A Mistake in Assumption

When I was 11 my big brother had been hospitalized for the 5th time and ended up in a group home shortly upon release. He was 22.

I visited him at the group home and he seemed so distracted and uninterested. He didn’t seem depressed, he seemed like he really couldn’t care less. He keeping looking outside and walking away when I tried to visit with him. He would stare at me blankly sometimes and other times he would just continue on with what he was doing and act if I wasn’t there.

I would bring out my coloring books and eventually he would sit down and color with me. But he still didn’t say much. When I had to go home he would get up and walk to his room without saying good bye.

After more of this I assumed he really didn’t care if I showed up or not. So my visits started fading a bit. I’d go and see him with our parents, but I didn’t go visit him as often. One time I blew him off completely. I had said, “Sure J, I’ll see you next Tuesday.”

When Tuesday rolled around I had gotten in trouble at school and didn’t go. I didn’t go Wednesday, Thursday or any other day. I didn’t think he would notice. That next Sunday when I went with my parents to see my big brother and he didn’t even look at me for a while. He was angry with me.

I told him I had gotten in trouble at school and that was why I missed the days. As the family was leaving the Sunday visit he reached out and took a hold of my arm. He wouldn’t let go for a while. He said, “You NEED to stay out of trouble and come see me.”

Then he handed me a large letter that boiled down to how hurt he was that I had quit coming to see him and how lonely he was sometimes and just because he didn’t say much when I was there, didn’t mean he wasn’t happy I had come.

Just sitting quietly and coloring with him really meant a lot to him. I had mistakenly assumed that just because he didn’t express his emotions, he didn’t have any anymore. That wasn’t the case at all.

Just because our loved ones might not be able to express it, doesn’t mean they don’t care. They are still in there somewhere. We just got to keep working to get them back. Good luck to us all.

Thank you for letting me post.


A person in the room is better than two with words only.
Presence shows you care.


Your brothers come a long way and it’s good to see. And you had a big part in it and still do, that’s good to see too.Those of us with supportive families are lucky, I know I wouldn’t have survived without my family.


I like what I hear about your family. They are really good to you. I’m also glad you have them.

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I’m new to this site and I just read your post. Reading this touched me because I visit my friend with sza and sometimes I feel like he couldn’t care less because he doesn’t talk much and acts like he doesn’t care about me, yet always seems to welcome my visits. Thank you for your words.


welcome to the site, @mouse.

Thank you…glad to have found this.

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This is a beautiful story. My brother said the other day when I had to go give him his shot that I didn’t care about him since I never visited. But whenever I do visit he is angry and forcefully throws me out of the apt he lives in with my mom. I don’t know how to reach out to him. Even when I text him he insults me through text.

How often do you go see your friend @mouse? I think it is great that you do go visit. My daughter’s friends no longer call or visit her: she drove them away with her angry and nonsensical calls and texts and visits during her bad years (which she mostly doesn’t remember). She misses them, but doesn’t reach out, perhaps because she can’t reach out.

@brightbluesky1 sometimes the illness makes the anger, but obviously he wants you to visit if he notices that you “never” visit. My daughter lived with me for 2.5 years in psychosis, mostly spending that time in her room. I longed for her to talk to me, but she almost never did, sometimes never leaving her room, but almost 24/7 “talking” (yelling) to invisible people. But now 2 years after that time, she is doing so much better and we get along great, especially if I don’t disagree with her on minor things. Occasionally she tells me that she missed me not coming to her room more a few years ago (as now I visit in her room every night for an hour of TV watching). I probably should have just gone in and sat there sometimes when she was on no meds or the wrong meds and was angry at everything, but I avoided her in my own home.

We are both in our 40s now but knew each other when we were kids. We reconnected 4 years ago when I found out he had started (he’s had it for the past 20 years, med compliant for the past 15). When we started talking he seemed a little weird, emotionally flat, but not at all aggressive or psychotic. He hadn’t communicated with friends regularly for about 15 years so he was very excited to be talking to someone…he even used to thank me for talking to him. We spent a lot of time together, chatting, going for dinners, movies, brunch, cafes, he even liked accompanying me on errands. We would see each other a few times a week and spoke or texted almost everyday. I showed him how to do things like cook, clean, etc…after aboy 2-3 years he started needing more space and would find me pushy and sometimes annoying :roll_eyes:. He isn’t as warm as he used to be, and it’s really sad. I don’t know if this has anything to do with the illness or if it’s just him.

It’s hard to tell sometimes. What I do is try to ignore the sharp remarks or frowning looks I get from my daughter. It does me no good at all usually to comment on the negative, as that can heat up a disagreement really fast. I try to only focus on the positives. Like yesterday, I took her with me to her brother’s house. She didn’t say she missed her brother, but I sort of assumed maybe she would like to go, so I asked her to come with me. She agreed to come instantly. But she’d never expressed to me wanting to go there. She enjoyed the visit and talked to her brother about her job: things she’s never told me came up and were really funny to us all. I haven’t heard her say that many sentences in a row for a LONG time. She talked for almost 20 minutes, which is VERY rare.

Perhaps you need to directly ask your friend how many times a week he would like a visit. He may not be annoyed with you at all, but with his own self, and unable to express it well. If he IS troubled by his own mind, he may not be able to tell you about it.

Thank you for your response,

I’m so glad to hear that your daughter had a nice time and came alive on her visit! I’m sure that made you feel great, that things are going in a positive direction!
I’m so happy to have found this site. While my friend still has his parents, I worry about what will happen to him once they are older (they are now in their 70s). I assumed, since I’m one of the only people in his life, that I would look out for him, yet he’s been pushing me a bit away and I find it confusing, especially since we used to be so close. And he has called me annoying and pushy, but I’m just concerned for him. He has an injection now every three months, plus takes an antipsy every day, along with a mood stabilizer, and now he’s smoking weed twice a day instead of just before bed. Of course he won’t listen to me…it’s so frustrating!
I’m very interested to hear about your experiences with your daughter. Is she medicated? How is she now compared to before. I know before I reconnected with my “friend”, feelings were involved at some point but he shut that down, he had been psychotic for years before. I also found out he was court mandated to take antipsy 15 years ago.

Honestly, I think a court mandate for medication is good, if the person won’t medicate on their own initiative.

I’m sorry he is pushing you away. Maybe that is intentional, maybe not. Of course you find it confusing, that is normal.

My daughter has been on a monthly injection of haldol since Dec 2018 when she was arrested and ordered onto medication or stay in jail. I don’t think she remembers most of her past (when psychotic). It was a scary time for her and for me. I was almost worn out with trying to cope. It is so very hard, really hard, and I mean REALLY hard, to care for someone with severe mental illness. And yet it is so hard to let go, and let them be their own destructive enemy.

I am VERY lucky that everything aligned to get her force medicated on the best of 4 medicines tried on her. She is doing well in a “new” life, compared to her before life, it isn’t what she wanted, but now, well… it’s a good life.

Thank you for asking about her.

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