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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
He's a genius, and there's no other way to put it. When our family was searching for the thing that made him different, my sister and I joked that he suffered from a "classic case of genius". My brother is four years older than me. He's twenty. I love him to death. We all do. It's so hard to see him go down an unhealthy (mentally) road. And now I wonder, how can I help him?

We couldn't figure out what it was that he had at first, yet we knew it had to be something. Lack of eye contact. He couldn't read social cues. He had racing thoughts. Always had large monologues. His words jumbled over each other. His emotions were hard to place a finger on. You'd think asperger's would fit, yet it didn't match up. He's always been "melodramatic". The descriptions you can find on bi-polar disorder around the internet and various places didn't seem to quite fit. And yet after really researching and taking him to a professional, bi-polar disorder is it.

My brother distrusts the diagnoses. He distrusts the medication. He contradicts himself. He wants to be "in control" and he feels that taking meds gives him excuses; he can blame all his bad behavior on the bi-polar disorder and all the good stuff on the medicine. He kept on coming up with reasons why he didn't like the medicine and didn't want to take it. But I see why, now. There's a larger reason.

He's insecure, he doesn't know himself, and he's completely afraid. Out of everybody in my family, I have been very close to him. We're similar in some ways. I'm a listener and try to acknowledge his feelings - no matter how irrational - as legit. He appreciates that. He tells us all, though, that we "cannot understand" anything he feels, thinks, goes through... I felt pain when he said that because the main problem stems from that he doesn't even know himself. I don't claim to understand everything, but I do understand a great deal. I've lived with him, watched him, and have been concerned for a long time.

He says that there's a gap between him and mom and dad. And me and my sister too. But more with mom and dad. He says there's a chasm there, that he feels alienated. The truth is, my mom and dad have made every effort to bridge gaps. My brother has been pulling away. But he does not see that. The wall he sees between him and others is a wall he has created. I want to tell him it's not real. But he's so completely blind to what is clearly in front of him and he's deaf to any words of truth that could help him.

My mom and dad are having a hard time persuading my brother to take the medicine. He used to take it, and it started helping. But he stopped, now. He talks about getting a second opinion, and then he'll consider it. But he doesn't even try to get that. My mom and dad are having trouble because he's a legal adult. They want him to take initiative.

But he won't. I don't think they should wait for him. He won't come. He's too scared and insecure. I can't make them, though, and I can't make him. There's a part of my brother that has never grown up, and I think my mom and dad are trying to treat that childlike part of him like it can function and make decisions like an adult.

Now what can I do?

My brother has placed this wall between himself and the people he needs to confide in the most. He wants control in his life, but his mental illness is taking the steering wheel away from him. But he does not view it this way. He does not see the mental illness. He can only see himself, and cannot differentiate between him and bi-polar. He cannot trust others, he cannot trust himself, yet groping in the dark in a world of insecurities for some sort of foundation he is the only person he feels he can trust. He doesn't know who he is.

So how the heck can I help him?
 

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I have just posted this on a different bi polar thread, But it is a genius from the UK who has made a documentary about his bi polar disorder, It could help your brother better understand that it isn't something so terrible and the need to hide from it.

It may also give you a better insight, or maybe show you something else you haven't seen


 
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Discussion Starter #3
@jeffbobs - Thank you. ^^ My brother doesn't think he needs to hide it... it's just he is so lost at the moment.
 

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I have Bipolar 1 and these are the links that I share with people:

Do's and Don'ts When Supporting Someone with Bipolar - HealthyPlace
Helping a Loved One with Bipolar Disorder: Children, Teens, and Family

Lack of eye contact. He couldn't read social cues. He had racing thoughts. Always had large monologues. His words jumbled over each other. His emotions were hard to place a finger on. He's always been "melodramatic".
Though these things have nothing to do with bipolar. A lot of the above quote (in my opinion) is more linked with Asperger Syndrome- which actually can be misdiagnosed for bipolar disorder. Reading your post in full Asperger Syndrome immediately came to mind. Perhaps even a second opinion on his diagnosis would be good. Especially if he himself doesn't trust it. Perhaps even researching Asperger Syndrome and seeing if he fits the criteria for that much better as opposed to feeling not quite secure in the criteria for bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder seems to be some sort of "sexy diagnosis" now (i.e. immediately diagnosed after a conversation). In reality it takes quite a long time to be diagnosed. I was sick for five years before being clinically diagnosed. It's sad considering I could have died during said time.

In any case, bipolar or not, advice from myself would be to learn accurate information about the disorder.
The more information that is learned the more that can be understood.
I wish you the best of luck with your brother.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
@paper lilies - Yes, I realize that this looks like asperger's. I've been doing lots of research on mental illnesses. I know bipolar is the new "sexy" diagnoses. Which is why my mother and I and my sister have been doing lots of homework. My family on my mother's side has a history of mental illness. My mother has actually got depression. She's stable and fine now, though.

