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#1

Hi there,

This is my first time on here. I have finally realized that I cannot deal with this on my own. I have a 35 year old brother who was diagnosed schizophrenic about 5-6 years ago. Growing up my brother showed no signs of any mental illness. He dabbled with drugs, some more then others, but it never seemed like it was much of an issue. He went away for college and when he came back he started hanging out with a local bartender. Four years later, she ended up pregnant and that was when my brother broke. It was something I had never seen before. He was living in an apartment at the time and was convinced that all his neighbors were out to get him. Those were the voices starting with him. He then moved in with my mom for a few months & then began thinking one of her neighbors porch light being on was a negative thing towards him. Once again the voices. It wasn’t clear as to how serious it was until the day he called the police on his neighbors. But little did he know, he was calling the police about what was going on inside his own head. Shortly after that, he began to believe he was Jesus and his mission in life was to find the devil. He started saying scary, violent things. That’s when we court ordered him into a mental hospital. He did two weeks and left and went back right to his life. He then started talking about committing suicide because he just couldn’t deal with it anymore. But since he knew the one safe place, the mental hospital, anytime he felt truly suicidal he admitted himself to the hospital. Within that first year, he had been to the hospital 8 times, each 2 week stints. Then the drugs became an issue and he turned to any pill that made him feel better. His daughters mom had been granted full custody, but then they both started to use together. It got to the point where my niece was taken from CPS and moved in with my dad and his wife for a little over a year. My brother did all he had to do, or so we thought, to get his daughter back. And he got her. And all the time he fooled us. Made us think the voices & drug use were done. Until last September. Then heroin showed up in his life because it was the one thing he found that finally just silenced the voices. And now, July 13, I think this is the worst he has ever been.

I come from a family of 6 and my parents are divorced. My dad is in denial and my mom choses to not deal with it. It has broken one of my relationships with my sister for probably the rest of our lives. I could call my brother a drug addict or a crazy person, but he’s not. He’s my brother and he is in more pain then I could ever understand. And I know that it would probably be better for myself to completely disconnect myself from the situation, but I don’t know how to.

I have had thoughts before that I’ve wanted him dead. I don’t think he will ever be able to be happy in this life. He doesn’t see himself as mentally ill, he sees himself as someone special and that no one in this life has ever experienced what he has. And it kills me almost everyday that I have wished him dead. But he will never be my brother again. He seems so far gone that he is just a floating body in this world. He hasn’t had a real moment of pleasure in his life in almost 6 years.

Am I a horrible human being for wishing such a negative thing on him? Should I keep holding onto him or should I disconnect altogether? When will I know it is time to let it go and understand that this is his life to live, not mine.

I feel like I’ve let so much out by my mind is just all over the place. I’ve never expressed to anyone before how I have felt and how all of this has effected me. I just need to not feel so alone anymore.


#2

You’re not alone anymore, people here understand, don’t feel you’re on your own anymore. It sounds like this is all on your shoulders which is huge and so much for you to deal with by yourself. Personally I don’t think you should feel guilty for any thoughts you’ve had, please stop beating yourself up. One of the things that I find makes this so hard to deal with is that’s it’s impossible to predict moods or reactions, it doesn’t make sense and it’s so scary. I think you’re amazing but you can’t forget about you and what you need. I’m sorry I have no advice, I don’t feel I’m dealing with it well enough to offer others advice yet but I had to send you a message to say you’re not in your own anymore. Take care and don’t forget your needs.


#3

Thank you so much for responding. It means a lot to have someone tell me I am not alone anymore. I have great friends and a wonderful boyfriend but I try my best to not let it be apart of those relationships because it then makes everything a little too heavy for other people. It’s nice to finally feel that I have people that understand and are willing to listen and help. I hope to be able to help yourself and others with anything I can with my experience with this disease. I am always in my own head and put so much pressure on myself with this situation and I have forgotten to take care of myself. I have never been the type of person to put or think of myself first, so this is a first for me. I also think it is definitely time for me to live my life the way I want to. It is exactly like you said, you cannot predict moods or reactions so I cannot sit around and just wait for what will happen next with him. I hope whatever your situation is, you are taking care of yourself first. And I hope & pray that everything gets better for you and your family. It means so much to me that you responded back.


#4

Thank you and I completely feel the same way. I’ve been struggling so much and I really understand why you don’t want to bring your friends and family into this rollercoaster. I only joined yesterday but it feels like such a weight has been lifted already just knowing there are other people who get it and know how you feel. I think we’re all in this together even though we have different ways of dealing with it, I honestly don’t think there’s a right or wrong way we just have to remember this isn’t our fault and it isn’t theirs either. It’s these nasty horrible illnesses that are to blame. Sorry about the essay, I’ve needed to talk about this for a long time and now I can’t stop! Please feel free to talk to me or rant away if that’s what you need. Take care.


