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How to help sister

(10 Posts)
Bluerabbitsausage Thu 02-Feb-17 23:42:21

My sister seems very ill and I don't know how to help her. She's had bad depression and anxiety for many years. She won't get help despite me and mum asking her to. She doesn't answer my emails and never picks up the phone. She's lost all her friends and keeps letting my mum down at last minute. Mum for first time is beginning to break. I just don't know what I can do. I've tried asking her to get help it doesn't work. I'm frightened of telling her how upset she's making mum as don't want to make her feel guilty.

mylaptopismylapdog Thu 02-Feb-17 23:51:12

Sorry this must be very difficult for you.You could try contacting a mental health charity like mind to see if they have any ideas. In the meantime if your sister won't engage just concentrate on yourself and your Mum so that if and when she's ready for support you are in a good place to provide it.

pimmsy Fri 03-Feb-17 00:06:18

Do you live close by ?

Does she work, or have an activity to get her out of the house on a regular basis ?

Could you pop round? With book, or some nice tea, some bath stuff, whatever really, it's just to have an excuse to drop by.
(She may not let you in, this could be because her place is in a bit of a mess, which happens with depression and she could be embarrassed), if that's the case, don't insist just leave things in front of her door and send her a text.

If you don't live nearby, send her a letter, or a parcel, or a cutout of a newspaper article that might interest her.

If she's not answering calls or emails your first step could be to try and re establish some contact, let you know that you are there for her. Texts may be easier for her, she can read them, but doesn't have to reply. She may not outwardly acknowledge anything. This would be hard, and it's okay to get frustrated, but try not to show her your frustration.

Try to have regular contact for a while before suggesting she gets help, if you suggest it again too soon she may feel like you have conned her into reinvesting in a relationship with you just so you can badger her to get help.

Take things step by little step, depression is a longterm chronic illness, and the road to normality can seem endless.

You can't cure her depression, all you can do is try to make her feel loved, and make the pain more bearable.

To want to seek help, she needs to feel that there is at least one thing worth feeling better for. At at the depths of depression, finding the smallest thing to feel positive about can be like climbing a mountain.

It's hard, depression is terrible.

Unfortunately you have to remember that loving someone is not enough to cure depression.

I wish you all the best with your sister, remember to take care of yourself as well.

Bluerabbitsausage Fri 03-Feb-17 00:09:28

I tried mind today but surprisingly they weren't much good. Said they don't help friends and family and id someone won't get help there's very little to do. It's been like this for years and I've been keeping me and mum going but just want to make it change

AnxiousCarer Fri 03-Feb-17 18:35:37

Unfortunately as Mind said, unless she is a risk to herself or others theres not much you can do, if she doesn't want to seek help herself. No one can force her to get help. Its really hard as its likely the delression that is stopping her asking for help. Definately focus on keeping yourself well and supporting your Mum. If you can do little things for her like texts, emails, notes to let hervknow that she is loved that may be appreciated, but don't expect any response necessarily. If you think she is a risk to herself you could speak to her GP. They won't be able to give you any info, and unless they have reason to believe she is a risk to herself or others they can not insist on examining her. She would have to consent, which it doesn't sound like she wants to do at the moment.

Bluerabbitsausage Sun 05-Feb-17 16:09:50

Thank you anxiouscarer - it sounds like you're speaking from experience. She's not a risk to herself, apart from the fact she's not making the most of life and only she can sort that. I just feel so sad, like I've lost her really and totally helpless in how to help. I hate seeing my Mum in distress as well. I keep saying it will sort itself it will sort itself, but it's been years - 15 or so, and I have to just find a way to accept that this is it, this is her and my life. I hate it though.

AnxiousCarer Sun 05-Feb-17 18:34:41

I support my DH who suffers episodes of psychosis, I know how hard it was to get help. He doesn't have any insight into his illness when he is poorly he has no idea, so would never ask for help as he didn't know he needed it. It wasn't until he had a major crisis that I was able to get him any help. Now we have it,its brilliant, but its so sad that it takes a crisis to get any help.

Bluerabbitsausage Sun 05-Feb-17 21:38:04

So sorry about your husband, that must be so hard. My sister knows she's not right but just doesn't like the idea of help. It's as if she's scared to get better. She's not got psychosis, I think it's high level anxiety and depression. I think she drinks as well. I don't think there will be a crisis as such, in some ways it happened ten years ago and it's just not moved on.

Itisnoteasybeingdifferent Sun 05-Feb-17 22:39:55

Does the know she is showing signs of depression?

I ask because when I was going downhill faster than Martin Bell* I thought I was just fine and that it was everyone else around me who was behaving strange. You can only understand the world through your experience but, when you are ill, your ability to perceive the world becomes changed. So what may seem quite normal is actually way off the wall. But you can't see it as others can see it.

*...used to be a downhill ski racer, now presents Ski Sunday.

Bluerabbitsausage Mon 06-Feb-17 22:48:38

Thanks Itsnoteasy, sorry to hear about your troubles and well done for turning things round for yourself. Yes she knows she has depression, anxiety and a drinking problem. She's known for years and we all talk about it. She just won't make any changes or go and see a proper specialist. I don't know why. Some days I'm sad about it, sometimes I'm so angry, which I know is not helpful. I just wish there was somewhere I could go to get some professional advice.

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