Hello, all!

Hi, all

I’m Trevor, and I new here.

I have a sister who suffers from severe bouts of depression. She is also suicidal and attempted suicide twice in the last four months. Although I’m not a fan of medication, she has been prescribed heavy doses. She decided against opting for a sabbatical. She quit instead; she had an outburst with her reporting manager, and things got ugly. I explained the situation, and the manager seemed to understand, but I don’t think she can work there again.

I, too, suffer from anxiety and I have had to tailor my life accordingly.

Anyway, this was just some background. I am sure I will find interesting resources and actionable tips here.

Good week, all!

Trevor, welcome - mental illness is a pig, no doubt about that.

Do you have any idea WHY your sister suffers so much? eg, has she experienced life trauma for example?

And what about you? Sometimes those who have to care (and worry about!) a relative with MI become mentally ill themselves with the stress of it. So do you think YOUR anxiety and depression is ‘reactive’ to your sister’s, or is it yours ‘in your own right’ if you see what I mean? And if so, do you think it kicked off with life trauma of any kind? (maybe same as your sister’s or different)

Re suicide attempts - I take it she was never sectioned? Sometimes, as other forum members here have reported, sectioning can actually be the ‘gateway’ to effective treatment, so do not see it necessarly as a ‘bad’ thing. (And, of course, it can, quite literaly, save their lives).

Do you fear further attempts on her part, and if so, what can be done about it?

Do you have any other family to help you (both) at this time (or is family ‘the problem’???) (often is…)(ie, caused the life trauma)

Many people with depression believie - rightly or wrongly, the jury is still out - that they are ‘born depressed’. Now, possibly this is so, but it’s clear that life experiences, and our reaction to those experiences, is a MAJOR contributor, and that’s why one has to ‘untie’ the the ravelled knots of trauma and cause etc etc. We ‘become’ depressed, and there are ALWAYS reasons why that is so (ie, even if ‘genetics’ makes us ‘prediosed’ in any way) (IF that is so).

Meds are a good stepping stone and raft to ‘keep us afloat’, but only analysis and eventual therapy can help us UNDERSTAND why we are so afflected. Is your sister getting any analysis/therapy/counselling? That is essential. I do know, from my niece, that the docs usually want you ‘on meds’ before they send you to the pyschs, as if you are ‘too debilitated’ the psychs ‘can’t get through’ to you. The meds are used to ‘lift’ you a little…to enable you to participate in understanding WHY you are depressed, and HOW to start ‘emerging’ from that malign state.

By the same token, are YOU getting any counselling/therapy??

PS - if your sister’s life trauma involved abuse at any time, there are many forums now for survivors of abuse to help each other, and others, so do check them out if that is the case. A simple Internet search throws up quite a few. This is thankfully no longer a ‘dark secret’ to be ‘hidden away’ to rot us from the inside - in the light of day it can be purged, and healed. But ‘hiding from it’ only lets it fester and destroy us from within.

And then the abusers will have won. Don’t let that happen.

Hi, Jenny!

Thanks a lot for your thoughtful posts.

As for why my sister might be experiencing depression: It’s our upbringing. Our parents were extremely abusive, and we no longer talk to them. It all started at home. Then, she has been enduring a very difficult marriage. I’m not sure yet why she attempted suicide. I haven’t asked her that; I feel she prefers the space. My hunch is that she’d talk about it soon.

She does visit an analyst, but she stopped since she wanted medication. Her friend and I are trying to take her to the analyst again, with her consent, of course. Right now, we are just reducing the dosage gradually.

I’ve had anxiety since I was a kid. Communal/group dinners are the worst things, in my opinion. :smiley: Just thinking about them makes me panic. I have resisted meeting an analyst, not because I’m too proud or reluctant. I’m aware it would help greatly, but I have taken to reading and running, and these activities help me so much.

My sister now lives with me. I can’t say I “care” for her. I just do my best to make her comfortable, and sometimes I fail. We don’t want to get in touch with our parents.

Once again: thanks for asking, and for sharing extremely thoughtful comments. I really appreciate it. :slight_smile:

Trevor, don’t keep running away from what happened.
Talk to a counsellor to help you let it go. Don’t let your parents ruin your life.
I was very sceptical about the value of counselling, but when I was in a difficult situation, it was really life changing.

Trevor - in haste

You BOTH need counselling because of the long-term childhood abuse. Why do you not BOTH consult the abuse forums and BOTH go to a specialist abuse counsellor.

The evil that your parents did MUST be ‘exorcised’- or, as BB says, they will have ‘won’. They will have blighted your childhoods, and now blighted your adulthoods.

Don’t let them win.

Also, try and think about WHY your parents were so abusive? Something made them monstrous, but what?

