sister getting worse

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kare15bear
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 31
   Posted 8/29/2006 7:37 PM (GMT -7)   
Hello.  I posted last week when my sister was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.  I'm really starting to worry about her more and more.  I know it's only been a week or so and it will take much time for her meds to begin helping her with her condition, but I feel like I'm losing her more and more everyday.  Before she was diagnosed I knew she was depressed, but her depression never got to the point of it being completely debilitating.  Now, she doesn't leave her house.  She hasn't gone to work in 4 days, she's debating backing out of standing in her best friend's wedding which is approaching next month, she doesn't want to be a mother of wife anymore.  I'm just afraid that she's already giving up.  I've tried to encourage her with words, but when I talk to her it seem like she's not even there.  She's scared that if she's around her children alone she'll have an episode and put the children in danger.  I try to tell her to get out of the house (go for walks, take the kids for ice cream, spend time with her husband, etc.) but it seems like she has no energy for anything.  How long does it usually take to see a difference with the meds?  If my sister doesn't give up, will she ever see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I told her about this forum and said it may be helpful, but right now she doesn't have access to the internet at home.  Hopefully soon though she will be able to experience how encouraging all of you are.  Thank you.  I hope everyone has a good night!
 
Karen
  • Diagnosed with Left-Sided Colitis and Proctitis in Aug 2005
  • 400mg of Asacol (4X3daily)
  • Canasa Suppositories (twice daily)
  • Hydrocortisone enemas
  • Rowasa enemas
  • Acidophilus, Vitamins, Lily of the Desert Aloe Vera Juice


Ellie 1
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 1291
   Posted 8/29/2006 9:22 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Karen,
I know you're going through some very difficult times and this question may not be the one you want to hear. Do you believe that your sister may be a danger to herself or her children? Does her husband think so? Do you both worry when she's alone that she might do something to end her pain?
The problem in the beginning with the meds, is they can bring you down from a manic episode, fast, sometimes too fast, and leave a debilitating depression in it's wake.
It almost sounds as though your sister might be frightened enough to WANT to be in a hospital. Just for that safety and security, So she can begin to recover without the added stresses of being a wife and a mother. Getting well can be an all encompassing occupation, it may be that she just can't be all things to all people and pull it all back together as well.
Has anyone thought to ask her what she wants, without the guilt of feeling that she would be abandoning her family? You may be surprised at the answer. Some people are terrified of the hospital, others feel more secure hospitalized during the stabilization process.
If you or your brother-in-law believe for one moment she is a danger to herself, make certain you get in touch with that pdoc pronto. She really sounds like she's in trouble. Granted, I'm not doc and have no medical training, but when depression continues to deepen like that it doesn't sound good.
Take Care
Ellie
Good judgement comes from experience and alot of that comes from bad judgement.
 
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CounterClockwise
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 1529
   Posted 8/30/2006 5:00 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Karen,

Great advice from Ellie -- these are important, if painful, questions to ask.

From my own experience, things often do get worse before they get better -- part of the whole process of finding the right meds combo and dosages. It's very important that your sis is in frequent contact with her pdoc during this time. Her pdoc may decide that adjustments or additions to her meds are worth pursuing. -- This is all progress, as these meds can work very differently for people and it's rather a trial and error process still. Although it feels like your sis has taken a step back (and in some ways she has) her current condition is all good info for her pdoc to help them find the best route for recovery. Her pdoc may want to sit things out a bit with the meds to begin with -- can take up to 12 weeks for them to work fully (but there will be signs before then that they're right or wrong which her doc will be able to judge from as to their appropriateness).

You might also ask if she wants someone there with her at sessions -- you may be doing this already. Your sis might find it a relief not to go to sessions alone, and you would certainly find it helpful to be there (helping to give a more rounded picture of how things are as well as having someone there to help you and your sister understand strategies for coping, and you could keep a note of things which might also help your sis, as concentration levels can be down at these times). See what she thinks about this: don't push it (at times like this pressure can make people run), but do offer.

