Hello, I hope you don’t mind me posting. First off I just wanted to say I’m sorry you ended up cut off by your brother. Hopefully you will find a way to begin to rebuild that bridge between you. Maybe write a letter of support or trying to let him know you still care. I like letters, they can’t be remembered differently as easily.
My oldest brother was diagnosed when I was rather young. Now that I’m growing up, I’m beginning to learn many things about this illness that I didn’t understand before.
I don’t know if I have any advice that will really help, but I will try my best.
As far as a “normal” relationship? That took some healing and refocus. There was a time when I was trying to find a cure, I was trying to have all the answers. My all consuming conversations weren’t helping my brother as much as deeply irritating him.
I read about Sz, I talked about Sz, I learned as much I could, collected the books, took in as much knowledge as I could, and I still couldn’t help my brother. I was so angry that he seemed to be resisting my help.
I didn’t really think that my brother didn’t want to always talk about his illness. He wanted to leave that at home and talk about comic books and art and the night sky.
I eventually learned to just let it be and hang out with him and talk about what he wanted to talk about. Eventually, it did get around to his Sz, but in his own way, in his own time.
Learning as much as I could did help me identify was this illness was like and what was other factors. Learning as much as I could, helped me adapt between the “normal” relationship and crisis management.
When my brother isn’t doing well, I have to be patient and ride it out. It’s a bit scary when a loved one like an older brother begins having trouble functioning and making sense. I always imagine, no matter how scary it is for me, it must be really upsetting, frustrating, and scary for him.
How do you cope knowing that they can’t help it, but that what they’re doing is the sort of thing you’d never accept from other people?
The way I cope is with help. First, my sibling support group and then my own therapist has been a huge help with ideas. I also cope because there’s not much else to do. I love my oldest brother very much and I want to help him when I can. The whole family is in this together.
As far as some of the dark past, and some of the parts that have hurt the most, I just have to keep calm and then go vent elsewhere. It’s painful, but I had to just walk away sometimes.
I’m thinking the worst way to try and cope is alone. This illness is too big to be taken on alone.
There are sibling support groups through Nami.org, and that is where I started getting some help, some answers and some ideas how to try and keep our friendship afloat.
I hope you and your brother can rebuild your friendship and start your healing process together.
Thank you for letting me post.