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Sister Refuses Help

answered 09:24 PM EST, Sun October 30, 2011
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My sister is depressed. Actually, she has not been clinically diagnosed with anything because she won’t admit that anything is wrong with her and so she won’t go to see a doctor or a psychiatrist about the way she is feeling. I can see however that she has really changed a lot in the last few years and she is so far different from the bubbly person she used to be you would swear these were two different people.
She went through a very tough breakup and a few years ago and she just never seemed to bounce back from it. Now she mostly just wants to stay at home and do nothing. She used to be such a neat freak and now her apartment is a dark and dirty mess. She used to be the life of the party and now she won’t pick up when her friends call and unless I go over and basically force myself in the house I don’t get to see her either.

She says she doesn’t want help but it’s so obvious that she needs something. How can intervene effectively to get her to take some action so she can get back to the person she was and back to enjoying life. It’s killing me to see her like this but I just don’t know what I can do to make the situation better?

David Johnson Says...

It is painful to watch a loved one suffer, especially when they refuse available help. I think you can still be helpful to her. Try to stop pushing her to get help, instead listen to her, understand what she's going through and see if you can get an understanding why she doesn't want help. Suggest getting help as an alternative, but don't push it. See who else is involved in her support system. Find out what they think about her sister and what they have said to her. If you find you have a group of support people for your sister, consider an intervention. If you can bring everyone together to express their concern. Have some suggested places she can go for help. Be aware that if she digs in her heals, she could feel she has to turn away from everyone. So be prepared to back peddle if the intervention doesn't go well and return to your listening role. Others should do the same. 

Hang in there. It feels helpless, but she will not forget everything you do. Be gentle and encouraging.

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Page last updated Nov 01, 2011

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