Q: I feel my sister is very depressed at the moment for a number of reasons. Her problems all started quite a number of years ago when she was 16, she was raped on her birthday by one of her fella friends, she never really got over this and no-one would help her. My parents and I tried everything but no-one wanted to know.

A few years after that when she was 17 her boyfriend that she had been with for three years and that she loved dearly got her best friend pregnant and left my sister. While all this was happening she was in and out of hospital with bowel problems. Doctors could not figure out what was wrong with her. About 4years after she started having these problem they diagnosed her with Crohns Disease.

By the time they diagnosed her, her bowels had got that bad that she had to go into surgery to get parts of her bowel removed. A week after she had that operation her bowel burst where the bowel was connected again, she had to go for a life saving operation and was left with 2 colostomy bags (remember she was only a girl of 18/19 when this happened). A week again after that surgery the doctors found 2 litres of poison in her stomach and again had to go for surgery to get her bowels taken out cleaned and put back in!

After that surgery she was left with the bags and a 10in open wound because they couldn’t stitch her back up because they were afraid because she had been opened so many times in such a short time that she would develop an infection. She was in hospital a total of 6 weeks and had a total of 3 opertaions in 10 days. When she got home she had to have nurses come out everyday to clean her wound and make sure that she had no infection. She felt she was ugly and that no-one would want her because of the bags, they use to burst every now and again which she thought was disgusting! but a year after that she got the bags reversed which was a very good thing.

She is now 23 and did end up meeting a lovely fella and was with him for nearly four years, was to marry him on the 25th of May past. But his mother made her life hell saying that my sister had ruined his life and that she was no good for him. They have just recently split up and it has broken my sister’s heart really bad! She feels as if she has never had a break from bad things happening her and that her life is always going to be like this, she has went to doctors, therapist every one that she thinks can help her but they only do so much and then ship her off to someone else!

Please help me help her I love my sister so very much and I hate seeing her like this and I am afraid she mite come to think her life isn’t worth living anymore!!!!!!!

Her Little Sister

A: Wow. Your sister sure has been through an awful lot at a relatively young age. I’m sorry that she is having such a tough time, right when things seemed to be looking up for her. I’m also sorry this is hard on you because you care about her so much.

Unfortunately I don’t have much to offer except more of the same. If you are concerned about her being depressed with this latest stressor I would encourage her to give therapy another try if she isn’t already seeing someone.

Who knows why some people seem to get more of their fair share of problems? However, the research shows that people can get through lots of things and come out strong and healthy if they have some sort of belief in something greater than they are. This can be spirituality, philosophy of life or just being able to lean on a loving family. Sounds like you all have the loving family part down so the best I can suggest is just to surround her with love and let her know how much she means to you. I wish you both luck and easier times.