Saturday, April 25, 2009


This is not an easy post to write. My week took a nasty turn on Monday after finding my brother on a park bench near the riverfront where I walk. He had been sleeping there that day. He had left the shelter in the city where he'd been living. It was far away from where he works and it was an unpleasant place. I talked to him for a bit and then I called the social worker that has been visiting him but not really doing anything to help him (I hate to say it that way but I am a ball of feelings and one is anger). I could tell brother wanted me to take him home and let him stay at my house. I had to go back to work. Social worker was on his way. That was the last time I saw him. He is still out there living as a homeless person.

I have been in the depths of depression since then. I took two days off work, Wednesday and Friday. I watched almost 5 seasons of The Office on my laptop. I have not been overeating but I have not lost any weight. In fact I have been eating less but still have not lost any weight. I feel angry in response to most things. Very angry. That's my main emotion right now. Anger, bitter, stuff like that. At the world, at the social worker, at myself, mostly. I think I should take care of my brother. But then I think I can't possibly do it. The thought of it makes me crazy. I tried it last year. It did not work out then, and nothing has changed. But I am still very very angry. Another feeling I identified is shame. I feel shame. Shame is very negative. This goes all the way back to childhood because brother had problems then, too.

I want to sort things out and talk to someone but I am too angry and cynical. I don't believe anyone helps, anything works, all because brother's life is the way it is. Not my life, my brother's life. I think that's what co-dependency is. When someone else's life and problems impacts me - when I feel like I should be able to fix it, or when I am in the depths of despair over some one's life situation that I cannot change. Co-dependent people use detachment. I guess I don't have that mastered yet. Detaching, letting someone else's life situation be, and not try and manage and control it, and not let it impact me. I guess I feel guilty for detaching. Like I am being insensitive.

I feel ashamed that I am not taking care of my brother. I am a bad sister. Then a bad person. A selfish person. I don't feel like going anywhere. I don't feel like talking to anyone. Pretty soon I will run out of episodes of the The Office and I will have to face reality and take care of my own co-dependency. Maybe some answers will come for my brother. But if they don't I have to make peace with the world and stop looking for someone to blame.

I had to get this out there. I feel like I am isolating and getting worse. I know I will get better but it has been bleak in my heart this week. Writing about my feelings helps me, in fact just writing this post gives me a feeling of relief. It's a huge burden to carry this stuff around with me.

Update - today's treatment for depression - a trip to the amusement park with daughter and a friend - walking will give me exercise finally, and the rides will give my brain a boost. I'll let you know how it works out.


jen said...

It sounds like you tried to help your brother by letting him live with you before and you weren't able to. You have other people living with you to consider, and even if you didn't, I'm glad you're being realistic about what you can do. I can understand why you're sad.

I don't think successful detachment means not feeling sad about not being able to help someone, it just means admitting honestly if you can't.

Sorry to hear you're going through all of this.

Doc Manette said...

Completely understand wanting to "write it out" - works wonders.

Sorry about your week and I hope next week will be better for both you and your brother.

Laura N said...

Cindy, I'm so sorry you have been going through this. I remember your posts from when your brother was with you. It was so hard, & it didn't matter how much you tried to help, it still wasn't enough. You are not a bad person for not being able to help. You can only do what you can do.

I can't imagine how difficult it must be having the weight of his state of being on your mind & your heart. I have detatched myself from my dad & his situation, & it's nothing as tough as what you are going through. I don't know how else to handle it other than to avoid it. I don't think avoidance is healthy, but I don't have it in me to do anything else right now. I haven't talked with him since last September. He called my sister last week & asked for money. Sigh. I just can't go there.