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My parents and I are deeply worried for my younger brother...


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Hi, my parents and I are running out of ideas. Maybe writing here and getting some opinions from people around the world will help.

 

My younger brother is 23. He is still 1/2 way through university majoring in Economics. His grades aren't very good. He actually holds a marketing diploma with honours so we know he's a smart kid. Although he never got a marketing related job. In fact, since we came here from UK in 2001, he never held a job for more than 6 months.

 

He's always been depressed (low self esteem). He complained to us about how he's unattractive. He's not ridiculously handsome (ok who is?) but he is not unattractive. He's tall (6 ft), and well built (works out often). He told us that he's useless and untalented. It's not true. He's a great snowboarder. No one I know snowboards as well as he does. Unfortunately he started when he was 19 so it was too late for him to pursue it professionally.

 

5 years ago he attempted suicide via overdose. He swallowed about 200 Tylenol pills and went to sleep. In the morning my dad found him and luckily he lived. He's jack of all traits (good with computers, knows basic mechanics skills, and etc) but master of none. He knows this and always regrets that he didn't continue to pursue piano and guitar when we came to Canada.

 

I work in finance and he took an interest in trading stocks so we lent him $90,000 to play around. A few months went by and he made $20,000 in 1 month only to lose it all a month later. This was 1 year ago. He got very depressed after and told us how he's stupid and useless. In fact we're quite impressed with him because after all this global financial melt down he still has the original $90K. We actually thought he would lose it all.

 

Awhile ago he wanted to move out of my parents house because he said he wanted to learn to live on his own. We thought it was a great idea so we bought him a one bedroom condo unit. Thinking he would be happier but it didn't last.

 

Not long ago he and his girlfriend broke up and he was insanely depressed about it and became suicidal again. We kept feeding him with positive thoughts but it's useless. So to make him happy we bought him a new bimmer. He became happier again but it didn't last either.

 

I know we've been very generous with him but he's family and we love him and don't want to lose him. He refuses to see a therapist because he thinks they're all scammers and a waste of money.

 

Right now he's starting to play piano and guitar again which is a good thing. Now whenever we see him he looks so sad. We still think he's a good kid and has great potential. He doesn't gamble, smoke, drink, do drugs, nor any bad things. We just don't know why he's sad all the time.

 

Sometimes my parents think it's their fault because when we were younger they fought all the time and it may have messed him up psychologically. He says he's lonely all the time. We're just not sure what to do.

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Giving him money and a car, if anything, will make it worse. You can't throw money at a problem and make it go away. If anything I'd imagine it would make him feel worse in the long run because people aren't taking his feelings seriously and instead of talking to him (not sure if you have, it wasn't mentioned), they're giving him things. It's not a catch 22. Have you or your parents actually sat down and talked with him? Is your family close? Have you told him how proud you are of him?

 

You may want to change the "committed suicide" to "attempted suicide". I got thrown off there.

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Giving him money and a car, if anything, will make it worse. You can't throw money at a problem and make it go away. If anything I'd imagine it would make him feel worse in the long run because people aren't taking his feelings seriously and instead of talking to him (not sure if you have, it wasn't mentioned), they're giving him things. It's not a catch 22. Have you or your parents actually sat down and talked with him? Is your family close? Have you told him how proud you are of him?

 

You may want to change the "committed suicide" to "attempted suicide". I got thrown off there.

 

Thanks. Yeah not sure why I wrote "committed". We have talked to him many times. We always told him he's bright and such. The compliments we tell him just doesn't seem to stick.

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I understand that you and your parents want to attempt to make your brother happy because of his attempted suicide, but I'm sure you all know it isn't going to solve the problem of his ongoing depression. Do you all spend time with him and give him attention in other ways? Following his suicide attempt, did he receive any therapy and was he put on any medication? Therapy will do him more good than any material things that you can give him, he needs to figure out why he's depressed and work on building himself up.

 

Do you think there might be a remote possibility that your brother is taking advantage of your generousity and playing on your emotions by pretending that he is more depressed than he actually is?

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If anything I'd imagine it would make him feel worse in the long run because people aren't taking his feelings seriously and instead of talking to him (not sure if you have, it wasn't mentioned), they're giving him things.

 

I couldn't agree more. I say sit and talk with him. Perhaps he has a lot of feelings just bottled up inside that need to come out. Feelings that don't get expressed in a healthy way really can weigh heavily on a person's health. He probably has a lot to say, and as his family you all probably have a lot of good words to offer him.

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Thank you all for the replied.

 

Following his suicide attempt, did he receive any therapy and was he put on any medication? Therapy will do him more good than any material things that you can give him, he needs to figure out why he's depressed and work on building himself up.

 

Yeah he did get therapy back then and was put on antidepressants. I think his recent breakup made him depressed again

 

Do you think there might be a remote possibility that your brother is taking advantage of your generousity and playing on your emotions by pretending that he is more depressed than he actually is?

 

I don't know. I hope not. Even if he is, what can we do? I don't want to risk him attempting suicide again.

 

I couldn't agree more. I say sit and talk with him. Perhaps he has a lot of feelings just bottled up inside that need to come out.

 

We've sat down and talked to him before. To a point where tears were shed. He told us that he's ashamed of himself for being such an underachiever. Something about not being able to live up to our expectations. We don't really expect anything from him though, we just want him to be happy.

 

 

How about a family outing? Maybe you could all get together and go out for a day, do something together?

 

We tried to get him to join us for family vacations and such, but he always declined. He seems to be by himself all the time, which is why we worry. He used to be a video game addict, but luckily he has grown out of that. We tend not to burden him with too much family obligations and let him do this own thing. I guess it can be both a good and bad thing.

 

I think he's recent breakup has taken a huge toll on him.

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Bad breakups can really tear down a person's self esteem. All you can really do is be there for him...maybe take him out to dinner or the gym once a week and keep tabs on him by phone a couple of times a week as well. And maybe don't make it sound like you want to do it to help him, but rather that he'd be doing you a favour by joining you...tell him that you need his company right now.

 

Listen to him, be a sympathetic ear and try to insure that he isn't isolating himself. I really think he would benefit from therapy again, have either you or your parents ever suggested that to him? It might be a good time to do that...since his self esteem is so low, he might take the suggestion of therapy to mean that you feel there's something wrong with him, so if you use the breakup as the reason that he get therapy he might be more open to it.

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