How to help my sister
My sister (36f lgbt) is currently going through a mental health crisis and has been suffering the following symptoms that I’m aware of since the start of December:
- panic attacks
- sensory overload with sound and light
- inability to leave her home
- withdrawing from friends and family
- inability to attend work for 8+ weeks
- incoherent speech
- chronic pain
- racing thoughts and inability to communicate coherently via voice or text or in person.
She won’t talk on the phone to anyone who she has had (limited) engagement with since this all began.
Initially I assisted her in putting in some boundaries with friends and family to give her some breathing space to deal with grief, trauma and stress. But it’s now at a point where she will not engage even with me beyond a simple ‘hello’ sms each day.
Our mum, myself and her best friend have come up with a plan that I’d like some advice on. We’ve reached out to the CATT team and local mental health triage team but without giving them my sisters name and address (something we’ll do after we’ve exhausted gentler options)
Mum and sisters BFF will attempt to visit with my sister tomorrow. Unfortunately I live 3.5 hours away. They plan to give her a few options:
1. Sister and mum go to GP to get referral for inpatient
2. Sister agrees to call CATT team for assessment with mum and bff
3. We do a family referral to CATT Team without my sisters consent.
Given her disengagement with family, friends and living alone were of the opinion that an inpatient stay would be most suitable.
I’d love feedback on the above mentioned plan
I'm sorry for your sisters current condition. Unfortunately, we are not mental health professionals, we are members that offer lived experience with our own mental health problems.
Being an adult your sister could refuse all help, let's hope not as the latest mental health professionals have at their disposal a very good system of care and treatment to ensure she is safe.
Community champions and members here can be supportive if and when your sister ever wants to engage with us to discuss a problem. We also offer a huge library by simply using the search feature. Eg type in "they just dont understand- why?" or "the timing of motivation"
I hope it turns out well
Your sister is truly blessed to have such deeply caring, loving and compassionate people in her life, yourself included. Might sound like a seriously strange question but does your sister relate more to the psychological side of life or the soulful/spiritual side of life? The reason I ask is based on how she could possibly be approached and how she could best relate to what she's going through in life right now. The 2 approaches can of course be very different, although occasionally sharing some common factors. The one she best relates to may end up being the best one for her, to help her get through this time in order to experience some difference and a sense of progress and greater self understanding.
If she's a pure logic kind of person, who more so appreciates the psychological and chemical imbalance factors behind depression, getting her to relate to the need for psychological guidance and chemical assistance/supplementation may end up being the best way to go. On the other hand, if she's a real feeler, a highly sensitive person, someone who can relate to 'the dark night of the soul' concept, someone who might even be interested in a sense of soulful/spiritual progress or the idea of what's known as 'spiritual emergency', then that might be a path worth exploring for her. No one around her has to agree with that side of things, it's just a matter of supporting her on the path she can best relate to and one that helps her personally.
Sounds like it's definitely time for some form of intervention. There are sadly so many people out there who wish they'd intervened, when it comes to loved ones facing the absolute depths of depression. Again, she is so lucky to have you in her life, she really is. ❤️
Thank you so much for your reply. I have some lived experience of going down the logical / psychological path for my own mental health, but eventually moved into a more spiritual awakening and have found great ways through this approach to best support myself.
Initially I she seems to be showing curiosity to understand the psychology and chemical imbalance approach with a hopeful curiosity to dipping her toes in spirituality. So she seemed to feel like she needed space and time to discover her self and what was going to work for her but the level of isolation and how much she’s minimising contacting anybody has us concerned for her and we just don’t want her to feel like she’s got to do it all on her own. My gut feel is she needs a bit of a break and a rest.
Your sister's even more blessed to have someone in her life who can support her in a holistic approach, when it comes to how body, mind and spirit play a part in overall well being. In you, she has a 'go to' person for both knowledge and support, which also includes supporting her sense of wonder. While I appreciate mental factors that are covered in psychology, physical factors that are covered in biology, neurology, chemistry etc, my fave would have to be spirituality. I've found it to be full of simplicity, philosophy, outside the square ways of thinking, fascinating skill development and so much more. Personally, it's been a life saver for me. Discovered a brilliant documentary to be 'Crazywise', which looks at both spirituality and psychology in quite a fascinating way. Bit of a 2 sides of the same coin perspective. Another good one is the book 'Becoming Supernatural', by Joe Dispenza, where he truly simplifies aspects of neuroplasticity/epigenetics/quantum physics (a fascinating take on mind/body/spirit and how they work together).
While your sister stands at the entrance to a rabbit hole that holds so much potential, in you she has a great guide. So much harder to explore it all on your own than it is to have a brilliant guide who holds the light to show the way.