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Worried About My Older Brother

by Michelle
(Los Angeles, CA)

Photo Credit: Laughlin  Elkind

Photo Credit: Laughlin Elkind

I am 21 years old and I have a 23 year old brother. We both go to University and live at home with our mom. Our father died when I was 17 and he was 19 and was absent for most of our lives due to illness.

My mother has always gone above and beyond to make sure we lived normal lives and to provide us with as much love, compassion, knowledge, wisdom, and guidance as possible.

All my life I have looked up to my older brother as a source of advice and support, but only lately in the past 9 months has he shown a shift in attitude about life. He used to always be so motivated, hardworking, and positive. It's been only recently he has shown a lack of motivation or even a hint of enjoying life. He seems to always complain that he can't find a job and life is hard and the sooner I realize that the better off I will be. My mom has been pressuring him to work and keeps asking him what he is going to do with his life after he graduates (communications major) and he always answers I don't know.

Through all of this, my brother has always been passionate about filming and skateboarding and has been doing it since he was 12. He uses professional handycams and film editing software and everything. His videos really are amazing. He is really good at it, but it seems to be an industry where you cannot make much money for all the time you put into it. Once in a while he will sell a 20 second clip to a skateboard company for $200, but that is rare, maybe once a month if that.

My mother and I are worried about him. He smokes ciggarettes daily, but not many and marijuana once in a while. He spends so much time in his room editing his films and working on his stuff that we barely see him leave the house unless he is going to skate. He has started asking me to sell his cameras on ebay and is using that as a source of income instead of getting a real job.

We are so concerned about him, we don't know what to do but doing nothing or intervening just seems to make it worse. Is there any advice you could give to help my brother?

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