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Thread: Twin sister with severe anxiety/depression

  1. #1

    Twin sister with severe anxiety/depression

    Hello,

    I'm Nicole and I have been on the forum previously about my own heath problems. Thankfully I am ok now but unfortunately my twin sister Lana is not.

    Last year she was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma (at 23 years of age). Following her first chemotherapy treatment she began to become very anxious and depressed. This lasted a few months and she was very up and down (mostly down) until she finished the chemotherapy and it was absolutely horrible and relentless. Luckily after that (around July/August) she started to recover from the anxiety and depression and she was in remission from the cancer.

    She was 100% well and working, functioning normally etc. until May this year. She began to have some anxious thoughts and very quickly after this grew into full blown panic/anxiety/depression where she was unable to work and either my parents, her boyfriend or myself would basically be with her most of the day.

    While she was sick last year, she had to cancel her trip to Europe which she was very excited about, as she had to undergo chemotherapy. She then changed her trip to be in June this year. So I'm sure you can imagine our sadness when Lana started feeling anxious/depressed again in May. This continued into June and we were not sure if she would be able to cope with travelling to Europe. She ended up pulling herself together a bit and decided to still go to Europe with her boyfriend. When she arrived in London she was feeling a bit better and she was feeling alright for a week or so after that too. But then she started feeling those anxious feelings again and it grew and grew again. Long story short, they have returned home 2 weeks early. She was not coping and was at the point where she would say things like, "I'm sick of trying, this anxiety/depression keeps coming back even when I think I've fought it off" etc. Her boyfriend was very concerned so I organised for them to return home (to Sydney) as soon as possible.

    They arrived this morning and my sister is very bad. She just isn't coping with anything. I just don't know what to do to help. I took her to see her psychiatrist straight away. He is thinking of changing antidepressants as the one she is on may not be helping. He also suggested a private anxiety/depression voluntary program that might help. She is also seeing her psychologist the day after tomorrow.


    I guess I am just looking for some inspiration or advice? I just need some support so I would love to hear anyone's opinions or ideas...

    I have tried to tell her so many positive stories and facts to inspire her but nothing is working yet.

    I know she can fight this and recover again just like she has before, but it is so difficult supporting her when she is so negative and says she does not want to even try. She does not want to get out of bed. It is a big struggle at the moment to get her to do just about anything and she is just so negative and down. It really breaks my heart because I wish there was more I could do to stop her anxieties/fears taking over. I just want her to improve and feel motivated to try to get herself better.

    If there is anything anyone could suggest, I would be so grateful

    Thank you
    xxx

  2. #2
    Princess Sparkles Paula's Avatar
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    It sounds like she's getting great support from her Drs, which is a huge plus. It may be she can't cope with too much so rather than all the positive stories, it might be easier on her to support her doing one thing at a time. Maybe saying that she can get out of bed, have a cup of coffee/tea/water, then she can go back to bed if she feels like it. And build up from there.
    I believe if you wear enough pretty lipstick, sparkly jewellery and great shoes, no one will notice the size of your ass

  3. #3
    Not "nagging" really... Suzi's Avatar
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    Hi, it's good to see you. I'm glad you're doing OK, but I'm sorry to hear about your sister.
    I completely agree with Paula. One thing at a time.
    You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.
    - Jon Kabat-Zinn

  4. #4
    Moderator of Awesomeness magie06's Avatar
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    Hi Nicole, I think you were a member before I joined, so it's nice to meet you. I'm sorry to hear about your sister. It must be so hard on you, when all you want is your sister back. But the best way of coping with this anxiety/depression is like the others said, take it one step at a time.

  5. #5
    Thanks guys. I know you are right and she just needs to do things one step at a time. It's just so difficult in the meantime making sure someone is around at all times so she just does not stay in bed all day...

    Thanks Magie... it's nice to meet you too, I always feel better after reading people's stories here and seeking advice. Everyone is so supportive.

    Does anyone have any advice on any calming/coping techniques that could help my sister at all? She says that the ones the psychologist give her are not helping but that may just be because she is extremely panicked...

  6. #6
    Librarian and chief holder of antiquities and biscuits Jaquaia's Avatar
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    http://www.dealingwithdepression.co....ion-Techniques

    There are a lot of distraction techniques here, some of which may help calm her. It will be a case of trial and error to see what works for her. I find reading, when I can focus, listening to music and the adult colouring books really help me calm down
    Tn prdu, jhami s rcbro

  7. #7
    Princess Sparkles Paula's Avatar
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    While constantly staying in bed is not productive, she is ill and, as with all illnesses, sometimes rest is the best option
    I believe if you wear enough pretty lipstick, sparkly jewellery and great shoes, no one will notice the size of your ass

  8. #8
    Not "nagging" really... Suzi's Avatar
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    You may see that she is "just staying in bed" but actually she is resting, being chronically ill is exhausting.... Maybe take her drinks and food, rather than trying to get her up?
    Many people find comedy shows help - I know one of our old members used to watch top gear repeats so that she had something outside of her head to focus on.. Others use things like The IT crowd, Movies, etc etc etc Might be worth just sitting with her for a while...
    You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.
    - Jon Kabat-Zinn

  9. #9
    Thanks so much for your advice guys... I have been getting her to watch comedy shows and video clips.

    Her doctor recommended that she go and stay at a private anxiety/depression clinic to help her and also to monitor her because he changed her medication. She will probably stay 1-2 weeks and they have workshops and activities designed to help teach coping strategies. It was her first day there and she was really upset and still feeling very lost and panicked. It was quite heart breaking to see her that way.

    But the most heart breaking thing of all was what she said about her boyfriend of 7 years. He is lovely and obviously loves her a lot however he is quite old fashioned in his way of thinking. For starters he is quite unemotional and doesn't like to talk a lot about serious things such as mental health. He can be quite superficial, selfish and self absorbed at times. But the most upsetting thing is that a few months ago he convinced her to stop her AD meds because "you are not really you when you take those". And my silly sister listened to him. Knowing that he clearly has no idea about this and is being horrible and superficial about something that is not her fault. Stopping her meds against doctor's orders is most probably the reason she has had this relapse. On top of that he told her he does not want to propose to her while she is on ADs because "she is not the same person when on them".

    Suddenly her anxiety and the pressure she puts on herself isn't so surprising!! I know she was scared to tell me that as she thought I would think less of him (she is right) bit I can't believe the way she puts him on a pedestal and listens to everything he says!!!

    She seemed to feel better finally letting that out and venting about it. I recommended she write a letter to hom about it to get her feelings out, even if she doesn't give it to him yet.

    Does anyone know any good strategies for ignorant and unsupportive partners....? I'm so upset that he puts his own wants ahead of her..... I wish he would educate himself instead of pressuring her to do unhelpful things!!

  10. #10
    Princess Sparkles Paula's Avatar
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    Perhaps direct him to the Time to Change website, it's designed to help family and friends talk about MH and understand a bit more. Is she on ADs now? Do you think she would stop treatment again if he told her too? Because, if so, frankly, he's going to make her worse - stopping and starting meds really is not good.
    I believe if you wear enough pretty lipstick, sparkly jewellery and great shoes, no one will notice the size of your ass

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