Hello, and first of all thanks for reading my blog entry. Today I want to tell you the story of when I realized that I had a brother and how studying psychology helped me.
My brother Lucas was born with a disability called tuberous sclerosis. A few months before he was born, we saw on an ultrasound that he had seven tumors in his heart. Fifteen days after birth, they removed them in open-heart surgery. As a result of this, Lucas has calcifications in his brain, which produced a cognitive disability and epilepsy. It is worth mentioning that as a child he used to have episodes of epilepsy continuously, but these were controlled over the years with medication.
When you are 5 years old and have been the spoiled daughter of your parents, it’s not easy to understand that your brother requires more attention than normal due to his birth condition.
At that time I was very young and understanding the situation was a little confusing. I just remember that for me it was painful and it was a pain that I carried for many years. I have just a few memories of playing with him, of caring for him. The years passed, and my brother grew up, and so did I. I had no clue of how Lucas’ life was, what he was doing, who he was with, what he was like, etc. To the point where I really didn’t care about my brother; for me, he almost didn’t exist.
As I grew older, I realized how this episode in my life had brought me all kinds of insecurities, such as fear of abandonment, low self-esteem, feeling that I wasn’t enough. What we experience at an early age builds our personality. In my case, it took me years to understand and heal.
Studying psychology opened the door for me to identify and work on these traumas. When I was about 21 years old and I was studying psychology at the university I began to realize that I didn’t know much about my brother’s diagnosis, I wanted to know about
him, his condition, what had happened, and become that sister that I had never been.
Therefore, I began to have more patience with him and to get involved in his life and his daily activities, but also to read and inquire more about Lucas’s condition.
Studying psychology put me in touch with what for years I didn’t understand what they meant. Feelings such as jealousy, the fear of being abandoned, began to make sense. Reading in books about autism, about different diagnoses, always touched me. I was able to understand many of the things I read were found in Lucas and that he had never really accounted that he had a disability and that he was not that brother that I perceived as stressful.
As in the third semester of university, I traveled to Houston, and I visited the hospital where my brother was born. I cannot describe to you what my heart, my soul felt the moment I entered that place where I had lived so much. Where I had witnessed so much sadness, anguish, and at the same time the infinite happiness of my parents.
Where the 5-year-old Maria didn’t understand much of what was going on and had built all the insecurities that would accompany me for so many years. I cried my eyes out and relieved many sensations that I had forgotten from those years. I went back to that McDonald’s that my dad always took me to eat ice cream so I could cheer myself up.
In psychology, we talk about the term catharsis, which refers to that process of liberation or elimination of mind-altering memories. Without a doubt at this time to be able to experience that place and remembering everything that my mind had buried in my memory, was a moment of catharsis.
When I came to Spain to do my masters, I continued to understand several things. When I did my internship, I worked with a population of adults with cognitive and physical disabilities. Life always puts in our way things that we have not yet healed and we must work on.
From a very young age, Lucas began to use the phrase: “nothing has happened”, despite the few words that at that time he had in his vocabulary and speaking ability. He learned it by hearing it from others, at his medical appointments, when he had an epileptic episode, or even at those moments in which for him expressing himself was complicated and gave him fits of hysteria; my parents and the people around him told him, “nothing has happened”
I will never forget the day when I was very sad because I had a fight with a friend and Lucas with all his innocence and love turns around and tells me in his own words “Nothing has happened”. Immediately I stopped crying and I understood that nothing was really happening and that this problem had a solution and it didn’t require me to be that affected.
With gestures like these, my brother constantly teaches us life lessons. Lucas doesn’t know what racism is; does not know about gender difference, does not discriminate by social class. He has an accent at times; and, is a big fan of el Junior de Barranquilla. Lucas has the same nose as me, my dad’s ears, and my mom’s generosity. Lucas is our treasure. Everyone who knows him falls in love with his affection and tenderness
Nowadays, our friendship is much stronger and I can affirm that I really love my brother. I’m not telling you that our relationship is perfect. I still get upset with him and we fight, but I am aware that I have a brother and that he is my favorite person in the world. As I mentioned earlier, that pain is finally healed and my personal work continues day by day.
I have carried out my personal work with psychotherapy, and done Constellations therapy, which has been an innovative field for me, on a personal and professional level. Through dialogue and open communication with my parents, I have completed several pieces of my puzzle and I have healed. Having those pieces helps me understand, forgive, and let go.
In the psychic world of each person, we understand things because we give them the judgment of value based on what we see, live, and feel at a given moment. Having other people’s version of events and value judgment helps us expand our view of the world and helps understand that our reality is not unique and is much broader. This fact helped me put things in perspective, made me understand the bigger picture, and supported me in the healing process.
Studying psychology has undoubtedly been a blessing. It helped me expose myself to truths and connect with emotions that I didn’t always want to feel. It has provided me with tools such as self-knowledge that I can use personally and that I can also teach others. Self-knowledge let us know and understand our story, and it allows us not to be afraid of inquiring about those episodes that brought us pain in the past.