When I read this insightful piece by John's brother, Jeff, I get a real sense of John as a Father-figure in a Father-less home, I see a cry for help, a hurt child carrying too much too young, and I see the fearful and punitive response John got to his distress from the mental health services, how those early experiences with that system further damaged his sense of self. I see how his trauma got labelled and over-medicated and I see how a natural process got interrupted. I also see two loving brothers who did all they could in their power to help their beloved elder brother. It breaks my heart to see just how much John was carrying.
The way Jeff writes is so heartfelt and with a brilliant analogy about the rounds (in the boxing ring of psychiatry) which explains perfectly how forced treatment makes one fight back because their personhood or dignity is not respected. They sure met their match in John! Was he behaving like a dog because he was treated like one inside? Also I see the Legend that is Iron John, who coped as best he could with the cards he was dealt in life. A smart, funny, strong and spirited man who was The Protector of his family. I really enjoy hearing all the legendary stories of John's youth from him, Andrew and Jeff. Lots to tell the grandchildren! And not forgetting the time he jumped the high wall of Carraig Mor and ran down Strawberry Hill...
Your understanding of John is very accurate and an interesting look and explanation.
I remember when i was younger say 10 up I was getting answers to life and somewhat understanding. John and Andrew would let me hang out with them a bit more which at that time was the coolest for a kid and their tough brothers. They always looked after me and no one would get away with a smart remark or bad comment in my direction. Through the years they would teach me so much through the intelligence of John after all everything Andrew knew John would of taught him and gradually passed down to me so in that sense I'm grateful. Fair enough as you do with younger tea, coffee or anything needed for them if it was downstairs or down to the shop that was one of my duties after all it kept me around them alot of the time so a small price to pay. John was always the boss what he said goes no matter what, you wouldn't argue because he could destroy. Anything anyone that got in his way no matter how big or even how many he always walked away smiling. He skipped from 5th class at school to 1st year because he was so smart 6th class would of been a great waste of time and like school his martial arts graded before time that it should of taken. If he was interested in something he was no less than great at it. Even though he was so smart he loved nothing more than being lazy not working and just wasting such a great thing for someone with great potential.
Andrew and John use to fight a bit then alot as Andrew got stronger and answered back and fought back too. John wouldn't ever be sorry for his actions because after all he was always right why should he. John and Andrew were the best of buddys but so different Andrew strong as an ox would be walking down the street in Bandon lets say for example and because every bloke always started fights with John and could never win there was the next target Andrew or their younger brothers me. Anyway Andrew walking the streets of Bandon and would get started on and punched countless times in the head and ask are you finished and just walk away when he could of easily probably won the gentle giant as he was 6ft compared to me and John the small 5ft 7 or what not. So when you look at the difference of personality there was definitly opposites that always hung out always.
Things started to fall through when John use to hang out with dfferent people John was very gullible maybe because he believed no one would dare lie to him. And he would come home preaching about god, jesus and the eye of the beholder. I was confused on his sudden change of humour not violent in stages because he would misunderstand comments and accuse us of being the enemy and snap.
One morning I woke up early just daylight and my younger sister and mother calling me John is about to hang himself when I went to my mums room mind you why there if he really was serious why wake her so she could try stop him?? anyway i went in and if you can imagine he had an extension lead around his neck ready to jump from the second story window with the other end of the lead out the other window crying saying he can't do this anymore I'm going to hang myself.
I opened the second window freed the cord and threw it out his window so he could jump but that was it. We were worried for his safety and I calmed him down stairs and my mum called the police round 1 of the institution a few months later he came out not fully to me the same person well he wasn't for a while anyway it was like he was lost. He was calmer but an effortless calm the meds were effecting him for sure. Then he thought everything was fine so refused to take meds and if i was in his shoes I probably do the same why would you want to keep something that changes you so much. Then round 2 followed when i lived back home i would visit every week at least twice. I tell you some days were fine but there was times I would look for him he was in gf hospital as a patient an I found him there drugged up to the last just growling and barking at people like a dog to passers by this broke me down i couldn't get why they think they are helping him if this was their fucking result 3 times I found him like this and when he came good I got my mum to release him.
Fine for a while but refused the meds again I don't blame him but he needed to understand he was sick and needed help but the world is wrong not him. so it wasn't long before he returned to so called mental institute (PRISON) they let him out for fresh air one day and he was there first escape i went looking for him and by a wierd coincidence the first stranger i asked if they new John she said he is at hers and she is buying him shoes. Now thinking about it when i showed up so soon after he escaped he must of thought what the hell how i couldn't believe my own luck. I brought him home and he signed himself back in with persuasion and stayed a while went back to gf and was released he was good because i was with him and begged him to take his meds so he did he trusted me always he turned on his best buddy Andrew my mum but always some how never me. He said my constant visits helped him through and appreciated it.
He was great for a long time so friendly still felt the tough guy but didn't act on it. Thats when he met you Grainne i think he became a great poet and we always hung out and he kept taking meds but then stopped again he's been in and out twice since then he attacked Andrew when Andrew was the reason for him being out and that really effected Andrew because he hadn't fought with John for years and had to man handle him back to the institute not what he wanted to do but had no choice what if he attacked Avril, Andrew's girlfriend or my mum what other solution was there. I've been thinking of shipping him over here with me alot but they won't help him here unless he is a resident with meds and I've a baby daughter now and what if he turned and I'm not there I'm so busy with work i'v my own business now but then he could work with me but i wonder can i help i don't understand his condition but i do understand him please can someone help him because I'm not sure if i can and if no one does i sure as well will try.