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Dealing with depression

poppy89 Member Posts: 2
edited August 2016 in Mental health and wellbeing
My 26 year old brother was born with cerebral palsy and he appears to be suffering with depression. In recent years he has become more and more recluse to extent where he rarely leaves his bed leaving myself and my family clueless on what we can do. He has function of his legs but after numerous operations and hip problems, movement has become more difficult for him, as time has went on he now relies on constant pain relief and struggles to do some tasks.
Growing up I always saw him as able as myself, we would play and go to the park just like normal children would. He was always very intelligent, loud, funny, outgoing and likeable, not a person you would forget easily!

To say the least we didn't have an easy upbringing but our mum did her best to treat him equally and provide him with everything he needed.
He has been to college a couple of times but struggled with this and never really completed a course and has also never had a job. He loves computers and really has a lot of potential in writing (as he's very opinionated :P), as well as having a love for music. He enjoys spending time with his many friends and going to music concerts in which he travels the world for. However, in recent years he has begin to shut himself out and is not really going out with friends, and has even stopped going to some concerts (which is really shocking, as this was life!!) to the extent where he lies in bed all day and he becomes really disinterested and depressed.
As a family we have all tried to encourage him but nothing seems to work, on occasions he has stated that he would like to get a job and have routine in his life but this enthusiasm is often short lived and the depression takes over again.

I believe he has the potential to live independently, although he would need some level of care, like with general cleaning. He struggles to bend over and pick things up and is generally off-balance, and if he were to fall over he would be unable to get up without some support, which I believe is also a great concern of his, one which I also find upsetting. He doesn't have the tendency to do things for himself, or do anything to help himself, and won't, as my grandad does it all for him.

I would like to get some help for him but don't know who to talk to or what the problems truly are, he doesn't really speak about things, it is difficult to tell whether his problems are related to depression or deterioration of his health, likely both, but his current lifestyle is really dangerous to both his physical and mental wellbeing. If he doesn't get help or change his lifestyle soon he is inevitability going to become very sick and very weak!

I am hoping to gain any advice on dealing with depression or living as an adult with cerebral palsy, I really hope I can help him before it is too late.
Thank you!


  • Rocky
    Rocky Member Posts: 76 Listener
    Hi Poppy, this is a really difficult situation and it sounds as if your brother may be experiencing some deterioration or additional difficulties with his cerebral palsy and health in general. From what you have said, I think he does seem very depressed and the two aspects of his life and condition could be affecting each other e.g. are increasing physical difficulties causing his depression. Also as an adult, you can only suggest courses of action and it is up to him to follow through. I think it would be helpful for him to talk to a doctor, they may recommend something like Cognitive Behaviour Therapy or Counselling. Also there may be help he could get with his physical needs.
    Have your parents been in contact with Social Services at all? There has recently been a lot of changes to the Care Act to further support both the disabled person and family members or carers. Has your brother been assessed to identify his needs? Has he had contact with the Disability Employment Advisor at the Job Centre regarding employment?
    Sorry but lots of questions. From what you have said your brother does need some help but whether he will accept it or has had help and now chooses not to do any more is another matter but I can sense you are very worried. Have you told your parents how concerned you are?
  • OlliHannah
    OlliHannah Member Posts: 30 Connected
    Hi Poppy.
    Rocky has made some excellent suggestions about practical ways that your brother can hopefully be supported with his depression. You are clearly a very close family & it is understandable that you find the situation increasingly upsetting so I wondered whether the following link may be helpful from your own personal point of view -
    Sibs is an organisation that supports siblings of disabled people, both children & adults, with supporting their brother or sister as well as managing their own feelings.
    I really hope your brother is able to accept the support available :-)
  • Markinsutton
    Markinsutton Member Posts: 83 Pioneering
    Hi my name is Mark and have Cerebral Palsy. When I was reaching the age of 30 I found it really hard to deal with. My peers where all getting better jobs than I and I could not go out as late as everyone else because I was worried I get stuck, lost or something would happen that made me unable to communicate what I need. I used to love concerts as well but suddenly stopped going out. I don't know what advice I would have given myself at that time, Not much help I know.

    What I will say is that I found a lot of things so much effort and even now at 40 I still wish I could do more than I can. My brothers and sister all have their own homes and I live in supported living paying rent and I get help from carers who come in once a day to help me, which is nice but not the same as having your own place.

    Things can seem down for some disabled people at the moment, with the welfare reform. I see some of my disabled friends who are much more disabled than I lose benefits and are so desperate to find work so they don't have to watch every penny. This scares me even now and if I was younger I would be saying to myself what happens if I lose it all. Like your brother I never considered myself disabled and nether did my brothers and sister they just saw me as Mark. funny outgoing and ready to do anything. I am sure they worried for me when I started to withdraw into myself even to the point I stopped talking all together because I didn't like the sound of my voice.

    Apart from what everyone else said here. I would also add that just spending time with your brother at home would be nice for both of you. I not saying put your life on hold but if you have contact with his friends get them to come and visit him at home. My darkest moments where sat in my bedroom on my own knowing that everyone was having fun without me.

    For me counselling didn't work just made me frustrated as I couldn't get my point across and just made me angry. Living in pain is hard on anyone and having to take medication for my pain makes me feel zoned out a lot. I tried a few times to cut down but it's left me feeling worse. Now I do some voluntary work and spend the rest of the time at home watching films. I wish people would come round and watch them with me so I don't feel so lonely but its ok.

    Not sure how much help I have been. Just be there for your brother. It does get easier to accept one has limits but they shouldn't stop one from being happy with what they can do.
  • kingboy25
    kingboy25 Member Posts: 57 Listener
    good advice from everyone. My son went through a similar thing at he same age, indeed I would say most of his twenties he had periods of depression due to his cerebral palsy. I know that several of his cp friends -all male strangely enough, also suffered from depression through much of their twenties. It didn't seem to affect the girls as much. My son is now thirty and seems much more settled. It is as if he has come to terms with the restrictions on his life and accepts that if for example he wants to go out at night he has to rest during the day. He is also learning to pace himself better and allow himself more time to do things so that he isn't constantly feeling under time pressure. We recently had a meetup and for the first time ever he had to ring me to see where I was instead of the other way round.


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