The other night, following another spectacularly explosive meltdown from your older brother, you said quietly, “I just want the old (brother) back.”
So do we sweet girl. And so does he.
We know that this bad place he is in right now, is also incredibly hard on you. You have lost your first playmate and confidant. Somedays you think he may still be in there somewhere, but most days you can’t find your first friend inside the boy who is becoming increasingly withdrawn and volatile.
We also know that when we ask you to try your hardest to not push his buttons or do things that may set him off, we are asking for the world. You’re 9. You’re a little sister. You know “something” is wrong with him, but you don’t really understand. I still struggle with the best way to explain what it means that your brother has an anxiety disorder and a panic disorder. You get frustrated when it seems like he gets special treatment. Sometimes you get upset and cry when he yells, growls and throws things. But sometimes you get mad, and seem to go out of your way to make him more upset. On some level that is typical sibling behavior, but there is no room for typical sibling behavior in our house right now. We need you to be bigger, stronger and more resilient than your brother has the capacity to be right now.
We know we are asking for something huge. We know it’s not fair. We know it’s hard. We know it’s exhausting. We also know it’s worth it.
We are working hard get your brother the help that he needs. I know it doesn’t feel like it now, but with a little more time and treatment, we believe you will get your brother back. You’ll get your brother back and the two of you will get your good relationship back. You still have a lifetime of memories to make together – and there is nothing mommy and daddy want more than to see that happen.
Your big brother loves you. We love you. On the days when everything else seems upside down and scary, you can without a doubt know those two facts. You are compassionate, intelligent, witty and have an amazing faith in both God and people. You are a fighter. Dig deep and fight. The “old (brother)”, and your relationship with him is worth fighting for.