The wedding thing is tricky. I can't even get my ex/partner to commit to coming to a car boot sale at the moment (and he could *really* do with getting a bit of extra cash right now!). I think there are a lot of issues tied up here: feeling that others will be depending on her, and that being too much pressure; feeling that this is too far ahead to think about when she's finding each day a struggle; worry about all the extra things that this will entail in the meantime when she's finding it hard to cope (cutting back on everything she does sounds like part of a sense that everything's too much and crowding in on her); worry about standing up in front of people and being on show when she doesn't trust herself.

As always, the number one rule with all of this is that *it isn't personal* -- to her husband, kids, best friend, you. In fact, the number of people/things she's backing away from should help you to see this more clearly, and I hope will help with a conversation you probably ought to have with your sis's best friend. Does she know anything about what's going on? If you think your sis will agree, why not ask her for her permission to have a chat with her best friend and see if you can't work out a less stressful option for her with regard to the wedding? Better to ask so that she doesn't feel that she's being talked about without her say-so ... but if you don't think she'd say yes, perhaps better not to ask, because I think this might be a necessary conversation and if she says no outright it'd be very awkward to go ahead and do it anyway. Ultimately you and her best friend, both understanding that your sis is ill and that this isn't personal, can probably accept that your sis standing *may* be too much for her even in a month's time (and really this has a lot to do with the preparations in the meantime too). I wonder if there's a compromise that leaves the window open for her to be a part of this if she's up to it but also allows the option of her not being so. Leaving the window open is probably a good idea, because subconsciously this may also be something that's keeping her going. Tricky one. Also one that it would be good to talk about with her pdoc... .

Could you invite your sister to yours for the day and allow her the option of coming online and chatting to us here while she's with you. She may not be able to do the whole day in company anyway, so you could invite her over and say that it's just to get her some peace and quiet, that you have a couple of things to do anyway so if she wants to sleep, fine, if she wants to watch tv for a while, fine, if she wants to go online, fine -- you want to give her space and take her away from any pressures she feels at home.

You are a fabulous sister -- doing such wonderful things to help. Please also make sure that you take time for yourself and that you don't burn out with all this worry. I found that having a couple of books around on bipolar really helps me get a better perspective and relax about what I'm witnessing with my ex/partner at times.

Don't kow how much any of this helps, hun, but you are in my thoughts -- as is your sis.

Take care,
Rosie x
********************

People are not like fish: they do not work better battered.

********************
 
Co-Moderator, Bipolar Forum


kare15bear
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 31
   Posted 8/30/2006 6:20 PM (GMT -7)   
Thank you so much Ellie 1 and CounterClockwise. You two have been sooooo helpful. I have mentioned to my sister before about getting online over here and posting on the forum. She seemed interested, but right now I think it may be a bit too much for her. However, I do know that once she gets the courage (and she is very couragous) to post, she'll feel much more "normal" and at ease with herself. She is keeping in very close contact with her doctors. In fact she's had two appointments already this week and goes back tomorrow. My sister was at my house a little while ago. She actually did come to use the computer but was still apprehensive to chat it up. Anyway, she did open up a bit more to me. She said that she wishes she never was diagnosed. I told her that the shock of her diagnosis is trying and will be difficult to deal with, but in the end, when she begins to feel better, she will be thankful she learned of her condition. I told her that everyday, even though it's hard, she has to try to think of at least one thing that is positive. Right now it seems like I'm sort of talking to a wall, (I know she listens, but I don't really think anything I say is staying with her). But I hope that if I let her know that she has me as a support system she at least won't feel like she's alone in this all.
about the wedding, her best friend called her yesterday and basically chewed her out. She's not understanding at all of my sister's fragile mindset right now (which is odd because the father of her children is also bipolar). This is stressing out my sister even more. Would it be a good idea for me to step in and speak with her best friend about this?
Also, I know that soon I may have to bring up those painful questions to my sister...I think I'll wait a while (not a long while) to see how she progresses. And yes, if I see her getting worse I'll bring them up sooner.
Thank you for your support.

