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Undiagnosed brother

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Joined: 13 Feb 2015
Relationship: Sibling (brother, sister)
gender: female
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City or Region: Alberta

Undiagnosed brother

Unread postby Bobo454 » 19 Apr 2015

I am 28 and live with my dad and my two older brothers. My oldest brother (36) has an undiagnosed (and severe) mental disorder.

I want to move out but I am terrified of leaving my dad with him. My dad just thinks as long as he takes care of my brother, everything is fine. It's not fine. One minute my brother will seem fine with my dad, the next he will be doling out elder abuse. My dad is an enabler. He will argue with my brother, almost come to blows, but at the end of the day, he will do nothing. That's the way it has always been.

There was a time - 2 years - when my parents bought my oldest brother a house and my parents, brother, and I were able to live happily. Then my mother was diagnosed with cancer in 2012 and died within a space of 6 months. My oldest brother moved back in with us to help take care of my mom (imo it just made everything worse). He will not move out and my father will not forcibly remove him from the house.

My younger brother (30) also lives at home. He is kind, but I see the changes in him. My younger brother has his own psychological problems (agoraphobia, hoarding, social anxiety) but nowadays he gets very angry. He never used to be like that.

I also have my demons (severe depression and anxiety). I haven't worked since my mom died. I don't think it's all because of my mom. I think 90% is living with my brother. We don't get along at all, and even if I wanted to help, there's almost zero chance he would accept it from me. I don't believe I can ever be happy.

Symptoms of my oldest brother:
- Extremely paranoid: thinks everyone is out to get him (including my dad, brother, and me). There was a blackout a couple months back and he spent almost 5 hours (til 2 am) rambling on about some group doing it on purpose. I could not tell if he was talking to scare us (we could hear him) or if he was seeing/hearing hallucinations. It definitely sounded like he was talking to someone, not just musing to himself.
- No friends, work, school - spends all day on the internet.
- The reason my parents bought him a house was because he would no longer let my mom cook in the house. He said he was allergic to the smell. He would throw all her food in the garbage. Yet he was not allergic to the smell of any commercially bought food.
- Takes a bath maybe every 6 months. Just buys cheap clothes at Wal-Mart and then throws them out when they're too dirty.
- When he was living alone, he did not buy furniture, got rid of all his old possessions (stuff he used to love), and became malnourished.
- History of theft
- Lately when I go down to the kitchen, all the cabinets in the kitchen and living room are open.

There's honestly so many more symptoms. I go to a therapist and she thinks I should move out. She says that if no one else in the family is willing to make a change, there's little I can do. I don't know how to move out without feeling immense guilt. I don't know how to help my brother or myself.

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Joined: 21 Mar 2007
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gender: male
Region: Lower Mainland BC
City or Region: Vancouver
Location: British Columbia

Re: Undiagnosed brother

Unread postby AndrewBCSS » 20 Apr 2015

I agree with your therapist. Once you are out and get your own health problems sorted out, it will be much easier for you to help your family. It's like that thing when you are on an airplane and they say that if the oxygen masks are needed, you will need to put your own on first.

Depression and anxiety make it hard to make changes, so putting what energy and courage you can spare into looking after yourself and getting yourself to a safe place will help you become more healthy. Depression is treatable and so is anxiety. I really suggest focussing on yourself. Once you are out and ready to start helping your brother and father, we can help you figure out what resources might work for them.

Here is a website with some good information on anxiety: www.anxietybc.org

Andrew Stewart
Operations Manager
British Columbia Schizophrenia Society
A reason to hope. The means to cope.

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