My seventeen (almost eighteen this month) year old little sister has started self-harming (cutting) herself. We have a very open relationship and I asked her directly about it given hints she was dropping. We talk at leats several tinmes a week but she is on the east coast and I am on the west. She is still living with my parents and youngest sister...she had been mildly depressed for a little while due to some relationship issues, and then she got a new boyfriend who cheated on her and she started cutting at that time...about six weeks ago. Depression and mental illness are rampant in my family. As a teenager I became suicidal...this was partly probably biochemistry and partly the home environment...my mother is quite unstable and somewhat emotionally abusive. She has never sought help...this affects my sister and affected me a lot. I am 6 years older than my sister and I ahve always taken care of her. But, there have been times I've had to withdraw a bit because she has become overly dependent on me and I was getting worn out. ...I've had to gently ask that she start to make her own decisions...actually with my whole family I have a pattern of doing things FOR them and being asked for advice and supportI shouldn't have had to give from the time I was a young teenager....anyway, I contacted a teacher at her highschool that helped me through MY rough time as a teen and she spoke with my sister (my sister gave me permission to do this) but it's a small school and town and the counsellors are nto very helpful. She trusts me not to tell my parents who would likely escalate the situation...if she was in immediate danegr I would tell them...though this is kind of borderline.
She ahs gotten a counsellor's number from a friend (my idea) btu hasn't phoned. I feel...nervous...I've been struggling with ppd and ptsd type stuff since my 10 mo dd was born myself so I am not in the best place to offer advice...also, when I became suicidal...my parents didn;t react well and also just swept it under the rug...my dad is in denial it happened and they contnue to view me as the "perfect" "responsible" daughter that is part of the pressure that caused that depression....I feel like this *could* be an opportunity for my family to heal...but, I am hesitant to get more involevd than I have already, my sister will be at university next year (and may be staying with me over the summer) and needs to begin to learn to access help, IMO. i am always there for her...what else can I do? Is *just listening* sometimes empowering the behavior? For her specifically, she does say and do a lot very dramatically..partly i think her inability to cope with stress (it really Is that big to her), partly becxause she's a teenager, partly because she IS a dramatic person.
I am worried this will escalate. She said she feels anxious most of the time. I really feel she needs professional help. WWYD?? Ppl who have been cutters or in a similar position as me I'd love to hera your feedback.