Seeking help, advice and support, please re: a family member

barefoot

Sponsor
I am becoming increasingly concerned about my brother-in-law and would really appreciate any insight or advice that anyone is able to offer.


He lives in Australia and is really struggling with the current lockdown situation in his state. He recently lost a job he loved (through no fault of his own – Covid has shut down his industry for now, so where he worked couldn’t keep everyone on any longer, plus there are no jobs going in his industry/line of work at the moment, as no one is recruiting currently)


In addition, he has got into several conspiracy theories. He spends most of his time drinking, smoking weed, and looking up everything he can find on the internet that suggests that the pandemic is a hoax, we are all being controlled, Bill Gates is the only one benefitting from the vaccine so be anti-vaccine, the world is run by paedophiles etc.


He has spiralled into: the world is a terrible place full of terrible people, we all need to fight (he can’t really then say what he means by that), he’s never going to get another job he loves/is good at, he never should have left the UK and so on.


He seems in a very low, dark place but doesn’t seem to see that. This is not the first time he has spiralled to the depths of despair – I think he has struggled with bouts of depression for years but has always denied that and not sought any help. He will not speak to his GP about how he feels and he definitely won’t consider talking to a counsellor.


He is very caught up in how terrible the world is and seems to blame this for everything he’s feeling ie it’s not that he’s struggling with his mental health as millions have through Covid/lockdowns, it’s not that he’s feeling low or lacking in purpose because he’s lost the job he loves, it’s not that he misses home and is worried about his family because he can’t travel anywhere – instead, it’s all because people running the world are lying to us, controlling us, making up a non-existent pandemic... He believes that the root of his current pain and despair is corrupt world leaders who are destroying the world with everything they do – from making up Covid, to the (mis)handling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan to everyone being paedophiles…


He has also started talking about suicide in terms of he’ll be better off not being on this planet.


His partner is worried sick and worried to leave him every day when she goes to work because she doesn’t know what he’ll do and what she’ll come home to.


My wife is also worried sick – her own anxiety is spiking and it’s affecting her sleep and her well-being.


None of us know how best to help him.

Challenging him on the conspiracy theories does no good as he has an answer for everything, can find a source to ‘prove’ everything he’s saying (even though he also contradicts himself hugely). And, as much as we think he is deluded, he thinks the same about us because he’s convinced he knows the truth and that we just don’t/won’t see it.

We’ve tried encouraging him to go to his GP but he won’t.

We’ve tried reassuring him that things will re-open again at some point, as they have here, and that he will get another job sometime.

We’ve tried talking about depression and sharing our own experiences and what has/hasn’t helped to try to destigmatise depression/mental health challenges and show that improvement is possible.

We’ve suggested that drinking so much and being on the internet all day probably isn’t helping.


No one wants to nag him or come over all judgey. At the same time, we are all very worried about him. And my wife and I are also worried about his partner – she sounds at the end of her tether, is at a loss of what to do and she is terrified she’s going to come home from work one day and find that he has left or taken his own life.


I know my wife feels more helpless because we are over the other side of the world. But, even if we lived there, I don’t really know what we could do apart from be there to offer support if he ever decides he wants it. He just doesn’t seem to accept that there is any kind of ‘problem’ (bad choice of word but I can’t think of a better one to write just now) with himself that he could try to do something about….from his point of view, the ‘problem’ isn’t anything about him….it’s the terrible people running this terrible world that is causing him to feel this way and, as he can’t do anything about that, he is better off not being here.


Has anyone got any suggestions, please? My anxiety is really rocketing (the stress cup over floweth!), I’m also trying to support my wife who is very upset and worried, and we’re both trying to support his partner who’s finding things extremely difficult…and we’re all so worried about him and what we can do.


Is there actually anything we can do?!
 

Survivor3

MyPTSD Pro
Drinking excessive alcohol will make you paranoid as with smoking weed. Don't really have advice but it sounds like his mental health would be better if he stopped drinking and smoking so much. They just make things worse.
 

