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Something’s not right



Im24 years old and for the last few months I've been looking after my younger brother. We grew up with our single mum until she died when he was only a child. They were very close before that and he took it really hard. We never had any kind of counselling and we were moved around to live with different relatives, none of which who were too keen to have us. We separated and lived with different family members for about five years but I always visited and called almost every second day. After getting into trouble with alcohol drugs and fighting he has come to live with me and I'm so happy to have him but each day is a horrible and devastating battle with depression. On days when I work he stays in bed all day. He doesn't even eat. He has started on anti depressants but he has taken every medicine under the sun and swears none of it works. He takes a lot if anger out on me and I'm finding myself constantly sad and worried and crying every day.i love him so much and I would do anything for him. But it feels like he has given up on himself and I just don't know what to do he has been my best friend our whole lives and I don't even want to imagine life without him. Please help!

Senior Contributor

Re: Vent

Hi Sister,

Welcome to the forums. 

Sounds like you and your bro have been through an awful lot, and that the two have a strong bond. It's so hard to see someone we love struggle and battle with their demons, and it's only natural that we want to help them - sometime we want fight to the battles for them. This can be tough because there is only so much to we can do for others before they start doing things for themselves. 

Is your brother open to seeing a counselor? You can see a psychologist by getting a referral from a GP. Beyond Blue has a list of GPs that specialise or have an interest in MH that could provide your brother with a referral. It's not uncommon for anti-depressants to take some time, they have to reach a certain level in the body before they can take effect, and it also can take time to find the right/effective medication. @Johnti , I believe you have had some experience with finding the right meds. Care to provide some advice for Sister? 

If you find that your brother is not interested in speaking to someone. Remember that this is common for many people, and it is often one of several stages that people can go through before they start to seek help or address their MH concerns. It may take some time before he is ready. For many carers,  finding a ways to care for others and themselves can be helpful. I say this because, quite often carers tend to devote so much of themselves to others, and forget to care for themselves. You might find this post written by @MrsC about resilence helpful. There's also this thread about reconnecting with ourselves.

It seems like you are worried that he may harm himself. From what you've written, I'm unsure of the extent of risk. But there's helpful information on the Suicide Call Back Service about how to support someone who is at risk. 

Does anyone else have advice for Sista? 

@Alessandra1992 @PeppiPatty @MrsC , I understand that you have experience caring. Any advice for Sister?

Re: Vent

Welcome Sista.. just checking.. Have you spoken to your brother about your concern for him? Sometimes unless someone close to us let's us know that our behaviour is worrying them, we don't see it ourselves
Would he be willing to go to a group with you? Does he identify himself as being depressed, anxious or other experiences? There are groups in the community that he may find helpful, would he consider a 12 step group like NA, Narcotics Anonymous or an information session such as offered by Adavic, anxiety disorders association, Victoria?
When I cared for my brother many years ago now, I sought help around how best to support him. At the hat time he had mh and aod issues. The advice I was given was around clear communication, and a few rules.
They were to be respectful of each other, and to help each other out in small ways..such as cooking a meal or help each up. I suppose in a way it really was requiring him to communicate..the good news is he became well again, has a beautiful family of his own, for which I am so grateful, just be kind to yourself and keep the conversation going...I feel for you both..
Casual Contributor

Re: Vent

G'day @Sister

I have suffered from bad depression through my battle with bi polar disorder. I have come out on top with the help of medication and healthy living.

Please tell your brother to keep trying, it took me about a year and a half to find the right medication. Now I am allmost symptom free. Is your brother seeing a psychiatrist? A good psychiatrist will work with your brother to tweak his medication.

Sounds like your doing a great job supporting your bro through this tough time. Please take care of yourself and remember that depression can be beaten It can just take time and trying different approaches as everyone is different Smiley Happy

Thanks Smiley Happy


Re: Vent

Thankyou for the advice. We have been to a gp and they referred him to the hospital to be assessed. They saw him twice then referred him to see some community based organisation but didn't actually talk to us at all about counselling. But based on his experiences with the doctors and community people, I can't see him opening up to a counseller. We are going to see a gp again soon to refill his prescriptions but he has told me that he doesn't want to take them anymore they aren't doing anything and that when we go to the doctors they are only going to up his dose. I know that they are helping him, I can see the change but I can't make him see that. When he's not on them he is constantly sad with suicidal thoughts and I hate leaving him to go to work. My older brother who looked after Him
For a while keeps telling me that I can't fix him and that he has to help himself but He's just not getting anywhere

Re: Vent

Thankyou so much to you and everyone for helping. I will keep encouraging him to try with his medication and we have a really lovely gp so I will talk to her about seeing a psychiatrist. It gives me hope hearing your stories and I am so happy you are living a happier life. Thankyou so much

Re: Vent

Hi @Sister ,

Glad to hear that other people's experiences have given you so hope. Smiley Happy It can be hard to see ahead when you can see are dead ends, but sometimes sharing and hearing about other people's experiences can open up new roads. 


Re: Vent

Sometimes medications won't work for a variety of reasons, so a psychologist can be extremely helpful too. Your brother may prefer a non pharmaceutical path to begin with, as many people struggle with side effects on some types of medications.
Also, perhaps SHARC in Caulfield maybe a good service to ring. I believe SHARC runs Self Help Addiction Recovery Courses. Check out their website
They have all sorts of groups running, one may even help you in your role as carer..

Re: Vent

Hi there. Just bear in mind too that sometimes these meds have a bit of time before they kick in, sometimes several weeks. You and your siblings seem to have had a tough time growing up .... It is likely he needs a lot of counseling. Helps to talk .... He is lucky to have u. J

Re: Vent

His doctor has upped his dose of medication. He still says he doesn't want to take it but I am seeing a big improvement. I hope that he will begin to feel a bit better and more hopeful soon. The doctor said that when we visit to get the next prescription filled she will organise visits with a psychologist. She is absolutely lovely and really caring and she is the only doctor he has opened up so far. I have a lot of faith that she will look after him and help him find the best medication for him. At the moment we are trying to focus on eating healthier. He still doesn't really do anything at all when I'm not around and I am still spending all of my time with him when I'm not working. I would love to get to a place where he has his own interests and friends and is happy to have time alone aswell. But I'm finding if hard to go about this. Any advice anyone can offer would be hugely appreciated x

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