Viewing 18 posts - 1 through 18 (of 18 total)
  • Dealing with Mental breakdowns
  • teenrat

    I’m currently trying to deal with a situation that has been the most difficult period of my life by far.

    As per one of my previous posts, my brother has been enduring a torrid time with regards to his marriage that has amounted to, in my view, mental cruelty. For the last year or so, i have been a ‘crutch’ for him to try and help him deal with his situation, but i couldn’t offer him face to face support as he lives abroad. His wife and her family offer him no support for his unhappiness, but have used it as a weapon against him that resulted in him having no say over their daughter, being cast aside ( they havent had any marrital intimacy for 4 years and he has to sleep in the spare room whilst the daughter is in the bed with his wife). She has destroyed his confidence, he has anxiety issues, is depressed and feels completely rejected. For the last year or so, i have spoken to him for at least an hour every night , which is tough. I have recently moved jobs and house as well. His wife would not say where she wanted the marriage to go (despite rejecting him for the best part of 3 years), has taken all of his money and wouldn’t even give him £5 for some food. He has started to drink heavily. Two weeks ago, she said the marriage is over and things have gone really downhill with regards to his mental issues

    Last weekend, one of his good friends invited him to Chamonix for a month to help clear his head. However, tonight we got a phonecall from his friend stating that my brother is displaying all the symptoms of a mental breakdown – panic attacks, constant sobbing, delusions and irrational behaviour. He is not rational enough to fly on his own so my mum and dad , who both just recently retired, are driving to Chamonix on Tuesday morning to get him. This is tough in itself, but the real concern is what do we do when we get him back to Britain. By the sounds of it, he needs constant 24hr support, so needs professional help. Should we send him to a residential clinic – we just dont know. My grandad is approaching 90 and my mum and dad should be enjoying their retirement, but unfortunately situation is having huge knock effects with regards to the health of all of us. She has even said to my brother that we don’t care about him.

    It is heartbreaking what my brother has gone through and the thoughts of losing his wife and daughter has pushed him over the edge. He still loves his wife and he doesnt deserve this. His current sadness is something that i just can’t comprehend.

    I just felt i need to put my feelings in writing and let off some steam and maybe someone on here has gone through a similar situation.

    Premier Icon v8ninety

    I have nothing useful to offer, just wanted to say good luck.

    Premier Icon SaxonRider

    My genuine and profound sympathies, OP, over what your brother, and you and your family, are all going through.

    Not that you need me to say it, but the fact that you all care is in itself extremely helpful. That said, you what you do exactly will partly depend on where you are in the UK. If he is willing, I would be inclined to get an appointment for your brother with his GP, to be accompanied by you or your parents, as soon as he gets back, with a view to getting him admitted to hospital. In the meantime, you might contact to take their advice on possible immediate action for the sake of your brother’s mental wellbeing.

    Once he gets into some sort of safe place, he really only then begin to process, and overcome (if that’s the right word), what he has been experiencing with his wife.

    As devastating as it is, the abusiveness of the situation – as you’ve described it – makes it sound as if there is little to salvage there, and that just accompanying him as he gets into a healthier frame of mind, and then moving forward, is one of the only options.

    But I’m sure others on here will have better advice.

    Regardless, sincere best wishes to you, your brother, and your whole family.


    Heartbreaking seeing a loved one go through pain but he will get through with your family’s support. It may be difficult to get him the treatment he needs as sometimes professionals are reluctant to deal with a ‘third party’ but if you can get his consent then the sharing of information will be a lot easier. Hope this helps a little – take care and stay strong!

    Premier Icon survivor

    SaxonRider is on the ball I’d say. Go and get your Bro, get him assessed ASAP when your back. Don’t let him or yourselves fear hospitalisation. They’ll look after him and it will give him a chance to recover. Be there for him but don’t try to fix him. It will happen eventually but it may take a while if he’s as ill as it sounds.

    Good luck to your brother and yourselves. ?


    Those of us who gets or have had anxiety/ps issues tend to be worriers, perfectionist, somewhat controlling. Then when things go wrong we tend to react in a way that is detrimental to our mental health. It is the reaction thats the problem.

    Best thing really is to start accepting the situation and taking a step back and some time out to recover. This might seem very difficult but what other option is there? Note that accepting and worrying are two different things. Anxiety and pa will fade away if you stop feeding yourself with more worry and stress (although a very difficult situation).

    I havent got any advice regarding seeing his daughter, maybe someone else will know more on that.

    Go with him to see your GP and see what they say.

    Note that recovery is possible following a breakdown. I had one in 2009 and am fine now, back working in a demanding job, no medication, etc so although things look bad at the moment it will get better.

    He lives abroad – will he still be registered with a UK GP? Need to explore this first off but I agree that a GP is the best option initially. Failing that, and the concerns persist, take him to hospital and ask for him to be assessed by whatever unscheduled care team (mental health) they may have. That’s what they’re called round here (Fife) anyway. Good luck – he’s lucky to have your support as many people don’t.


