Post # 47
@spiced latte: My advice is filing a report and talking to a lawyer about how to make your brother pay for the damage he caused. He’s an adult and there are consequences to his actions – you can’t keep him sheltered. It’s also not fair for you to pay for the damage he caused.
When he’s having an episode, I would call the police to have them diffuse the situation. I had to do it with one of my brothers once when he was high and threatening my grandmother. The officer didn’t do anything, just talked to him for a few minutes and made him leave the residence and go back home.
Good luck, it’s a tough situation.
Post # 48
Some more advice please- I’m trying to help but need to know if you think I would be helping or just enabling if I went with my brother to places to get the ball rolling- like going to school to get him registered or going out and handing out resumes with him? Is this too much hand holding? He didn’t go this mornin because he was having really bad anxiety- no violent outburst- just very very anxious that he couldn’t bring himself to go to these places
Post # 49
I’m no stranger to anxiety. For me personally, it was to the point where I couldn’t even go to the grocery store without having a panic attack from anxiety overload thinking about what horrible things strangers could be thinking about me. It sounds so silly and stupid, but the anxiety and physical pain was very real at the time. My parents coddled me and enabled me– they told me I should be getting a job and helping out with money, but took no steps towards enforcing that.
The simple fact of the matter was that I didn’t feel threatened at home (nor did I feel like my place at home was in danger), whereas I felt massive amounts of anxiety going out in public, so I took the easy route and stayed where I felt safe.
It took extremes for me to overcome my anxiety and put myself out there. Your parents are taking a step in the right direction by making him take on more responsibility. It wasn’t until I was pushed to my breaking point that the anxiety of NOT supporting myself outweighed the massive anxiety I felt by applying, handing out my resumes, and going to what few interviews I was called for. It was honestly one of the few times in my life where I can say that feeling that horrible made me a better and stronger person. And now that I know that I can come out fine on the other side, it’s so much easier for me to want to push those boundaries in hopes of always growing and becoming a better person.
As far as your specific question, as long as he’s putting himself out there, your support is definitely helpful. If you’re sitting in the car while he goes in to turn in his resume, he’s still taking steps towards conquering his anxiety problems, and you’re still able to encourage him. DH had anxiety problems as well (that was one of our bonding points), and we were able to support each other while still making progress. It’s not going to happen all at once, but starting anywhere is better than not starting at all.
If I can suggest something– maybe try volunteering with him somewhere? DH and I did that together. We were able to get experience to put on our resumes (helpful if he’s looking to work), and get exposure while leaning on each other for support. If you can find something where you’re doing back-room type stuff (e.g. organizing donations in a warehouse for a local charity– that’s what we did) as opposed to working with the public, that would be a good place to start.
Post # 50
For anyone interested in an update-
my brother has progressively been getting worse. He has had NO violent episodes at all but his anxiety is worse than ever. just last wk he went to the doctor and hospital all in the same day. its taking a while to get him in to see a psychiatrist. both the doctor and hospital prescribed him medication, but he doesnt want to take them as he took them for a few days and didnt feel a difference so it was making him more anxious.
to those of you who suffer from anxiety- please help me understand!!
my family is trying everything we can to help him. we are literally walking on egg shells around him. I have not asked him about paying for my broken wall as that will cause him to panic. my parents have not asked him to pay for his phone bill as that will cause panic. he now needs someone to sleep with him in the same room as he says his anxiety is really bad. he did sign back up for school which starts next wk and im sure that is making his anxiety worse. my parents are suppose to come to my house to babysit so i could have a much needed night out (if you read my other post im really needing a break as a new mom) but now they may not be able to come as my brother states he feels anxious about coming to my house, so my parents may need to stay home with him.
help please!! i want to understand and we are doing everything we can, but everyone is suffering.
Post # 51
He needs to fix what he’s done. Maybe if he has to take some responsibility for his actions he will realize that he needs some help. 23 isn’t a kid who doesn’t know what they are doing. It sounds like he has major anger problems, and maybe footing the bill for some damage will make him realize that he needs some help. I wouldn’t want him back in my house after this, honestly, and I’m not sure I’d even want to be around someone who lashes out to the point where he’s destroying things.
