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A little help with a brother, please?

Posts: 52
Joined: Aug 2013

So I'm working through the anxiety and depression, and, although sometimes I'm in a tough place, I know it's because I'm transitioning from being/feeling poorly to being/feeling well, and that brings its own anxieties. As does Christmas but pass on.....


My kid brother (aged 53) has always been a bit gloom-prone. I'd have called him depressive but he insists he's not as bad as I have been. He's self-employed, though often that is self-unemployed. He has a permanent partner, and they've worked hard to stay together. Earlier this year he had surgery to cure a brain-fluid leak, which it did. He's had financial help from our mother, who now cannot afford more as she's in a state-funded nursing home. It's a nice home, she's very grateful the state funds it but it leaves her with little income, and none to spare. He's had financial help from our brother, who's on a much higher wage than me, and is very kind. He's had occasional spot-help from me, as and when I can.


Last weekend he texted that his housing benefit had been stopped and he couldn't pay the rent. So I BACSed him $500. I did know it would probably be the last I see of it but he promised to repay me in the new year, which would be good. This evening, he's texted me to say the landlord's given him 2 months' notice to quit, and they have to find a new house and a bond and a first month's rent. Gloom, gloom.


I know it's bad for him, I do, I'm not that selfish; but when I started the relapse that I'm coming out of, I rang and begged him even just to text me "How are you?" once a day, just so I didn't feel forgotten. He managed about a week, and is back to just texting when he's got a problem. I've been texting him the past few weeks to ask how he is, and sometimes, usually he replies and remembers to ask me. Earlier in this depression, he's told me he can't talk to me on the phone because he's too low himself.


So, I'm feeling sorry for him but needing to protect myself from being brought down lower. I need to find the self-worth to tell him that, at the moment, I haven't got the energy to support him. I need to find the words to say that, does anyone have any ideas?


Hope I don't sound too selfish.....


Posts: 289
Joined: Jun 2012


Perhaps meet out somewhere for lunch.  Different admosphere.  Talk about both of you helping each other.  Would that work?  He should not be the person always receiving help.   If he is, I am afraid that situation might be endless.


Anonymous user (not verified)

Depression is a terrible thing. However sometimes it is used as an excuse . Tell him to man up.

jimwins's picture
Posts: 2111
Joined: Aug 2011

I know this is tough to deal with but you have to put yourself first in the current situation otherwise you are just adding to your own problems right now.  I know he's your brother and you love him and but you are in your own "war' right now.  If you don't win the war, you won't be able to help him anyway - right?  So by focusing on yourself and what you need, you are indirectly helping him by putting yourself in a position to perhaps be of help later.  You are not selfish in this - if anything, maybe you need to be more selfish right now.

One thing that might help also is to simply respond to him with a question: "What do think you can do to make your situation better?"(or similar).  Put the ball in his court and let him find solutions for himself. This is not unloving.  It is harder to do especially when you feel the pain of what your loved one is going through.  I'm not particularly religious but a couple quotes come to mind:

"God helps those who help themselves.."

"Give a man a fish and he eats for a day.  Teach him how to fish and he eats for a lifetime." 

I hope all of this gets better for you and your brother but right now, you have every right and need to be selfish :).  

Hugs - Jim


Anonymous user (not verified)

Much better than the way I said essentially the same thing. I believe "girliefighter" aka Carrie is an excellent example for us all. I look forward to reading her book. all my best to Alidh and her brother. I wish only the best for both of them.

Posts: 52
Joined: Aug 2013

Thanks, Jim.


I guess I've always been a carrier of other people's burdens but right now I find myself very resentful! Not helpful, I'll keep working on it.

Posts: 27
Joined: Oct 2013

I have a "brother issue" too as you have been seeing commenting on. It's very tough. We are responsible for ourselves first and foremost and our children up until they are legally adults and even then it's hard to let go. Try, try, try to remember that you are not responsible for him or his choices. You have to deal with you stuff first and if and only if there is any left over.. then OK.

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