    Is your sister in law narcissistic at all? If so have a google for narcissistic abuse and gaslighting. If that sounds familiar then he definitely needs to be away and stay away from his wife. Can’t recommend anything other than GP and local NHS psych services. If the waiting list is too long try a private psychotherapist.

    Premier Icon Sandwich

    France may be a better place for treatment as our mental health system is becoming a little short of funds and this is likely to get worse before 2020.
    The availability of good treatment and remaining in France could well be key to maintaining contact with his child. Supporting this could well be very difficult for those of you trying to help out.
    The best of luck to you and well done being there for him.

    Premier Icon thegreatape

    If you/he can’t get the help required through the NHS then, if you can, paying to see a professional is money well spent. Getting the issues resolved is the priority, getting stressed due to fighting the NHS for the right help is extra stress that no-one needs. I speak from experience.

    Premier Icon siwhite

    Wheels can turn slowly when trying to access MH treatment – I see the consequences frequently at work (Police Custody) although less frequently than a few years ago, thanks to some good (for once) partnership work.

    The most helpful factor in trying to access MH services is a desire by your brother to get help – it can be very hard for friends and family to access services if the patient is unwilling.

    The major A&E sites have MH assessors on site if things get desperate – likewise, Police MH services have improved drastically in recent years; we have a dedicated crew with a MH nurse for any incidents requiring immediate intervention. Don’t be afraid to call at ANY time if you need to.

    My advise would be to present at you GP / A&E on your arrival home. They may be helpful or not depending on symptoms and local services / bed space. Go private if you need to – there can be a significant delay between first assessment and any effective treatment in some cases. I strongly believe that early intervention and treatment can help hugely.


    I’ve had a life long battle with mental health issues (including anxiety) and am currently struggling to hold things together at work.

    I’d second what others have said about getting an assessment done. Often mental health services are secondary or tertiary services relying of other referrals to get you seen; it can take a while so starting quickly can make a difference (private options may be available but can be pricey and it’s hard to be 100% certain of the quality).

    There’s still a lot of stigma around mental health and stress related illness in general (particularly for men) so some degree of normalisation (i.e. it happens to a lot of folk) can help; I’ve been involved in a number of support groups in the past (but some blokes do find this sort of thing pretty tough).

    I don’t have anything specific to offer I’m afraid except to say that I’ve found that treatment and/or medication (which I’m personally on long term) can make a huge difference.

    Sometimes simple things like just getting outside in the open air and doing something physical really helps too, although if there’s a deep depression and severe illness as the moment this is probably going to feel too much.


    It strikes me that the head-clearing trip to Chamonix may just have had the effect of making your brother realise that his marriage is over and he can actually survive away from his wife. If that’s the case, possibly he is mourning the end of the family and the marriage in which he once placed such high hopes. Is there any possibility of him seeing his daughter before leaving France so as to close that chapter, albeit temporarily?

    Once he gets home to his family things might improve for him; I once fled an unhappy life in France by simply walking out, leaving my car keys and credit cards on my boss’s desk and flying home to my parents’ place. My younger brother lives in the USA and is making the best of an unsatisfactory marriage and I sometimes tell him that if he decides to kick it all into touch there’s a bed, sympathy and brotherly love here for him. The loyalty between me and my brother is stronger than any marriage and endures through anything life throws at us so I would hope that you and your bro would be the same. Who knows, once he gets home and back on an even keel perhaps his distress will subside and he will be able to take a more rational view of his life.

    Premier Icon jamj1974

    I can’t give you much advice about handling a breakdown on someone else – because I was the someone else in our families situation.

    What I can say is that you sound like you have done a brilliant job to date and that your intent to get him additional help sounds like the right thing to do. Removing him from the negative situation, bringing home to be with the family sounds a great step. This on it’s own could make a real difference.

    I found just being with people made things easier as I could to an extent ride out the waves of anxiety and despair to the point of exhaustion and then rest where I felt safe.

    Best of luck.



    Has he not seen his GP yet?
    He needs to make an appointment asap. The medication will help with the anxiety issues, give him some time basically.
    Best of luck.


    Others have said GP and I might steer towards an A&E. If it was me, I’d go and get him, bring him home and take him to an A&E near you. They have staff available to assess quickly and will get him to a ward suitable to help him.

    I know this having taken my better half to one in the back of an ambulance once. Its not a great prognosis but once the process starts you and he will feel better, at least your not trying to do it alone and you’ll have access to professionals who know better what he needs. I don’t think you can do it alone to ‘fix’ him and the cycle needs to be broken.

    Weirdly you might find that if he is indeed truly suffering from mental health issues, you might find this is the reason his wife has been that way. She may support your actions. I am clearly guessing.

    Whatever you do, break a leg.


    Thanks for all the replies. He doesnt live in france but has been getting some help in the country where he lives. However, he has been doing this on his own with no face to face support at all . He has made massive sacrifices to live where he does but ended up in the flat on his own, surrounded by his daughters toys, with no proper human contact for days. It really has been emotional neglect.

    The narcissism point is very interesting indeed.


    Start with the GP.

    Use A+E only in an emergency

Viewing 18 posts - 1 through 18 (of 18 total)

The topic ‘Dealing with Mental breakdowns’ is closed to new replies.