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family member with vertigo

Community Member

My brother has had vertigo for almost 10 years now and has spent most of this time inside of his room. I didn't believe it was a real illness until the middle of last year when I was concussed and suffered a 6 month stint of vertigo dizziness myself. It was at this point that I was able to understand what my brother must go through. I went to see GP's most weeks, I had CT scans, MRI scans + blood tests and skin scrapings but no-one knew what was wrong with me. I was recommended a neuro-physio and since her training, I have been able to train my brain to balance again and I have been able to reconnect with the outside world again. I suggested it to my brother to try it out and I was surprised that he shut me down straight away. I keep suggesting it to him but he won't take my advice. My parents take care of him at the moment but we lost two of our sisters to diseases when we were really young. Seeing how much it stressed my parents to care for them was truely heartbreaking, I feel like it is happening all over again with my brother. The more it upsets me, the more I push my brother to try to find a cure but it leaves me so disappointed and resentful when he doesn't listen to me. I know he is struggling and he tells me he needs me to message him more but how can I support him when he isn't trying? The conversations that I have with him are always on his terms of topics, he expresses his problems with females and the trans community and it depresses me to hear only the negative things come out of his mouth, never positive. I don't know how to be strong enough to support someone who brings me down so much. I don't know how to not react. At what point do I have to step away, and what does that say about me.. someone who advocates for mental health and tries to support other people but I can't even support my own brother. 

2 Replies 2

Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Katedicko~

Welcome ot the Forum, reading you post I think you are being far too hard on yourself. While it would be great to help your brother it is not something for which you have sole responsibility. Sometimes one can help people, sometimes not. It is at least as much their doing as the person trying ot assist.


I'm glad you are better after your bout of vertigo. At least it does give you some idea of what you brother might be experiencing, however that may only be the physical symptoms.


Anyone who has been mostly isolated in their room for 10 years is not gong to view the world the same way most people do, in fact a combination of disability, fear of the unkown and in all probability a complete lack of confidence are all pretty big barriers to stepping outside.


Shut up in his room I would imagine his mind would have little to focus on except what is wrong with his life, so naturally that is what he talks about with you. I can well understand this constant repetition can get you  down, and feel both frustrated and probably angry too.


He must wish for outside contact as he requests you message him more. I guess the trick is to steer the  conversation into more enjoyable areas, if you do not know what he enjoys then talk about what your enjoy. With any luck he may be swept along in your enthusiasm. At least you will be away from the down thoughts he normally has. Good for both of you I'd imagine.


I do not think that trying for a big sweeping change is realistic in the short term. 'Baby steps' first.


Please do not take all the burden of this and of your parent's plight onto your shoulders, it is to big for any one person. Have you talked with your parents about this and sought their views?



Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi katedicko


I'm so glad the brain training worked miracles for you. I imagine you were stunned, relieved and impressed all at the same time. It's an incredible thing, gradually finding out how we work on different levels, mentally, emotionally, physically and even on a soulful level. By the way, a really good book if you're up for it is 'The Brain That Changes Itself' by Norman Doidge. I imagine you'd be able to relate to it.


Something else relatable would be the question 'How desperate are you?'. You were desperate enough to try anything that might work in the way of managing the vertigo. Your desperation paid off. It was life changing. Pure desperation can be such a motivating factor, such a strong and guiding feeling. Definitely frustrating when tough love doesn't even work to motivate someone. For example, you could say to your brother 'With the debilitating effects of vertigo, how desperate are you to stop feeling them, especially when they're so deeply depressing? Let me know when you're desperate enough to try anything. Until then, I don't want to hear about how nothing works'. Tough love could also sound like 'Would you much prefer to bring me down than try what may make all the difference to you? Is this your preference?'. The response may be 'But you don't understand'. The response to that may be 'You haven't answered my question'. It's the kind of question that can act as a wake up call.


I know I sound seriously tough but I'm actually a deeply feeling sensitive kind of gal. Kate, you can be the kind of person who's willing to try 1000 different things while searching for what may make all the difference to you, finally finding the difference in strategy 1001. You can work you backside off for months or even years, while finding yourself in periods of depression based on all the things that haven't worked. An open mind and a loving heart is what leads you to be you. You sound like such a beautiful, deeply loving open minded and incredibly caring person. With that 'walking away' question. I've found it can come down to identifying when someone simply refuses to open their mind. The question then becomes 'Am I prepared to serve someone who flat out refuses to open their mind?'. Working with such a person can take us to the brink of fury, frustration, depression, stress/anxiety, heartbreak, exhaustion and so many other challenging emotions.