• Emma Buryd

I Was So Mad At My Sister That I Almost Let Her Die

We’re all one battle away from losing.

Although I am the oldest, I never felt like the “big brother.” Maybe because my sister was always very mature, tough and she never needed anyone. Most of the time people believed that I was the little brother.

She has always been determined, organized and she knows where she wants to go and how to do it.

Me, on the other hand… not so much.

She’s an explorer, I’m a wanderer.

Perhaps that image that we all built around her was the one that made us not see her problems.

“She’s fine. She always gets back on her feet.”

Six years ago, things started to change. My sister was admitted to the college of her dreams, although no one doubted for a second that she would make it.

She left home. It seemed to be the beginning of the rest of her life, the way college usually makes us feel.

She was only there for a year. She came home, stopped going to her classes. It seemed like she didn’t care anymore. Mom and Dad were shocked, 12 months earlier, her little explorer spent days without sleep studying for admission, and now she doesn’t even want to go to class.

A late rebel phase, they called it.

The bomb dropped when she said she wanted to drop out. Not only that, she wanted to leave the country.

We all thought she was bluffing, and she really never had much support from us. We thought it was just an impulsive idea, and she would soon be back in her classes.

I told you that my sister is determined, right?

Single-handedly she dropped out of college, did her paperwork, raised the money, and went to London. She said goodbye like it was a week-long trip. I was so upset with her.

For many months, I didn’t talk to her. I didn’t want to know how she was doing or how much she was enjoying living in another country. She seemed like a totally different person. She talked about things that she hadn’t before, she went out a lot more and had new friends very different from the ones she would have here.

3 years passed.

We didn’t know much about her. Mom and she talked all the time, but no one knew the details of her life.

We FaceTimed sometimes, you might call it brother instinct, but I could feel that she wasn’t quite right. She never went back to school and never kept the same job for more than two months, so unlikely to her. She was Employee of the Month in every summer job she took.

It was then that she told us that she would be coming home. “For some weeks”, she said. Her return was very different from her departure. We threw her a little welcome party. She kept talking about England in her subtle stupid new British accent.

No one knew exactly what her plans were, but Mom and Dad were happy to have her back. Nobody asked many questions. Eventually, we realized the obvious, she was depressed, that’s why she came back.

She preferred to be unemployed, homeless, and depressed with her family rather than alone.

Mom convinced her to start seeing a therapist. After several sessions, she began to see a psychiatrist. Every two weeks, we had to go to refill an orange bottle with a prescription pill.

I stayed away from all that. I felt that I should focus on my classes since I was the son who stayed at home and didn’t drop out of college.

Although no one was talking to me and I was playing dumb, I knew exactly what was going on. My sister was being medicated.

Sadly, Mom and Dad weren’t ready to deal with it, although I don’t think anyone is. My sister started going out with new people, partying all the time, and drinking too much. Over time we began to notice that many pills were missing, more than prescribed. She was mixing.

I was able to see my sister in a downward spiral. What did I do? I was at home as little as possible. I couldn’t face that. I couldn’t see my sister take her own life little by little.

We knew she was abusing. We knew she was drinking. But the more we confronted her, the more she moved away from us. I was full of anger. I felt like I hated her. It infuriated me that she put Mom through it.

A rehab center wasn’t an option, or at least it never seemed like it.

One day she took a handful of pills. Luckily Dad was home and took her to the clinic. For the first time, we were happy that she failed something that she tried.

We hid all the pills.

She gradually began to spend more time at home, she stopped going to parties and drinking. She continued to go to sessions with her therapist. Today she is back in school and even started her own business.

I cannot say that I was of great help in her recovery. I was there with her, but I didn’t do enough. I was upset with her. I came to think that if she died at least everything would end. We have never talked about this after so many years. I have never known how to start.

I hope reading this is a good start.

I love you, little sister.

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