You probably didn't really notice me today. I accompanied my boyfriend on a long drive and throughout the wait when he had to give testimony as a witness in another person's trial.
I was simply a face in the courtroom, waiting anxiously for my boyfriend to do what he had to do so we could take the drive home again and be done with it.
Just before the trial came that would require his testimony, there was another man who was on trial for a crime he had committed while he was having mental health issues. Luckily the crime had only been an infraction of some sort and he was there, not to try to get out of it, but to request more time to pay his fine, which he had neglected to pay during the aftermath of the episodes he had suffered due to his mental illness.
During the trial, his defense lawyer was determined to ensure that you understood his mental state at the time of infraction and how that state had not improved enough to fully understand his dilemma until shortly after the date on his "final notice" had expired. However, I could tell that the lawyer himself didn't fully understand the mental illness.
I listened, horrified, as the opposing lawyer, the crown, made a small stink, arguing that the mentall illness had not been properly medicated and that the man's drug abuse during the time should suffice to allow the court to decide that the infraction and the resulting affects on this young man's continued mental health should have gone "checked" by this man. That he should have known better.
I wanted so badly to stand up and demand that I be a witness for this man, who tripped on his words and who was not outspoken to say the least. However, seeing your patience while he gave his version of events allowed me to keep respect for the system in place, hoping desperatell that you would find sympathy for this gentleman.
I watched you closely as you took into account both lawyers' arguments. Knowing that, while I wanted so bad for you to be sympathetic, an emotional outburst from me may not help this man at all.
You see, that man, to me, was my brother. It was like listening to the testimony and defense of what my brother will have to go through in a few short months as he recovers from the episodes he suffered as a result of his bipolar.
"he had three months to get better in therapy!" the crown stated. I wanted so badly to jump up and SCREAM about the flawed system my brother had just been chewed up and spit out from.
see, when my brothers wife left him for another man, he and I had thought it best to move in together in order to facilitate his employment and my search for employment (as a single mom I am limited by my availability in managing a schedule from potential employers).
For a while, it was going great. I had decided to start my own business, which I was working on securing contacts for. My brother was working his regular shifts, but was very upset when his ex would deliver him news that she was in love with her new boyfriend (2 weeks into the relationship) and he became distraught when she refused to see them any more than 2 hours at a time and demanded that it be in his home with him present. Even so, he complied, believing that it was what was best for his children. During this time he asked his ex to remove her belongings from the home, so that I could move in. Unable to wait any longer because I could not afford to pay rent in two places, I began moving what I could of mine into the home.
During this time, if it hadn't been stressful enough, I woke up in the middle of the night sweating in such a horrible pain that I couldn't scream. my brother called an ambulance and had me brought to the hospital while he watched my two children as well as his own two.
The day I was released from the hospital my daughter cut herself and, due to the pain from my appendectomy, my brother was forced to bring my daughter in my stead. During this time he was forced to decline shifts at his security job and he had gotten very little sleep.
When I returned, he was able to work again, however this meant working night shifts and his mental stability began to waiver. He had suffered many emotional problems and had had to handle difficult situations.
Finally, he snapped. at first it seemed like just a burst of anger, but my brother''s values towards his children had began to shift and I realized it was no longer just an emotional outburst but a result of his mental illness.
My mother had arrived at this point from out of town and my brother decided he had to take a break. He left in his car and later my mother had to get him as he had crashed it.