sister depressed?? - Talk About Marriage
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 08-16-2013, 06:07 AM Thread Starter
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sister depressed??

I'd appreciate any advise here. I'm in my 30's and my sister is only 23. She has had some difficulties and as a result is quite a 'fragile' person, with high 'ups' and low 'downs'.She is attending counselling, but has not been diagnosed with depression. She is an out-of-work actress and, for example, if she gets work, she's on cloud 9 but for when there's a lull she is quite down and gets very into her looks, often saying it's because she's 'ugly' or something (when of course she's far from it). During the down times she can fly off the handle at anyone near her, threaten to harm herself or cry not-stop etc. She doesn't have many friends and often the people she associates with are people I would consider quite 'shallow'...there's a lot of back-biting and bitc**ng and it's quite a competitive environment with few opportunities. She was living with a boyfriend but moved back in with our mother over a year ago. Our mother is on her own, our father left when we were young. The problem is my mother and I are in disagreement over how to respond to my sisters moods. My mums response has been to totally spoil her and give her everything she wants, in fear that she will fall back into one of her down times. She mollycoddles her as if she were 5 years old. My opinion is that she will never get up and sort out her life if things are being made so easy for her at home, I think my mother is enabling her to become dependent which leads to a greater feeling of depression in the long term. My sister is 24 next month and she never makes her own meals, buys her own food or pays any bills. My opinion is that she should get out, get any job that pays and try to build up a regular life, rather than sit around moping and waiting for her "big break". It's been 6 months since her last small part, and even that paid less than the cost of travelling to the city to do it. I think she should move to the city but she has so little money it's hard to make a start and she's very fearful of doing things by herself, for example staying in a place on her own. When I suggest this to my mother or my sister they get angry with me and say I don't take my sisters "depression" seriously and that she needs love and support, not practical advice. My mother suffered from depression in the past and I think she's actually putting her own feelings onto my sister subconsciously, making the whole atmosphere in the house one of negativity that is, in my opinion, totally unnecessary. I would suggest my sister comes to stay with me for a change of scenery but I live with my fiance in a tiny house in a rural area and she doesn't want to. I can see my sister, a perfectly healthy, beautiful young woman spiraling downhill and I think its totally avoidable by taking practical steps. Am I just totally out-of-tune with what its like to be depressed? Surely wallowing is just making things worse? When I last visited they both tried to accuse me of having depression but not being aware of it...I mean, how can I have depression and not know about it?! I live perfectly happily with my partner and we're planning a baby...I feel like they're trying to drag me down sometimes, and that they're so self-conscious that they see the bad in everything. I am tempted just to avoid both of them but they're family so I make myself available whenever they need me.

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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 08-16-2013, 06:22 AM
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sister depressed??

Take a read about Borderline Personality Disorder and Histrionic and see if one of those rings a bell.

Also, I can tell that you care very much for your sister, but it is not your problem to fix her life for her. Don't bear that burden. Be there for her and of course if she threatens suicide call the police, but don't dictate how her life should be.

Low contact may just bring you the peace and happiness you are missing in this equation. Try not dropping everything one or two times and see what happens. I bet they will be fine and you will have set a happy boundary for yourself. With a baby you aren't going to be able to just drop everything for someone else as it is, so they may as well get use to it now.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 08-16-2013, 09:33 AM
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Re: sister depressed??

Your sister is a grown woman. Your mother is a grown woman.

I know your heart is in the right place but trust me you cannot save either of these people. And trying to do so will only cause you grief.

My family is similar to yours and I had to severely limit contact in order to protect not only me but my own kids. I didn't want that drama and negativity to bring me down which affected my kids. I set boundaries and limits with my family. Over time they disowned me and that ended up being the best thing that could have ever happened to me. My husband is awesome, my kids are great and I'm happy.

My family? I'm sad to say their lives only got worse. My sister is on her third marriage now. Her oldest daughter is on her 2nd. I'm grateful to be out of that mess. I feel for them yes but they are happiest in their wallowing and so I let them be.
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