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Fenix
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How can I help my brother?

Hi everyone,

 

I'm feeling quite lost on how to help my family. I (28) live with my older brother (31) and mother and my brother's mental health has been very poor lately. My brother has symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia. He thinks he's being gang stalked and spied upon and has had delusions of grandeur which he mentioned to me a couple years ago. 

 

He's been very upset with some of the issues our house has had which are very minor so he wants to move to a new place. He doesn't work and he places the blame on our mum, who also doesn't work at the moment. She was planning on going overseas for a week to see family and ask for help with money and my brother has been very angry that she would go on a 'holiday' instead of fixing our home, saying she has lied about doing so for a long time. He has threatened to move out on his own and has started to pack some things in his car. I have no idea where he's thinking of going but I don't think he's very capable of being independent.

 

He used to take antidepressants a few years ago but he has refused to seek help upon my suggestion. The last time I had a 'proper' conversation with him earlier this year, he mentioned he was taking anti anxiety medication. I'm not sure if he still is.

 

I don't know what to do and I feel horrible and stressed about it, especially for my mum who continues to provide so much for us. I've been wanting to move out for a long time but I'd feel guilty of leaving my mum in this situation.

 

I'd appreciate any advice. Thank you.

8 REPLIES 8

Re: How can I help my brother?

Hi there @Fenix 

 

Welcome to the forums, it is so great to see you here. I just firstly want to acknowledge what a tough situation it sounds like you are in. I'm sorry to hear it's affecting you and your mum so much. It's really important you both look after yourselves even though your brother is the one with a mental health issue. I'll pop two links down below that have useful information for carers. I hope some others can chime in here as I really don't have any wise words to offer. Just know that we are here for you anytime. 

 

Sending warm wishes,

Hanami

 

https://www.carergateway.gov.au/

https://www.carersaustralia.com.au/ 

Re: How can I help my brother?

Hi Fenix

I’m sorry to hear how your brother is treating your family especially your Mum. I just had a conversation with my son regarding a move interstate as we are retiring. (My partner is not my son’s father). I did explain carefully that he is welcome to live with us (as he does now) but in a bigger house. Anyway to cut the story short he blamed me for not thinking about this move 20 years ago and what is the big deal about walking the beach everyday!! I’m nearly 70 years old, and a warmer climate looks pretty good to me. My son is on anti psychotic medication which helps but I think he blames me for his condition. 
I truly understand what you are going through.🤗

Re: How can I help my brother?

@Fenix 

Not sure how old you are or what your general circumstances are, but it matters that you care about your family as a whole and your brother and your mother.  Whenever you choose to leave hold that sacred.  Sadly there are few guarantees about many of life's decisions.  My best bet was to stand by with loyalty and care, not agree to delusionary ideas but careful how those ideas are confronted, while affirming the relationship. It is a really difficult journey. Ultimately we all have to live our own lives to the best of our ability.  

 

https://www.bsmhft.nhs.uk/our-services/children-young-people-services/early-intervention-service/car... 

 

There are various links on this webpage that might help.  Sometimes there are carer courses around.  

 

@Ellevie 

Hearing you about ongoing family boundary and life cycle issues.  Sounds like you deserve some retirement and I know how important it is to keep the body moving as we age, though I am younger.

 

The blame for the condition is difficult to shoulder, when the relational aspect and individual personal responsibility are entwined.

 

Take Care both of you.

 

 

Why is my son so ungrateful😞

Apologies for me being new to the forums. Still trying navigate my way through

Me again (Ellevie)

As my son’s diagnosis of Schizophrenia is quite new, as a parent I’m at a bit of a loss understanding this condition.

Do people with Schizophrenia know when they offend you?

Do they actually know what is happening around them? My son’s medication seems to make him a zombie, he talks slow and walks slow. Does not want to do any exercise which he loved doing a few years ago 

Appreciate any advice on my questions above

Re: How can I help my brother?

