My brother has psychosis

My brother is 19 and has psychosis and he’s currently in a hospital undergoing treatment with anti-psychotics. His illness started manifesting a few years ago in school when he started using weed and his grades started falling below what we know he could achieve. Things got worse over the years but really come to a head this last year when he started taking LSD and Xanax. The process of getting him to hospital was awful and drawn out, and then he was let out prematurely and stopped taking his medication so we had to go through another battle and wait until his health deteriorated again until he could admitted back under section 3.

I’m 21 and I feel like the whole experience has really messed up my emotions, he used to verbally abuse me because of his illness saying some really horrible things that hurt me. I knew the things he was saying were because of his illness but it didn’t take away the hurt and made everything confusing. I’ve seen him in some horrible ways where he’s had a psychotic break, screaming and fitting and telling my mum she was going to die. My mum and dad have been struggling a lot, and it has even got to the point where I was scared for my Dad’s mental state. I didn’t know what he was going to do to himself, he felt so unsafe when my brother was at home that he kept saying he was going to leave. I know it’s because he was struggling and I don’t want to hold that against him but it hurts he wasn’t the person we all needed him to be to support all of us in the family.

I feel so guilty for past ways I have treated him just because I thought he was being a dickhead and I didn’t know he was ill. Like on my mums birthday he wouldn’t spend any time with her and kept leaving the house (I thought it was to drug deal, but he kept needing to be in the woods on his own because being around people was too much for him). It feels like he’s died, and I know I’m probably not going to get the brother and friend back I knew and this shatters my heart. This year has really messed me up inside, I just want to be a confident and happy person like I used to be but I have no clue how to get myself there or even if I have the strength to do it.

I’ve just moved abroad to study my masters and my sadness is distracting me from my studies. I want to succeed here and moving abroad has always been a life goal of mine, I don’t want to waste this once in a life time opportunity. My ex has been my support network through the whole of this but relying on him is holding us both back from moving forward so I shouldn’t do that anymore and I cut ties. How do I repair myself? I don’t know where to start.

Is he seeing a therapist or not? That is the first step to take.

Personally, I feel you could seek counselling. You are important, young and have ambition. Your brothers illness is not your fault. You have nothing to feel guilty about. Sad, yes, that your brother is ill, sad that he started on the abuse of drugs route. He is getting treatment again, and there is hope. So as a mother, grandmother, and soon to be great grandmother, I urge to to live your life, and achieve what you can. Be proud, and one day, your brother may be proud of you too.
((( Hugs)))

He is still really unwell and doesn’t see reality how it is so won’t respond to talking therapy yet. But when he is ready that is the direction the doctors are planning to take next.

Thanks so much for your response. I think that would be good for me too, I’m seeing a student councillor in a few weeks and I hope that will help. I will try and do that, I just feel like big pieces of me have been taken by the trauma and I have forgot how to carry on.

Hi Isabella,

Firstly, please remember that you have not caused any of this, and have nothing to feel guilty about. We are all responsible for our own happiness, we cannot control or change the behaviour of others, however much we would like to, but we CAN change our own behaviour. Sometimes though, it’s difficult pinpointing what to do.

I would suggest that for the next few months, you concentrate very firmly on your studies, because you must have worked very hard to get to this point, and deserve success and happiness. Keep fit and active too. I did a part time degree whilst also a carer, it was hard work, but I really liked having something else for my head to think about, other than home or routine.

It is going to take time to work through all that has happened concerning your brother recently, it can’t be hurried or ignored, really rather like a bereavement and the grief that follows.

After I was widowed, I bought a book called “Starting Again” by Sarah Litvinoff, really aimed at post divorce, but it really helped me focus on ME and what I wanted for my own future. It’s usually available on ebay for well under £10, sometimes under £2! It also suggests that you don’t rush into a new relationship until you have worked out what went wrong previously, which you might find helpful.

Thanks for you kind words. I will take your advice and try and do so, it’s just hard to focus a lot of the time on my studies when my sadness keeps creeping up and distracting me. I will research into that book also. Really appreciate you taking the time to reply.

I’m glad you found a way to help yourself and bring you back to feeling you. Hopefully I will be able to do the same!

Try to become more “self aware”, if you are feeling very low, ask yourself why?
If something is making you feel really happy, ask yourself why?
Also challenge yourself to do a few things just outside your comfort zone, maybe take up a hobby, a new sport, join a new group. I there anything which you’ve always to taste, cook, do, visit?

Get hold of self help books. Do you have any hobbies, or interests not related to caring or not? If so, pursue/develop them further. Do you enjoy tennis for example? You deserve a break honestly.