This place, like all the other places he was put into from this point on did nothing to help him, and a lot to hurt him and make things worse.
When he was admitted, they got into a power struggle with him over his hair, and made him cut it. It was all downhill from there. They completely ignored his budding drug addiction, and had all of us do mandatory family therapy.
It was awful. My parents were separated, and fighting over money and everything else. Blaming each other for the condition Garth was in. We all rode up to the facility for the family sessions together (mom, dad, me and my other brother). The worst was coming home, when Mom would go into a rage for anything we said during the session. And Dad would just sit there seething and fighting with mom. Needless to say, we didn't last long in family therapy, because we children soon learned it wasn't worth it to say anything.
My brother Garth was a terror, dangerous and violent. The only respite I got from him was when he would run away, or was locked up someplace. He terrorized me all my life until he disappeared forever in 1981. But he was mentally ill, and deserved better from those who were supposed to care for him
As did I.
I wrote this poem a few years later, when Garth was institutionalized at Bellevue Hospital in NYC
"Brother at Bellevue" by Beth K
Pale, thin and grey,
frightened hands tremble
at voices who speak of betrayal.
With slipper, bare foot, pajamas and bathrobe
he wanders and stares
stares and wanders
stares and eats
stares and sleeps
Eyes water, chapped face,
hair dishevelled, body shakes
looking bleakly, blankly
make him tired
tired of life
tired of boredom
tired of green walls surrounding him
Reading comics, watching T.V
cot to lie on, cigarettes to smoke,
he smokes and dreams
dreams and smokes
dreams and schemes
dreams and screams.
Afternoon visits bring money and m&m's
Trembling fingers touch his eyebrow
A mother fights her tears
trying to talk of days