Is there hope for my brother?
July 23, 2011 6:14 AM Subscribe
Mentally ill brother is getting worse...and worse...and worse. What are our options?
posted by anonymous to human relations (12 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Can my parents help my mentally-ill brother? Is there any hope in this situation?
Background: I'll try to be short and sweet, but give as many details as possible.
The brother: Just turned 21. Has suffered from mental illness his entire life (working diagnosis: "extremely bipolar," though it has changed multiple times over the years). From the age of approximately 10 through 17, he was hospitalized and lived in a group home due to violent outbursts and ongoing mental health struggles. He then moved home and partially transitioned into regular life, work, etc., but went off his medication, became a huge pothead, and got into serious conflict with my parents. He is terrifying when enraged (over 6 feet and 200 pounds) and quite charming and charismatic when he needs to be. He's also a great person beneath all of the bullshit -- caring, sensitive, artistic, and funny.
The parents: Former rageaholic father who has since gone through anger management. Codependent, depressed mother. They were abusive, terrible people in the past but have gotten their shit together in recent years and are genuinely broken-hearted about their seeming inability to help him and guilty about the years he spent in treatment already.
In April, following my brother being fired from my dad's company and my parents' attempt to kick him out of the house, my brother broke into my parents' house and threatened to kill my mother. She called the police and he was involuntarily committed. He moved home after roughly one week of treatment, immediately quit his meds and began drinking and smoking weed again, and recently got in a violent altercation with my father that involved threatening with a baseball bat and punching holes through a wall.
On Wednesday he was arrested for a felony vandalism charge after violently defacing a car. My parents have decided not to bail him out so he is sitting in San Diego County jail awaiting trial. In the past he has been able to hold it together for relatively long periods of time, so I am unsure whether the authorities will realize he needs significant mental health care.
My question is: short of conservatorship (which they don't want to pursue for fear of his violent retribution), what can be done if and when he is released from jail? I am starting to have trouble sleeping at night for the fear of my brother committing suicide or killing my parents in their beds, and at the same time my heart breaks for his seeming inability to seek or accept treatment. Is this just a lost cause? Are we missing some kind of service or avenue for help? Should I just be taking care of myself and keeping out of this?
Email responses welcome...firstname.lastname@example.org