I never hear from or see my youngest brother anymore. It’s been like that for the past year give or take. Until this past Tuesday. I saw him when I came to his house to pick up his two little ones. He was thin. Thin and scatterbrained. The kids were taking a bath so we stood in the bathroom and talked. He was rubbing lotion on his face remarking about how dry his skin is. Oh, it’s winter time. My skin gets dry too. Then he showed me a fresh picked scab on his face. I’ve got black shit coming out of my face he tells me. I ask if it’s from working in a factory. No. it’s from living in this house. There’s black mold everywhere. He began to tell me about this black mold epidemic happening in his rented house.
The kids were now drying off and my brother was still telling me about the mold. Then he said the strangest thing, I was digging under my nails one night and I saw fibers. Black fibers. I looked at my nails under the magnifying glass and then I saw more fibers in my cuts! The fibers went back under my skin as soon as I tried to grab one. I think I have parasites. I can feel them all over my body. It gets so bad it keeps me awake at night. Feels like they are biting at my skin. Needless to say my eyebrows were in the middle of my forehead, my eyes open wide, and my mouth open in a clear “O” shape. What the fuck!? Of course I asked if he had seen a doctor. No, he hadn’t. I asked if he’s tested the house for mold. No, he hasn’t. While he’s telling me all this, he’s dressing his children. Scatterbrained. That’s when he pulls a piece of fuzz with a hair intertwined in it off of his daughters shirt and says and these, these things are alive. They get under your skin and change you. The government knows about it too. There’s a whole YouTube video about it. There’s YouTube videos about people with fiber in their skin too! It’s like what you have (I have fibromyalgia) it’s an undiagnosed illness. Doctors can’t figure it out. I even kept a few of those fibers like the one I picked off *Bettys* shirt, in a mason jar out in the shed. I asked what happened with the hair fuzz, well, I put a bug in the one and the next day it had exploded.
I sat dumbfounded on his kitchen floor. I was helping put shoes on little feet and was taken back by what I had just heard. At this point, he ran outside to do something before he left for work and I piled the kids into my jeep. I felt strange about our entire exchange. But off we went. We headed to play land so the kids could socialize and get out of their house. And that’s when I began googling.
Morgellons Disease. Upon a brief headline reading, I found Morgellons Disease. Bingo! I know what’s wrong with my brother! He has a rare illness! So I texted him and he replied telling me he thinks he has it. I texted my husband (recovering heroin addict) and told him what I found. He instantly cut me off and told me that *Bobby* used to tell him all the same shit. Exact same story. Convinced that he had parasites. He was also living on bath salts. So I read more about this Morgellons.
Morgellons Disease is a self diagnosed skin condition in which individuals have sores that they believe contain some kind of fibers. Morgellons is poorly understood but appears to be a form of delusional parastiosis. The sores are the result of compulsive scratching and the fibers, when analyzed, turn out to originate from textiles.
The lightbulb in my head started to flicker with thoughts. The first and the most realistic, METH. So I googled signs of meth addiction. My brother had every single sign. I also googled black mold. He had the majority of signs for that too. And even lime Disease. But it was the meth that stayed on my mind. Honestly, it was the only real, logical explanation.
Fast forward to Thursday. I had told my mom and dad what was going on. I had told my other brother about his strange behavior. So we decided that we would go out to his house when he got off work and take him to the ER. Now- I know the ER is not a place where one is diagnosed with a drug addiction, but I was under the impression that because of the crazy shit he was telling me and my mom, that he would get submitted to the psych ward on a 48 hour hold. Why would I want that? So that he can begin detox. Once the doctors and staff see what’s happening, he would be able to stay for at least 2 weeks to detox. Or so I was told when I called a rehab facility (and by the way- the cheapest rehab I found was $12,000 for 30 days). We followed through with our plan. He was pissed at all of us for “attacking” him instead of believing him.
After 100 hours of sitting a tiny disgusting room, he had a few tests done. He tested positive for methamphetamine. He admitted to smoking it occasionally. The doctor who checked him out said he can carry on a conversation, so he was free to go. She gave him some rehab pamphlets and a referral for a doctor who could test for black mold in his body. I asked the doctor if she thought what he has been telling us was normal. I asked why he isn’t going to be admitted because he clearly is having delusions and hallucinations and psychosis. She looked at me like I was out of line. I got tired of wiping my tears in front of him so I left the room. I asked the resident who helped him why he couldn’t be admitted, and she said unfortunately we see this every day. Every fucking day she said. I returned to the room, only to get into it with my brother. An angry side of him came out. He lashed out at me and threatened to punch me. “I don’t care about him- I just wanted to know if he was doing meth. His wife would be skinny if they had a meth problem (his hips protrude) I’ve done everything and have a pharmacy at my house. Older brother is a pill and beer addict. No one is on his side. He has no one. No one understands what it’s like to be cooped up in a house all day with two little kids (my mother and I were both stay at home moms), nobody fucking gets it. It’s not meth. It’s mold”.
But the quote of the night was when he said I’m the only one in this family who can control themselves. I used to get sick if I didn’t take a few percs a day but then I did a line of meth and realized, I don’t need to take pills every day!
I grabbed my stuff and called my husband to come get me. It was 6 in the morning and he was going on 2 hours of sleep (he was at the hospital with us until 3am when I told him to go home). There was no way I was riding in a car with an asshole coming down from smoking speed that was just a second ago in my face threatening me. Aaron arrived and we left. I stopped by my parents to drop off my brothers daughters car seat. Dad was awake and I told him what happened. Dad didn’t have much to say other than- we all knew he was on something.
We left and went home. I contacted his wife. They’ve been doing it together.
Days later, I’ve had to block my brothers phone number. I can’t sleep or get through the day without thinking about all of it. He’s dead set that he has black mold parasites and that we are all a bunch of assholes. Meth has nothing to do with it!!! The mother of his first two kids has already filed a restraining order against my brother and his wife for the daughters they share. My mom keeps texting him. She sends him info she finds online or poems or just to say I love you. He stopped responding.
For now- I refuse to try to help him or do an intervention. He is active in his Disease and needs to get worse before he realizes that he can’t live like this. Plain and simple. Am I giving up hope? Never. I know that the day will come when he hits rock bottom, that he will reach out – to me, to mom, to a pastor, to a doctor, and say he can’t live like this anymore. That’s when I will be there, supporting him. But until then, I can’t be around him or try to save him. The drug has changed him. And I can only hope that he makes it to rock bottom and seeks help.
My heart is broken.