#5

Yes, I completely agree. I just joined about 2 hours ago and already feel a great sense of relief. It really is such a rollercoaster and I thoroughly enjoy any moment of peace I have, even if it is for 10 seconds. And I live in a small town where everyone knows everyone and people love to gossip about things and because I have such a large family most everyone knows one of us. When everything happened with my brother & people started finding out it felt like our personal lives had been put on the cover page of a newspaper. Everyone judged not just my brother but all of us and watched every move we did. People would ask how he was doing or what the newest info on him was just so they could go back and tell everyone else. So to find this website where it is nonjudgmental and is filled with people that can understand your feelings and thoughts is amazing. No one going through anything like this should ever feel alone. I have needed to talk about this since the day it has started and 6 years later I am finally ready. I am here to listen to you rant or just talk anytime as well because I understand how hard it can be to actually talk about it and admit it.


#6

I don’t think anyone should feel guilty about anything they ever think in these situations - even if those thoughts are that your family member might be better off if they were no longer alive.

It’s good that your brother checks himself into the hospital when he’s suicidal. That means he has some level of insight. The thought that you’re something special, even after the voices are gone, is common - so is the drug abuse I hate to tell him, but my son’s been Jesus too, and God, and the Devil, and Biggie Smalls - he’s a smallish white guy, so that ones kind of funny.

My son would probably have tried heroin too if he had a way to get it. Instead, he got a nasty opiod addiction - same as heroin, but it’s a prescription. He said it made everything right with the world too - and I could see that it did. Not that it’s a viable solution.

Has your brother been compliant on his prescribed meds? or is he now? do they work?
Other than the drug abuse, what’s gotten bad enough that you want to disconnect from him now?
If that’s what you want to do, that’s fine - no one would judge you.
But, if it’s not really what you want to do, maybe learning how to handle your own emotions about the situation a little better could help you stay in his life.

There are therapists out there that specialize in helping caregivers - if I ever get a quiet moment in my life, I plan to go see one. In the meantime, I try to keep my sense of humor & when things get really bad, I just wait for the opportunity to get my son to agree to go to the hospital to get help. And, I vent on here about all kinds of things.

Maybe take some time away from your brother to get some perspective & then make up your mind about how much you can handle without sacrificing your own life?


#7

Hi, Low. First of all, you are not a horrible human being for having thoughts about your brother. You’re dealing with incredibly difficult issues and your niece is in the middle of that, who I’m sure you love very much. She is a helpless person who didn’t ask to be brought into this.

Secondly, all of us on here support each other and understand your feelings, where you’re at emotionally, etc., better than the average person because we’ve walked those miles in your shoes. Please understand that you can ALWAYS reach out to us, vent to us, ask questions, whatever you need, anytime. I am relatively new here myself and these people have been a Godsend to me. I am very isolated in my situation. Don’t have a lot of friends and my family are either far away, close by but gossipers or aging and have their own health issues so don’t want to impose. This is the greatest thing to me because I don’t have to go somewhere after I’ve worked all day and converse with strangers about my family’s issues. I’m a bit of an introvert and this is more comfortable for me.

I want to say I don’t have the answers or advice because I’m in the middle of huge nightmare myself right now, but just wanted to offer you support, hugs and tell you welcome to our group!


#8

No, you are not horrible because the bottom line is you want his struggle to end and sadly sometimes the end of any struggle, SZ or cancer or whatever, is death. It tends to be a thought which crosses our mind when we understand how much pain they are in and know we are powerless to end the suffering. But it does not mean we are bad for the thought. It means we are human.

As for the disconnect, the question for each one of us to consider, if I were in his shoes would I want someone to care or would I want to be abandoned. The “Golden Rule” essentially.

Is it hard? Incredibly so. Find a g_emphasized text_ood therapist and learn how to set loving boundaries. Then stick to them. There may be times when you need a breather. Take it. And always always always remember you cannot control or fix him. It is a disease that is poorly understood. You may have some really dark times, and this forum is a big help. But you may also have some moments of breakthrough that remind you of who your brother is. Cherish those.

And if you are religiously inclined, pray.

Take Care.


#9

I’m so glad I found this forum. I too have a younger brother that suffers from schizophrenia. My parents are divorced and as the older sister I feel like I need to help my brother somehow. Trying to find good treatment and housing is a nightmare. I’m going to see him tomorrow and I hope he is well. Thanks for being here and sharing your story. It truly is so good to know we are not alone.


#10

It sounds like you are working on the right things, I just wanted to mention that NAMI’s Family to Family course isn’t just for parents. The siblings present in our class were very involved with their siblings with mental illness. Some of them were the primary caregivers.