My younger sister needs help

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

my younger sister has been in the stress care unit twice now for trying to commit suicide twice in the past 10 days the first time she was there they diagnosed her with border line personality disorder and depresson i looked up the symptoms to both she has some of them but other sympotoms they dont have listed she has been telling horrible lies to her friend about how her life was when she was growing up our parents gave us everything we were spoiled to the bone one of my friends had a baby 2 years ago and she started telling people that she was raped and my friends son is really hers she went and had my friends sons name tattooed on her arm anything she says no one can believe i feel bad cuz shes my sister but i dont know how i can help her or let alone trust her please help us

A: I’m so sorry that your family, and your sister, are hurting like this. It’s terrible to watch someone you love be in the grip of something she can’t seem to control. For the time, you can’t trust her. But you can love her. Give her as much love and kindness as you can, even when she is being outrageous. She is clearly not herself right now.

The best way to help your sister at this point is to be supportive of her treatment. Be sure that her mental health professional knows how she behaves at home and what she tells others. If she is over 18, a provider is bound by confidentiality not to share her treatment with you – or even confirm that she is a patient. But most providers are willing to take information without comment. If she is underage, your parents can, and probably should, be involved in her treatment.

Fortunately, there is good treatment available for borderline personality disorder. DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) has been shown to be very effective, for example. You and your family can talk with the mental health providers about the approach they are using and what they suggest you all do to be helpful.

Work together and support each other as you try to help your sister. She will most likely make it very difficult at times. You’re going to need each other’s love to weather the emotional storms.

I wish you all well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 8 Mar 2010

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2010). My younger sister needs help. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 20, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/03/08/my-younger-sister-needs-help/