Please Help Find My Brother

On October 6, my brother Cameron called our sister-in-law Kim, my brother Christopher’s wife, to wish her a happy birthday. That is the last time anyone in my family heard from him.

On October 10, my mom came over to babysit in the early evening as I had been asked to be the speaker at a San Diego Twins Club meeting. While on my way out the door, my mom mentioned that no one had heard from my brother but that he had told her he was going away to San Francisco and not to worry. She mentioned that my older brother Curtis (yes, there are three brothers and me) was worried as well as Cameron’s friends and live-in girlfriend, but my mom didn’t think there was any cause for concern. As a mom myself, I immediately recognized she was in denial.

It is highly unusual for Cameron to be out of touch with anyone, but especially not his family. It is normal for him to be out of touch with me.

Back in 2008 when I was 8 months pregnant with my third baby, we had a little baby shower at the beach with a few of my friends and their kids. Cameron showed up with a case of champagne and ended up quite drunk and behaving very strangely. When I called him out for acting outrageously, some sort of switch turned on in him and he lunged toward me and my husband jumped in between us.

Immediately, my friend mouthed, “GET OUT OF HERE.” I grabbed my 2 and 4 year old (at the time) by the hands and ran as fast as a pregnant woman can.

My husband and one of my dearest friend’s husband spent hours from there attempting to get my brother home safely, avoiding police then agreeing to get him home when police did get involved. He was acting that crazy.

The next morning he was incredibly embarrassed and remorseful. After I filled in another of my close friends who wasn’t there, he called in a favor for me with a psychiatrist. This doctor agreed to meet with me and my brother for free before his office hours.

That week, I set my alarm for 6am, again, due any minute with my third child, picked up my brother and took him to meet with this doctor. My brother was clearly not paying attention and I was so offended by how rude he was acting when this doctor was doing me a huge favor, not to mention the friend who made this happen for us.

I never forgave my brother.

Prior to the incident, my brother and I were together at least once a week. He came to my kid’s gymnastics classes and we would laugh and joke around. He was often over at my house and we had never been so close. Unable to forgive him was the worst heartache I have ever felt. In my heart, I thought if I did “tough love” he would finally agree to get mental help. His refusal made my anger grow as well as made me continue to be rightfully cautious of my safety and the safety of my husband and children.

In May of 2010, he showed up at my house. This was highly unusual. In fact, we had since moved and he had never been to my house since we were barely on speaking terms. His behavior was incredibly erratic and he was talking really rapidly and focused on one topic and one topic only, this business venture he was excited about. Something wasn’t right.

I tried to change the subject, but he would go right back to it. Once we headed to the living room from the kitchen, he was still talking about it from a chair and I was on the couch with my husband. Then Cameron got up intensely and sat down right next to me in an aggressive manner, going on and on about this mulch – a type of soil –he was going to make millions selling. My husband and I were having flashbacks to the baby shower incident and my husband at that point asked him to calm down. During this time, I was pregnant with twins and said I was tired and needed to go to bed so we could get him to leave.

We were in shock. We kept asking over and over again: What was that?!

A week or so later I finally got the call. Cameron had gone on a cruise with his childhood friend who played for the Green Bay Packers at the time. It was a cruise for fans and this is where Cameron hit a psychotic phase. Apparently, he would draw on the walls, on his plate at dinner, was acting erratically and hadn’t slept in over a week. When exiting the cruise, security asked him a question, he snapped and went after the guard and had to be contained. He was admitted to a psych ward.

My entire family was actually somewhat relieved to at long last be given the diagnosis that Cameron is bipolar psychotic, as it just explained so many different incidences over the years. If treated, he can go back to Cameron. Unfortunately, it’s common for someone who is bipolar to go off their meds. On one level, they miss the mania feeling that my husband and I unwittingly experienced the night he showed up at my house. This is a feeling that you are on top of the world. Also, once the person feels better, they think they don’t need the meds, not realizing the meds are what’s made them better.

Unfortunately, this relief was short lived as the system does not work as you would think, or hope. Cameron was able to fool his caregivers that he was back to “normal.” Once out, he was clearly not “normal.” In fact, he told me he was a flying monkey and solving 9/11. I’m not joking.

We were told his meds would take time to take effect. It was clear he stopped taking them. In fact, he called my mom and made suicidal comments. His dad – Cameron is my half brother – got to his house immediately and witnessed that he had stacked every pair of his shoes and was dissembling a clock. Bill went back to his car saying he needed to grab something and called the police.

Once the police arrived, Cameron was acting completely normal for them and they told Bill they have no reason to take him. When Bill mentioned the suicidal comments, they said they officially have reason as Cameron posed a threat to himself.

