Saturday, April 30, 2011

My sister

Over the years, one of my greatest concerns has been my sister, Candy. Some of you know that she struggles with depression and know that I went and got her and her cat a few years back. She lived with us in our travel trailer for over a year. Over time, she improved and got back to her old self. Feeling confident that she could make it on her own, we moved her belongings back to Louisiana.

She seemed to flourish at first, but gradually she reverted back to the way she was before I went and got her. She is a lovely woman, but is some what unique in how she lives her life. I have tried to understand her, but nothing has prepared me for how sick she really is. She is a hoarder. Her son and his family have tried to help her with no avail, so have I, but she goes back to that place where I guess she feels comfortable.

She left some of her stuff at my house and after a year, I decided to take it to her home yesterday. My husband and I loaded up my Toyota Tundra truck with all of her stuff. I stopped off at Ruston, La. to pick up our youngest son, Hunter, as he was going to help me unload all of her belongings.

Candy has been in bed for over three months. I know she is in pain. I understand that all too well. Her sleep hygiene is all messed up. I ask her to get up and go to lunch with us. All she could say was that she hurt too much and besides it would take her 1 1/2 hours to wash her hair and get ready. All I could say was "You have to be kidding me.?"

There is nothing I would not do or have not done for Candy. I love her very much. I can't understand how or why she chooses to live this way. It makes me sick to my stomach. I am out of ideas and don't know what else we can do for her. I repeatedly ask her "Are you OK?" She nods yes. This is not how normal people live is it?

Her home was in disarray and the smell was horrible. I could not stand the smell and stayed outside. This is the worst I have seen her home. I think she uses this to alienate herself from others. Her family can't visit her at her home. I know that is not the point, but she doesn't want to visit them. Her grand kids are her life.

She looked like the living dead. Her hair was twisted, dirty and looked like a bird's nest. Her poor cat is the same way. I don't know how to help her. Her DIL called me last night. They had stopped by to see Hunter at the fire station. He must have said something to them. I haven't been able to process all of this. I was going to wait a few days until I called them. They are aware of the situation. They are stumped as well. I don't have any ideas as to what we should do for her. Or even if we should try?

I guess what I am asking for is prayers for Candy. If you have any solutions please let me know. I am at a loss for answers. Should I even try to help her? or leave her alone?


Gail said...

I am heart-sick for your sister and for you. Her situation is extreme and your concerns are SO valid. I am going to suggest the following. I believe it is time to call in professionals. You need to call the Visiting Nurse Association (VNA)closest to where Candy lives and say you are requesting an "evaluation for services", tell them how you found her and "fear for her life". They are obligated to go in to the home and evaluate for safety, etc. This is way beyond you Pam, I am so sorry to say.
She needs help, NOW!
Love and prayers to you and for CAndy

The Bear's Blog said...

Yes, Candy is in my prayers and I will put her on our prayer list at Church tomorrow.

I am an only child, not even a cousin, so what I am saying may not be intelligent but it's from my heart.

Don't give up on her, please. You are her sister, and maybe you are the only one who can reach her. Maybe it's time to become her "parent".

Do you think she would be willing to see a professional? Or maybe her Pastor? Is there something that she likes doing outside of her home?

I think I would drag her out of that house and make her breathe in some fresh air. Get some the windows and let the fresh air in the house.


Sandee said...

I agree with Gail. She needs professional help. Don't give up on her. You would feel guilty for the rest of your life.

Her home sounds like a real health hazard. That is not good for her or her cat.

They are both in my prayers honey. Hugs. :)

Finding Pam said...

Gail, I looked up the VNA and the closest one is in New Orleans, and they only service the surrounding area. I am still researching it tho.

Is the VNA part of the United Way?

Joyce, many, many prayers are needed. I have always been the grown up. I will not give up on her. She was getting some counseling, but stopped for reasons unknown. She doesn't have a church family either.

Sandee, she has to agree to wanting help. I think she thinks she doesn't have a problem. It really scares me to think of her living like that.

Thank you all for your comments. I will keep you posted.

Ferd said...

I agree with Gail, too. This is a difficult problem even for professionals. It is probably appropriate to involve the Adult Protection Agency, as she is not making safe decisions for herself.
How terrible for you, Pam. I share in the general heartache for you. :-(

Gail said...

PAM0 then cll Mental Health Services and NAMI, look up NAMI, it is a national org. for mental health issues, and most of their services are free. NAMI ,k?

love u

sarah said...

Hi's hard to watch someone you love in terrible pain. I think maybe Gail is right...your sister can't reach out to get the help she needs so getting the help to reach out to her may be good. Praying for Candy and for you to know how to help her.

Finding Pam said...

Gail, thanks for the information. I talked with Candy last night about her living situation. I ask her what could I do to help her? She was reluctant to ask for help since the last time I helped her.

She knows her life is intolerable right now. She is getting back into therapy. I will check out NAMI and do all that I can for her.

Love you too.

Sarah, part of the problem is that my sister worked in the mental health field for years. It is hard for her to get help when she knows all of the professionals.

I appreciate your prayers for us both.

Akelamalu said...

How worrying for you all. I too think your sister needs professional help. I will keep Candy in my prayers and send Reiki.

Finding Pam said...

Akelamula, Many thanks for the Reiki and prayers. Candy has a long history of problems. The problem is she knows as much as the professionals.

We may have to go out of town to find her help.

Just Be Real said...

Dearest Pam, I am so very sorry for the suffering of your dear sister and how you too are suffering. IN prayer with others here for a resolution.

Xmichra said...

I think what you are doing, is about all you can do. Love her, and provide support to her in a way that allows her to pick herslf up and not put you down. The onus is not on you to correct this, and I know somewhere in your mind you feel compelled to just "fix it". But you know in your heart that people, all people, need to want the change that can help them heal.

I know that you won't give up on your sister, you aren't that kind of person. But don't beat yourself up if she doesn't take the initiative after you have tried to help her either. i know so many who do this, and it consumes them.

You have worked for the last year (or so) on yourself, your mental and physical health, and the well being of your family is important and apparent. make sure that though you are willing and able to help out, that you are not putting yourself out. ((hugs)) I only say this because I worry about you going in to deep... you are sometimes to generous with your self-sacrifice.

Chickie said...

I'm sorry that Candy is going through this as well as you. I hope she's able to get the help she needs. I know she can be such a lively person!

Finding Pam said...

Xmichra, I think you really understand me so well. I appreciate you thoughts and your concern for my own well being.

I did research some information for her and gave her the numbers to call. She did make a new appointment with a different therapist and I take that as a step forward to her wanting to get well.

Candy is suppose to come over to Texas tomorrow. We will see.

Hugs to you as well my smart little friend.

Chickie, Candy can indeed be quite lively. I need your address for a gift for your sweet little baby. I forgot the due date.

She Writes said...

Try to help if you can. If something happens you will not forgive yourself if you didn't try. But who knows if you can? I will be thinking of you two!

Finding Pam said...

Amy, you are right in that if I don't do anything I would never forgive myself. Thank you for the prayers and thoughts.

Dawn (Twisted Sister) said...

Looks like you've received some great advice here Pam. Love and Prayers to you and your sister...

Debra said...

Hoarding is a very complex problem. To take her "things" away suddenly, even if she agreed, could lead to an even deeper depression with possible suicidal ideation. If she would agree to see a good psych doctor or counselor perhaps that could be a start.

Sending love, hugs and prayers.