My sister is in the hospital – again. I haven’t gone into much detail about her issues, but honestly, I just don’t know what to do anymore. Her bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder have given way to an intense Xanax dependency. If any one you have dealt with the mental health world, you’ll know exactly how I feel: It’s heartwrenching, frustrating and furious all wrapped up in a gigantic bubble of fear. There’s so much more uncertainty than there ever was with any of my surgeries or hospitalizations. With those, it was simple: The doctors could pinpoint the exact ailment, treat it with surgery and in two months, I’d be fit as a fiddle again. Everything, now though, feels like the wheel in Wheel of Fortune. It’s anybody’s guess where it will stop.
I’m so scared. I’m so afraid. I hate living in this state of worry, even when she’s not even home. I should be taking this time to rest both my mind and my body. I’m not. Lately, it’s all I can do to go to work and come home. Some nights (like Monday night ), I just broke down and sobbed. I felt like I was choking on all the positive inspiration I was trying to give myself. I want so very much for her to be well, for her to want to get her life back.
And at the same time, I want my life back, and I want my mother to get her life back. I don’t want to live in this heightened state of hyper alertness, constantly being so codependent on her moods and so fixated on her life. It’s not healthy – for any of us.
But how do you pull back and still support your loved one? Where is that line in the sand that you just won’t cross? Sometimes, I feel like I should hsve been able to prevent my father’s suicide, and now I feel like if I could just do something, anything, that I could make everything right. That I could somehow take the pain away that my sister is sinking in. That I’m sinking in.
But I know I can’t. I know, deep down, that it has to come from her. But when will it? When will she be able to say, “I don’t want to live my life in and out of the hospital anymore,” and mean it?
So…after all this emotional outpouring, I could use all your prayers, positive thoughts or even just a funny joke right now.
My sister is my best friend. She’s my little sister. And I want her back. Where is that light at the end of the tunnel?
[Photos by Elizabeth Weinberg]