DEAR ZELDA Your problems answered
Our relationships expert Zelda West-Meads answers your questions
This sounds incredibly stressful, but you can’t put your life on hold to look after your brother. Your partner sounds understanding, so you should tell him how much you want to be with him and that you are working towards that. You should both talk to your brother about your concerns, and tell him that you want to live together. Assure your brother that you love him and tell him how much you want him to stay alive. Make him promise to contact the Samaritans when he feels suicidal (samaritans.org, 116 123). Tell him that he was not responsible for the breakdown of his relationship. Because his partner was abusive, he has felt that everything is his fault. Encourage him to be open with his psychologist, who will only see him as ill and desperately in need of help. He should also see his GP for antidepressants. Have his mental health problems been identified? It may be borderline personality disorder, which makes you feel excessively worried about people abandoning you. Can your parents help more emotionally, too? Perhaps you can persuade your father to come home. Suggest that your brother shares a flat with people his own age so that he has a social life and, in time, meets a new partner. You can visit often. Always remember how much you have done for your brother, but also look after yourself.