#bvw17, an apology, life, other assorted bullshit

Not necessarily in that order.

Also, bear with me as I’m doing this from my phone.

This is pretty much the note I sent to Barbara via text earlier.

I’m sharing with my readers as I’ve gotten several messages and emails and I feel I owe an explanation.

It’s complicated & long.


I’m dealing with some shit. I’m going to do something I rarely do and that’s discuss some deeply personal matters.

I’m sorry I let people down. I know the organizers likely regret having me here and I am sorry for disappointing people.

Unfortunately, if I said I was sorry I came, I would be lying. Last night was the first time I had laughed all week. The first time I had smiled. I would have been ok, but Kristen’s talk hit too close to home.

I have three brothers. We grew up in a home with an alcoholic father who could be emotionally abusive.

He’s been sober for some years,  which is great for him. Selfishly, it is great for me too, especially as I need him now.

One of my brothers was diagnosed as being bipolar as few months ago. He has depression. He doesn’t take his meds well. He’s an alcoholic and messes with drugs. His marriage is a mess.

The past few weeks, he’s been on a downhill slide.

Tuesday, he sent us rambling texts, indicating he was going to kill himself.

Even tracking him down wasn’t enough. He tried to jump out of my moving car on the way to the hospital.

I ended up having him admitted to the hospital, but clearly that’s not enough drama for him.

My mom called me in a panic Thursday because of my brother….we will call him… Milton. No, that’s not his name, but I’m angry with him and i don’t really like the name…and he would hate it.

He told her if he didn’t some make phone calls, he’d be dead in a few days.

He has borrowed almost two grand from her that he hasn’t paid back.

He’s borrowed nearly a thousand from me. I got maybe half of it back.

My dad who finally got sober after almost 40 years and scrapes by week to week has even loaned him money.

His boss has loaned him money.

Putting this together wasn’t hard, especially knowing his history, although I wasn’t prepared for this eventuality. If he isn’t lying, he owes somebody money. Big time. It’s a worrisome picture.

When he was a teen, he ran with a bad crowd.
For context, one of the guys he hung out with, (we’ll call him K.) was found dead a few years back in the trunk of his own car.

My husband, when we were dating, once got between K and me. He’d shown up looking for my brother. I was babysitting. My brother had been a jerk and I wouldn’t let him out or K in. K took it personal and threatened me and I told him to put his money where his mouth was. He was about ready to swing at me. Then my guy got between us.

At some point, he mouthed off to somebody, owed somebody, pissed someone off. He was murdered before he saw 30.

Thursday, the day I found out that “Milton” might be in danger, I went and got his cell phone from his house. His oldest son gave me a key. The kid is 23 and my knucklehead brother kicked him out a few days after the kid got between his mom and dad after he came in and found my brother with his hands around my sister in law’s neck. He beat the crap out of his dad. I’d give him a medal.

He got kicked out and my brother was taken into custody until he sobered up. I witnessed the tail end because my niece, his only daughter, had texted me, said my name, then went quiet, keeping the line active. I live twenty minutes away. Cops were called but I didn’t know if I’d make it in time.

Two months, maybe, passed between that fight and another incident. This time, my brother was sent to the hospital after he’d hurt himself at work, probably intentionally, then put on a psych hold.

This was when he was diagnosed as bi-polar, and having depression. It didn’t surprise me.

I’ve dealt with depression myself for almost 20 years.

“Milton” doesn’t deal. He drinks. He cuts himself. He does drugs.

And at some point, he’s gotten himself into so much trouble that he was claiming to fear for his life.

My mother was ready to somehow try and pay this debt.

I couldn’t let that happen.

I kept the phone, disabled location services & turned it off.

He’s been in a rage since, calling my mom, insisting I’m in danger.

Which begs the question… why should she have it?

He can’t. Not while in the hospital. But when asked, he won’t answer why my mom is OK to have the phone but not me..

Friday night, not long after I arrived, my sister in law called. “Milton” had called the cops over his phone. I wasn’t in town to give it to him, because I was in Wisconsin, at a book event.

He called the cops because I had concerns over my mother’s safety.

All this shit in my head has gotten in the way. Addicts too easily destroy those around them.

At Barbara Vey’s event, Kristen’s talk hit too close to home and I had to leave the room.

The past week is the most alone I’ve ever felt.

The past week has been the hardest of my life, including the time I lost a child.

I’ve got a great husband. He’s there, but there’s only so much he can help with here.

I needed to get out. For a few days.

Kristen’s talk was beautiful, poignant…but too personal for me. I apologize that my pain made people uncomfortable.

I apologize for over sleeping and being late to the luncheon. There is no excuse for it

For the record, I was not drunk. It was commented that I weaved as I walked. I always do, and it’s worse when I am stressed. Part of it is vertigo. I used to pass out for no discernable reason. An unsteady gait is a much better option. I think some of it might be a focus thing. I have ADD, but I haven’t taken meds the past few days because I am already too worked up.

Last night, I did get totally wasted but frankly, I’d be lying if I said I was sorry.

I will apologize for any hurt, offense or problems I caused. I’m sorry for that. I’m also sorry for my murderous headache.

I’m sorry to those I disappointed or let down but I’m not sure I can entirely say I’m sorry because my problems stem something too deep to explain and people shouldn’t have to apologize for pain. It’s part of the reason there’s so much stigma attached to mental health issues.

I don’t expect to be invited back and I understand.

edited in 2019 to remove certain names and to make an addendum.

A month after this was posted, my brother took his life. If you struggle with depression, bipolar disorder or addiction, please seek help.

You’re not alone. Your life has value and the world is better with you in it.