Madly, wildly disturbed

Yes, he was my brother

Yes he was disturbed; madly, wildly, disturbed

When he went off his medications he could become violent and scary.

He was not my friend for most of our lives

except maybe for Christmas Day

When we were young and would conspire to see the gifts early.


When we were kids, he would berate and manipulate me

A few times he punched me in the stomach

He was 3 years older then me and much bigger then my tiny self

But the pain was worth the price I paid, to see him punished by my parents


He was successful in high school

A national running champion; he had a girlfriend and a few good friends

I think his girlfriend did his homework for him

He received a running scholarship

Our parents divorced and then he was gone, off to school


He took 5 years to graduate

He was not a champion in college

He worked for a year

And then he lost his mind

One big break

Yes, he was disturbed; madly, wildly disturbed.


He spent weeks on end in a psychiatric facility

His best friend called the police

After my brother threatened to kill the friend and his friend’s wife.

He gave away almost everything he owned

He owned a pair of running shoes and a pair of running shorts.


He was madly, wildly disturbed

He hallucinated for weeks

Bipolar with schizoaffective tendencies

He was the drummer for U2

He was a terrorist

He became a thorazine shuffler

He was lost

He was gone and disturbed


He eventually was medicated enough to function

Problem was, he would go off his medications

And even medicated he had some serious issues

Like gambling and building gigantic debts

Stealing from my mother

He was disturbed.


His first wife was young; not old enough to drink

Though he was approaching 30

He was acting disturbed before the wedding

Crazy in his usual I am a stupid jerk way

That I remembered from childhood

And I had to walk out of the last meal we would share together

Because of how he treated his soon-to-be-wife,

It reminded me, reminded me, reminded me

of me


She left him after he held a knife to her throat

And forced her to worship the TV

He was found running naked, naked except for his running shoes

Naked except for his Nike’s, he was found picking flowers

Thinking he was the next Prefontaine

On the Nike campus in Beverton, Oregon.


Patterns repeated over and over

on meds, off meds

Lousy jobs with lousy pay

Lousy relationships

Spending too much, earning too little

He eventually remarried and had a daughter

Had a run in with the law

Assaulted an officer

And was sentenced to three years in prison


In prison, he was surprised by the number of homosexual men

He was not great with figuring out how to mind or work with the guards

He was able to help some people get their GEDs

He made some friends in the prison church group


And then the letters, letters, letters began

Clearly he was wildly disturbed again

He was in a psychiatric prison now

Completely off his medications

And his cryptic writing stated, over and over….

I feel like I am dying, help me I am dying


I could not help

The letters were not written to me

I was sacred to figure it out

I had two babies to care for

And he was madly disturbed


The email arrived, your brother is dead

Case in point: never tell somebody that their brother

has died

via an email


45 years old

Madly, wildly disturbed

He died in his cell

Alone; alone for hours

He was right; he was dying, just like we all are.


And I don’t know anymore or what else to say

I don’t know what to feel

So I feel nothing instead

It’s easier


He was  madly wildly disturbed.



  1. Bobbi · May 5, 2012

    This poem makes me cry. Mental illness is such an incredibly sad thing~ it hurts everyone

    • Carey S. Clark, RN, PhD · May 5, 2012

      Bobbi, yes it does.

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