder before, I had not fully understood the repercussions of his condition.
My brother has always had great difficulties controlling his emotions. Although he had been taking different medicines since he was seven, the drugs seldom worked efficiently. The drugs were supposed to keep him calm and help him control his emotions, yet Connor frequently lost control.
Eventually, my father’s job forced us to move and we were unsure what effects this would hold on Connor. When we moved to England, we were forced to say goodbye to our old friends. My entire family felt that we were saying goodbye to one of the best parts of our lives, but we had no idea what was awaiting us. While we lived in England, Connor had far fewer outbursts, and those that he had were generally much smaller. England seemed to be soothing to him and the more time we spent there, the less reliant he became on both his medicines and me.
However, good things seldom last. We were soon forced to move back to Houston. The great experience we had in England seemed to vanish as we struggled to find a school in which Connor would fit. After tediously searching, we found Memorial Middle School where a specialized program had been developed for people with disorders like him. Although this program helped Connor to fit in at school, he still did not have a sense of belonging. There was nothing to keep Connor interested in living, and he soon grew so depressed that he threatened to take his own life away.
With suicidal thoughts flooding his mind, my parents were forced to place him in a mental hospital. He lived for months with limited contact to the outside world. I was not sure how he would behave when he came home, but I hoped for the best. Luckily, he was released during the most joyous time of the year: Christmas. We were all excited about the upcoming holidays. My parents, in an effort to buy us a great gift, soon purchased a game titled World of Warcraft. This game was unlike anything my brother and I had ever seen before. World of Warcraft gave Connor and I an opportunity to grow a stronger relationship with one another through participating in this online world with one another. While many people criticize video games for causing people to become less social, without World of Warcraft, Connor and I would never have developed the relationship we hold today.
My experiences with my brother have brought me to the realization that everyone is different and unique, we each have our strengths and our flaws, and we can all learn from one another. Connor and I have recognized that our time together is no longer a time of stress and competition, but a time of elation and festivity. We are good friends, we enjoy each other’s presence, we understand each other and we can relate to one another. We are willing to help each other with anything, no matter the difficulty or ease. My relationship with Connor has helped me to learn to accept others, who may be dealing with emotional or physical challenges, which may not be obvious to those outside of their family and closest friends. Although now, more than ever, we spend less time with each other, we have created a strong, brotherly relationship in which we trust each other with our lives.





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