Sister - Annabelle’s story
Since her early twenties, Donna had suffered from a number of disparate ailments, and it was only when she got her diagnosis that we realised they were all symptoms of the same condition.
Her condition has recently progressed and it is very difficult to adjust to the changes that she has been experiencing. I find it hard to know how best to react to some of the problems, in a way that is helpful. I find my inability to “help” particularly trying, as I myself am a member of the health profession (I’m a psychiatrist).
Trying to be supportive – without undermining the independence of someone you care about – can be a great challenge, particularly with the nature of the physical limitations that MD can present. I know that becoming increasingly dependent is a source of great frustration for Donna.
As a close family member, it can sometimes be hard to provide the emotional support that you know is crucial, because the day-to-day stressors that come with daily life, are unsympathetic to having a condition that affects someone in so many different ways.
Despite this, my sister’s indomitable spirit and dark sense of humour has saved both of us throughout this time. Although her condition has limited her spontaneity to some degree, we still travel worldwide, attend film festivals and premieres, and generally have lots of adventures.
Don’t assume they can’t do it
Annabelle: It’s difficult to know how much to help. Sometimes it’s best to step back, and wait to be asked, rather than assuming they can’t do what they’re trying to do.