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trying to help someone with depression

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Old 04-30-2004, 08:38 AM   #1
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 2
thako HB User
trying to help someone with depression

My sister suffers from clinical depression. She has for the last 7-8 years and has exhibited every possible symptom that exists like paranoia, social phobia, etc. She has seen several doctors and been on multiple medications, most recently zoloft and seraquel.

She has a pattern of recovering and falling back all the time, about every 6-9 months. She'll have a good social life and a job and then lose all this. The problem is that she always thinks she can stop taking her meds when she is back up on her feet again. She admits that she has depression, but refuses to seek help.

She is no longer taking zoloft, under the recommendation of her doctor, but she is supposed to stay on seraquel, which she refuses to take. Right now she is completely hyperactive, irrational, stubborn and makes absolutely no sense, jumping from point A to Z in conversations. She is very paranoid, making up invalid, impossible conspiracy theories. She refuses to take the seraquel and claims that she is being "set up." The other night my father gave her meds to take before bed, which she took and then proceeded to go to the sink and spit them out. Luckily I followed her and found this, upon which my dad had to force feed her these pills. She completely lost it and started screaming at him. She gets so aggressive I'm afraid that she might hit him. He's almost 70 years old and can't live like this.

We are all at the end of our tethers. I want her to be in a hospital for several weeks, just so she is forced to take her meds and is supervised by professionals. She can't be talked to until her hyperactivity slows down. She doesn't want to see her doctor or take any medication and she refuses to try any other medication since they all have side effects.

I just want her to get better. My dad hasn't lost any hope and thinks she will be cured in time. But 7-8 years has felt like a really long time to me. I have had friends who suffered from manic depression or other sorts of conditions, and you would never know it because they could admit they had a problem and dealt with it. My sister insists that she's happy and doesn't need anything. Well, she's 35 years old, doesn't have a job, and is steadily losing all of her friends because they don't understand. She spends a load of money each month, not realizing that without a job, she can't afford these things. Talking to her is like being on a rollercoaster in the dark.

Sorry, I don't mean to complain so much and I feel guilty because I know its not her fault. But she's not the person I grew up with and sometimes I feel like I am dealing with a total stranger. Does anyone have any advice at all how to help her?????

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Old 04-30-2004, 09:09 AM   #2
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: California
Posts: 395
Musical_Muse HB User
Re: trying to help someone with depression

I'm so sorry that you and your father are having to deal with this. It sounds absolutely horrible, and I can't really even imagine what you and your dad must be feeling and going through.

Having had clinical depression, myself, I can tell you that it's imperative that your sister continue to take her meds. I began taking Prozac when I was a freshman in college, and it has actually helped to better balance out my moods and, as a result, I have had very few episodes of depression in recent years. I'm 24-years-old, by the way. Now, I still have a tendency toward depression, but Prozac does help to alleviate some of the symptoms. Also, I have benefitted from Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy which is a therapy that deals with how your thoughts impact your mood and behaviors. This may seem very fundamental, and I agree that it is. I tend to be an "in-my-head" kind of person (and a writer :-)), so I'm very aware of my thoughts and feelings. Even so, this therapy helped me to really look at what I was thinking, and reframe my thoughts into ones that were more realistic (i.e. instead of "I will never get a job because this job market is so awful", I thought, "I may have some difficulty finding a job, but there are jobs out there, as many people I know are working."). It was very helpful, and I would recommend it to nearly anyone dealing with depression.

These things said, it sounds like your sister's depression is much, much worse than mine is, and it also sounds like she has symptoms of schizophrenia(??), so I would tend to think that you might need to refer her out to a hospital setting ( I hate to have to say that)...especially since she is refusing to stay on her meds. She might pose a danger to you, your dad, and others if she doesn't have constant supervision, and I'm sure that you're in no position to attend to her 24-7 as, I'm certain, that you have a job and family that you need to be attending to. I also want to point something else out to you: though your sister's illnesses are not her fault, and since she is aware that she has these illnesses, she does have control of her own behavior, and she chooses how she handles things(such as taking, or not taking, her medication). So, though I also hate to have to say this, it is her fault that she is behaving the way that she is because she has a very simple choice...and that choice is to take or not to take her medication.

"The only emotions that are deadly are the ones that are unexpressed."--Iyanla Vanzant

Last edited by Musical_Muse; 04-30-2004 at 09:16 AM.

Old 05-01-2004, 07:46 AM   #3
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 2
thako HB User
Re: trying to help someone with depression

Thanks to you for responding so quickly to my message. Its nice to have people understanding what I am talking about. thanks.

Last edited by moderator2; 05-01-2004 at 08:12 PM.

Old 05-12-2004, 07:02 AM   #4
Junior Member
Join Date: May 2004
Location: nova scotia
Posts: 12
sparknote HB User
Re: trying to help someone with depression

thako, ji'm sorry you have been through such a hard time. i believe that your sister does need help and that going into the hospital for a bit so she will take her medicine and be monitored by doctors is a great idea. how is she currently doing? How are you doing? it is also important to know how you are doing because it sounds like you are keeping your sis going. it is a very admirable that you care so much that you would walk with her through this terrible ordeal, don't give up, you are are a very beutiful person and i just hope there are more people like yourself in the world today. you are your sisters rock.stay strong. sincerely (michael)

Old 05-12-2004, 07:53 AM   #5
Senior Veteran
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1,193
Crossbow HB User
Re: trying to help someone with depression

I think your sister is suffering not only from depression but from the stigma against it. Many people think that taking meds is a sign of weakness, so they stop as soon as they feel like they can. You can make sure she knows you understand it's an illness, and not a personality flaw. It made a huge difference for me when I finally got that through my family's heads.
Choose the devil you don't know.

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