How We Can Use Our Experiences to Help Our Siblings
Throughout our lives, we come across a lot of different people. People are continually coming into our lives, sometimes quietly, sometimes in significant ways. We notice their entrance, or they sneak up on us, and when they leave, we can sometimes hear the door close. These people may stay for the rest of your life, they may come and go in a random pattern, or they may leave after only having remained for a brief time. Still, some people will stay with you through everything: your siblings. Whether it be by blood, step-sibling, or foster sibling, they become a huge part of your life. You may not talk to them very often, or at all, but they are still there. Being family is something that sticks, regardless of the amount of communication that goes on between family members. It will always be a part of you in some way.
The Value of Close Sibling Bonds
Siblings with a good relationship tend to become protective of one another. While we went through our mental illness recovery, they watched and waited for us to be better, praying and hoping that everything would turn out okay for us. If the tables were turned, we would do the same for them. The reality is that a lot of mental illnesses can be hereditary, meaning they are prevalent throughout your family. This means that if we have a disease, then our siblings may have one as well. This is a scary thought to deal with, but it is one that we can manage. We’ve been there, we’ve dealt with it, and we can help our siblings overcome anything, just as they did with us.
Talk to Your Brothers & Sisters
Always maintain an open and honest discourse about mental health with your siblings. Keep your experiences in the open for them to draw motivation and advice from. If you are honest about what you went through, you can give them the help they need to take pre-emptive action. You can help them stop an illness from ever forming in the first place. Keeping an open dialogue is essential to help them understand what they could possibly go through as well.
Check for Warning Signs
If you see your sibling isolating themselves or cutting themselves off from the people around them, check in on them and make sure that they are doing okay. Be there for them in their darkness. They are probably cutting themselves off because they are struggling with something. If their responses to your questions are always short and along the lines of “I’m fine, really,” keep checking in on them. You can’t always make them respond and tell you everything that is going on, but you can let them know that you’re there. Accepting their initial, short responses and not pushing them for more can show them that you respect their boundaries while also caring about them. They will open up in time.
Remember to Practice the Same Patience You Were Shown
Patience is required for people to healthily cope with mental illness. We have to give them the patience and grace that we needed when we struggled. This means we have to temper any frustrations or impatience we may feel. They could lash out at us, snap at us, or not talk to us, but we have to keep loving them. They need to know that they are still loved and supported. In fact, they are probably just as frustrated with themselves and their actions as you, if not more. To help reduce frustration, let go of any and all expectations you have. Don’t expect them to behave the same way you did, and don’t expect them to instantly change. We know how much time these things take, so let them cope and recover at a pace that suits them.
Our siblings are often some of the most influential people in our lives. They are always there, always present, and always wanting to help us. We can do the same for them. If we see our siblings struggling with the same kind of issues that we did, we can be a blessing in their lives. We are family, and we can stand by them through anything. They helped us not feel alone in our darkness, and we can give them the same feeling. A sibling bond is one of the most solid relationships in this world; we can do our part to help strengthen that bond through mental illness.
If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with anxiety or mental illness, do not hesitate to contact the team here at True Recovery. Our program, founded in 2014, is built around finding what’s best for you to overcome your addiction. Our facility is located in Newport Beach, California, with our supportive housing located close to our campus in Costa Mesa. Take advantage of the local beaches, nature preserves, and Orange County community while we fight for you. Contact us at (866) 399-6528 or [email protected]