Chris-duck

MyPTSD Pro
Is there actually anything we can do?!
Unfortunately I don't think there is much you can do. Everything that would be my suggestion you have already done. But this is probably the main issue:
But, even if we lived there, I don’t really know what we could do apart from be there to offer support if he ever decides he wants it. He just doesn’t seem to accept that there is any kind of ‘problem’ (bad choice of word but I can’t think of a better one to write just now) with himself that he could try to do something about….from his point of view, the ‘problem’ isn’t anything about him….it’s the terrible people running this terrible world that is causing him to feel this way and, as he can’t do anything about that, he is better off not being here.
He doesn't want help right now. So you really can't do much. If he's actively suicidal you can always call for a welfare check but as far as real help goes you're in a bit of a shite situation cos that requires the person to engage themselves.

I really feel for ya though. I have had a few mates that are similar. Just yeah, I do think you have done everything that is reasonable for you to do. Still sucks though
 

barefoot

Sponsor
Drinking excessive alcohol will make you paranoid as with smoking weed.

Completely agree. And I think spending hours on YouTube watching conspiracy theorists' videos and connecting to like minded people on social media isn't helping with the paranoia either. He could really, really do with cutting down the drink and drugs and taking a break from the internet. But he won't. Because he doesn't see any of those things as problematic.

It's utterly infuriating!



He doesn't want help right now. So you really can't do much

Sigh...yeah...I guess I knew this really...it's just so hard...


Just yeah, I do think you have done everything that is reasonable for you to do
Thanks. Appreciate the support and you saying this. And I'm sorry that you've experienced this before with a number of friends. I haven't experienced it with anyone in real life and perhaps this is why I'm freaking out a bit about it!

I have wondered about his partner speaking to his doctor, telling him what's going on and arranging for him to call my bro-in-law. Or his partner saying he can either make an appointment with his GP or they can call his parents and talk to them about it....he really doesn't want his parents to know about any of this and is being chirpy and 'everything's fine' with them on the phone every week (so my wife is in a difficult spot too – she doesn't want to break his confidence but also doesn't like lying to their parents and doesn't want to end up in the position where he does something to himself or his partner leaves him and they then find out my wife knew all this was going on but didn't say)

Both these ideas feel uncomfortable to me....going behind his back to speak to his doctor about him or giving him an ultimatum/threatening him with telling his parents...but it could force some action? And, even if it might have short term pains (I would imagine he'd be furious about both of these!) doing something like this could actually get him some help eg on some meds. But I don't know if the risk of relational damage is too great.

If he's actively suicidal

This sound like a stupid question to ask but: how do we know if he is? I don't have much experience with suicide/SI. How do we know if he actively means to harm himself/end his life? His partner lost a previous boyfriend to suicide years ago so she is, understandably, terrified that my B-i-L is now saying things like this. My wife thinks he won't actually do anything (but I think there is a little doubt that's creating some panic). I am torn between not wanting to dismiss anyone's suicidal desires or ignore a cry for help (I don't know whether that's what this is or not) and not wanting to leap into action calling for emergency crisis help because he has drunkenly made vague statements about being better off not being here.

I think it's really the suicide part that is causing me a lot of stress and upset. If it weren't for that, I would still be upset and stressed and would hate that he's having such a tough time at the moment. But I think I would find it easier to accept that, if he doesn't want to help himself, there is nothing we can do. I've been there myself, in the depths of depression and despair but also in denial about that. And I realise that no amount of anyone else banging on about what you should do (go to the doctors, take up exercise, get out of the house, have a shower, do X less, delete Facebook, or whatever) really changes anything and, in fact, often strengthens your defences. And I would be more able to accept that this is for him and his partner to work out...that she, for instance, gets to make a decision about whether she still wants to be in this relationship while he's drinking and smoking all day and spouting conspiracy theories all night when she gets home from work.

