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Not sure how to help


tryingtounderstand
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:confused: i am in need of help. My sister was diagnosed with depression around November 2007 and i want to help but don't know how. Everytime we try to talk to her she gets offended and walks ( sometimes runs) off. I have been into different websites which state that people with depression want to talk about their depression, but she never wants to. But the truth is that it is very hard for me to understand her. she is 30 yrs. old about to be 31 in may, has 3 Beautiful children who want nothing more but their old mom back, has not had a job since november, wastes her time with her 18 yr. old boyfriend just smoking and drinking with him, ignores the family as much as she can, and the worst is she talks to my mother the worst way possible. My mother does nothing but help her, has been helping her since she was young, has put her marriage of 31 yrs. on the line for her, and yet she persist on taking advantage of her and talking to her very rudely and cursing. she was never like this, its just very hard for me to understand how this could have happened TO HER! she was the strongest of all of us, and now she has hit rock bottom and keeps doing nothing about it. Please someone help me understand!:D

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Hi-

I feel for you-it is so very frustrating to watch someone you love deal with depression, and worst of all, not allow you to help him or her with it. A couple of things come to mind when I read your post. First, you cannot "make" your sister seek help unless you have medical decision making power (a legal situation called conservatorship or guardianship). So, the best you can do is to offer support. Also, your approach to bringing up the issue can be crucial- t's better to use supportive, empathetic statements (e.g., "you must feel really badly; have you thought about getting help?"). Second- depression has nothing to do with how strong or weak you are- many different factors contribute to cause the disorder (see our article for more information). Viewing it as a weakness that she developed it, or that she cannot pull herself out of it is not a very constructive (or accurate) way of seeing things.

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Feels to me like you are feeling angry and disappointed. And trying to balance that with the kid gloves that people feel they need to have on when they are dealing with someone who has a problem. How frustrating! I'm trying to imagine what it would be like to be in your situation, and I think I'd want to yell.

I'd feel angry at mom too, becuase she is enabling your sister's bad behavior, which in addition to depression, is maybe also drug abuse or addiction/dependency. Not a good combination.

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yes it is very frustrating, i just want to scream to her, "Just get a job!" but i know that is not the way to go. I now know that for a depressed person it is harder for them to realize the simple solutions. And I know it has nothing to do whether you are weak or not, but I was just so used to seeing her in a bad spot and she would search for a way out as soon as possible.The worst part is that she hides from us. Although we already know where she's at, her lil' boyfriends, who by the way lives with his parents- BECAUSE HE'S A LITTLE BOY! I just do not understand how, why, when, did this all happened?!And Yes, we did find out later that she was doing drugs. And she denies EVERYTHING, we just get frustrated sometimes, but we remind ourselves that she is sick and she still needs us whether she says other wise.

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So - when both drug abuse and depression (or any other diagnosable mental illness problem) are both present, the situation is known as dual diagnosis to suggest how both are there and interacting with each other to create a more complicated scenario than would otherwise be present. Treatment of dual diagnosis problems is more complicated than treatment of conventional singular problems becuase of these interactions. There are specialized dual diagnosis clinics/programs that do this work, and it might be a good idea for you to research one near you. Generally, the drug problem needs to be most directly addressed first - as treatment for depression will be interfered with by drug use, but since these issues are all co-mingled, it is not simply the case that it is best to get the person into straight drug treatment first, and then do depression treatment. The situation is further complicated by the fact that sister is in a relationship with a person who is using drugs (I'm sure, though you've not said). I think it is important that you speak the truth to her about what is happening to her and give her your honest opinions about how healthy her choices are. Do this in a way that preserves your opportunity to stay in contact with her though - as you point out, it is important that you don't scream at her. You're water wearing down rock, and it may take some time and persistance and at any moment you're gentle, but your ultimate effect is large change (hopefully). Also important to understand that you don't have control over sister and find a way to be at peace with yourself without enabling her (that is mother's way of reducing anxiety) or yelling at her. What do you do to deal with your stress?

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  • 2 weeks later...

I know it's been a while since I've last visited, but I talk a lot with my other sister ( it's 5 of us, 3 sisters) and we tell each keep the other going, when one feels like she just cannot keep going, the other keeps pushing and keeps saying we can. And yes, her little boyfriend does use drugs. Although she has been doing a little better, she atleast talks to us now, we know we must not stop. My other sister and I printed out some papers from the internet about depression and took them to her and all three of us read them together, ever since that day she started talking to us. Yes, I know I cannot make her do anything, but oh how I wish I could! I am very grateful for my sister and I love her a lot and I try to help as much as I can. We do not have enough money for her to be able to go to therapy or even for her medications, which she stopped taking a couple of months ago. And I know there's just so much we can do, then we need to seek help from professionals. Sometimes we just fell as if we have a huge wall in front of us and we have nowhere to go.

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