Esther has written a letter to her brother as a tribute.
A young, social man with aspirations of becoming a professional boxer was hit with the trauma of losing both parents within the space of three years. The loss of his parents was extremely distressing for this young 20 year old man and he turned to cannabis as an outlet.
Two years later, at the tender age of 22, Ben was diagnosed with Schizophrenia. Despite his diagnosis, Ben was determined not to become his illness.
Over the course of the following 10 years Ben partook in activities such as learning to play the flute, extensively reading books about the mind, body and spirit to help understand his own illness and try to stay well.
However, Ben suffered from extremely bad episodes of his illness which could result in violence, self harm and self neglect. Ben also suffered with hallucinations such as when he looked at his food it became spiders. This was very scary for him and resulted in him losing a lot of weight.
It was difficult for Ben to gain employment, form relationships and in time his friendships broke down.
This didn’t stop Ben openly speaking about his illness which was admirable as there is still a lot of misunderstanding about Schizophrenia in society and stigma attached to it.
Ben took his life in August of this year.
Esther, Bens sister gives her views on how Schizophrenia is generally viewed in the media and public:
“I believe that there should be more help and compassion towards people with schizophrenia as when people read about it in the media it’s usually someone with this illness committing a violent crime . You don’t really hear about the people who battle to rebuild their lives and are faced with a society that is fearful. My brother was a gentle shy man, he wanted very much to live but things became too painful for him in the end. He was not his illness he had so much more to give I just wish he could of done so”
Esther has written a letter to her brother as a tribute:
It’s very hard to write this, I don’t want this to be real. That you are gone, a beautiful man of 33 with so much to live for.
I want to say that I am so proud of how strong you were against this illness, however merciless and terrifying it could be at times be.
In my minds eye I will always see you as the teenager with the mischievous shy half smile and your dreams of being a boxer before you got ill.
You used to rope me into holding up your boxing pads so you could practise your sparring, how my arms ached but I didn’t mind because being around you was so much fun.
When we went to your flat recently to box up all your things I felt such sadness putting away all your beautiful designer shirts, you always had such great style, whenever you entered a room everyone was drawn to you, you had true presence but you were so shy…
Most of all I wish I could of told you how loved you were and how much you meant to us. You will be in our thoughts forevermore and your strength never forgotten.
Lots of love
All of us from the My Mental Health team want to thank you for sharing your brothers story, Esther. We hope in doing so that we can spread awareness of his illness and show people how wonderful your brother was.