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Topic: My brothers lifelong severe depression & schizophrenia - just after some advice/thoughts/ideas

4 posts, 0 answered
  1. TrfrmBne
    TrfrmBne avatar
    3 posts
    23 August 2020

    I’ll try to describe the situation and keep it short and concise. I apologise if I have broken any rules.

    My brother has been battling depression/mental health from the age of 17 (as to what I can tell). He is now 34.
    He was a talented, popular, life of the party, good looking bloke, a ‘natural’ at all board sports and a great musician.
    He finished high school at the age of 17 then completed a 4 year Electrical apprenticeship.
    Toward the end of the apprenticeship the early signs of low self esteem were beginning.
    Always doubting himself, asking family members if he 'was an idiot' or 'sounded like a dickhead’.
    He completed the apprenticeship but has not worked since the age of 21. 13 years now.
    Lives with my parents in the same bedroom he grew up in.
    He daily routine is this: sleep until 5pm, drink 1 litre of coffee, go back to his room, closed the door, closed the blinds. Once complete darkness, he takes the family dogs for a walk for 1 hour. Sometimes taking a skateboard with him. Then eats dinner that my mother cooks by himself in his room.
    He has a tablet with wifi. But other than that I cannot get into the room (he locks it) to see what else it in there.
    He never goes out in public. He rarely talks to my parents.
    I feel like my parents are “enabling” him to continue this down this path.
    They feel that he is going to “snap out of it” one day and that is all that can be done. They provide him kind of healthy food, fuel, a car and free rent.
    He is incredibly skinny almost malnourished.
    He rarely talks to me.
    I have been to multiple mental health facilities here in Australia over the years to see what can be done. I have been told that unless he is physically hurting himself or others there is legally nothing that I can do.
    I feel it has been long enough and some drastic change has to occur, eg get the men in the white coats to forcibly remove him to a mental health facitliy. Whether or not that is a good idea, I am not sure.
    I have been living in a different city and overseas, but try to visit as much as I can.
    Has anyone else been in this situation and is there anything I can do to help?
    Thank you in advance, I hope all is well. T

  2. monkey_magic
    monkey_magic avatar
    3433 posts
    23 August 2020 in reply to TrfrmBne
    Hi TrfrmBne,

    Mental health can be unforgiving and scary for those living outside of the scope.

    Does your brother have active serious symptoms that need intervention from those guys in the white coats?

    I think a psychologist or councillor could be a good starting point but he has to want to change things to go for active change.

    It sounds like you want change for him and are concerned for him. You care which is great but this needs to come from him. Perhaps you could have a heart to heart with him and mention you noticed a severe change in him and is there anything he needs, or that you can do to help.

    He sounds stuck in his ways. Better still can you all get together as a family and have a chat to him. Establish whether he has goals for the future and maybe come up with some. I don't know if this would work but you can try.

    It doesn't sound like an easy situation at all and I wish you all the best with your brother.
  3. Sophie_M
    Sophie_M avatar
    3423 posts
    23 August 2020 in reply to TrfrmBne
    Hi TrfrmBne,

    Welcome to our online community. We're so glad you decided to join us here. We're really sorry to hear what your brother is going through at the moment, and also what you are going through. We think that your brother is lucky to have such a caring sibling.

    If you feel up to it, it might be worth getting in touch with our Support Service which is available 24/7 on 1300 22 4636 or you can visit our website www.beyondblue.org.au/getsupport for online chat. One of our friendly counsellors will be able to give you some information and advice to help you and your brother.

    You might find it helpful to take a look at some of our resources:   We hope that you keep checking back in with us to let us know how you are going, whenever you feel up to it.
  4. Tangney
    Tangney avatar
    143 posts
    24 August 2020
    Hi TrfmeBne, I have actually seen the sort of thing that you're describing. Actually, I've seen this twice in two completely different and unrelated families, who I was friends with when I was much younger, which is quite amazing now that I think about it! I can't offer much help though, as the situation was as you describe, with both sets of parents allowing the situation to continue and concerned about what might happen to their child if they didn't protect them. I think there was also a sense of shame and the stigma of mental illness was much worse in the 1980s than it is now. While one of these families knew that there was a problem, the other was in complete denial regarding the behaviour and even tried to justify it to me, telling me that there was nothing wrong, even though the young person hardly ever came out of their room and did not communicate with anyone. Remember that this was in the days before the internet!!! It seems ridiculous that so much emphasis is placed on the person showing these kinds of behaviours having to be the one to reach out for help, especially when they sometimes don't know that what their behaviours are not normal and that they need help. It's one of the things that I feel is so wrong with the mental health system - that family and friends are often not listened too and can do little to influence situations where the sick person does not have insight regarding their condition. I think you're already doing all that you can, but maybe you need to get some help for yourself as it can be really awful to have to stand by and watch this going on, while feeling powerless to change it. I hope my sharing this has helped you to know that your situation is not unique.

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