Unfortunately, it’s difficult to give you the type of answers you’re looking for over the internet. I would have to interview you at length to fully understand what might be wrong.
You could be struggling with depression. Symptoms of depression include: feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness, having a pessimistic view of life, irritability, restlessness, over eating or losing one’s appetite, aches and pains, persistent feeling of sadness or emptiness, fatigue, trouble concentrating, memory impairment, and difficulty making decisions. I cannot provide a diagnosis over the internet, but much of what you described could be categorized as symptoms of depression.
It’s not uncommon for depression to run in families. Perhaps that is why your brother is having similar struggles. He’s dealing with bullying to the point of feeling suicidal. Thankfully, he is in counseling. That can help him tremendously. The question becomes why are you not also seeing a therapist?
What is clear from your letter is that you seem to be very hard on yourself. That is a common characteristic of people with depression. They put themselves down and harshly criticize their own behavior.
For instance, you stated that you feel that you have “so much to be ashamed of.” You didn’t name anything in your letter specifically that you are ashamed of but you did discuss things such as not being called back for a job and not being able to cure your brother’s suicidal ideation.
Let’s consider the first issue that you may be ashamed of which is not being called back for a job. You assumed that you were fired because they did not call you back. It is possible that you were indeed fired but there are other explanations. Without more information, you simply don’t know what happened. You are assuming it was because of something you did wrong. You blamed yourself without evidence. This example is potential evidence of you being hard on yourself or unfairly characterizing your behavior.
You also mentioned being upset about your inability to positively affect your brother’s mental health. You should have no expectation that you could cure your brother. You are not a mental health professional. You were never trained to treat mental health problems. Suicidal ideation is an exceedingly difficult problem to treat so you should have no expectation about being able to cure your brother. The best thing you could do for your brother, or for anyone who is suicidal, in general, is to encourage them to seek professional help. The fact that he is seeing a therapist means that he is already potentially on the road to recovery.
I would highly recommend counseling for you. It could help you understand the nature of your emotions. We are not born with innate coping skills. People often learn those skills from their parents or other mentors in their lives. Not everyone’s parents are mental health role models. For people who don’t have any one to look up to, they have to learn that information on their own either through their own involved research efforts or through counseling. You shouldn’t have the expectation that you can treat yourself. Consult a therapist who has the training to help you correct these issues. That would be the wise and expedient thing to do.
I mentioned earlier that people with depression are often very hard on themselves. I don’t know if you have depression but it does seem that you are hard on yourself. My guess is that you would never think as harshly about others, as you do yourself You likely would have a great deal of compassion for them, or anyone who is suffering. You should show yourself that same compassion. Good luck with your efforts. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle