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Brother Overdosed, angry/frustrated


KateDontBeLate

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KateDontBeLate

Hi,

This is my first post. I just found this forum today, and I feel like I need a release; this seemed like a safe place for that. My brother, who was a year and a half older than me, overdosed on heroin on February 8th. He was found in a gas station bathroom with a needle in his neck. He had been using heroin for 9 years, since he was 17, and struggled his whole life with an incredible amount of emotional pain, anger, trauma, disappointment, etc. He never really learned how to live in the "real" world. He was in and out of hospitals and rehab. I brought him to a psychiatric hospital last fall, vowing it to be the last time I involve myself with his drama. He got out, went to rehab, halfway house after that. I actually had started to see a little bit of hope that maybe he had turned a corner after years of the hope/disappointment cycle. I saw him one more time in January, a few weeks before his death. It was the happiest I had seen him in a very long time. He seemed good, laughing, healthy. It was only for a few minutes, but I feel extremely grateful that this is my last memory, instead of sitting in the waiting room with him crying, pleading to let him just die, back in September.

My brother and I have a history of sexual abuse with each other that stems back to when I was 3 years old. There are two people in my life that know about it. I told the first person, who is like a mother figure to me, when I was 20. The second person is my current partner. I have only very recently told him, just in January. The abuse stopped when I was 12 and my brother was 14. It was never acknowledged again. It took me many years of suppression to be able to get through our childhood household in one piece. When I was 18, I bolted, focusing on my education (doing cortisol research in kids with PTSD, of course!) and building a social support group for myself that is as close as any family I will ever have.

My brother's death has brought up so much anger and guilt that I had hoped to address at some point, and be able to make amends with him. I wanted to do it when I was ready, and hopefully when he had reached a sober point in his life. I will never be able to do that. I want to forgive him. I was him to forgive me. After focusing on my family for my entire childhood (in therapy, in my ever day life of care-taking for my bipolar alcoholic mother, or depressed father, or bipolar heroin addict brother), I have spent the last few years of my life distancing myself from that so that I may gain perspective and build healthy relationships in my "adult" life. I can't help but feel guilt now having lost that time with him. Time that maybe, if he had felt some kind of resolution and acceptance from someone in our family, could have help pushed him in a healing direction. I won't ever know. Intellectually, I know I can't accept any responsibility for what happened. But emotionally, I can't control this feeling.

I'm angry because how much time, effort, money, care, emotions went into getting him treatment and care over the years- all for nothing. To end up like this. I'm angry at everyone in my family for being a part of his downfall. I'm angry at myself.

I'm still trying to wrap my head around forever. I know people say it gets easier. I just don't know how to find resolution. This is affecting every part of my life, in every relationship, friendship, etc. I go through waves of feeling like he's just off in the city, like the past few years of not having him in my life. Days when I don't think about him at all. Then waves of feeling so overwhelmed I can't even get out of bed.

I have a therapy session on Tuesday where I am going to discuss the option of group therapy. I have never been to one of those, as I've looked at my time in therapy as "me" time that I don't really want to share with other people. But I am hoping to hear other people's solutions who are 1 year out, 5 years out, etc.

Thanks for reading this. It feels good to just have it out in the universe.

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I'm sorry you and your brother had such a difficult life. I think some of the things you went through in your life is more common than you think. People just don't admit it. It sounds like you are on the right path of trying to reach out and let go. the guilt is natural. I think it is something most of us go through. Know that your brother is loved and at peace. He is probably still all around you. I don't know how comfortable you feel just talking to him like he is there but, it may help you to tell him how you feel. Stay strong dear one and keep moving forward. You will have your days when you feel like you just can't do it but, it will pass and you will get back up. Blessings. PS thank you for being so honest and open. The loss of a loved one makes us look at life like we never have before.

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KateDontBeLate

Thanks dsmurph,

Those are comforting thoughts. I read a lot of posts on the forum yesterday after posting this myself, and recognized many emotions floating around. This seems like a really supportive place; I'm glad I found it.

Best to you in your healing process,

K

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