Chapter 8 in a series on mental illness.
This post includes recent updates and will be updated from time to time since my brother’s recent relapse.
After my brother was released from the California Department of Corrections back to free society, I asked the question Is my brother cured of mental illness?
That question is naive and simplistic. And, as you can see for yourself from my brother’s own post here in this blog Am I Really Mentally Ill? , he is as convinced as ever that he was subject to mind control by nefarious forces operated by Masons, he remains anti-jewish, and his beliefs that certain scientifically impossible phenomenon are possible (such as beaming thoughts into his brain or reading his thoughts) remain an entrenched part of his belief system.
So, I am letting him have that last word in these pages. You may judge for yourself if “cure” applies to my bother.
I am at a point in my life where even for my own brother I prefer to distance myself from spending time with people who have egregiously irrational prejudices against jews and who believe in nefarious forces governing the world with simplistic explanations such as masonic cults. I will try to be there for my brother as a friend when I can be.
But, using my prerogative as editor and publisher of these pages, for now at least, this will be the last post in this section of the OP Column on the subject of Mental Health. I am making the editorial decision to provide my brother with his last word on this subject but not to enable these pages to become a forum for vitriolic ravings against jews, masons, mind control conspiracies, etc.
If Tony chooses to make such posts on some other blog site I will provide a link here to that site.
If a time comes where my brother Tony is amenable to republishing an edited version of our original YouTube interview and doing a follow up conversation with me, both of those videos will be published here.
I hope some of the writing here by both me and by my brother are instructive for those who have relatives who have these kinds of thoughts.
UPDATE of June 5, 2016: Unfortunately, a few days ago I got a call from my other brother saying that the police had taken my brother to a medical center for psychiatric observation, a 72 hour hold which has since been changed to be a two week hold. I don’t know the details. It appears my brother has decompensated or is in the process of so doing. I will not continue chronicling my brother’s history any more. If he manages to regain stability I will ask him to write another post in this blog at some time in the future.
Up until a few weeks ago, my brother was doing pretty good. He had made it through a six month program at a half-way house and had been renting a room at a fairly low rent that he could afford. He seemed stable and was not going around threatening people or damaging property, so that’s all good. But then he decided to leave his room rental situation and move to a hotel room in Hollywood and now I get this call from our other brother that Tony has been taken in again for psychiatric evaluation. Oh my.
UPDATE of December 8, 2016: Tony’s relapse in June lasted a couple of weeks but then he began taking his meds again and was able to continue living in a room he had rented in Lancaster. He was not happy with his situation there and changed to renting a room in Palmdale. I thought it fortunate that he was able to find landlords who would rent him space since he was up front with them about his recent incarcerations and treatments. Partly, he was accepted because his landlords had themselves been in treatment programs. But after another three months all of that came to naught. He gambled away the last $3000 he had in savings. For reasons I cannot myself remember, I made the mistake of agreeing to let him live in a spare room in my house starting in September. The situation at first was stable. Tony helped me do some repairs and seemed stable. He helped my fix up our little house out in the desert, very competently designing and installing an interior cover for our swamp cooler vent. He also designed and built a fiber-glass extension to my fence. It was very good work. I was being a “nice brother” letting him live rent free as he would hopefully save enough money to go visit a friend in Brussels who he claimed would provide a room for a very reasonable rent and permit Tony to do some writing. But around mid November things degenerated again. Looking back on messages I exchanged with him it all happened so fast. One day he’s normal Tony, within a week or two he’s a different person. The pattern of the past was repeating. Tony began talking very quickly having rampant fight of ideas. He became paranoid about some young French friends who had been visiting me, became very agitated, falling back to expressing anti-semitic views, and then moved out and stayed in hotels because he “did not like” my young French guests, one of whom was the daughter of friends of mine in France. These young adults would not harm a fly. Tony has already been obsessing about politics again and was for the first time I recall becoming a right wing bigot. It was confusing and frustrating. Tony was becoming delusional again and I told him I did not want him to live with me and to please find another place to live (as he had proven he could do in Lancaster and Palmdale). The situation worsened. I was going through my own issues and this was an additional concern for me that was hard to cope with. Tony left by bus to go North, his belief being he could visit a friend in Santa Barbara and another in Portland. Neither of those friends expected him nor did they wish to nor did they have the ability to house him in his condition.
