Coping as a brother

Hi, my brother was involved in a RTA 7 years ago at the age of 18. He received brain damage which has only recently come to light after medical examinations. He has changed so much and finds it hard in social situations which means me and him don't talk very much. He also gets very tired and doesn't seem to express emotion which makes it even harder to bond as brothers.

I was 15 when this all happened and now i've matured i've come to realise to extent of the situation and it's only just started to effect me emotionally. It feels like i've lost a brother but I haven't (if anyone understands that?). I have bad anxiety and horrible thoughts about the situation.

I've taken the first step to get counselling at my university but I'm skeptical how good it'll be.

I was just wondering if anyone else my age (21) or has had family reletives that have been through a similar experience and how they coped/what they did

Thank you for your time

7 Replies

  • you need to be able to learn to accept him how he is now,

    social situations are very difficult for most of us with brain injuries and these reasons can range from, noise, confusion awkwardness tiredness and many more

    i find them very hard but i push myself to do them, because i need to for me, and its hard, i dont know what to say to people as everything seems to come out wrong, assuming i can my words out to start with

    so having someone with me i know helps as that bond is already there, and they can step in when i am struggling and change subjects or just take to centre of focus off me so i font feel so awkward

    next up, he may not show his emotions but i can guarantee they are there, emotions are very difficult to express because they sort of get mixed up or we go to extremes or we are just numb to everything, so he will love you as a brother even if he doesn't show it

    we may not be able to externally express emotion well but we do feel it

    tiredness- it takes so much mental effort just to live day to day compared to how we were before that tiredness and exhastion are an everyday problem, and there is no real answer other than trying to plan your days as best you can

    and as a brother the best thing you could do is be his wingman, go out and shield him when he needs it

    but be honest with him, and give him a kick up the arse when we need it, and we need it more than most care to admit, be forceful, but if he digs his heels in and doesn't want to do things then back off, but my wife has to trick me into doing things think of alternative ways of convincing him

    it is not easy for either of you and with a brain injury you do have to be a bit selfish or you will delf deatruct all thr time.

    and remember if he blows up at you, or looses his temper its not personal, you may feel it is, but its the confusion and frustration talking.

    now some or all of this may apply depending how his injury affects him, but he basics are all there

  • Hi there

    Sorry to hear about your brother and I know exactly what you mean about feeling like you have lost a brother - the very fact that you have lost the brother that you knew will in part require you to go through the grieving process.

    I am not the same age as you but my husband suffered a brain injury and is left with symptoms similar to your brother: difficulty socialising, difficulty communicating and difficulties in expressing and feeling emotions.

    I do miss the husband I knew sometimes but have now come to terms with the new husband and our new relationship. It has taken time for both of us to come to terms with it and first of all we had to get our heads round the fact that it is never going to be as it was - but we have had the joy of building how it now is and in getting to know each other again.

    The only advice I can offer is to get to know your brother as he is now and build a new relationship - don't try and compare it to how it was or how other relationships our - just get to know and understand each other again because you still have each other and that is priceless.

    I hope it gets easier, give yourselves time and don't beat yourself up on the occasions it goes wrong you are both only human. Also don't give yourself a hard time for the initial grieving in losing the brother you had. But rejoice in the brother that you have found.

  • Hello, i can only compare to my son and daughter who were involved in a RTA exactly a year ago, aged 10 and 8. I now have 2 different children, their personalities and behaviours are so different. Its like loosing 2 children and gaining 2 different ones, and im finding it very hard to accept.

    I also was very open minded about having counselling, but now so pleased i did, and it still continues weekly.

  • Please, jameson, go through with the counselling; you'll find yourself revealing stuff that you didn't even know you were harboring, and once these hidden issues are exposed they can be gradually addressed and/or demolished. I was so skeptical about what I thought was an 'airy-fairy' practice, but one year on I was shaking the guy's hand with sincere gratitude. I also gave him my heartfelt apology for telling him "This isn't going to work" before the first session. So when you say you're not sure how good it will be, I can tell you, it'll only be as good as what you're prepared to put into it.

    The issues you have regarding your brother will not be resolved spinning around in your head, they need to be 'aired' and tackled, with the guidance of an impartial therapist.

    Good luck in your attempt to engage with this new edition of your brother. It may take a fair while but I hope you can,eventually, find common ground.

    Well done for reaching this point. Cat x

  • Thank you for your replies. It feels good for someone who actually understands to talk to me and share their views/experiences. I start counselling in the next 2 weeks and it's time to start to process of coming to terms with the new changes

  • I really can't add anything more to what has been said...except to wish you well and this next step of your journey. Glad you found this group and hope you will visit again.

  • Hey, I had my brain haemorrhage when I was 20 (I'm 22 now) and I have a brother slightly older than me, so I'll just say how I was feeling and what I wanted.

    I just enjoy having him in the same room, even if nothing is said, but after time, my brother made me get up and do things, just stuff like going for a walk when I didn't want to. I'd argue with him about it, but I knew that he was actually getting me to do the right thing. I doubt I'd be as well as I am now if I didn't have him pushing me.

    Trust me, you are the greatest asset to him during these times, he'll probably need you more than he needs doctors. I can imagine it was very hard for him, but he did it, and he took a share of the difficulty by doing it.

    I had a councillor, and I highly recommend it, it's great to have a neutral party to shove everything on. As you listen to yourself speak, you'll figure out a lot of solutions yourself, at lease, that's what I found.

    It's such a difficult situation, and I wish you all the luck in the world.

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