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Does anyone know of an organisation or group or just bloody anyone who can help my brother?

(36 Posts)
Rhubarb Tue 21-Oct-08 20:58:19

He's now getting anxiety attacks around twice a week, but these are HUGE attacks. To all intents and purposes he is having a heart attack. He's been taken to A&E that many times he might as well just move in! He's had ECGs and blood tests and consultant after consultant tell him that he's fine, but to no avail. He's been like this for months now. He feels ill every day, he gets chest pains every day. He knows it's anxiety, but he doesn't know what to do.

My sister is the only one really helping him, our mother has pissed off to Spain (she was in Canada just 4 weeks ago) because she needs the break, despite her doing bugger all. My poor sister is getting to the end of her tether, yet she daren't let our brother know just how down she is feeling in case he decides he is a burden to everyone. We feel as though the health professionals have washed their hands of him.

He needs to speak to others who have gone through this or are going through it. He needs support. But we can't find anything. He won't talk through the pc, so forums are no good. He really needs face-to-face support, someone to help see him through it and give my sister a break.

Is there anyone out there who can help?

tiredemma Tue 21-Oct-08 20:59:29

where is he? (geographically)

Littlefish Tue 21-Oct-08 21:03:54

Can his GP refer him to a counsellor? My mum is a counsellor and says that panic attacks are one of the areas for which counselling can be really effective.

WigWamBam Tue 21-Oct-08 21:03:55

Have you tried Mind? There are branches all across the country.

deanychip Tue 21-Oct-08 21:04:36

one of my very dear friends has suffered from this for years,its hard.

He is on medication, and actually has tried lots of different types and combinations.
he also suffers from severe depression.

he has a cpn who visits him twice a week, he has a phychiatrist and has a quite understanding GP.

Just a suggestion, but how about starting at the begining, go to the GP, and get referals.
get referal to phsych consultant who is the best person for the job.
what help has he sought so far?

MegBusset Tue 21-Oct-08 21:05:13

Yes, I was going to suggest Mind or Sane.

snigger Tue 21-Oct-08 21:05:14

Rhubarb, I think I remember you posting when things got bad initially - I hope I'm remembering the area correctly, it's where I was born, that's why it's ringing a bell!! this link gives access to some of the support available in that area.

My much loved uncle got some, but admittedly limited, support, through his battles with mental ill health through some of these groups.

zippitippitoes Tue 21-Oct-08 21:06:54

does he have a crisis team number

Rhubarb Tue 21-Oct-08 21:10:54

Thanks snigger!

He did have a cpn, but he told him not to come and so he didn't. He was younger than my brother and cowed that my brother was studying for a mental health degree (I know, the irony!), which is what is making him so hard to treat, because he knows what they are going to say before they've even said it!

His GP is fairly helpful, but I'm not aware that he's made any referrals. It could be hampered because db is an ex-serviceman and so under the Army's care. He goes to Hollybush House in Scotland, they see him for a week then he returns home and there's no help more locally for him.

Snigger, I'll send him that link, thanks very much!

Rhubarb Tue 21-Oct-08 21:12:52

tbh, he's had counselling but I think the main problem is that he's home all day and constantly thinking about it. He has nothing to distract him.

I'm not near anymore so physically can't help. But he needs a 'buddy' to get him motivated and out of the house. He can't rely on sis forever, it's wearing her down bigtime and her family have been neglected.

zippitippitoes Tue 21-Oct-08 21:17:30

not an irony rhubarb mental health naturally attracts loons

glad your bro is still in touch with you tbh

i have spent somed of tje last year trying to set stuff up for myself ready for a big crisis

last time i did this i was in a big crisis and only luck means im still here so i am planning

its not easy

Rhubarb Tue 21-Oct-08 21:26:51

Oh zippi, are you ok now? When you say "planning for another crisis" what do you mean? Are you due a bout of depression or is something going to happen that you think might set one off?

It's so hard to help someone like that. How did you come out of yours? Can you share any tips at all?

onepieceoflollipop Tue 21-Oct-08 21:37:52

Rhubarb I'm wondering if perhaps your brother has other mental health issues but obviously the severe anxiety is the most prominent.

In some cases severe anxiety and conditions such as OCD can be as disabling as the more "serious" mental illnesses. (I am a mental health nurse btw).

From your description it almost sounds as if he is paranoid rather than just a clear cut case of anxiety. To be so distressed and overwhelmed by anxiety that he ends up at A&E because part of him doesn't accept it is psychological rather than physical sounds to me as if it is rather more complex.

I would second what someone else said earlier on the thread about a referral to a Psychiatrist. A Psychiatrist will be able to review/consider medication; formulate a clear diagnosis, and discuss appropriate "talking therapies". From what you say this has gone far beyond a few sessions with a counsellor. Alternatively he/a family member can self refer to the mental health crisis team.

zippitippitoes Tue 21-Oct-08 21:41:08

hard to say rhubarb

you can contact me offline

but i am crap at maintaining contact with people as people on mn will crtify

Rhubarb Tue 21-Oct-08 21:43:37

He has post-traumatic stress syndrome and for years has been on meds for depression. Was used to waking up some nights covered in sweat and shaking, having flashbacks.

