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View Diary: My brother is dead. (198 comments)

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  •  I knew Bill didn't have much time. (29+ / 0-)

    Even so I could not give up so long as he lived.

    I owed him that.

    My brother fixated on my success in life, and he hated me for it. Who says a disease can't talk.

    Even so, if he thought I was in trouble he would have died trying to help me.

    Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. Voltaire

    by leftover on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 07:12:11 PM PDT

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    •  Where there's life there's hope (24+ / 0-)

      ... and where there are brothers there are complicated, conflicted feelings.  Explaining PTSD to patients, I use the metaphor that sufferers sweep many terrible experiences and painful feelings under the rug, trying to pretend everything's OK.  Trouble is, those things don't go away, so they leave big lumps under the rug that they keep tripping over again and again.  Only way to treat the condition is to pull back the rug and pick up everything hiding under it, in order to find a way to throw it all away.  

      It's a painful, difficult process that many sufferers simply cannot manage.  It takes a very savvy therapist, and in combat PTSD cases it usually takes a well moderated group setting, in which the combat unit can be replicated with all the positives it brings.  Those groups are few and far between, and the VA runs almost all the best ones, though it doesn't seem to have learned sufficiently from its own experience.  

      I'm sure your brother would have done anything to help you.  He would have done anything to help himself too, if only he knew what to do.

      When Free Speech is outlawed, only outlaws will have Free Speech.

      by Dallasdoc on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 07:21:48 PM PDT

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      •  what do you do if several traumata - not only (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        leftover, LSophia, VeloVixen

        combat war related ones, are mingled together in the patients mind and feed each other?

        What is it called when a patients is fixated over and over about the same issues in need to talk to someone about them almost daily for hours? Is this a specific form of mental disorder?

        What can you do if a patient is clearly opposed to take any medication? You can't force a patient to comply.

        Actually you can't do anything really, other than calling the police, if the patient gets violent. The most that comes out of that is that he is released one day later just to wait for another incidence like it some day in the future.

        It is a very scary scenario.

        •  I find it ironic, (9+ / 0-)

          Re: your first question, the behavior is called perseveration.
          My brother would go on by the hour recounting the same events again and again. It is seen in some cases of autism.

          We prosecute attempted suicide, yet we flinch at the notion that a certain times people need medical interventions.

          If I am making self destructive decisions, others claim that it is my right, but all actions have consequences.
          Those proclaiming my rights are nowhere to be found when my behavior leads to my demise.

          I am very Leary of forced medication, but if the result of inaction leads to suffering and death, then I reluctantly say we need to step in as a society.

          I think it is safe to say that no one is completely sane.
          The challenge is finding a way to get treatment for those most in need without creating a threat to anyone's independence.

          Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. Voltaire

          by leftover on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 08:40:34 PM PDT

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    •  Carry this last thought with you and let his anger (5+ / 0-)

      and hate go, I'm sure wherever he is, he has.  I wish you peace.

      "Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy

      by helpImdrowning on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 10:54:17 PM PDT

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      •  Dr Meyer Friedman speaking about type A behaviors (11+ / 0-)

        Observes that the type A perfectionist wants to fix everything, and by golly if they just work hard enough they can fix the unfix-able.
        Of course this doesn't work,
        so the type A gets good and angry pumping the body full of norepinephrine and in the moment this increases performance, but the unfix-able refuses to cooperate.
        So now we have an angry perfectionist with no appropriate target for there reservoir of free floating hostility.
        So there you are stuck between trying to get grounded which demands that you let go of the anger that is between you, the human connection and the feelings that we all crave.
        But the Anger is what is between you and the feelings that you are suppressing because they are too painful to bear, which is what triggered the need to try and fix the unfix-able, and the circle begins again.

        Why might I know this you ask?
        To no one's surprise but my own, not being able to save my brother brought a few opportunities for growth to the fore, or in laymen's terms I needed a psychiatric tune up before I blew a gasket.

        Anger and I are acquaintances, but not BFFs.

        I am hoping to send Anger on a long vacation.
        Just as Bill could not help but be affected by his combat experiences, I am similarly changed by my time with Bill.

        I am as always a work in progress with an able guide in my therapist.The negative emotions Anger, hate, fear, shame, blame have to go to make more room for new experiences and still leave room for all that was good in my life with Bill, not to mention the rest of my life.

        Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. Voltaire

        by leftover on Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 12:27:49 AM PDT

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        •  congratulations (7+ / 0-)

          both on your process and the undeniable authenticity of your sharing it here.

          it's bringing up some mighty powerful sibling issues i am working through, which are painful, but i thank you anyway, as hidden in the unconscious they can do more damage than out in the air.

          beautiful diary, t and r'd.

          why? just kos..... *just cause*

          by melo on Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 02:30:28 AM PDT

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        •  thank you (6+ / 0-)

          you have written a powerful diary I will be coming back to reread.  Your presence and your advocacy for your brother, despite everything, is described beautifully and powerfully.

          You are so right that our veterans deserve better; deserve more.  And your sharing this relationship with us will inspire more of us to do the right thing.

          But it also speaks to the universality of complicated human relationships. For those of us who struggle with similar stigmatized and/or unfixable issues in our own families, your description of the process, like good therapy, offers us hope and a path to peace.  

          Never separate the life you live from the words you speak - Paul Wellstone

          by meralda on Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 04:57:25 AM PDT

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    •  He most certainly didn't hate you for it. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dallasdoc, kait, leftover

      I know that pain, that jealousy for someone else's road being easier. It sounds, and feels like hate, but it's not. It's shame. Mindshame. And it's even more terrible than hate.

      Hate allows you to talk even if you yell. Shame eats you up from the inside.

      I can do everything but earn a living.

      by alabamaliberal on Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 02:21:14 PM PDT

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      •  When Bill was in his right mind, he loved me. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        When Bill was altered so was his world.
        The vitriol that came out of his mouth, did not harm me.

        There were times when it was not safe for me to be around Bill.
        When Bill was delirious he sometimes thought he was under attack.
        He threaten my life so many times I have lost count.
        He threaten my Mother's life at gun point at least twice.

        My feelings for bill have never changed, I loved him with my whole heart.

        It was agonizing for me to have to send others in to care for my brother, because his unstable mental condition.

        I really hoped to see him again. He was back up on his feet and making an effort to turn his life around, but the disease had taken its toll and he died.

        If there was a blessing it was that Bill's memory loss stopped him from remembering the things he had done.

        Had he known how he had treat me and our Mother the shame would have crushed him.

        I know that Bill loved me, and he knew that I would never give up on him, and I didn't.

        Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. Voltaire

        by leftover on Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 06:09:42 PM PDT

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        •  You know that your writing about this will (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          help many others face similar agony with some sense that they are not the only ones to have faced this. I can't begin to know what it's like to lose a brother because I have none, but we have lost too many to senseless pain and illness caused by the actions of someone else.

          Or some other entity, such as our government - this is the real agony of this. That we are suffering needlessly at the hands of the government -- that heartbreak will never end.

          Thanks for writing.

          I can do everything but earn a living.

          by alabamaliberal on Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 10:40:27 PM PDT

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