Help Me Live

Prologue

My name is Donatello.

A couple of hours ago, I realised my brother was planning to commit suicide.

Since then, I have been researching furiously online for the answers I need. I am not a medical professional and I have no training in mental illness, but I am the best chance Raph has got. I only hope my high IQ can work the problem and find a compassionate approach to treating my poor brother. One that implements all the current knowledge and emerging treatments to optimise my chance of success.

Raphael is lying in a drug induced stupor as we all come together as a team to work the problem. I am in charge of medication and counselling. It is the best fit for my personality and skills as I am able to work out the appropriate dose for my brother and then allow him to speak his troubles without judgement. I am the perfect fit to offer analytical advice during his terrible illness.

Master Splinter has taken the route of healing through spiritual awareness. He hopes to introduce Raphael to the astral plane, a place of healing and recuperation. It is also a shared platform so Raphael will allow Splinter to merge with his mind to find the darkness and help him fight the battle ahead.

Leonardo will be delivering daily meditation practices and teaching Raph relaxation of mind through discipline. He is well versed in this already and his strong set of skills in this area will be paramount for Raph's recovery.

As for Mikey… our brave little brother has decided on art therapy. Raph has always had a flair for the artistic and Mikey wants to propel him forward using various methods, from painting to sculpture. It will give Raph something to hold on to, something he has a talent for and will discover self-worth.

This will be a long process and there is no definitive outcome. Raph might bounce back but then he might not. The true outcome of mental illness is chronic sometimes and I must prepare myself for this eventuality. Whatever happens, Raph will have guided support from no on from all of us, each utilising what we are skilled at. I hope that this is enough.

I left the lair with Leonardo shadowing my every move. Travelling quickly to the surface, I heaved at the manhole cover with little finesse, creating a screech that could be heard throughout the block. Instantly, Leo was beside me and his hand covered my trembling one, adding a layer of security to my already frazzled nerves.

"Easy, Don. Let me do it."

Leo pushed the cover aside and helped me out of the drain. He helped us remain unseen as we flitted to a dark alleyway and came to the door I was looking for.

Normally, I would never condone breaking into a pharmacy and rifling through their medicinal stock.

However, under exceptional circumstances, this is exactly what I find myself doing tonight. Breaking in was simple enough. Security was poor. A simple lock-pick got me in through the back door. The alarm system was another matter entirely. Fairly modern and tamper-proof, at least for your average burglar seeking drugs for recreational purposes, it proved a small challenge to overcome.

The pharmacy was well stocked, and as I flashed my torch at the heaps of boxes and tubes, I finally found the drugs I was looking for.

I picked up most of the drug called Fluoxetine, a common medication to treat depression, and a few boxes of Diazepam for good measure. Laying some money on the counter and a brief note of apology, I counted the remaining boxes I was going to leave behind. The last thing I wanted was to run them out if they had an emergency.

Stealthily leaving the store, I made my way over to the manhole cover quickly. Leonardo was waiting for me, his eyes dark and brooding. He indicated for me to go before him and I waited for him to replace the manhole cover and drop quietly to my side.

"Did you get what you needed?" Leo asked in a soft voice.

I jiggled the bag of medication in front of him. "Enough for a year at least. Hopefully, with our help and intervention, we'll be able to wean him off them when he has been fully recovered for more than six months."

"Let's get moving then." Leo took the lead and we walked in silence back to The Lair, splashing down familiar tunnels until we reached our destination.

The lair was eerily quiet. Leo and I made no noise as we entered stealthily. I placed the bag of drugs into my bedroom, somewhere only I could access them, and wandered back into the living area.

Leo was sitting on the couch with Mikey. I walked over to join them and then stopped in remembrance of only a few hours prior. Raphael helplessly sobbing on the couch. Begging for us to let him go. To turn our backs and let him finish the job. The memory made my stomach churn in guilt and horror, and I remained frozen to the spot in terror.

"Are you coming to sit down?" Leo asked gently. I took a deep breath to steady myself and walked over to them. There was a seat between my brothers, and I took it, feeling the tension flooding through me at the thought of my brother. Defeated. Close to death.

"Where's Raphael?" I asked. I heard the edge of panic in my voice and wished I could take it back. I felt my brothers wince beside me, their bodies stiffening suddenly.

"He's with sensei." Mike offered, pointing towards our Master's bedroom. The door was slightly ajar, and a soft glow from candlelight made my anxiety worse.

"Don't worry. We each have a part to play." Leo rose to his feet and patted me affectionately on the shoulder before going to the kitchen. I heard the kettle being filled, the soft whistle developing as the water slowly boiled. Everything seemed so loud and disturbing.

Leo had officially become our Tea-turtle. Whenever he sought to reassure us, he would begin with a cup of green tea. As he handed around cups of hot beverage to us, we kept an ear strained to try and hear what was being said between Master and Student.

It was going to be a long night.