Karen
  • Diagnosed with Left-Sided Colitis and Proctitis in Aug 2005
  • 400mg of Asacol (4X3daily)
  • Canasa Suppositories (twice daily)
  • Hydrocortisone enemas
  • Rowasa enemas
  • Acidophilus, Vitamins, Lily of the Desert Aloe Vera Juice


Ellie 1
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 1291
   Posted 8/30/2006 7:28 PM (GMT -7)   
I think I might step in about the wedding. Especially since your sister is feeling expecially fragile. She should truly make no plans right now. Theres no telling how she'll feel weeks from now. I understand that the wedding is of great importance to this person, but she needs to have a backup plan. Sometimes things just don't work out the way you want and it could be that your sister may not be able to deal with that stress in her condition. I'm not sure if your sister will appreciate the interferrence, you might ask her first, or if you think it's important enough you might have to take the chance on making her angry to safeguard her emotional health.
Hang in there
Ellie
Good judgement comes from experience and alot of that comes from bad judgement.
 
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CounterClockwise
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 1529
   Posted 8/31/2006 4:15 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Karen,

Yes, Ellie's right about stepping in and talking to your sis's best friend about the wedding. Her friend sounds as if she's thinking so much about the wedding and it being her perfect day right now that she's forgotten what she knows about bipolar. It would help her too to be reminded, so that she remembers that what your sis is doing is not meant personally, even if it can seem that way. As I said before, though, there may be a way of handling this that leaves the door open if your sis does feel better up to things in a couple of weeks. Sounds to me like your sis *can't* at the moment confront this issue herself -- having it hanging over her might be making things worse. If you and her best friend have a chat, her best friend could give her a call one day and say how she knows that this is a lot of stress for your sis, and how she does understand and doesn't want to add to that -- that she'd still love her to be part of the wedding, but has thought of a couple of ideas for how to help take the pressure off your sis, etc. There might be no need to mention at this time that the two of you have chatted: since her kids' dad is bipolar, she could be expected to have insight and it would be quite plausible that she'd just had a think about this on her own. You could fess up later when your sis is better if you wanted.

I really feel for your sis with the whole wishing she'd never been diagnosed thing. I think that's fairly common in the early stages -- and even in later ones (someone's got a post about this feeling up right now -- "Fantasy, reality and dreams"). There are some good books out there to help you and her find different ways of looking at the condition (e.g. Miklowitz's Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide). Ultimately I think you need to reassure her that this is a natural reaction, but that she's still the person she was the day before she was diagnosed, and that she has a lot to be proud of. And you're so right, when she starts to feel better, she will be pleased that she was diagnosed, because that has led to treatment that can help her and to a greater understanding of herself in the long run.

You're doing great Karen.

Rosie x
********************

People are not like fish: they do not work better battered.

When I'm not in my right mind, my left mind gets pretty crowded...

********************

 
Co-Moderator, Bipolar Forum


RAWR
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 9/21/2006 1:26 PM (GMT -7)   
i am soo sorry i wish i could help!!!!!

CapninHapnin
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 285
   Posted 9/21/2006 4:27 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Karen

This may be of no help, but sometimes the diagnosis of bi-polar has an overwelming affect. Sometimes there is relief, as the person has a reason for certain behaviors. But it can also be very difficult when one realizes they are going to be under medical care the rest of their life. Also, many times one puts too much hope in the first trial of med's and become discouraged if the meds fail at first.

From your description, I conclude that your sister is a very caring person with many responsibilities; kids, husband, friends, job, household and such. She may be questioning her ability to continue in these endeavors. She can and she will. Right now, your sister is not facing a disease or a condition. She is facing change. Right now, she is unsure how much change it will be.

She has something that will help her through this. She has you, her husband, her kids, and her friends. The bride is out of control, but bridenstein is planning the impossible right now. Pity the poor groom. Sorry, women, but the best weddings are the one's that aren't perfect.

Praying for you

Cap
I want "I wish I had one more day to spend at the office" on my tombstone.


CounterClockwise
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 1529
   Posted 9/22/2006 5:44 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi RAWR --

Welcome to HW! -- Hope you'll find lots of support here -- that's how we like it! :)


Hey Karen,

How's it going with your sis now? -- Any improvements?


Rosie x
********************

People are not like fish: they do not work well battered.

When I'm not in my right mind, my left mind gets pretty crowded...

********************

 
Co-Moderator, Bipolar Forum

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