Total Pageviews

Monday, 7 September 2009

Yesterday we sent to see my sister

Yesterday afternoon after work, Coran and I went to see my sister who has been in the local psychiatric hospital for the past month or so. I only found this out when I had a letter from her informing me of this - the hospital did not bother to let me know, even though I am her next of kin. When I telephoned I was told that they could not contact me as she had given them an incorrect telephone number, which sounds about right. In fact I thought she had lost our number, as I have not spoken to her since Christmas, when she told me to f*** off (she always did have a way with words). Anyway, yesterday we went to see her and it was not the best experience of my life.

It could have been a lot worse in many ways, but spending time with someone who talks incessantly about themselves and chain smokes for the entire one hour period of your visit is extremely tiring and mentally draining. To some extent her illness (she was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1988) encourages this, or to be more accurate, the mental health system encourages this, as it all about the needs of the client, and not the needs of their family.

In my sisters case she has had to pay for much of her care, due to an inheritance, and also her rent, receiving no help from the state at all other than incapacity benefit or whatever they call it these days (this is not means tested). It makes me cross when I think about how Coran and I have had to scrimp by for the past few years, with his pension and my own relatively low earnings (I am earning little more now than I was 20 years ago). Having said this, one should focus on what one does have rather than what one doesn't have, as what you focus on you attract. If my sister could understand this, she would be a lot better off.

Her money is of course all gone, frittered away on useless things she doesn't need and on hangers on who are only interested in her for what they can get. She is so desperate for affection that these people gravitate towards her like moths to a flame, and doesn't see their true motives until it is too late.

In terms of behaviour and lifestyle we are poles apart, but people do say that we look alike. I suppose if I had hair like rats tails, stopped wearing my glasses, stopped shaving my legs, smoked, and bought my clothes from jumble sales I might look her like. Thankfully I don't. Such is life.

She has always maintained that her behaviour is dictated by her illness, as if she were some sort of robot with no conscious control, but Coran and I disagree with this and feel that she knows exactly what she is doing and knows exactly how to wind people around her little finger to get what she wants. My brother for this part agrees with this analysis - others may disagree, but they don't know her as well as we do. This analysis is borne out by the fact that she remembered almost word for word our conversation at Christmas when we last spoke, and spent the best part of 15 minutes reminiscing on her words and saying how sorry she was. If she did not know what she was doing, she would unable to remember anything of this at all. Needless to say, I have learnt not to challenge her on such things, as it only results in more tears and more tantrums, and to be honest, it is not worth the grief.

She is back in my life because despite it all, I do her love her. She is the only sister I have, and I would feel terrible if we were to lose touch completely, or if something happened to her and I did not know. That said, I do not feel I can cope with seeing her more than once a month. Thankfully she has agreed (she suggested in fact) that we keep in touch by letter rather than phone, and seems to understand that Coran and I need space, away from her troubles and traumas, which in the scheme of life are minor anyway.

No comments:

Post a Comment