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HeatherG

When Your Sister or Brother Don't Understand Your Depression

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I have a sister who tells me to pray my "depression" away or that I'm doing this or that on purpose.

My brother says depression doesn't exist, it's just weak people who need to "do something about it."  Fix it, move on.

People like this, family, are toxic.  They'll make depression worse, they can be behind your depression and problems.  My sister was a terrorizing bully, and my brother was physically abuse.  I shrank, it was the strongest will survive in my house and I didn't.  I ran at 19, from the South way up to the North into the hands of an abusive alcoholic aunt.  Then, now, I'm back near this family, but our mom is gone and I'm dealing with them again.  I have a new therapist, whew, so tired of going to treatment--but I can't stop.  Also, learned a new word, "boundaries."  2020, it'll be interesting to say the least.

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All of my family is toxic to me in some ways.  As far as my mental illness goes my dad's side of the family pretty much just thinks I'm a lazy bum and the black sheep of the family.  Mom's side of the family are more loving but at the same time very controlling to the point where they make you want to run for the hills.

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5 hours ago, HeatherG said:

I have a sister who tells me to pray my "depression" away or that I'm doing this or that on purpose.

This one always makes me laugh derisivly - like anyone would choose this disease. And the "pray it away" is just another type of victim blaming. 

5 hours ago, HeatherG said:

People like this, family, are toxic.  They'll make depression worse, they can be behind your depression and problems.  My sister was a terrorizing bully, and my brother was physically abuse.  I shrank, it was the strongest will survive in my house and I didn't.  I ran at 19, from the South way up to the North into the hands of an abusive alcoholic aunt.  Then, now, I'm back near this family, but our mom is gone and I'm dealing with them again.  I have a new therapist, whew, so tired of going to treatment--but I can't stop.  Also, learned a new word, "boundaries."  2020, it'll be interesting to say the least.

It sounds like what you really need is a substitute family - basically a group of friends who will support you emotionally.

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It must be awful to have siblings like this. Those who you literally grow up with only blame you. With functional families, siblings annoy each other but would do anything for them. And yet so many of us are unlucky. 

I guess I'm lucky. My little sister understands the best she can, but, well, she is 10. All she knows is that sometimes sissy gets very sad and cries a lot and she doesn't know what to do except give her a stuffed animal to hug. 

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Establishing boundaries AND keeping them can be a challenge, but if you do it, it could save you a lot of future trouble.  Don't be afraid to say "no" in order to preserve boundaries.

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On 12/22/2019 at 4:27 PM, HeatherG said:

Also, learned a new word, "boundaries."  2020, it'll be interesting to say the least.

I want to give you a gold star for this. 

🌟

It'll be interesting indeed. It might be exhausting at times. Family hate it when you change - when you no longer play the part they're used to, the buttons they installed no longer seem to work when pressed. The slow realization that they may have to change how they interact with you, if there's to be a relationship. 

These are pretty common problems resulting from the erecting and enforcing of boundaries. I believe they are better problems to have. Let us know what you're learning from your experience with boundaries?

 

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On 12/22/2019 at 6:27 PM, HeatherG said:

I have a sister who tells me to pray my "depression" away or that I'm doing this or that on purpose.

My brother says depression doesn't exist, it's just weak people who need to "do something about it."  Fix it, move on.

People like this, family, are toxic.  They'll make depression worse, they can be behind your depression and problems.  My sister was a terrorizing bully, and my brother was physically abuse.  I shrank, it was the strongest will survive in my house and I didn't.  I ran at 19, from the South way up to the North into the hands of an abusive alcoholic aunt.  Then, now, I'm back near this family, but our mom is gone and I'm dealing with them again.  I have a new therapist, whew, so tired of going to treatment--but I can't stop.  Also, learned a new word, "boundaries."  2020, it'll be interesting to say the least.

Kudos to you for realizing that your siblings' advice is toxic.  I really hope that your sister's advice will not turn you away from pursuing spirituality in general.  It frustrates me so much - I think it does all of us here - that people have such toxic, ignorant views of depression.   Good on ya for keeping up therapy - Yay for boundary work, it can really be a difficult thing to figure out.  I hope you are finding support and encouragement here. 

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I have to look at my situation 2 ways; 1 is that I'm lucky I'm not told off or put down for having depression. But then 2 it's also heartbreaking that no one wants to talk to me about it ever, and I'm extremely isolated. When I was first diagnosed with BPD I said to my dad 'so we finally figured out a diagnosis' and before I explained anything I was told 'yah but you don't have to listen to them.' That was years ago, and I've never brought it up again. My boundaries involve a locked door, sealed lips, and fake smile.

Be proud of yourself for not only acknowledging your issues, but getting yourself help! Your brother thinks depression doesn't exist because he's never had it. There's a difference between losing your job and feeling depressed for a few months, and being diagnosed with long-standing mental illness. There is a difference, but I find people like that just lump it all together in their heads. I'm curious what he thinks about the tens of thousands of people who end their own life every year just in the U.S.... Weakness? Or futility? 

Being told to pray it away... that's like telling someone to pray the gay away. It's just absurd. If you didn't ask her for a solution she shouldn't be giving you one. And no one gets to tell you how and when to use your own spirituality, or how, or why. Atheists get depression, too.

I wish you luck and success with your therapy.

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