This was it, I thought! This time he will get the treatment he needs! I was wrong again.

Once he was released again while clearly not in a healthy state of mind, I was tracking his comments on Facebook. As they got more and more erratic to the point of threatening to others, my family was back in action to find him and get him help. He wouldn’t take my call or my older brother’s. We had my husband call. Cameron was on his way to Christopher’s mother-in-law’s house where my little nephews were. Christopher immediately intercepted him, encouraged him to meet him at a mall. When they met up, Christopher said frankly, “You are not well. I have called the police and they are on their way.”

Now, I called the hospital where he was admitted so I could detail his behavior and ensure he was not released. I was told, “He’s fine ma’am. He should be out shortly.” I said, NO! That’s the problem! You can’t let him go.

It is shockingly scary how easily they will let someone in a psychotic state back out on the streets! What if the person doesn’t have a family who cares? It’s incredibly frightening.

Each of my family members wrote letters detailing why he should not be released and we were finally, FINALLY able to get him the care he needs.

Once out after a lengthy stay, his dad had him move in with him and carefully monitored that he took his meds. It seems like a no-brainer that this is what should have been done originally, but this was all new to us and we were trying to understand what it means to be bipolar psychotic. You think the person you have known for 28 years (at the time) and, for much of it, been able to reason with, can be reasoned with. Not so. Their brain no longer works that way without meds. It’s an incredibly difficult concept to grasp when you are in the thick of it.

There were some ups and downs from there while figuring out proper doses and his dad took it all on.

It’s been just over a year of Cam faithfully taking his meds and impressively rebuilding his life. In fact, for the most part, he was back to the Cam everyone knows and loves. Speaking of which, it is emotionally overwhelming just how many people do love him as is evidenced by the messages left on his Facebook page from his 500+ friends since he has been missing and the many people who have changed their profile pictures to his photo.

Though I have been impressed with his dedication to taking his meds, Cameron and I still have had limited interaction. Based on the incident where he lunged at me while I was pregnant, I do not approve of the fact that he was drinking again and told him I did not want to see him if he was.

On September 20, I received a text from my older brother that Cameron was off his meds. Cameron had told Curtis this. I immediately welled up with tears and knew my family was in for another roller coaster ride, but would have to wait until it got to the point where we could get him taken in again. Again, we can’t admit him unless he posed a danger to himself or others.

In the meantime, he headed up to San Francisco for work on October 1. As of the 6th all communication stopped. He has stopped using his bank card and his cell phone. My family has filed a missing persons report, is working with Detective Joseph Carroll with SFPD. My brother Christopher is now in San Francisco retracing Cameron’s steps based on his phone activity.

Cameron is an immediate threat to himself and possibly others while in this psychotic state. My attempts to have the San Francisco media cover the story in hopes of receiving tips to find him have so far been unsuccessful. The police will not release his phone records to our family as they feel this case is not high priority. Yes, that is what we have been told. It is not high priority to find someone with possible violent tendencies while off meds,  in fact, he spent 8 months in jail when he was 19 for assault during a fight. During that incident back in 2002, when we had no idea he had psychotic issues, he was released from jail early because the judge was overwhelmed by the amount of letters he received vouching for what an amazing person Cameron is.

There are two sides to Cameron, hence the “bi” in bipolar. My family is distraught and hoping to find him so we can get him medicated and back to the Cameron that is overwhelmingly loved by many.

Please help.

The number: (949) 887-8426

To see a large copy of the below poster, Click here.

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Comments

  1. Chelsea – I hope your brother is found soon. My heart goes out to you and your family. I will forward to everyone I know including someone that lives in San Francisco.

  2. Praying for you all.

  3. Thank you Michelle and Moe — I appreciate it.

  4. Stacey Leland says:

    Hi Chelsea, Thank you so much for being vulnerable with your feelings and sharing your story about your brother Cameron. My family struggles with mental illness as well. I am so proud of you for protecting yourself and your family and setting clear boundaries. I am so sorry for all of your suffering. I will keep you in my thoughts and pray for Cameron to be found.

  5. Chelsea; I totally understand. I have a 27 yr old son, who has similar issues. After not hearing from him for over 6 weeks last spring, I was able to locate him through Facebook. However, he didn’t want contact with family and has remained elusive. I think he is still in CA, but I don’t know for sure and don’t know how he’s supporting himself. He, too, has his very sweet side, is extremely bright and talented. It’s a constant heartache and worry. He’ll always be my child; I can only hope my love someone follows him wherever he is. I hope you find your brother safe very soon.

