Recently I panicked, again.
Panic, that you are not around anymore and I have to pick up the broken pieces, and decide alone, what happens with my brother.
He has no income, he does not visit a doctor, accepts no help, does not leave the house …
I shared my thoughts with my husband and he said: “Ever since I’ve known you, you’ve had the same worries. But so far, nothing has changed. Everything is still as it was, there is still no solution for the situation and your mom is still alive!”.
That clicked with me! I started laughing …
Actually, I have been living in this future horror moment for so long, in the fear of what will happen one day …
What a waste of life!
When somebody is as ill as my brother, somehow everyone in the family is ill, in their own way.
I do not know how do you must feel knowing that your child and my brother never will… You have invested so much hope and love, care and patience, so that one day he can take his place in this world.
Walk his path in life, get married, have children of his own, rise up in job …
He had great plans and so many talents, the golden boy.
He turned 50 in March. No job, no children, no more friends, no plans for the future, days dragging themselves from one sleep cycle to the next.
For over 20 years. The two of you, together.
Dad is not with us anymore, I live far away.
For the first ten years, you even convinced me that he only needs a little bit, then everything will work fine.
You did not want him to be ill, none of us wanted that.
I more hoped that HE would finally get a job and make it, than that I took care of myself.
I thought, then – we can all breathe deeply again.
For a long time I tried to help, yes, to influence you. I wanted you to know that you can count on me and that I am here for you.
We had endless conversations about how something needs to be done.
I was young … Today I know, I hoped, then I will be able to be the child again and you again my mother. I wanted you to be well so you that can take care of me too.
That once in a while – you can be there only for me, without the shadow of my brother. That’s all I wanted.
I also wanted you to feel good, to have private life, to be happy. I wanted a happy mother.
When I left, I took both of you in my suitcase and my soul.
It took me very long time for to make room for my needs in my own chest- without feeling guilty about it. To make this room free, I oscillated between grief, anger, guilt, desolation, emptiness, anger and sometimes I banned both of you from my thoughts.
Never for a long time…
I have never talked about this shadow over our family with anyone except my husband.
Now I talk to a whole group, once a month:
sisters and brothers of mentally ill siblings, romantic …
In the group we all have this black mark, no one stares at me because of it, everyone has their own.
I can talk freely about how I feel and what moves me without fear that I will overwhelm the person I talk to.
Everyone in the group knows it.
When I tell my story, some become sad hearing it, the others seem thrown back into their own story, and then others seem almost hard, no weakness allowed…
We all in the group are seeking help.
Regardless of how each of us deals with it, we all sit together on this train.
On the train, in which we have little to say, a lot to experience, and no-one asks us if we want to take this ride…
Some of us see with great clarity how the whole family is driving against the wall – at full speed, – but we are not steering the wheel, we are not in charge, it’s not our children …
Even when nothing else in life works, self-preservation drive from most of our siblings works flawlessly.
Feeling that your strength dwindles, my brother is checking me, if I’d be ok as a new host.
He is afraid of what will become of him. I am afraid of what will become of him, what will become of me.
After all that was done for him, now I should take care of my brother!?
The unimportant, self-preserving, foreign, seemingly detached from the situation child and yet the hostage of this family history.
My brother should be my heritage!?
Everything in me screams NO!
What will I really do?
I do not know.”
Member of Siblings Network Germany