I’m not saying that ‘to understand all is to forgive all’ but if you can get a handle on WHY they were such appalling parents, it can help you and your sister perform that necessary exorcism.

I take it mealtimes with your parents were the ‘stage’ on which they had you both ‘at their mercy’ and could turn their vile attentions to you?

Hi Trevor. Welcome to the forum!

In addition to the helpful comments already provided by our forum members, I would suggest you give Samaritans a call who provide a good listening ear. They are available 24 hours a day, and you can call them for free on 116 123. In addition, you can also call 111, who will be able to signpost you to the support you need. Once you’ve spoken to them, do also consider contacting your sister’s mental health crisis team (if she has one) and your GP for an emergency appointment. And while you are supporting your sister, it is also important that you do not neglect your mental heath and well being in the process, so do also consider talking to someone either over the phone or face-to-face, if you haven’t already. Again, Samaritans would be a good organisation to contact. I wish you all the best

HI, all!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. My sister and I are meeting an analyst–her analyst–later this week. We have different appointments, and we have both decided to seek analysis as opposed to counselling. :slight_smile:

That sounds like a really positive step forward. Well done!

And yes, I would agree that seeing the SAME analyst, but initially at least, SEPARATELY, is a good way to start. That way the analyst can ‘gather’ info from both of you, knowing what info they get from each, and then start to examine the ‘top down’ situation from both your inputs, to give them a clearer idea of what went on, and how it is affecting each of you still.

Have to say, I’m not sure what the difference an analyst is from a counsellor??? Surely any ‘pysch’ has to listen to what their patient says, come to some kind of conclusions (however tentative) about WHY the patient is as they is (ie, the ‘analysis’ part), and only THEN move on to helping the patients deal with their problems and move forward into healing and ‘better lives’ (ie, the ‘counselling’ part).

Or does it refer more to the ‘school of psychiatry’ (eg, Freudian, whatever whatever!)(I’ve no idea of the various ‘schools’ of psychiatry but presumably they are quite a few, and possibly some are ‘rivals’ to each other, or even potentially ‘contradictory’??)

(But remember, overall, the purpose of psychiatric medicine is to be THERAPEUTIC. HOW that therapy is applied, or even how it works, is secondary to that overarching goal - ie, to HEAL the wounded and damaged mind…) (though of course, just as with physical medicine, first there has to be a diagnosis of the ailment - ie, the cause of the wounding and the extent of the damage - before appropriate therapy can be decided on)(and bearing in mind there may well be several options on therapy - just as there often is with physical ailments, eg, sometimes surgery may be the option, sometimes medicine, etc etc etc)

I wish you both well.

NEVER give up on the possibility that happiness IS within your grasp. My own personal profound belief - the ‘ground of my being’ - is that humans are designed by nature to be happy, and that only when things ‘go wrong’ in our life, for whatever reason, can ‘unhappiness’ of any kind intrude upon that.

We are ALL ‘healable’ - all we have to do is ‘find out how to heal’!!! But it CAN be done. It truly can.

Never give up on that possibility, and that hope.

PS - Just thought. Maybe CBT doesn’t concern itself with analysis as such. It simply ‘accepts’ that ‘something went wrong’ in your life, irrespective of what and why and how, and focusses on practical mental methods to help us deal with the after-effects of the damage, and minimise, or even eradicate, their negative impact on us.

I think that, in principle, it is a perfectly ‘valid’ way of approaching therapy, on the grounds that if it works, it works, and yay, great!

I guess it’s a bit like the physical medicine equivalent of taking a medicine of any kind that the docs don’t really know WHY it works, but it does, and without bad/any side effects, so hey, who’s complaining?!

In the end, it’s about what makes us HAPPY (and providing that whatever that is, doesn’t lead t ‘other problems’ down the line - eg, resorting to booze to ‘make us happy’ that then turns us into alkies!)

Thanks, Jenny!

Analysis, as practiced by Freudians and Lacanists/Lacanians, is more about enabling one to listen to oneself. That is, to listen to one’s thoughts, anxieties, fears, etc. Analysis doesn’t seek to “cure” anybody. It only aims to bridge that which is at the forefront of our conscious and that which is subterranean. In other words, it aims make known to one the unknown aspects of one’s fears, desires, etc. It hardly, mostly never, involves medication.

Well, never heard of Lacan - shall look him up! Heard of Jung and Adler (and Freud) and that’s it.

It’s interesting the business about not ‘curing’. I have ALWAYS been immensely sceptical (not to say jaundiced!) about folk who say they have been ‘in analysis’ for decades (I think Woody Allen is one of them!). SO ‘narcissistic’ to my mind!!!

