My brothers internet addiction is killing him.

Discussion in 'Mental Health Disorders' started by leptoon, Mar 17, 2016.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. leptoon

    leptoon Well-Known Member

    Thanks for taking the time to read this. I've struggled with mental issues of various degrees of severity, from mild depression caused by uncertainty in life to full on bi-polar mania when I was a teen, before I was able to devise a strategy to deal with the ups and downs. Now I'm remarkably more stable than I've ever been (without any sort of medication) and despite the occasional moment in which I have to identify my emotional extreme and take a step back, it's only getting better. This stability has allowed me to open my eyes and focus on the issues that may be causing problems for those around me, first and foremost with my brother.

    I'm planning to move from south Texas to north Washington in a few months, over 2,000 miles away from everything I've ever known. I have no plans to return, except for short visits. Before that happens, I want to make sure everything will be ok here while I'm gone. I do a lot around the house, it's very rare for my mom to go to the store or cook dinner because it's usually me that does everything. Part of my strategy for keeping my emotions in balance is to constantly be doing something so I'm afraid I may have negatively affected my moms ability to take care of herself or to take care of others. Life isn't like riding a bike, once you spend so many years doing something or not doing something, it can be extremely hard to change back. Especially when you're above a certain age, it can be hard to be more active after a long period of decreased activity. But this post isn't really about my mom...

    My brother is quite clearly suffering from internet addiction and I want to try to help him before I leave. I'm 25 and he's about 14 months older than me but he has the mind of a 13 year old. His computer is in his bedroom and has a pile of trash in his room that stacks up to the desk his computer is on and fills the entire room. He changes his clothes only as often as we tell him he stinks, maybe once a week since he hardly ever comes out of his room in the first place. His last shower/bath was several years ago but he washes his extremely long hair (he's 6' tall and his hair is almost touching the ground) every four months or so. He hasn't brushed his teeth in over 10 years and as a result, many of them have been pulled. He has large clumps of hair and assorted filth forming new and remarkable creatures on his bedroom floor, the likes of which are likely worthy of scientific research. Oh and his diet consists of microwaved popcorn, hotdogs and the occasional banana. That's literally 85% of his diet.

    I've asked him, what do you consider to be the most important thing in your life? He says his online friends and his online persona are more important to him than his real life. It doesn't make any difference if he lives in a sea of dirt and lets his real life go to waste, his online reality is the only reality that matters to him. You very likely have a few online friends if you're an active member of this forum, I know I did when I was dealing with my depression and my online friends were absolutely the best friends I ever had. They helped me through some of the hardest things I've ever had to deal with. With that said, however, an online friendship can never take the place of real life. Online friends only know about you what you tell them, they can only judge you for who you want them to believe you are. My brother lives online as a teenage girl while in reality he's a 26 year old dude. He whispers while voice chatting through Skype so people can't tell he's a male. I don't know much about his activities online but I do know that most of his friends are under 16 years old. There is a clear line between productive online relationships and deleterious perpetuation, a line that has long been left under the pile of trash and dirty dishes surrounding my brother.

    So what the hell am I to do about it? My mom cares more about maintaining stability and not pissing anyone off than she does about the well being of her own son. I do have some influence into her decisions regarding pretty much everything, but I find it very hard to convince her to do anything positive for anyone but herself if it requires more than the slightest bit of effort on her part. She's content to let him live in his filth online until the day she dies, then he'll have no idea what to do. She'd have me live with her for the rest of her life too if she could, she often mentions how I'm "leaving her all alone" by moving to Washington and she's regularly coming up with as many negative aspects of my move as she can, in attempt to discourage me from leaving. But there's many reasons for my move and she can't see the huge positive effect it's going to have on my life, she only knows that her son is moving across the country.

    So should I take matters into my own hands and disconnect his internet, mandating that he maintain a clean living space if he wants to keep it? I could go to greater extremes if our mom won't allow me to disconnect his internet, such as dumping a pot of dirt on his bed and throughout his room to give him no choice but to clean, or dumping a bucket of water on him while he sleeps every night until he takes a shower. I've spent years avoiding doing things like that and nothing's changed. So I don't know what to do. Any help would be much appreciated. I just want him to live life to the fullest and become a productive member of society, he has no idea that he's wasting the best years of his life right now.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.