Hey there @Fenix 

 

I am so grateful that you have shared what you are feeling with us on the forums, and I hope that you are getting the support that you need. I see that you are feeling very stressed about this situation, which is so understandable and valid, so please make sure that you are also seeking help if you need it emotionally and reaching out to others professionally and not professionally (as you have on this forum!)

 

That sounds very difficult for your family to go through. It is really sweet of you to recognise how much your mum is trying to do, and how much she is putting things aside to help your brother and your family. It can be really hard when money is tight, but there are lots of government funded schemes that may be able to help with this, or even to provide some counselling/ psychology appointments for your family so that you can reduce the emotional burden on your minds. 

 

At SANE on the forums we run an event called Topic Tuesdays, which is on the last Tuesday of every month (next week on the 29th of November) and this month the topic is about caring for people that have mental health problems, as well as places that you can reach out to for emotional, mental, financial help etc. I'll pop the link to it below and if you are able to attend that would be great so you could ask some questions, or if you wanted to just read over it after the event is over (it stays on the forums forever as a thread) then there will be some great resources linked that you can look into (we have a special guest from CarersVIC).

 

Here is the link to the Topic Tuesday: https://saneforums.org/t5/Special-Events/Topic-Tuesday-Caring-For-The-Carer-Tues-29th-November-2022-... 

 

Sending hugs, 

Amber22

Re: Why is my son so ungrateful😞

Hey @Ellevie 

 

I've just seen your post above and although I am not very experienced with schizophrenia, I did just want to see if you were interested in looking at the link that I posted in my other response to @Fenix before. I'm sure that there will be many members on our forums that can provide you with some help and advice on your situation, but I did just want to pop this in as I did for the post before as I am hoping it might help just a little bit.

 

I think it might be helpful for you to check out our upcoming Topic Tuesday on the forums as you mentioned that you are a carer for your son and that it can be really hard to navigate sometimes. That could be a great question to bring up on the night with our special guest from CarersVIC, or to just have a read through once the night is over (the thread will remain here on the forums even after the event). 

 

Here is the link for ease, but there is more information on my response just above: https://saneforums.org/t5/Special-Events/Topic-Tuesday-Caring-For-The-Carer-Tues-29th-November-2022-... 

 

Sending my love, 
Amber22

Re: How can I help my brother?

Thank you all for your kind words, and thank you @hanami@Appleblossom, and @amber22  for the links. I'll be sure to take a look through them!

 

@Ellevie I'm sorry to hear about your situation, it does sound very tough and I hope you're taking care of yourself. I don't know a whole lot about schizophrenia, but the experiences my brother has mentioned to me sound very scary.

 

My brother has since calmed down from his episode last week so I'm feeling less overwhelmed, but I'm still anxious thinking about what's going to happen next. Honestly, I'm not really sure I'm up to the task of being a carer as I struggle enough trying to take care of myself (I suffer from depression but I'm medicated and fairly stable). I saw my GP to get a mental health plan so I can see a psychologist again which is something I've been meaning to do for a while now. 

Re: How can I help my brother?

@Fenix and @Ellevie 

I am glad @amber22 gave some recent links about current support from sane.

 

There is debate among experts about whether or not schizophrenia is actually a real condition.

 

Full disclosure: both my parents were given the diagnosis, so I have been dealing with it, any "consequences", and thinking about it (including study) for a very long time. I have seen fashions come and go in treatment approaches.  Understanding the unique trauma histories of individual seems to be important, that does not mean parents or genetics are the cause. I tend to have a nuanced psychosocial mindset, as I studied that in my 20s at a good uni.  Temperament and school, general societal or peer experiences all may play into it.

 

Ellevie, after a while it becomes difficult to separate the actual so called "illness" from effects of long term medication.  We probably need to trust 'the experts' to some degree but being being personally informed is important in making any decisions in life.  "Out of the mouth of babes" ... how much do we forgive and when do we need to be more protective of ourselves as continually extending "sympathy" can be enabling?

 

Fenix, Tap into as much care for carers stuff as you need.  There was not much about when I needed it.  The line between caring and people taking responsibility for their own lives is very FUZZY.  

 

Wish I had easy answers.

 

Take Care All

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