During that time, my other brother and I received phone calls from Tony after Tony had borrowed someone’s cell phone or asked someone to make a call on his behalf. He told me that his shoes had been stolen and he was barefoot. One night he called me from San Jose so I looked up a homeless shelter near by but he hung up before I could arrange for him to go there. The next night he called me from SFO airport. I refused by buy him a ticket to L.A. but I did arrange for Lyft to take him to the homeless shelter I had found the previous night down in San Jose. That is the Silicon valley, one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the world. I hoped the shelter there might be a good one. The next day he called to say he disliked that shelter, that the bathroom was filthy, and that he only got a couple hours sleep and when he awoke someone was standing over him looking at him. The next night he was in Santa Cruz and called my brother asking him to arrange for a “private ambulance” because he could not walk. He was barefoot and had been barefoot for one or two weeks. Eric told him no but talked to the stranger whose phone Tony has borrowed. The stranger told him they had dialed 911 and an ambulance was on its way. We were able to determine that Tony was taken to a hospital but had no other information. A day later Tony called me again from Santa Cruz. He told me he had stayed in an ER where the ambulance had taken him for a couple of hours but then asked for a bed and was told to leave. They had given him some thick socks but no shoes. He said he just walked around in the early morning air to avoid getting hypothermia. He has a friend there who he had met at Atascadero State Hospital. That friend has housing in Santa Cruz but is not in a position to house Tony. It struck me that his friend’s housing was the kind of thing the Tony could use and that seems to work well for some people who accept that kind of help. Tony never likes being housed ini government subsidized housinig and is what could be termed resistant to treatment. At some level I don’t blame him but in reality, it is the only thing that seems to have enabled him to stay stable for long periods of time.
Continuing with the story, two more days went by.
Yesterday Tony showed up at my door, having taken the bus back to L.A. I had taken the day off from work sick and was trying to rest. But of course I let Tony in. He took a shower and a bath. I gave him some lentil soup I had made and he retrieved some clothing, which I had laundered for him during his absence. But then he left, supposedly to “take a train to Portland” where he has another friend, someone from our neighborhood when we were teenagers. I was numb. I did not wish to house him but had offered to take him to an emergency shelter that I had found via a homeless hotline phone call. He would not accept that. One of his feet was swollen. I gave him my sandals so he had some protection for his feet. I also offered to go to New Balance and buy him some large shoes (he is 6′ 3″ and has size 13+ very wide feet – and the swelling makes it nearly impossible to fit shoes). He refused the shoes idea. I let him go. That’s not even the right way to say it. I did not want him to stay and he was determined to leave. I both have feelings of guilt for somehow not wanting to nor being able to help him while at the same time feelings of annoyance at a society that is unable to provide services for someone like my brother, forcing the family to suffer the results of the mental illness.
Today I got a call from Tony who said he was in San Jose again. I have no idea where he spent the night since the train to Portland did not leave yesterday evening – he had to wait until this morning at 10 AM. I did exchange email with his friend Robert in Portland who had seen Tony briefly in Lancaster a few months ago. They went bowling. Robert bowls over 200 and Tony had made a video of Robert doing so. Robert said that Tony was doing OK at that time. But that was then and now is now. Robert had not know of Tony’s plan to visit him and expressed dismay that Tony was on his way to Portland expecting to “stay one week” with Robert before continuing to Seattle. Tony must imagine he will reunite with his co-video producer friend of his from 35 years ago who now lives in Seattle.
Tony will find that none of his friends will want to house him and, in fact, no one of his friends will be able to house Tony in Tony’s present condition. He needs structure and mandated medication, something he had this past Spring while on parole but now that he is a “free” man, is in a society that will not provide that structure nor require it.
Thanks for reading.
Dennis G. Allard
May 12, 2016, updated June 5, 2016 and December 8, 2016