How to Handle a Family Member's Depression
My brother's depression...
He has hit rock bottom thru depression, anxiety, bipolar, just got off Ambien, my ? is how do I handle him if I know that it is affecting me in my every day life, in a sense taking me down with him, what should my limits be off helping him ? Or how do I keep my self and parents on track to live a normal happy life, instead of the every day pain and knowing this maybe a life long sentence every day for all of our lives.
You're in a tough situation. Been there myself with my mother. You want to do your best by your brother, but you really do have to detach and take care of yourself at times. Here's the thing though -- depression is treatable, as are bipolar and anxiety disorders.
One of the best things you can do for everyone concerned is encourage your brother to continue treatment with a qualified mental health professional. That, however, can be easier said than done, depending on how your brother feels about treatment. More than once, I've had to tell my mother that unless she continues with her treatment, I can't help and that she's on her own. A difficult thing to do, but in her case, it resulted in her sticking with her treatment regimen.
Sometimes, family members can benefit from some counseling too. Perhaps just a session or two to help you figure out how best to help your brother while you and your parents maintain your own lives.
Here are some resources on our site that should be helpful:
- NAMI's Family-to-Family Education Program is a free course for family members. It's set up to teach family members "about the clinical treatment of these illnesses and pick up the knowledge and skills that family members of mental illness patients need to cope more effectively.
- The Family: Part 1. by our expert Christopher Lucas
- The Family: Part 2. by our expert Christopher Lucas
- Family involvement may help with repeat depression, discusses the value of family therapy.
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