And, I guess all the above should still stand. But his mentioning suicidal thoughts...it just makes it so terrifying. Because, what if he does something? I know I/we would not be responsible, just as we are not responsible for his depression, whether he accesses help and treatment, whether he and his girlfriend stay together... But the mention of suicidal thoughts makes sitting back and just leaving them both to it incredibly difficult, psychologically and emotionally.
 

barefoot

Sponsor
My partner wrapped up therapy several months ago, but I think I'm going to suggest she might like to book in a session to talk to her about this. I don't feel....adequate....to support her with it, really. I don't feel that I can be useful.
 

Chris-duck

MyPTSD Pro
doing something like this could actually get him some help eg on some meds.
I wanna advise against this cos you can theoretically force him into getting meds prescribed. You can't force him to take them n you wanna keep a level of trust there.
This sound like a stupid question to ask but: how do we know if he is?
Um guesswork I guess. It's not a thing I can advise on because I dunno him. It's not a stupid question at all. It's just hard to answer.

I'm sorry I can't offer solid advice. Cos as you've described at this point, I think all you can do is leave it up to him to seek help. Maybe ignore the conspiracy stuff n focus more on why he's worried about it.

But yeah.. I agree a T for your wife might be an idea if she's up for it to talk about her anxiety around it would be helpful.

It's shit feeling helpless in these situations.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
Really tough.

It's so hard knowing what you want for someone and trying to get them to see they need support to make things better.

I also battled, for years, about breaking my sister's confidence and trying to protect my parents from heartache. But I eventually decided that the problems were bigger than my relationship with my sister, and bigger than me to solve, and my parents would have to manage their response, as the problem needed to be out in the open. (my parent's response was blaming me for making up the problem, so that failed....but the appropriate services then got involved so that helped).

So I think worrying about breaking trust is not as big as worrying if someone is suicidal. Trust can be rebuilt. Relationships can heal.

Bit ultimately: you can't change people. And that is painful.

Listening and supporting and seeking appropriate support services in a crisis is all we can do.
 

barefoot

Sponsor
I wanna advise against this
Yeah, I thought after I posted it that it maybe wasn't really the right example but then didn't have the energy to think of a different one! It's not that I'm desperate for him to go on meds (I'm not on meds myself!) and I certainly wouldn't want to force or appear to force someone down that route. I think I just meant, have some kind of professional speak to him who may be able to help in some way or help him accept that he's in a bad place and has some options...I dunno...just wondering if his GP may get further than we have...

Maybe ignore the conspiracy stuff n focus more on why he's worried about it.
Yes, I think this is a good idea. It's difficult for me as I get a bit obsessive and tail skinny about them myself (but not in the way he does) so it will be better for both os us if I try not to think about/engage in talk about them as it triggers a shit load of stuff for me. It's a draw for me to leap down that rabbit hole....which is why I should make ever effort to steer well clear!

It's shit feeling helpless in these situations.

Really tough.

Yep. And I know there are no real answers about what I could do. But it still helps a bit to have people comment here. In a way, it is sort of reassuring to hear there isn't anything...or that we haven't already done something majorly wrong! But it's also tough not being able to do anything (esp for my wife as she is such a rescuer!)

I also battled, for years, about breaking my sister's confidence and trying to protect my parents from heartache.

It's very difficult being stuck in the middle, isn't it? I'm sorry your situation didn't work out too well for you. Though, as you say, your sister did then get the help she needed, so it sounds like it was worth the upset for you?

So I think worrying about breaking trust is not as big as worrying if someone is suicidal.

That's the crux of it really, isn't it? No one wants to betray a trust....but, even more so, no one wants him dead!

Bit ultimately: you can't change people. And that is painful.

Yeah. And I know this from my own family, which causes me a lot of stress. But that's not the same sort of situation as this. But the same in that, the only people who can do anything to change anything for the better are them...and, if they won't, that's it... It can be very stressful and heart-breaking to watch...but, ultimately, there is nothing I can do... :-(
 

Aliana

New Here
I am becoming increasingly concerned about my brother-in-law and would really appreciate any insight or advice that anyone is able to offer.


