Our stories are why we started Sibling Link, being mates with very ill brothers and chatting over multiple beers about it, meant that we had inadvertently created our very own peer support group. We laughed a lot together, cried buckets (standard) but above all, felt extremely lucky to have had each other to lean on.
Danny was in between me and our older brother, Karim. One sunny week-end in June in the mid- 80s, when Dan was 17, he went off to Glastonbury Festival, took drugs, and was never the same again.
His schizophrenia took over all his adult life and eventually, aged 36, it took his life. I miss him now but I also missed him before he died because the illness had taken him away.
My brother Alistair was my best friend. We were triplets, really close and had the same gang of friends and sense of humour. He was really funny, clever and had a host of his own close friends too. He was always the life and soul of the party and was a good friend to many. He was ultra clever and wrote for children’s TV. Life was normal for a long time. We supported each other through the normal ups and downs, socialized together and laughed together.
At the age of 26 Ali had his first breakdown. This was my first glimpse of his collapse. He went from being fine, to not being able to cope with life. He made attempts to end his life and couldn’t stop the worries from circling around his head. I had never seen anyone so poorly, and felt extremely scared and responsible for his recovery.