Antix is a London-based hip hop artist and Mind supporter. He writes about the impact of his brother’s mental illness and how music has helped him.
From when I was 19 until only just recently, my family and I watched my little brother slip further and further into the darkness of his own mind. The helplessness that we endured can only be described as hell. I am not a religious man, far from it, but I think back to moments where I genuinely considered calling an exorcist. This sounds funny when I say it now, but at the time some of the things he would do and say, filled me with horror. At the best of times, he could sit with us and eat; at the worst of times, he was trying to kill us. Or himself. I once spent three months travelling around California tracking him with the help of two private investigators, checking morgues, hospitals and police stations daily.
This was our life for about 10 years. It’s a funny thing trying to live normally when a cloud of that magnitude looms over your head. Things can be going great in all other areas, but there is always the sobering moment when you remember what you have to go home to. The strain that an illness of the mind is not just on the person dealing with it, but on everyone involved. It is all consuming. It is seemingly never ending, which I think is the hardest part. There doesn’t appear to be any light at the end of the road; just an endless, unfamiliar and dark countryside. Occasionally you get a break in the clouds, but these breaks would always be followed by a vicious fight, or a police call, or more tears.
I think it is important to say at this point, that my brother is doing great now. After many years he learned ways of managing his mental health which really made a difference. He became active in sports, took up hobbies and found some medication that work for him. He is slowly getting back on track.
"I remember starting to write it and feeling better, like the music was absorbing some of the day away from me."
When I wrote ‘Come Home’, though, we were still battling through the darkness together. I wrote it one night when I was alone after a particularly gruelling day dealing with police after an accident he was involved in. I remember starting to write it and feeling better, like the music was absorbing some of the day away from me. I suppose that is the true power of music. It is the same reason that I get annoyed with listening to mindless garbage spewed out all the time – because it means nothing. It comes from nowhere, and ultimately goes nowhere. I know there must be millions of people out there with their own issues, living in their own darkness. It is the great invisible, unspoken darkness; the type that no one else sees or cares to talk about. But you do. It is all you see.
If this song can bring relief to someone out there going through hell, like it did for me, then I am happy. The saying “misery loves company” is true. But misery also loves hope. Knowing that there are others out there going through the same thing as you, brings comfort. Knowing that there are others out there who have been through it, and gotten out in one piece, brings something different altogether. It brings the promise of better times.
To anyone who knows what I am talking about, the best thing you can do is leave your lights on, and let that loved one know that they can always come home when they are ready.
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