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Question
Posted by: Patricia | 2011/03/29

Did I make a mistake?

My youngest brother, who is 14, is in a mental health clinic since last week. Since I''m in another country right now, I decided to call him. But I don''t know if I shouldn''t have called.

I''m 26 and I had depression when I was 14 as well, but I never got it treated (I''m finally on a waiting list since last month) and I wanted to tell him that I had depression too and to help him because I know what bothered me and I thought I could tell him what I wish someone had told me back then. The problem is we have very controlling parents who can make us feel very low about ourselves too. So I told him not to take our dad so seriously when ha tells my brother to study harder. I told my brother to think that when he applies himself he''s doing so for his own future, and not my dad''s, so he should only think about what''s best for his future, and not what''s best for my dad.

I also asked him if I was somehow to blame as well, since I''m 26 and took care of him so many times. I remember spanking him once, for which I feel bad now, but he said he doesn''t remember that but that if I did, then he must have deserved it.

And the last thing: we have a brother who tried to take us places, like the cinema, etc, to help us socialize (because my dad never allowed us to leave the house) and I remember he started hanging out with me when I was 14, and he didn''t help with my depression, making me feel quite guilty about it (although I have no doubt he thought he was helping). I never told this brother that he was making me feel worse. But the thing is he started hanging out with our younger brother now and now he''s got depression. So I decided to tell our younger brother that if the other brother ever makes him feel worse (without realizing it, of course), that he shouldn''t take him so seriously either. However, I''m not sure I should have mentioned this, as our other brother only has good intentions and I have no clue if our younger brother feels that he is making him feel worse at all.

I feel so bad. I feel like I was trying to brainwash him or that my conversation with him was too overwhelming. All I know is when I mentioned that other brother, the doctor told my brother to hang up.

I''m afraid I caused more trouble than I did him good. I really wanted to help. Should I call back at all or leave him to the doctors alone? I know their help is very important and I''m so happy he is being treated, but I''m so scared that when he leaves, he breaks down again if he''s not prepared to ignore my parents when they make him feel like he''s not applying himself enough in school etc.

Should I apologize to the older brother for warning the younger brother or keep this a secret? I don''t want him to feel like it''s his fault either.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

It's very understandable that you were concerned about your brother's illness, and wanted to comfort him ; it doesn't sound as though you had anything to do with the creation of his problems, and you shouldnt blame yourself Encourage your brother to discuss any of these concerns which he may have, with his doc and therapists.
I find it hard to believe that any docor was listening in on your conversation with your brother, or that he told him to hang up because of something you were saying - I'd guess it's far more likely that he was concerned about the length and cost of the call, if you are in another country, and it was probably a special privilege to have helped your brother make o take such a call at all.
Don't apologise to the other brother, and stop blaming yourself. Let your brother's doctors work with him. They can contact you if they need any further help or information.
Depression happens, indeed it's quite common, and its usually nobody's fault. And its also common that people who try to be helpful might not be as effectively helpful as they hope. Relax, and see how they are able to help him

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2
Our users say:
Posted by: Mercy? | 2011/03/29

You must pray for your brother.

Reply to Mercy?
Posted by: cybershrink | 2011/03/29

It's very understandable that you were concerned about your brother's illness, and wanted to comfort him ; it doesn't sound as though you had anything to do with the creation of his problems, and you shouldnt blame yourself Encourage your brother to discuss any of these concerns which he may have, with his doc and therapists.
I find it hard to believe that any docor was listening in on your conversation with your brother, or that he told him to hang up because of something you were saying - I'd guess it's far more likely that he was concerned about the length and cost of the call, if you are in another country, and it was probably a special privilege to have helped your brother make o take such a call at all.
Don't apologise to the other brother, and stop blaming yourself. Let your brother's doctors work with him. They can contact you if they need any further help or information.
Depression happens, indeed it's quite common, and its usually nobody's fault. And its also common that people who try to be helpful might not be as effectively helpful as they hope. Relax, and see how they are able to help him

Reply to cybershrink

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