My Brother

If you have ever been to see a psychiatrist or a therapist, you are likely familiar with questions regarding your family of origin.  Who is in that family?  How do you get along now?  How did you get along growing up?  

I recently saw a new  practitioner (more on that in a later post), and she asked these questions.  “What about your brother, how did you get along growing up?”  “Really well” was my answer.  I so often hear people talk about how their older sibling terrorized them growing up, or at best acted like they didn’t exist.  But the more I thought back to how we got along, I realized how lucky I am to have him (Mike) as my brother, as opposed to one of those other siblings I hear about (we wrote this together a while ago).

When I was really starting to struggle with social anxiety I had one friend and felt like it was torture to get through a day of school.  A lot of my happy memories of that time was when Mike would bring me (and sometimes my friend) along to, for example, a playground with him and his girlfriend.  Or we would sit around in the kitchen or maybe the family room late into a weekend or summer night, talking, laughing, existing.

Sure there were times growing up when he was too cool for a little sister, but those times were far outweighed by the good times we had (and were mainly when he was in middle school, a time when no one seems to be very nice).  And now, as adults, we still get along well and enjoy spending time together.

At that appointment, when I told her how he was a support in the early days of my anxiety, whether on purpose or coincidence, I also told her with great pride that he recently finished nursing school, passed his RN exam, and is now working as a nurse (the person I was seeing is a nurse practitioner and was thrilled to hear about someone becoming a nurse).

Mike is awesome, he helped me when I was first struggling, and he was also very supportive and kind this summer when we lost my beloved cat from cancer.  Sometimes the thing I get out of talking to a mental health professional is completely by accident, and in this case it was to get me thinking about how great my brother is; just one out of dozens of questions, and this was what stood out to me. Thanks for being great Mike!

Left, me 8 wks; right, Mike 4 yrs

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