It’s been a while since I’ve posted here but this is my safe place and I just need to vent.
My sister and I are both in our late 60s. We co-own a duplex, and I lived in the downstairs level until around 12 years ago when her emerging symptoms of mental illness rendered living there intolerable. Initially hoarding was the primary issue, something she refused to
address, which made it impossible for me to put the house on the market and get out of that situation. After I moved out, we rented out the lower level until she became convinced that the tenants were not only spying on her, but they created a website devoted entirely to her that “went viral” and everyone has seen it, so wherever she goes, she is stalked by strangers who photograph her and then post it on the website. She doesn’t own a computer or mobile phone, by the way. When I tried to show her that nothing came up about her when I did a search, she just said “Oh, they blocked you”.
This group has been so helpful to me in dealing with my sister. I have learned not to contradict her, no matter how outlandish her claims. I no longer try to convince her that the neighbours have better things to do than prowl through the property all hours of night and pump poison gas into the air vents. She desperately wants people to believe her.
My sister has a psychiatrist who she hasn’t seen for a year. She fought taking medication because she believes she doesn’t have a mental illness, but she thinks she sustained a head injury, so she was convinced to take quetiapine for that. I think it eases her anxiety but the delusions are alive and well.
My 40 year old son and his wife live downstairs and provide some security. They are pretty good at setting boundaries, and my sister tries not to disturb them. She no longer goes out alone. She keeps the curtains drawn, all overhead lights off, tin foil on the outer walls. l do most of her grocery shopping, and she has a friend who takes her banking periodically. She talks on the phone with a couple of old friends and our niece. She reads and listens to the radio. Her place is extremely cluttered, but spotlessly clean and her hygiene is good. That’s the basic situation, she’s not likely to be committed any time soon.
We worry about what will happen if my sister continues to worsen. She constantly says she hates being alive and wishes she would die, but there is no indication she has any suicidal or self-harm plans, other than asking her doctor for a compassionate death.
The biggest challenge for me is that my sister is so unpleasant l can’t stand being around her. She is so adamant and relentless in her negativity and it’s hard for me to maintain a neutral state of unconditional support. Her vitriol pushes all my buttons. She basically believes that the world is a horrible place and people are evil hearted and constantly refers to her circumstances as a living nightmare. I understand that it’s tragic and she can’t help it, but she craves validation of this dismal world view and I can’t stop myself from trying to point out the bright side of things. It infuriates her and she feels like l’m shutting her down. It takes me back to when we were little kids and she was really grumpy and uncooperative even then. I was always trying to cheer her up and make her laugh and she would just scowl and even growl.
Honestly, l feel like moving away sometimes.
Anyhow, that is my rant. I somehow manage to have a contented heart and feel that most people are intrinsically good. It just seems like my sister wants me to be as miserable as she is and she won’t give up until she breaks my spirit.
Sorry to be so long winded.