  6. Hi Chels- You are very brave to tell Cam’s story. I will pray that Cameron is found, safe and sound. So sorry you have to go through this…

  7. Chelsea, My heart goes out to you and all of your family. There are so many faces to mental illness, so much to reconcile. I hope you find Cameron and that he receives the medical care he needs. I am so sorry to hear what your family has gone through. Your in our thoughts and prayers!

  8. hey chelsea! i am so sorry – i know you have been struggling this for a long time. good for you for opening up and sharing your story – i am sure you are going to touch a lot of people and indirectly help them with similar situations. i will pray that cameron is found soon. xoxo.

  9. My niece lives up there at USF and I asked her to send this to everyone she knows up there

  10. Patty Bailey says:

    Chelsea, I am so sorry for you, for Cameron, for Curtis and Chris, Val and Cameron’s dad and your whole family. You have had such a struggle and heartbreak. Thank you for being vulnerable and transparent to help us better understand Cameron. Because you have told Cameron’s story so well, I have to believe someone in journalism could take it farther. I am emailing your story to as many people as I can think of. Please know that we love you and care so much.

  11. Chelsea-
    I am so sorry for all you have & are still going through. I pray your brother is found safely, and able to get the help he so needs. It is so hard to understand mental illness – as well as, come to terms that it is affecting your family. I can relate to you, in that mental illness (varying states & types) run very strong on both sides of my biological family.
    Seeing a family member change so dramatically, is the most heartbreaking thing. Not only have I felt helpless, I’ve also felt so angry, upset, sad and really frustrated.
    I admire your honesty & strength in sharing your brother’s story.

    I hope & pray, he is found safe – and will accept the help to allow him to live the amazing life he was given — although with obstacles, that thankfully can be well treated.

    Big Hugs to you, and your family. And – especially your brother. xxx

  12. Thank you all so much. This was the most difficult post I have ever written and it has been incredibly hard to do.

    Stacey, Becky, and Brooke, thank you for sharing your stories, too. It was incredibly comforting to not feel so “alone” if that makes sense.

    Mental illness is awful and my heart is hopeful to find Cam and get him back to the amazing guy he truly is.

    Thank you all again! It’s been tough, so your support means a lot.

  13. Oh Chelsea, I am so sorry. My heart goes out to you and your family. I hope that he is found soon.

  14. I cannot imagine! I’m so, so sorry to hear about this. I will forward the info. Praying for you and your family.

  15. Chelsea, thank you for making us all aware of the complicated issues related with mental illness and our loved ones. Your love and devotion towards Cameron is amazing. I will help any way I can to help make others aware of your missing brother. Our extended families are so important and we need to always be there for each and everyone that is a part of our family because they make us who we are today. Love you Chelsea. You are a very strong mom, daughter, and sister to your family…

  16. Chelsea – This is heartbreaking. My thoughts and well wishes are with you and your family. Much love.

  17. Chels, words can not express how truly sorry I am that you and your family are going through something so tragic. I HAVE to believe he WILL be found! Hang in there, staying strong is the hardest part. XOXO

  18. Chelsea, it’s so heartbreaking to read about losing Cameron in more ways than one. I know the sweet, warm Cameron who always had a big bright smile whenever I saw him and I hope we find him and he gets help. Thanks for sharing your story – you’re all in my thoughts.

  19. Chelsea- Just read this blog about your brother. My heart goes out to you and your family. I graduated with you in ’91. I too suffer from mental illness-bipolar II. I have been hospitalized and can sympathize with the literal ups and downs of this illness. I appreciate you sharing your story in this forum to raise awareness-this is a very taboo and misunderstood illness. There is no shame for me and I talk openly and freely about it. I hope Cameron is found safe and sound-I will pray for all of you. God Bless.

  20. I will be changing my pic on facebook too. Your message will get around the world, and your brother will be returned.

  21. Hey Chels! Brandi here. Thank you for sharing your story. My youngest sister deals with bipolar and it is a rollercoaster. I’m happy to know that there are other families, whom I know, that have issues like this. You and your family are in our prayers.

  22. Chelsea,

    I found your website via the SF Chronicle article about your brother. I came here & read your entire post, and reposted it on Facebook with a note for everyone to keep an eye out (I live in SF).

    As someone who was once diagnosed with bipolar disorder and is close with many who suffer from it, I have so much compassion for your brother and for you & your family, who have gone through so much already. I truly hope that this story has a happy ending and is the beginning of long term healing for all of you.

    Take care, and fingers crossed.

    Amber Gregory
    San Francisco, CA

  23. I am so touched by all of your comments — thank you so much.
    Jennifer, You are amazing! Thank you for sharing that. I agree that it is so misunderstood!
    Brandi, I am sorry to hear that you, too, know all too well what a roller coaster ride this can be. Big hugs to you and your family and thank you so much!
    Amber, thank you for reposting! My family was very happy the SF Chronicle posted it in hopes that it might help someone recognize and find Cam.

