I’m totally new to the forum, and I’m looking for some guidance on the situation my family and I are in right now. Basically what has happened is that my younger brother (we’re both in our early 30s) was just involutarily committed because of what the doctor said is almost certainly paranoid schizophrenia.
He is the third generation in my family to get it, after my grandmother and uncle, so it’s a bit of a family curse unfortunately. He has been getting progressively worse over the last four or five years after he was sexually assaulted in his sleep at a party and later went through a bad break-up that more or less ruined his life plans and personal finances, becoming more and more paranoid and seclusive.
In the last six months or so he has started telling us all sorts of strange stories about things he belives are going on, from my parents supposedly breaking into his apartment at night to a bunch of kids having performed brain surgery on him while he was asleep. Yet most of the time he would still seem quite rational, just sad about his current life situation, so I think in our denial my family and I were hoping that it wasn’t schizophrenia and that he just needed to get his life back on track again.
Finally this saturday he started sending me all sorts of odd messages on Facebook about how he needed his ex back (she’s my wife’s best friend, unfortunately), writing sentences that were literally in two different languages at the same time. Early Sunday morning he showed up at my parents’ house in a very agitated and aggressive state. He had apparently not eaten or slept in days. At some point he started making these strange, dance-like movements in their living room before he suddenly froze completely and just stood there staring at the wall for about 15 minutes.
My parents of course took him to the hospital, where he was admitted immediately.
With our family history, the fact that he most likely has paranoid schizophrenia doesn’t come as a total surprise, yet I feel like I am in complete shock. After my dad told me what happened yesterday, I literally broke down in a sobbing mess on the floor. Today I had to go home from work because I couldn’t focus, and I keep crying all the time. I feel so, so sorry for him. As brothers he and I lived through a traumatic childhood together, and I wanted so much more for him than this. I live abroad, and due to that and his seclusion it has been difficult to stay in touch with him over the last couple of years, which I now feel incredibly guilty about it. I feel like I have lost my brother, and at the same time many of my own old wounds regarding my family have been reopened.
Is it normal to react this strongly to finding out about a sibling’s illness? My whole family is devastated, but I just can’t seem to be able to pull myself together and get a rational grip on the situation, even though I know he is finally getting the help that he needs in an excellent hospital.
Any advice or stories about how you dealt with finding out about your loved one having schizophrenia would be much appreciated. And I apologize for making my first post here such a big, dramatic one. I will try to contribute where I can.