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!
That makes such a difference to have a strong support like that.