He lives in Australia and is really struggling with the current lockdown situation in his state. He recently lost a job he loved (through no fault of his own – Covid has shut down his industry for now, so where he worked couldn’t keep everyone on any longer, plus there are no jobs going in his industry/line of work at the moment, as no one is recruiting currently)


In addition, he has got into several conspiracy theories. He spends most of his time drinking, smoking weed, and looking up everything he can find on the internet that suggests that the pandemic is a hoax, we are all being controlled, Bill Gates is the only one benefitting from the vaccine so be anti-vaccine, the world is run by paedophiles etc.


He has spiralled into: the world is a terrible place full of terrible people, we all need to fight (he can’t really then say what he means by that), he’s never going to get another job he loves/is good at, he never should have left the UK and so on.


He seems in a very low, dark place but doesn’t seem to see that. This is not the first time he has spiralled to the depths of despair – I think he has struggled with bouts of depression for years but has always denied that and not sought any help. He will not speak to his GP about how he feels and he definitely won’t consider talking to a counsellor.


He is very caught up in how terrible the world is and seems to blame this for everything he’s feeling ie it’s not that he’s struggling with his mental health as millions have through Covid/lockdowns, it’s not that he’s feeling low or lacking in purpose because he’s lost the job he loves, it’s not that he misses home and is worried about his family because he can’t travel anywhere – instead, it’s all because people running the world are lying to us, controlling us, making up a non-existent pandemic... He believes that the root of his current pain and despair is corrupt world leaders who are destroying the world with everything they do – from making up Covid, to the (mis)handling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan to everyone being paedophiles…


He has also started talking about suicide in terms of he’ll be better off not being on this planet.


His partner is worried sick and worried to leave him every day when she goes to work because she doesn’t know what he’ll do and what she’ll come home to.


My wife is also worried sick – her own anxiety is spiking and it’s affecting her sleep and her well-being.


None of us know how best to help him.

Challenging him on the conspiracy theories does no good as he has an answer for everything, can find a source to ‘prove’ everything he’s saying (even though he also contradicts himself hugely). And, as much as we think he is deluded, he thinks the same about us because he’s convinced he knows the truth and that we just don’t/won’t see it.

We’ve tried encouraging him to go to his GP but he won’t.

We’ve tried reassuring him that things will re-open again at some point, as they have here, and that he will get another job sometime.

We’ve tried talking about depression and sharing our own experiences and what has/hasn’t helped to try to destigmatise depression/mental health challenges and show that improvement is possible.

We’ve suggested that drinking so much and being on the internet all day probably isn’t helping.


No one wants to nag him or come over all judgey. At the same time, we are all very worried about him. And my wife and I are also worried about his partner – she sounds at the end of her tether, is at a loss of what to do and she is terrified she’s going to come home from work one day and find that he has left or taken his own life.


I know my wife feels more helpless because we are over the other side of the world. But, even if we lived there, I don’t really know what we could do apart from be there to offer support if he ever decides he wants it. He just doesn’t seem to accept that there is any kind of ‘problem’ (bad choice of word but I can’t think of a better one to write just now) with himself that he could try to do something about….from his point of view, the ‘problem’ isn’t anything about him….it’s the terrible people running this terrible world that is causing him to feel this way and, as he can’t do anything about that, he is better off not being here.


Has anyone got any suggestions, please? My anxiety is really rocketing (the stress cup over floweth!), I’m also trying to support my wife who is very upset and worried, and we’re both trying to support his partner who’s finding things extremely difficult…and we’re all so worried about him and what we can do.


Is there actually anything we can do?!
I think just listening to him and reassure him that no matter what is you will have each other is THE best approach att the moment. Mybe the important thing is not to be right, but to care for each other? If he spends all this time in the internet, how can be then care for his wife?

If he gets to be in the moment and att home also in His thought, then life still is what it is no matter what Bill Gates has and has not at mind, IF that makes sense?
 
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