At Christmas he had a breakdown, was wandering around London threatening to throw himself off a bridge, sending suicidal texts. My mother wanted him admitted, but we refused. He was doing his degree, we felt it was important that he carried on with that, it gave him a sense of purpose, we didn't want him stripped of all control. It was a risk but it was worth it, he got a 2:1. He did so well, I'm so proud of him! The attacks started pretty much as soon as he finished his course. He thinks he's dying. I can't tell you what meds he takes, but it's a hell of a lot.

He has a psych at Hollybush that he can call on the phone, but he needs the 1to1. He needs someone visiting him at home and going through coping strategies, giving him focus and meaning.

We don't know what else to do for him. He's so negative and depression and dependant atm. I've sent him links and emails but I don't know if he'll do anything with the info.

He had a cpn but not anymore. Where can we go from here? If you have any advice I'll email it to both him and my sister as I know she'll act on it.

tiredemma Tue 21-Oct-08 21:47:38

Sorry Rgubabrb- He may have already had this info

is he aware of this org? maybe they can help??
[[ http://www.combatstress.org.uk/ combat stress ]]

EMDR is a good therapy for PTSD- maybe see if there is a counseller in his area?

zippitippitoes Tue 21-Oct-08 21:48:03

i am shock he got his degree

i can empathose with him entirely vering (sp)

between doing stuff and nothing

heaven knows

indont have an answer

tiredemma Tue 21-Oct-08 21:48:07

ack
[[ http://www.combatstress.org.uk/ try again ]]

tiredemma Tue 21-Oct-08 21:48:35

www.combatstress.org.uk/

onepieceoflollipop Tue 21-Oct-08 21:52:18

Could the Psychiatrist he already sees recommend someone to see him at home? If your brother gives his permission (probably written) then the Psychiatrist may agree to speak directly with you or your sister (either face to face or on the phone) and give you further advice.

He sounds really tormented and distressed by all of this. It must be a terrible worry for the family as well.

Ultimately unless the doctor feels he needs assessment under the Mental Health Act, then if he refuses to accept help or engage with professionals then there is very little anyone can do.

If the family feel that he is either becoming more of a risk to himself (i.e. self harming or having suicical thoughts) or his mental health is deteriorating significantly, then it may be worth discussing with the Psych or GP if he should be assessed under the Mental Health Act.

Very basically this would mean that 2 doctors (suitable qualified, usually a Psych and a GP, but this can vary) and a mental health social worker would see him and decide if he should be receiving treatment in hospital (i.e. compulsorily). Sometimes if a person is faced with this situation they might reluctantly agree to accept help if the only other option is to have it enforced.

I must stress that I am only giving general advice/support as of course I don't know your brother. Hope some of this might be of use.

Rhubarb Tue 21-Oct-08 21:53:24

Thanks tiredemma, they are the organisation who run Hollybush House. Just a shame they don't do local support for him.

Thanks zippi, I'm sorry you've been through this, I wouldn't wish it on anyone. Hope you've got help to see you through it should it happen again. You are always welcome to come on the piss with me anytime! smile

snigger Tue 21-Oct-08 21:54:55

Jesus wept - in this country the support for mental health issues is derisory.

Your words struck home Rhubarb - sometimes the ill only need one to one support to help them assimilate some coping strategies - sometimes it doesn't even take that long, a couple of years of consistent support, and people re-find their lives.

My best friend and my sister both cope with bipolar disorder, one in Middlesborough, one in Tayside, I'll ask them if they have any information on national volunteer support services that may be able to supplement whatever support your brother is getting already.

tiredemma Tue 21-Oct-08 21:56:39

Have a look at EMDR - Lots of stuff on the net about it.

Rhubarb Tue 21-Oct-08 21:57:41

Thanks lollipop. It's a difficult situation because he feels that cpn's can't possibly help him because of his ptsd. He puts all his faith into Combat, but they can't come out and see him and he's often worse after he's been in Hollybush than before!

If we do get him assessed under the Mental Health Act it'd just take away all of the control he has. It'd be like telling him that he's failed and is a failure and a burden so we're sticking him in hospital. I know he'd hate us for it. He's not suicidal atm, just very very ill. He's come so so far, I can't even begin to describe the struggle he's had this year, and it's mainly thanks to my sister who's put her own life on hold to be there for him. But now he appears to be stuck in a rut. He can't shake off these anxiety attacks, they are debilitating and stopping him from leading any semblance of a normal life.

If he can just get through this stage....

Rhubarb Tue 21-Oct-08 21:59:35

I've got to go and make packed lunches for the kids etc. I'll link this to my sister, she's a Mumsnet member so can contribute too. Please don't stop posting, any advice, any info is precious. My poor sister is carrying the burden of all of this and she really needs a break before she starts to get down too.

Thank you to all of you!

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