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Caring for youngest sister who has severe depression

I find myself, yet again, faced with the responsibility to care for a younger sibling suffering depression. I did it for my brother who attempted suicide and I'm doing it all over again with the youngest who is contemplating suicide. Mum can't deal and left for another town. Dad is on his way back to live with my sister. I have traveled from my home to stay with her until he arrives. I am crumbling under the pressure. Again I am being emotionally attacked by the person I am helping and again I find myself wondering why I bother. My brain knows why but my heart is screaming. I love my family so deeply but they can hurt me so much. I also suffer depression but have found ways to cope, I have many tools in place and many steps I take to heal and get through my own darkness but when I am targeted by someone I'm helping I'm at a loss as to what I do next.

6 REPLIES 6

Re: Caring for youngest sister who has severe depression

Dear FamilyHead. Caring for family is ultra difficult at the best of times. it might be an idea if you could arrange for your sister to go into a hospital for treatment. Suffering depression yourself means you have to care for you firstly. I understand and applaud your family commitment, but this is going to make you extremely tired and who is going to 'be there' for you. I would discuss with your dad about getting professional treatment for your sister. I'm sorry your mum has left, but obviously she has realized, like you, she can't help. I know you want to, but wanting to and being capable of without letting her illness drag you down, it's going to be too hard. You need to look after you.

Re: Caring for youngest sister who has severe depression

Thank you for your reply Pip. I understand where you're coming from but these options are not for me. I do however realize that I can't do this for long and that's the plan, as soon as dad gets back I will be flying home to my partner and my own life. I'm only here for a few weeks but it has already taken a massive toll on me, it's a big reminder of why I moved away in the first place. I need to let my family save themselves. But for right now I'm here to help the transition from dependence on me to independence. For example, I know my sister needs to get herself to the psychologist on her own and do all the things she needs. But I can't make her do that she has to choose just like I did. Oh and a final note, I have organized to see my own psychologist as soon as I get home so I can work through all this and get healthy again 😊

Re: Caring for youngest sister who has severe depression

Dear FamilyHead. If I've offended you in any way, please accept my apologies. Perhaps by talking to your dad and sister, your dad may realize that your sister needs professional, medical help. Even though your sister appreciates what she has to do to get well, often people with her mental health issues are scared of the unknown. It's fantastic you are seeing your psychologist when you return. If your sister refuses to seek medical help, your dad may call on you again. You need to be aware that it's okay to say 'no' at this time. Your psych will possibly give you some help and assistance emotionally so saying no to dad won't make you feel guilty. Again - if I have offended you, I am sorry. I've lived with mental health issues all my life, and trying to help others can be extremely taxing. We all need to care for ourselves first.

Re: Caring for youngest sister who has severe depression

Hi Pip. No no you have not offended me in any of your replies, I apologize if my text came across harsh in anyway I think my fatigue is affecting my ability to get the words on the page haha I just wanted to let you know that I am being mindful of how this is affecting me and that I know I can only give so much before I let them work it out themselves. I've actually spent the last 3 years in transition getting my entire family to accept that they cannot lean on my so intensely and that I need to live my own life while they need to learn to get on with theirs without constantly calling me for help. You're right, it is ok to say no. Yea I think I'm finally getting through to dad that she needs to see a psych at least once a week. I reminded him that there are many free services available too. So here's hoping.

Re: Caring for youngest sister who has severe depression

Familyhead I empathise with you. You have a big heart. I'm the only family member living near my sister, who is very unwell too. So it's a lot on ones shoulders. When I leave my sisters place I imagine myself taking off a heavy 'stress' overcoat and chuck it away. Then I try and get on with my own life. It's helped me a lot. Best of luck 😊

Re: Caring for youngest sister who has severe depression

Agnes1, thank you for your reply. I like the 'stress' overcoat idea. Visualization techniques can work well in these kinds of situations. I might adapt something like it to my needs. I hope your own sister is doing well. Thank you.

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