ETA: Just saw your update, OP. My sister suffers from major anxiety, but nowhere near this amount. She gets very upset if she is home alone for any period of time, and even begins making things up. She will call saying, “mom, someone just tried to open the front door. They jiggled the handle!” Just so my mom will hurry home. I’ve never seen someone get to the point where they actually acted out so strongly because they were anxious, but then again I’m only basing this off the couple of people that I know with anxiety. I wouldn’t want him in my home, personally, until he is able to get these problems sorted out. Especially wouldn’t want him around my baby since you mentioned being a mom!
Post # 52
Ok, a few things:
1. I don’t think you would be enabling if you go with him to help a bit. He is still taking the steps to better his circumstances himself by showing up. My only suggestion is that you stay in the car while he runs his errands – going inside or speaking for him would be taking it a bit too far in my opinion.
2. The worst part of anxiety is that it doesn’t allow you brain to shut off. You literally think about the things making you anxious all the time and you have no way to stop it. Counseling could be useful and I’ve heard medication can as well. I suggest that someone gently encourage your brother to try the medication again, since it might take a while to actually start working properly.
3. I think your parents should still babysit for you. I know your brother is really anxious right now, but that doesn’t mean you should sacrifice your free night. Would you consider allowing them to bring your little one to their house so he doesn’t need to be alone? Or maybe he could have a friend stay with him while your parents go to your house?
4. Your brother needs to pay for the damage. I know he is having a tough time, but that doesn’t absolve his responsibility. He did something wrong and he needs to accept the consequences.
I have anxiety and it completely sucks – I never feel entirely calm about anything, but it gets worse when I have to talk to or interact with new people. I’m seeing a counselor this week for the first time to try and find ways to cope. I really think you guys should be pushing for an appointment soon or you should find a different Psychiatrist who can see him sooner.
Post # 53
It can take up to 6 weeks for him to notice the medication working, depending on what kind of meds they are. Be as patient as possible, as calm as possible, as empathetic as possible, and encourage him to take them daily for two months as directed, just as a trial. See if he agrees to that.
I do not believe going through the police is the best way to handle him. You’ve said he’s not posing danger to other people or to himself, and that the violence has toned down? Please, if nothing else, realize that this is an ILLNESS. This is not a temper tantrum. This is not him being a brat. This is not him choosing to make a big deal out of nothing. This is his brain sabotoging him, raising his heart rate, closing his life in on himself, and him seeing no way out. This is mental illness, and he needs to see a doctor. Someone with cancer or a tumor wouldn’t be told “it’s all in your head” or “just try to control yourself!” – they’d get all the support and help they needed to get to a doctor and into remission. Do the same with your brother. He is in need of help and support. A safe place to go. People who will not get upset when he has an anxiety attack. They can be seriously debilitating. Get him to a psychiatrist, get him on meds and encourage him to stick with them – these two things are essential to getting the floorboards back under him so he can make real progress.
I have personal experience – I had bad anxiety and severe depression several years ago, and FH has severe anxiety that’s being treated with meds. I can’t emphasize enough how essential it is to have a good support system when suffering from mental illness.
Post # 54
My sister did that, we called the police.
She was only young (15), but she had punched holes in mum’s walls before and I told her that I would call the police if she tried to do that in my house, then she did. So I called them.
They gave her a warning. It hardly ruined her life. This might be the wake up call your brother needs, and anxiety does not cause you to do that- you can’t choose how you feel about things, but you can choose how you react to those things. Plain and simple- he’s been aloud to get away with it and thinks this behaviour is ok.
Also, if he has no job how exactly will he be paying to fix the damage? Wouldn’t your parents be the ones paying?
Post # 55
When I went to the doctor for my anxiety problems they gave me two different kinds of meds. One of them was for the short term ‘I’m about to have a panic attack’ times and the other was to regulate my brain chemistry over time. The short time one basically shuts down your adrenaline response, and for me it’s enough to take the edge off so I can sit still and function somewhat when it’s really bad. The long term one took two to three weeks to start kicking in. Once it did I really felt like a different person. About a month into taking it my doctor doubled my dose because I told her I could feel it helping, but it wasn’t quite enough. My parents were visiting when the doctor upped my dose and they said they could see the difference overnight. When I hit the right dose I felt like myself again which I hadn’t felt like in a long time. I still get anxious and still have to force myself to do things, but I am so much more funtional now that I’ve been on my meds for several months. Going on the long term meds and changing the dose lead to about a week of insomnia each time for me. It just takes patience to let the drugs kick in. Your brother should try staying on them for at least a month before deciding if it’s helping him.