4
   

How can I help my depressed younger brother?

 
 
Sam560
 
Reply Tue 10 Oct, 2017 12:50 am
I have a brother slightly younger than me. He's 20, and he's having difficulty connecting with people and I've recently found out he's extremely lonely.

He's mildly autistic, and he has issues talking to people. Things get awkward for him when he tries to socialize. Also, he's been looking to get a girlfriend for a while, but he always says he wants to meet his "soulmate" or is "true love" and doesn't necessarily want a casual "girlfriend" if I'm not mistaken. But he sometimes says things like "I'm lonelier than lonely" or "everywhere I go it seems I'm the only single person around.." and his self esteem and confidence he says are virtually zero. And to my knowledge, he's never had a girlfriend or somebody special before. He's told me it would fix his life if he did, and "someone special" is the only thing he wants in life.

He's a good guy, and he's very good looking too, but he always had trouble in school (i.e. bullying, put downs, being overworked and getting ignored) and he has always been sort of continually sad ever since high school ended for him. I wasn't there for most of his school experience but he's told me a lot about what went on and won't tell anyone else except his therapist.

In school, Girls would ask him out and show interest in him quite often, but he just didn't have the social skills needed to make anything happen, plus he got very depressed during high school. My family has a history of mental health issues.

He once confided in me that he fell in love with a girl in middle school but she told him she didn't really like him, but they were good friends for a while. However she eventually started to ignore him before he graduated high school and didn't want anything to do with him for(to me) no apparent reason. He never was the same since. I think this may play a big part in his depression.

He's been to a lot of therapists and psychologists, and gotten tons of professional help but it's clear it's not helping him much.

Does anybody have any ideas on what I could do to help him? He's thinking of starting college part time soon, and I know he'll meet a lot of people, but I'm afraid he might not make any friends or meet somebody special like he wants. And as his sister I can't stand to see him in so much distress.

He says he doesn't want to drink/party/do illegal things like drugs etc...or mess around, he says he just wants people who care about him and wants to make people happy, which I think is great. He's a really good guy and I think he just wants somebody to accept him and love him back, and I'm concerned he might not be able to connect with people, or that he might get depressed.

Does anybody know how I can help him? Or how he can overcome his lack of social skills?
 
jespah
 
  2  
Reply Tue 10 Oct, 2017 06:45 am
@Sam560,
He could probably benefit from a therapist rather specifically focusing on autism/Asperger's and improving his social skills.

What can you do? Be the awesome brother you clearly are. Be kind, thoughtful, and attentive. Work with him - instead of just correcting his behavior or keeping him out of situations which might be difficult for him, why not talk to him about developing social skills and tell him you want to help him. Don't frame it as damage or a disability. Instead, frame it as, you want to help him make friends because life can be hard sometimes and it's good to have friends to support you, but sometimes it can be tough to actually break through and connect with someone.
dalehileman
 
  -2  
Reply Tue 10 Oct, 2017 11:41 am
@Sam560,
Sam you're a thoughtful fella

Pre she ate your use of carrets 'tween paras. Virtually nobody else does it

Now I wish I could find a way the Tab each
0 Replies
 
Sam560
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Oct, 2017 02:07 pm
@jespah,
I actually have tried this if I I didn't mention. He doesn't seem to have changed even when I give him advice. I'm not sure if there's a method for autistic people to get more social or what. I'm sort of at a loss
jespah
 
  2  
Reply Tue 10 Oct, 2017 03:02 pm
@Sam560,
Can you talk to your own doctor maybe? At least get some leads? I admit I''m out of my depth here, but at least that might give you an idea of where to look.
Sam560
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Oct, 2017 06:25 pm
@jespah,
Believe me I've tried Sad

He's getting the best help he can by a psychologist who's also an autism treatment professional.

I'm just afraid he'll get depressed because he doesn't have a "special someone" which I think he would benefit from, but he's told me he's afraid of rejection, so that's why he doesn't wanna try to meet girls, and add the difficulty connection to people on top. I'm afraid he'll get depressed again if he remains isolated. He's very good looking and he has a kind heart so I don't think he'll have trouble, it's just the inability to connect. He keeps saying things like "everybody has somebody except for me," and "I'm afraid I'll fall for someone who'll already have somebody else or won't have feelings for me." and he sounds very un-optimistic.

