I recently attended a course, the course is for educating the family members, in terms of how they can help/understand their loved ones with the illness. I attended this course as I wanted to understand what other family members go through, in similar situations, with the objective that I finally want to help people. (I am yet to figure out, the”how” part of it though)
I realized how difficult circumstances a lot of people are in. I was the only sibling who attended this course amongst all the parents who were worried about the future of their ill children. While all the parents were worried, fearful, frustrated with their situation, a thought struck me, when we are in a difficult situation we always think of what all problems we are facing because of the difficult circumstances, sometimes it’s good to change the perspective and think what all we have learned because of the circumstances we were put in. It is always better to be partial towards optimism. Though probably at this time I cannot understand what parents of depressed teenage children go through, I can present what my journey has been as a sister.
We are what our experience makes us. I truly believe in this.
The bond between sisters is special, now that I do not live with my sister, I often think about the roller coaster ride/journey that I had with her for close to two and a half decade, with her bouts of depression episodes, anxiety, and panic attacks. Would I change anything about this journey? As much as I wish that there was some magical therapy that could solve all of these in a blink of the eye, I feel this journey of mine with her has made me look at life from a perspective that is very different from the perspective that a usual 20 something would have.
It has made me question things I would otherwise not have. Many times when my sister would come to me to talk to me, expecting to be heard, I would get angry on her, in retrospect when I think about it now, I feel that sometimes when we get angry at someone, we are actually angry on ourselves, in my case I was probably angry at myself that I did not have the maturity to understand her situation, I did not have the maturity to put myself in her shoes.
Now I feel when we just listen to someone with all our heart, we do a world of good to them, deep down isn’t that the thing that all of us want, to be heard, to be understood by the people we feel close to. Maybe by just listening to them, we help them in ways that we can never imagine. I now feel that listening is often the only thing needed to help someone!
Looking for a holistic recovery, I used to accompany my sister to places of meditation, meet people who could help her. Seeing her go through this protracted and undeniably the harshest phase of her life hasn’t left me unaffected. Over the years, I have become more introspective. I have grown to be more appreciative of people, to be kinder to people, to be more conscious about how people feel around me, about the words that I use and be sincerely apologetic whenever I am at fault. I learned that there is almost always another perspective to right and wrong. Watching my sister try so desperately to make sense of her life has forced me to think harder about the meaning of my own life.
All of us face situations which require us to be strong, however, I have been in a lot more number of situations in the past which required me to develop resilience, this resilience not only made me more prepared for the ups and downs in my own life, I also learned that problems can be solved. They take time and effort, but most often there is always a solution.
While my friends and people close to me know how much I love giving thoughtful gifts to people who have played a significant role in my life, I am thankful to my sister for making me a better person, can there be a bigger gift than that, that anyone could have gifted me? In all likelihood, the answer would be no!