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What to do about DB?

(5 Posts)
Spindelina Tue 09-Dec-14 13:26:37

DB (single, mid 30s) has a history of depression, and I think he's not well at the moment.

We have never been particularly close - home was not a happy place for me and I got out as soon as I could. But we now live very near to each other.

He dropped out of school at 14 and has never got formal qualifications. He's tried to go back several times since, but never got as far as the exam. He's tried working, but it's never worked out and he's living at our parents' expense.

Not boasting, but because I think it's relevant: I was the teachers' pet. I have strings of As and several degrees, a good job, a nice house, a great marriage, a cute toddler.

At times, when he's well, we maintain friendly contact - lunch every so often etc. He's not very organised at the best of times, so it's usually last minute. When he's not well, he stops responding to texts, emails, and doesn't pick up the phone.

Up until now, I've left him to it. I've thought he might not want his nose rubbed in my "busy, successful" life. He has friends to look out for him. So I text every so often, and eventually he starts responding again and we go out for lunch.

But I'm wondering if there's more I could do. And whether I'm projecting my fear of failure (i.e. not getting an A - see above re: teachers' pet), which is my problem not his.

What do you think? Should I persist in contacting him? Leave more "hope you're OK" messages? Or am I right to leave him to contact me when he's ready?

WitchesGlove Thu 11-Dec-14 00:30:44

Yes, let him know you care, but give him space, so just the odd text or greetings card would be fine.

Tell him he's welcome to join you and your dc for a walk in the park or something.

In terms of him doing nothing with his life, well there's not really anything you can do. Don't give him advice about jobs/education unless he asks you for it or pressure him into doing things.

What do your parents think about this? are they happy with him living at their expense?

Spindelina Thu 11-Dec-14 07:09:50

Thanks for your reply. It's nice to know that my approach isn't way off the mark!

My parents are fine with the financial aspect of supporting him while he's ill - they can afford to do so. If it was entirely clear that it was only illness that prevented him from working, I think they would be even more OK with the money.

But they think he should get a job / volunteer / do a course etc. I live closer to him than they do, so they want me to keep tabs on him (they always always ask after him when they speak to me) and 'help' get him 'back on track'.

Which is partly the point of my original post - should I be doing what my parents ask? From your reply: no, I shouldn't. At least not while he's unwell. When he's well, DH and I are always up for helping/advising if asked.

foreverdepressed Thu 11-Dec-14 07:13:54

Does he not have any of his own income at all? If he is unwell he should be entitled to some kind of benefit, ESA, PIP, etc.

Spindelina Thu 11-Dec-14 07:26:22

When I say "my parents expense", it's actually a trust fund. He owns his home, so no rent to pay.

I'm not sure how much contact he has with MH services - certainly in earlier years, now not so sure - but I'm not sure he'd engage with the form filling etc for what would only be a small increase in income.

Not sure how to say this without sounding callous: if he got benefits while unwell, it would mean he had no excuse when he was deemed well. But it's not as simple as that, is it? There's a binary well/unwell for the purposes of benefits, but I think for him his MH is always a bit fragile.

In short: it's not the money that's the problem.

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