I'm new here. I just wanted to share and ask for some advice about my brother.
Just some background info about me and my family. I'm 18M and my family is your typical nuclear family. Although my parents are asian, they are not as strict as typical asian parents, they are quite liberal and lenient and I would say both my brother and I have had pretty good childhoods. My parents haven't shyed away from discipline (when we were younger, much less as we have grown older) but we have never been abused. Our family is also Christian which is probably why my parents are so patient with my brother and are very loving. The church community is also very loving towards him and quite patient.
I have an older brother (23) and I think he may have some sort of mental disorder or illness but I'm not sure. He has pretty much next to no friends. He doesn't have a job and spends most days just at home on his laptop watching youtube and other things. He has had jobs in the past, yet has been fired shortly after (most likely due to his lack of critical thinking, laziness, inability to take initiative, short attention span, etc). It is so difficult living with him because he has so many bad habits and has little to no empathy. Some of his bad habits: he will finish drinking a soft drink bottle and leave the empty bottle back in the fridge, leave empty biscuit boxes in the pantry. He never cleans up after himself. Leaves his socks everywhere. We are asian so we were slippers around the house, and he will always wear my mums, dads or mine even when he has his own pair.
Some examples of his lack of empathy:
When someone else is in the toilet (you can usually tell if someone else is in there as the door would be closed, there would be noise from shower running or tap, etc), he just bangs on the door and tells people to hurry up instead of just waiting or politely knocking and asking.
Whenever someone sneezes he won't say bless you, but instead gets really angry and accusingly yells "GET A TISSUE".
One time, after school, I got stung by a wasp and ran into the house clutching at my leg whilst trying to get to the freezer to get ice. I dropped my bag and things and was in noticeable pain and he saw me but didn't bother to say anything.
I know these are just tiny things, but I can tell he severely lacks any empathy and is very poor at understanding people's emotions.
Now onto his social life,
Outside of church, he pretty much never goes out. He stays at home almost every day. He has no friends. Even church people find it hard to talk to him because he is quite weird and very difficult to converse with. At extended family gatherings he will not talk to anyone, unless they initiate the conversation and generally gives very brief responses (usually just a yes or no reply).
Now onto why I have a suspicion that he may have some sort of mental illness or disorder:
- He lacks empathy as above
- He lacks communication skills and cannot hold a proper conversation. - He has no friends
- He usually cannot perform basic tasks well (e.g. still doesn't mow the lawn properly sometimes, forgot to put rice in ricecooker and subsequently burnt the rice, doesn't lock the front door after coming home)
- Annoyed by loud sounds (e.g. gets very frustrated when the phone rings, yells at other people to quickly pick up the phone, sometimes at chinese restaurants gets annoyed because its too loud)
- Does not control emotions very well (e.g. when my parents criticise something about him without yelling, he will quickly get angry and start shouting back)
- Does not care much about physical appearance (e.g. hardly ever shaves. Does not care about his hair. Dress poorly but does not care (mind you, he has a lot of clothes but always wears the same dirty ones).
- Didn't do very well in school
- He talks to himself --> This is a very big one. So he is christian, as is the rest of our family. But he has a real obsession with it. Whenever our family is in the car he will mutter things related to the topic but not directed at any person. He non-stop talks about things related to christianity. These things that he says often are nonsensical and are just plain weird. e.g. “There’s this weird sect.. like they can’t even use technology cos they’re so afraid and it’s like sigh... that’s not how it works...you can use the things of this world”
"how can a toothbrush be holy"
"people of this world..."
My parents have gotten him tested with NDIS to get help for him to help him be independent. His test results came back with everything under average. However, for some reason my parents aren't getting him properly diagnosed to find out what he actually has. I think this may be a due to a some or a combination of these things: in denial that he actually has a mental disorder, given up, don't care anymore, can't be bothered. But at the end of the day, Im not sure if he actually has a problem either, and I just want some advice on what I can do as well. Thanks for reading.
I can tell that your brother’s behaviour is distressing you, and straining the family dynamic. Although the things you have described are seemingly subtle things, you are in the best position to know your family and culture, and be able to identify that something feels wrong to you .... and you are entitled to your feelings. It was also brave of you to come and share these misgivings here ......
What can you do ? From my perspective, as a parent myself with adult children who struggle with mental health issues, this is a responsibility that lies with your parents, and with your brother himself. What you can do is speak in a safe space (somewhere with strict confidentiality codes) to a counsellor, which might be a pastoral care person at your school, or your church pastor, or your family doctor, because your concerns deserve to be heard. Especially if there is found to be a problem with your brother’s personal development or mental health, it is important that you don’t feel overlooked or without a voice. I have two siblings with mental health issues, so I understand something about how you are feeling.
Take care, and please keep writing here as you feel the need to.
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