Family members suffering mental health issues
Posted by Ellie1
2nd Jan 2014

Having family members with mental health problems can be challenging. Following my brotherís diagnosis of Post traumatic stress disorder the first thing I did was read up about what this actually meant. It was tricky because I knew that he had been in a bad way for a while and now he was finally getting help he would only really talk about it in small snippets. So it became an awareness that a problem did exist but no information as to how this was to be treated and what would happen.
After he had started to talk to his therapist properly it was apparent a lot of things he originally refused to deal with were coming out. He got a lot worse than he had been. At this time he also finished university and came back home which was another big upheaval. I was not prepared for this, if he had even a couple of drinks he would start talking, but not in a seemingly helpful way. At several points he spoke about wanting to kill himself and how he couldn't cope. I didn't feel I could handle what he was saying to me but I thought that he needed to vent this to help him get better. Luckily I had people to talk to at this point so they helped share the load.
I think there was a turning point when for the first time ever he confronted my father, who is responsible for his struggles. Unfortunately even though my old man is a bad person I think my brother still felt a part of him would apologise, accept the blame, maybe even offer help, even if it was unwanted. Unfortunately this is not what happened, and my old man ended up with a black eye and a couple of cracked ribs, my brother was fine though.
Obviously I donít condone this kind of violence and I know that that is not the way to deal with things but at the same time I was happy my brother may have finally felt some kind of release. He got worse again for a week or so after that, but since then he has been getting better and better. He has started eating again as for a time he had a quite severe problem with food and although heís still a skinny little thing at least looks healthy. He has a new girlfriend who seems to be very good for him too.
Anyway, if thereís anyone out there struggling with a relative I hope you know itís going to get better. Sometimes itís pretty hard going but seeing them come though it to any extent is amazing. I donít know if getting worse before it gets better is the norm but even if not maybe just prepare for it, I know I wish someone had warned me.
Peace and Love x

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