I'm not sure what to do to help him, unless there's some way he can train somehow to meet and connect with people, or maybe there's somewhere I can get some dating advice for him because I'm a terrible dating coach.

I thought somebody would have advice or a list of things he should do to become more social/likeable. It's okay, I'll wait for more answers if you cant think of anything. Thanks for the suggestion though Smile
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Oct, 2017 06:31 pm
@Sam560,
Do you think you could ask him if you can attend a counselling session with him. Let the counsellor know that you'd like to help your brother and that you'd like some tips. Are there support groups for family members in your area?

Perhaps there are local meet-up groups that you and your brother could attend together. Hiking or something. He could see how you interact with people and perhaps learn some techniques for meeting people?
0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Oct, 2017 06:51 pm
One think that stuck out to me was the statement that he wants to meet his "soul mate" or someone very special.

That's placing an awfully heavy demand on both himself and another person to be that "perfect match" from day one.

Have you ever talked with him about the fact it takes awhile to get to know someone, and that love at first sight really isn't a thing?
ossobucotemp
 
  0  
Reply Tue 10 Oct, 2017 07:16 pm
@Sam560,
I'm struck about his very strong need for a special someone, mixed with dismissal of others. Me, I take that as a mix of a fantasy looking for some kind of joystick.

I'm not smart on how to help you to help him. I hope I can help but I don't know how.
0 Replies
 
Sam560
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Oct, 2017 02:04 am
@chai2,
Yes, actually he has in fact told me about his goals for a relationship like that and he surprisingly was very mature about it. I remember him saying he didn't just want someone to make him feel better, but he wanted to be the "missing piece" in the other person's life, and that he wanted to love and care for them as well, and that he knew he couldn't ask for so much of someone without being able to give back to them. But he has actually said he wants to be there for, love, cherish and support whomever she may be, if they do ever meet. So yeah, he does in fact understand what you mentioned. Also about love at first sight. I think he said it took him a while to actually fall for the girl that he did, but it was only after getting to know her quite a bit. (I did go to school with him during this time so I have some first hand insight) But he understands now she was not good for him (and I agree, because from what he's told me she was a real jerk when she ultimately rejected him and refused to speak to him, and she knew it made him very sad but she apparently just didn't care. And this was all at the request of her friends whom didn't like him, so she basically did it at the request of her friends from what I understand).

His standards aren't high, really. I had a recent conversation with him in which he said he simply wants somebody to connect with, and he was aware it takes a while to form such a relationship, and he has said frequently that he knows a 'perfect match' isn't found, but made if two people care for each other very much. Not word for word, or 'verbatim' like you said, but he understands it.

He needs to meet people his age (20-25) I'm just not sure how or where he should try to meet people his age (aside from college) but I think he should've had a girlfriend by now (he hasn't to my knowledge) and gotten some experience. I'm afraid he'll get feelings for a girl and it won't work out, or he'll fail to meet anybody altogether and become depressed.

jespah
 
  3  
Reply Wed 11 Oct, 2017 05:49 am
@Sam560,
Then Meetup or the like is a good idea. You both get out, you meet people. Maybe no one is a match or a potential match, but learning to connect with people does not come naturally to him. It's a skill he has got to learn, not only for this reason but to make it in society in general. Practicing getting acquainted with people, striking up conversations, continuing those conversations, and gracefully ending those same talks, should be of help (and not just to him - we see lots of people, some of whom do not seem to be on the spectrum at all, who need that same kind of practice).
Sam560
 
  2  
Reply Sat 14 Oct, 2017 10:10 pm
@jespah,
Ok thanks, I didn't consider meetup. However it's not his thing really, he prefers to get things done in real life rather than online. I've tried to get him to do similar things but he won't. I just feel really bad for him because he seems so lonely, and I find it hard to phathom he's never had a girlfriend, but I don't think he ever has.

I've noticed recently other people have interacted with him less and less. I guess they don't want to talk to somebody who's always sad and unable to communicate, which is pretty cold hearted of some people, but that's the world we live in unfortunately.

He seems so sad because Autumn is his favorite season and he says there's nobody to enjoy it with. I'm currently dating my boyfriend on and off, and we're casually seeing other people when we're not around one another. I personally couldn't begin to understand how bad he feels since I have someone myself and I have no issues dating.