We took our brother to a psychiatrist who diagnosed him with bipolar disorder and put him on lithium. It was a rather quick diagnoses so we were concerned. But the medicine actually did help. Until he stopped taking the meds. Bipolar is very broad. It effects people in different ways. I'm sure you know this about it, having firsthand experience with it.

For my brother, it's not just mood. I'm sure you know, having experience, it doesn't just effect mood. But he does have all the symptoms related to mood. He has highs and lows. Insane highs. He gets silly. He's enthusiastic. But then he's depressed and my sister and I go into his room to make sure there's nothing in there that he could hurt himself with because he's so low.

The first thing I noticed were the sleeping patterns. Very strange sleeping patterns. My brother would be very awake and barely sleep at all sometimes, but then there'd be times where he would sleep a lot. A couple of times my brother slept at the wheel. That scared me. He'd have times where he was completely high, creative, restless, talkative to an insane degree. He could get easily irritated, though. It was like a trigger. I could say something and set him off, even if it was something trivial.

But then there's his lows. He's depressed. He views the world as dark. He is dark. He becomes more alienated again. He feels frustrated.

My brother had all the symptoms of bipolar disorder when he was a small child. The symptoms of bipolar disorder in a child are different from the ones in an adult. Lots of times, people who have bipolar disorder are instead diagnosed with things like asperger's or ADHD, especially as children. I've been doing my homework quite a bit. ^^ The Bipolar Child in particular was the thing that sealed it for me. I've also been reading other books, such as Touched by Fire, which I found very interesting. I was surprised to find that it isn't just mood with bipolar disorder. Many other symptoms pop up because of it. Apparently some bipolar people do have trouble with social cues, eye contact, racing thoughts, etc.

What actually has annoyed me is the lack of good information on bipolar disorder over the internet. Or perhaps I was just frustrated that my brother was so hard to pin down. I remember before he was diagnosed I would look at bipolar disorder and the symptoms and think, "Well, wouldn't that be obvious to see?" But it wasn't. Or at least, I didn't have the trained eyes to see it. I felt like the cycling was the thing that didn't fit with my brother. But now I realize that he has ultra rapid cycling during the day. My sister notes that actually, it might not be just all in a day - she's noticing a broader, more gradual pattern of mood that stretches from week to week. Now I am beginning to see that too. Recently, my brother has been in a low.

I have a friend who's got asperger's and he is very different from my brother. But I appreciate your thoughts.

Right now my main concern is helping my brother get a second opinion (because otherwise he'll never be sure of himself and trust anything) and getting him on medication. He is so unhealthy and distant right now. He's very impulsive and he will sometimes to something completely drastic. He has definitely had suicidal thoughts before, and that worries me. Even if he doesn't kill himself physically, I am scared for him that he will end up unbalanced and completely ruining his life.

One time he had an outburst. He shouted many things. He said he doesn't want to even think about being bipolar, he doesn't want to talk about his medication, he wants to forget about it, he wants to stop all this, he just wants to be left alone about everything. Which I honestly respect. We hadn't even been badgering him about his meds or said much about being bipolar. It's just been hard. He's not going to get help himself.
 

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@Julia Bell I already know everything you just typed. There is no need to share information about the illness with me at all. I have also read The Bipolar Child and I do agree- it's quite a good book. Yes, people with bipolar have symptoms outside of mood like grandiosity, trouble concentrating, etcetera and it can very much look like ADHD- that's a common misdiagnosis as well and so is borderline personality disorder.

I was just giving my opinion on what you wrote beforehand. Although cycles in bipolar can be rapid, rapid cycling is actually very rare. I can only go by what you're telling me on the forum as I'm not a part of your personal life. Though, I'm glad you are trying to get him to go for a second opinion. It really does concern me in cases where it is diagnosed after one conversation. However, in the mean time, you should take a look at the links that I sent you beforehand.

At the end of the day if it does come out to be true bipolar disorder, your brother will just need time. It's a lot to take in. I think that when a true diagnosis is personally rejected, it has to do with not wanting to have the problem at all. Therefore rejecting the problem makes them feel like everything will just stop or go away on it's own. Unfortunately, you learn that ignoring it doesn't make it go away. I eventually accepted it and worked really hard to be as healthy as I could be. It's not to say that I don't fall back sometimes, but accepting it is the first step to personal freedom. It just takes time- it's a saying for a reason.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
@paper lilies - Yeah, sorry, I just wanted to say I had been looking up info and I realized I hadn't given people much proof and it does sound like asperger's when I say it like that. ^^ I realize you know about bipolar disorder, having it yourself. I was trying to give extra information backing up what I said. Sorry for seeming condescending or something. @[email protected] Nothing has seemed to fit except this. We'll see.

