My sister shares her struggles on social media but not with me. How can I help her? | Leading questions

Prolonged suffering can train us to stop hoping for better, writes advice columnist Eleanor Gordon-Smith. It’s important to understand what is making hope hard

My younger sister frequently uses social media to share her struggles with depression, her loneliness, her intensive drinking and her general self-hatred. More than 20 years ago she was a drug addict. She got herself clean – an achievement requiring incredible resilience and courage – but she continues to measure her worth by how she supported her addiction (which also obviously required courage and resilience). She cannot seem to forgive herself and it is painful to watch. It’s like she is denying herself the right to be a whole person. And she is an amazing person.

When I read on her social media that she is miserable and doesn’t want to go on, I contact her – but she denies anything is wrong and, if I press, she becomes defensive. I am deeply worried about her but I cannot think of anything I can do that will actually help. What would you do in my situation?

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Category: Mental Health