  24. Hi Chelsea,
    I’m a friend of Cameron’s and am so surprised and sorry to hear about his challenges. I have known him for a only short time, grew to care about him quickly because of his warmth and positive energy, and yet hearing your story puts a lot of the pieces together. I miss him terribly and hope that he shows up soon, in good enough shape for you and your family to put the pieces back together. My sister-in-law suffers from the same mental health challenges and it has been a constant challenge for her family. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts.
    Nancy
    Fallbrook

  25. What heartache. Saying a prayer for you all.

  26. Sumer Savin says:

    Chelsea- you are incredibly brave and I commend your dedication and honesty. I have known Cam since Junior High, and still consider him a wonderful friend although we haven’t spoken in about a year. I have contacted all of my SF friends to spread the word. It is so unfortunate how “taboo” mental illness is, but I have witnessed it firsthand, and know that there is no shame in it, just like having any other health ailment. I am thinking of you and your family constantly, and we WILL get Cam home safely. Please, please, please let me know if there is ANYTHING at all I can do….I want to assist in any and every way possible, but feel completely helpless. Although we have never met, I am sending you and your family big hugs and positive thoughts. Again, please don’t hesitate to ask me for anything….it will help me as well feel like I am being of assistance. Hang in there, Cam will be back and smiling that adorable smile soon.

  27. Vanessa — Thank you so much!
    Nancy and Sumer,
    Thank you for sharing what a great guy Cam is! It means so much to me for people to read how wonderful he is from others. It’s such a hard concept to grasp, especially for people who don’t know him, that he is this really wonderful person who has touched so many. He is truly awesome! Hoping to find him and bring him back to the Cam that is loved!

    Meanwhile:

    *ORGANIZED SEARCH SATURDAY OCT 29*
    SF residents and any friends who can travel, we are having an organized search for Cameron this Saturday, October 29.

    WHERE: Please meet at the Union Square stairs at the corner of Geary St. and Stockton St.

    TIME: The search will start at 9am. We will have a point person there all day, so if you are able to come any time during the day, please do!

    Our brother Curtis will be there at 9am with flyers. If you can also bring your own printed flyers that would be great. You can download them here:
    https://breezymama.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/cam.pdf

    Please spread the word and let’s bring Cam home!

  28. Angela Chee- says:

    chelsea,

    I had no idea. Thank you for sharing. My thoughts are with you and your family. I hope and pray for the best!

  29. I’m so sorry…and you’re a great writer.

  30. I will say a prayer for your brother tonight. I also want to spread the word about NAMI in San Diego. It is an incredible organization and an amazing resource for anyone going through a mental illness or any friend or family member who knows someone with a mental illness.

  31. Rob Williams says:

    I met Cameron on the cruise to Alaska. Everyone on the cruise felt bad for Brandon and recognized he had a medical issue. Brandon felt responsible, and we spoke at length. We saw Cameron change from the beginning of the trip to a totally different person. Cameron and I stayed in contact after he was released. He is a really nice guy. I have posted this on my facebook wall so all of my friends can see it. If there is anything we can do, we would love to help. We are in Green Bay, so I am not sure what can be done from here. We are praying for his safe return, and for your family to make it through this.

  32. Anonymous in Del Mar says:

    Chelsea,
    Through friends of friends, I stumbled on to this very sad story. I briefly dated Cameron in ’08. I certainly witnessed his eratic mood swings during the time we dated. He was an incredibly sweet, caring and intelligent person (laying in the hammock all day, bringing me flowers to plant…) but then something would flip. All these years, I have had anger and resentment towards him.

    I now have such a different outlook. I’m shocked, I had no idea he was so sick, yet that all makes MUCH more sense. Your champagne story gives me chills- as I remember drinking champagne on the beach with him on several occasions. Thank God for your motherly instinct, and that you and your children got away safely.
    My heart breaks for your family, and for Cameron. I have forwarded the story on to everyone I know in SF. I will be praying for you, and that your family gets their healthy, happy Cam home again. Stay strong!

Trackbacks

  1. […] Please Help Find Cameron Remmer October 21, 2011 By Ooph Leave a Comment The brother of Chelsea (Breezy Mama), Cameron Remmer, an Encinitas resident, age 29,  has been missing since October […]

  2. […] (Cameron Remmer is bipolar and suffering from psychoses. He is in immediate need of medical attention. If spotted, please call 911 and explain you found a 5150 missing person. […]

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