He's expressed these lonely feelings since last year, and I'm afraid he'll get worse if he doesn't at least get a friend to connect with soon. My family's gotten him all the professional help money can buy, but he's not improving.

He'll be starting college part time soon and I'm worried some sorority girl will partner with him then break his heart, or he'll never make friends/get a girlfriend and continue to go downhill.

I'm at a loss

PS: I'm his sister actually. I saw you called me his brother in an earlier post :p
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Oct, 2017 10:29 pm
@Sam560,
Hey Sam, meetup isn't online, it's (to the best of my knowledge), and opportunity to meet real people.

Google Meetup in your town or city.

Better yet, here's a link.

https://www.meetup.com/?_cookie-check=DB_ZVgVqyy-Se7hs

It's for where I live, but you get the idea.

0 Replies
 
jespah
 
  2  
Reply Sun 15 Oct, 2017 10:30 am
@Sam560,
Oh, oops, sorry for the gender confusion.

You really are an awesome sibling (there!) to be concerned. It's just ... nice.

Meetup is where you (I see chai2 beat me to this) find the events online but then you go to them in person.
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Oct, 2017 10:51 am
@jespah,
Interesting.
I was just looking in Austins Health and Wellness section, and see they have an Adult Aspergers meetup.
0 Replies
 
Sam560
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Oct, 2017 12:09 pm
@jespah,
No big deal Smile

I just don't know where to start with him. I've searched for ways on how to get someone with poor social skills on track but I haven't found much.

Meetup does sound good but I know my brother won't do it. He probably prefers college but I'm afraid of what might happen either way.
jespah
 
  2  
Reply Sun 15 Oct, 2017 12:48 pm
@Sam560,
Nothing ventured, nothing gained. If processes appeal to him (e. g. do X, then Y, and the Z), then maybe approach it that way.
NicoleCooper
 
  -2  
Reply Sun 15 Oct, 2017 10:37 pm
@Sam560,
Approach him with empathy. Say to him, as a family if conceivable, that you have seen that he doesn't appear to be cheerful, inspired or intrigued by making a life for himself. Disclose to him that all of you are worried about him and his prosperity and recommend that he look for offer assistance.

In view of what you have portrayed to me, he seems to encounter some kind of misery. I don't know precisely how your sibling will respond to your family's worries and the proposal of an advocate yet it is about all that your family can do in this circumstance. It will be up to your sibling to get help and in the event that he isn't propelled to do as such, there is little that you can to influence him to go.

Your folks could stipulate that he can't keep on living in the house on the off chance that he declines help, and this may go about as use into getting him into to see a guide. Your family can likewise consider seeing a family specialist and getting his or her direction on the best way to live with a relative who is unmistakably needing assistance however isn't roused to get it (if this winds up being the situation). Perhaps your sibling would be keen on taking part in the family treatment; this would empower.

Converse with your sibling as a family, perhaps take a stab at bringing his companions into the circumstance and propose that he converse with an instructor. Good luck to you and your family.
0 Replies
 
Sam560
 
  2  
Reply Mon 16 Oct, 2017 01:03 am
@jespah,
Thanks. I'll try and let you know if it works out ^^
0 Replies
 
Sam560
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Nov, 2017 10:30 pm
@jespah,
A bit of an update if you're interested. He's gotten a little worse, but seems mellow for now. He's good at ignoring sadness/stress from my experience with him, but he's gotten sadder since last time I posted. People have told me he needs more therapy, but I personally believe he just needs a girlfriend or someone to go out with. I know it won't fix him completely, but I think it'd make him a lot better.

He gets more depressed over the holidays I've noticed, (I think) because he has no one to spend them wth. He gets extremely depressed on Valentine's Day for obvious reasons, and it's just a few months away so I'm getting worried for him.

He's a great brother to me, he works hard and wants to do good in college, which he's seeing about attending soon, but I can tell he's lost his drive for life, I hope just temporarily though.

He and I are close, and he loves me a lot, but I'm starting to think I'm not enough for him, I'm not sure what to do anymore. My stepmother has been making sure he's getting all the help he needs, but I think he just needs a girlfriend. He's very cute and good looking but apparently people aren't too interested in connecting with my him, be it as friends or otherwise. I don't really know if I can do anything else. That's why I'm seeking advice on here, but I don't know if I'll find the answer or not.
 

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