My own (personal) opinion is that humans are ‘designed to be happy’ and that is our ‘default setting’ but if something ‘goes wrong’ (usually in childhood etc etc, but sometimes later)(though the INABILITY to cope with ‘later trauma’ is, I think, based on whether we have been raised to be resilient in childhood…), it’s only THEN (ie, when something has ‘gone wrong’) that we need to (a) understand WHY (ie, analysis) and then (b) addrtess it and heal it (ie, therapy).

I think analysis is vital - indeed, essential (unless one is going to go for the ‘mystery solution’ of CBT, which yes, might well be ‘good enough’ to keep one ‘functioning’, but to my mind is really best as an immediate ‘stop gap’ to get us sufficiently stable to start the ‘real’ process of analysis/therapy).

BUT though analysis is NECESSARY, it is not SUFFICIENT. ie, no point understanding WHY we are unhappy etc, if we dont’ then go on to address those problems and CURE them.

If we don’t believe in ‘curability’ what is the point of it all? No point only understanding why we are unhappy - the goal is to not be unhappy any longer!

But whatever your approach, I hope it helps you and your sister. The ‘why’ of why your parents were so, so malign is perhaps at the root of it - it might be, I guess that, as W H Auden says ‘those to whom evil is done, do evil in return’ (but that is not always the case), and maybe some folks are just ‘bad’…though I would like to think not… (see ‘happiness is our default setting’ above!)

(Only psychopaths seem to be ‘truly bad inherently’ and even they, from what little I have read, simply suffer from total lack of empathy, so providing they are ‘kept away’ from other folk and not given any opportunity to let their innate callousness about others impact on others, then society could potentially tolerate them. I’ve read the best place for a psychopath is in a lab - ie, doing ‘impersonal science’ where they don’t interact with other humans!)

But cruelty remains THE key problem for religion I feel - HOW can humans be cruel to one another? A really difficult ethical question to my mind!

Hi, Jenny,

Auden is one of my favorite poets. Do you like him, too?

I’m sorry for having spoken about “curing” in a rather unclear manner. Most analysts believe that to be human is to also suffer. Happiness is happiness because it is best experienced in contrast to unpleasant, difficult feelings. They argue that humans have become hellbent on experiencing happiness and happiness alone. In other words, they’d like to point out that happiness is not necessarily the same as contentment. In addition, analysts see anxiety, fears, etc as opportunities for one to get to understand what really drives one. I agree with your personal opinion, but I’m just stating that an analyst would say wanting to be happy at all costs is itself symptomatic of mental unwellness (I prefer not to use illness here)–that it is unhealthy.

After all, an analyst only offers interpretations. In that sense, he or she does not offer a “cure.”

Disclaimer: I am not saying analysis is the best approach. It is the approach I am most comfortable with. I am not discrediting other approaches, either. Admittedly, I am still learning.

I also like your personal take on happiness.

I cannot stand Woody Allen, or his films. I find him so repulsive. I am so agitated just thinking of him. Unsettling man, to say the least.


That said, the sad thing is that if he had been six foot tall and handsome a lot of his angst would not be necessary. Not fun being ugly in this world (sigh).

Ouch! But I see what you mean. :smiley:

It’s one of those interesting but seldom addressed questions in history - had, say, Napoleon been six foot two and handsome, would he have been so obsessed with ruling the world? Ditto for Hitler!

Ugliness causes HUGE psychological problems in so many people. It’s a ‘disability’ in a way - I guess it is profoundly Darwinian. Knowing ‘no one wants to mate with me and have my children/have me bear their children’ is pretty depressing…

Ugliness is the ‘ultimate unfairness’ in many ways (ie, other than actual disability).

To my mind, the world divides into ‘beauties’ and ‘uglies’ and the former have NO IDEA how ‘easy’ it is for them!

I can remember reading an article somewhere that ‘beautiful people are much more likeable than ugly people’…and it boiled down to the fact that everyone is much NICER to beautiful people than they are to ugly people (ie, they are more ‘desirable’), people want to be with them, spend time with them, and, hey presto, that makes the beautiful person much nicer because they grow up in a ‘happy world’ where everyone is pleased to see them…

If you want to be invisible, be ugly.

Of course, all the adulation and ‘desire for them and their company’ that beautiful people get CAN turn them into raving narcissists!

Sadly, they will probably STILL go on being admired and desired, even if they are ‘monstrous’. Such is the tyranny of Darwinism!

This makes me sad to see this kind of problem with young people. We live in a modern world and we want more money than our parents, to buy all we want. We don’t think about our health or other problems or we don’t treat the issues on time. I can say that we need sabbatical twice a year because it can offer us the recreation time, this time is only for us because we just should think about us and nothing more. When I go on vacation I turn off all my phones and I just rest with a good drink near to the sea.


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