Stuck in solitude

When I see someone who’s upset, I have an overwhelming urge to help. It’s usually easy to be there for someone by serving as a shoulder to cry on, but sometimes it’s more complicated. Right now, I feel useless. She needs me, and I feel completely useless.

My sister and I have never gotten along well. We used to fight all the time until we stopped talking altogether. She’s now a sophomore in high school and things have been changing. She’s changed. She’s always had a bad temper and gets frustrated easily, but for the last several months she’s isolated herself. Right after she gets home from school, she hides in her bedroom. I didn’t think much of it at first; I figured she needed time to relax. I was like that in high school, too.

Then my parents told me about incidences where she became dizzy and fainted. This happened during church and choir concerts. It got so bad that she dropped out of choir. She talked to the school’s psychologist who diagnosed her with anxiety. A couple months have gone by now since she quit choir and things have gotten better … until tonight.

I received a text from mom saying my sister had a bad night at church and they were dropping her off at home. To emphasize the seriousness, my dad told me to talk to her. After hesitation, I decided to see what was going on. I walked into her room and saw her perched on the edge of her bed with her head in her hands. When she declined to talk to me, I insisted. She attempted to fight back tears. I sat next to her and rubbed her back as she sobbed.

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I’d never seen anyone so defenseless and miserable. I tried to find out what had happened to upset her so much. She kept repeating the same thing, “I hate feeling this way.” She said she always felt anxious and that it wasn’t just large crowds that triggered it. “Why do you think I’m always in my room?” Clearly, even at home, the most familiar people brought forth anxiety.

You have no idea how desperately I want to help her. I know anxiety is a common problem for a lot of people. I just hate seeing my own sister so lonely and scared. My heart breaks whenever I see anyone I care about looking vulnerable. She’s my sister – my only sister – and I need her to be okay.

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