I found it saddening and awful that he's rejecting it. He's so hurt and needs help and I see that he is definitely trying to ignore the fact that anything is wrong with him. I haven't been prodding him because I don't think he wants or needs that. I want to stay close and keep my good relationship with him, but I know there's going to be times where I ought to intercede so he doesn't do something that would hurt him more. Tightrope walking. My brother has gotten a lot worse lately and I'm wondering if anybody is going to make a move to help him or if he's going to help himself. I wish I could tell my mom and dad to do all the ordering. My brother will take orders. He wants to do that, in fact, because he doesn't do things on his own. But they're still waiting for him to come to them. Do you think he ever will?

My dad is having a very hard time knowing how to approach the situation. He keeps on treating my brother as though he is normal and can make good decisions most of the time. It's as though that's how he feels he has to help my brother, but I think it is actually hurting him more than anything.
 

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@Julia Bell Oh, don't apologize to me! It's fine (laughs). I don't want to hurt your feelings.
I knew what you were doing, I just wanted to let you know that you don't have to go through the ins and outs of symptomatology with me. You didn't sound condescending.

Do I think he will ever go to your parents for help? I'm not sure. I don't know your brothers motivations. For me, I did get to a point in time where I couldn't ignore the problem anymore and I finally accepted treatment. It was very, "I can't do this anymore. I just need help." Bipolar is a rollar coaster ride and it's very exhausting so, he may get to that point as well.

It's hard on the inside and I'm sure it's hard for everyone on the outside looking in. I mean a few suggestions I could give now are things like, letting him know that you are there for him if he ever needs to share anything, if he is willing- finding him a good therapist that will listen and suggest options. Also, for you and your parents, you may want to go to therapy yourselves. Sometimes even when you're not the one with the disorder it's good to talk to someone, you know? To get all of it off your chest in a healthy way. Plus, a therapist could even give you options personalized to your situation to help you reach out to your brother. It's always good to take care of yourself as well.
 

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It's hard on the inside and I'm sure it's hard for everyone on the outside looking in. I mean a few suggestions I could give now are things like, letting him know that you are there for him if he ever needs to share anything, if he is willing- finding him a good therapist that will listen and suggest options. Also, for you and your parents, you may want to go to therapy yourselves. Sometimes even when you're not the one with the disorder it's good to talk to someone, you know? To get all of it off your chest in a healthy way. Plus, a therapist could even give you options personalized to your situation to help you reach out to your brother. It's always good to take care of yourself as well.
This was all along the lines of what I was going to suggest. It can be incredibly frustrating being the loved one of a person dealing with mental health issues - even though you feel like you can see the best course of action for them, you also have to accept that they're the ones who need to take the concrete steps to make changes.

I always strongly suggest support for family members. It sounds like your parents (or at least your dad) really doesn't know how to approach the situation and feels awkward, so instead of talking about things directly, you can feel the big pink elephant in the room. It may be beneficial for each of them to get their own support.

In my city we have a Mental Health Association and a Mood Disorders Association that runs support groups, one-on-one support, information sessions, has a library, etc. They have groups where entire families can go together and workshops that you can set up privately like "Understanding Mental Illness". On different nights they have groups for different issues (depression, bi-polar, borderline, post-partum etc). This is a good resource they put out: http://www.cmhawpg.mb.ca/documents/Supportingafamilymemberorfriend_000.pdf

I think the best thing you can really do is arm yourself with info, pass on anything you think could be helpful, but don't try to push him to do something he's not ready to do because that can sometimes backfire. He doesn't sound like he feels very safe and secure in any capacity right now. Just let him know you're there to support him in whatever he needs and that it's okay to ask for help or to tell you to back off a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
@paper lilies and @sleepyhead - Thanks guys. ^^' I do feel like there's a pink elephant in the room sometimes. A lot. All I want to do is just talk sometimes but I don't exactly know who I can talk to. x3 It's stressful for me because I feel as though my mom is having struggles on her own and is dealing with feelings of guilt, and then there's dad who simply doesn't know how to approach my brother. Then my sister who is concerned but also doesn't know how to approach him and prods him sometimes. I feel like sometimes I have to be the bridge and I feel like I've never really been able to get out all my feelings. Heh. Yeah, perhaps I should talk to a therapist too. x_x
 

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I feel like sometimes I have to be the bridge and I feel like I've never really been able to get out all my feelings. Heh. Yeah, perhaps I should talk to a therapist too. x_x
Therapy is never a bad thing and it's never a bad thing to ask for either.
It may honestly help you quite greatly in the situation that you're going through.
Especially what I've quoted from you above, I believe you could benefit from talk therapy.
 

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Therapy is never a bad thing and it's never a bad thing to ask for either.
It may honestly help you quite greatly in the situation that you're going through.
Especially what I've quoted from you above, I believe you could benefit from talk therapy.
I completely agree. There's a few agencies in my city that do free counselling as well on a shorter term basis. Sometimes even if you don't think you have anything to work through, just talking about things outside of family and friends can be a big help.
 
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