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I'm 18 and my brother is 24, still living at home but has a full time job. I can't pinpoint exactly when his anxiety began but the story of how it's all happnened is as follows-
My brother went to high school in North Manchester (about an hour and a half school bus journey away), and although it was a private school, because of the area it was in there were more rebellious and less hard working kids compared to the private school me and my other brother went to which is local. He was never a hard worker although is a clever guy. He used to get into trouble at school a lot but was always for little things such as engraving writing into desks and just not putting enough effort into his work. During his time at high school he had his first girlfriend. They were 2 years apart, so she was 16 whilst he was 18. My parents didn't like her at all, and neither did me and my brother. To put it in simple terms she was a bit of a slag, just not a girl he should have been with although I think it was his first love. Because my dad is foreign he has strict values and rules when it comes to boyfriends and girlfriends, and the people me and my brothers mix within general. Him and my dad had a very very rocky time during his relationship with this girl. They didn't speak for months, it drove my parents apart and I specifically remember me crying to my dad when I was about 14 and him saying that if my mum doesn't stop the relationship between my borther and his girlfriend, that he will divorce my mum. Also I remember a very dramatic day during the summer holidays when my dad and my brother had had an intense argument which luckily I wasn't around to hear. My brother went out and said he was going to the gym but didn't come home for hours and my mum was crying and panicing, telling me and my other brother to get in the car as we were going to go and search for him. We went straight to the gym where we asked the reception to make an announcement for him to come to the desk if he was still there as we were so worried. Nothing happened so we droveto his friends houses and asked if anyone had seen him. Panic really started to kick in, and my mum decided to try the gym again. On the way we saw came across him walking home looking very upset and down. My mum had really though that he had gone and killed himself. It was horrible but, again, if that had happened now my world would have been so much more shaken than it was. It almost feels like it didn't even happen and that it was all a dream.
He left high school and went on to university where he did a joint Business and geography course as, although he didnt have any idea about what he wanted to do, these were his strongest subjects at school. I remember when he went to uni well as I hardly ever saw him anymore. He was never at home and it was as if I didn't know him anymore. You could say me and my other brother (who is 21 now) drifted from him a lot but at the time we weren't that aware of it. He didn't work hard at uni at all, partied too much and drank too much. He had a girlfriend who definitlely threw him off track and encouraged his partying and drinking. I'm not certain but I think he might have done a few drugs as well, like pills and MD. He lost all structure and stability at uni and suddenly he couldn't take being in a hall of residence anymore. He had panic attacks in his halls and started having to come home a lot more. For his second year he moved into a house with some uni friends which was much better for him but again, he had another girlfriend which changed his priorities and she eventually ended up cheating on him. He dropped out of uni as he didn't see himself doing well at the end of it and decided to try and get a job in the estate agency business. His anxiety wasn't really a real problem for him until a couple of years ago when he had a few panic attacks again and this is when his problems with sleeping began. He found it really difficult to get enough sleep and his anxiety in the evenings started to grow. Because of his full time job he didn't see his mates as much anymore and started to go out partying/drinking a lot less, which was good in some respects but I think he became too isolated. He wasn't socialising enough and his friends carried on having a good time and meeting new people whilst he sat at home most weekend nights watching TV, tired from a weeks work with little sleep. It's odd because when he's around people other than our immediate family, his anixety will switch off and no one would suspect a thing, even if I have a friend round and we're watching tv in the lounge or something. But as soon as he comes home from work and he knows he's just around us, it all gets let loose and I can feel his anxiety the second he walks through the door. It's most of the time but much much worse in the evenings when he knows he's gonna go to bed soon (which is always around 10.20). He has anixety traits that I've noticed, and can't help but always notice now. To me they show signs of OCD. He always touches the door frame as he walks through with the back of his index finger. He also does this on the side of the work tops if he's in the kitchen. In the car he'll always have his hand resting on the gear stick but his fingers touching the buttons on the radio. He always shrugs his neck and shoulders back as if he's trying to repostion his t-shirt. He'll constantly clear his throat (especially when he's lying in bed trying to sleep. I hear him do it at least once every minute). He has a frustrating habit where if he doesn't quite fully hear something, or even if he does, he has to be like 'wait what did you just say' or 'just say that again', or if we're watching tv 'what did they say again'. Sometimes ill just say something to myself underneath my breath but he has to know what it was, a few times i've just said 'oh it doesn't matter it was nothing' but he really insists I tell him and gets frustrated when I don't like 'c'mon just tell me'. Then after like 5 minutes of letting it drop he goes 'just tell me what you said before'. It sounds very selfish but it's very difficult to be around. He used to be outgoing, laid back, fun. But now he's always worrying, doesn't wanna socialise and is much quieter. I get angry because I know it's not my brother, it's almost as if a different person had borrowed his body. I can always feel his anxiety in the house, even if im upstairs and he's downstairs. Even just sitting in the same room as his when he's anxious makes me want to scream. I shouldn't do and it's horrible but I sometimes just act very blunt with him and even ignore him because I can't stand to talk to him with all these anxious traits pouring out of him. Then I can feel that just makes him worse and I kick myself and feel so guilty for what I'm doing but I can't handle it. He needs to be surrounded by positivity but I'm so stressed in his presence sometimes. Writing this is just giving me a headache and making me a bit angry.
Also, he is in too much of a routine. He goes to work, comes home, gets his gym stuff, goes to the gym, comes back, makes tea and has a herbal tea, sits in front of the telly before going to bed and struggling massively to get to sleep and repeats it all week. He thinks he needs to go to the gym to tire himself out to sleep even though it doesn't work. In december 2013, he went on a 2 week holidaywith 4 friends to visit his mate in new zealnad. He was forced to break his routine and he was much better for about 2-3 months after he came back but he just fell into it again and now it's the worst it's ever been. He's also very self concious of how he looks and what he eats.
He says he's going to get help but I don't know how to handle this atmosphere at home anymore as it's really affecting my A Level work at college.
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