Sibling Link was founded by Bex and Tash to give others the support that they’d been able to give to each other. I am Bex’s other sibling and Sibling Link has been a tremendous support to me too.
Ali was our triplet brother, and he lived with varying degrees of mental health issues for just over 10 years. He had times where he was immensely down then he would recover. When he was well he would abandon the things that made him well and kept him well and from my limited perspective the cycle would start again.
If he could have stayed longer I often wonder if he would have been diagnosed with bi-polar; he might have found a little more stability and even be enjoying life now. Perhaps that is wishful thinking, but I still chat to Ali, most often when driving to work.
It’s the guilt that gets you. When Ali died all my worries about how his life might go and my concerns of whether I would be able to sort things out for him just evaporated. They were worries that I’d had, not really realised they were there, but had grown over the years.
Responsibility for Ali seemed to grow very gradually in a series of assumptions about how the future might be. Sibling Link exists for people to share what that feels like, to know that they are not alone, and the chance to put into words thoughts and concerns that many others won’t grasp. I wish there had been a Sibling Link when Ali had been alive.
Just knowing that others in a similar situation have all the same questions can be a comfort of sorts – you are not alone.
In my spare time I volunteer with Samaritans; it is an honour to listen to people going through difficult times in their lives. When Ali was well he would tell us that in his tougher times he had called Samaritans and what had helped him in his calls. Samaritans exists as an emergency service, an A&E for feelings; open 24 hours, trained volunteers offering Listening support by phone, text, email and soon a new online instant messaging. What we do as a general support at any time of day or night is then backed up by the specific support such as Sibling Link.
I’ve not yet been to a “walk and talk” meeting; but I’ve been to one of the evening support meetings and it was amazing for that hour or so to be amongst people where we all had a sense of some of what each other was going through. Each person’s scenario was unique to them and yet familiar, and each in a different place.
For some emotion was raw, for others what they wanted to share was reflective, there is a place at a Sibling Link meeting where ever you are in your journey.
I miss my brother and I always will, and I am immensly proud of my sister. My sibling of Sibling Link.