My sister lived in Australia, and our family in Delhi. She was depressed, and I’m happy to share our story as I know how helpful it would have been to know what to do in such a situation.
It took me some time to realize that something was wrong with my sister emotionally since I was in India and she was in Melbourne.
She had just finished University there. We assumed that the first couple of months would be additionally hard because she was completely on her own without the structure that academics allow and the added pressure of finding a job.
We spoke everyday. She was happy ordinarily but then she started telling us how she was having trouble getting out of bed in the morning and in general was completely uninterested in facing the day. That is when I realized that maybe it’s more than just her circumstances. There was a lot of bursting into tears for no reason (on both sides) and slowly she started opening up about how she was also dealing with self confidence and body image issues.
All this came as a huge surprise to us – she had always been outgoing and extremely charismatic. In our conversations I started seeing how how her body image issues were much more deep rooted.
I did suggest that she meet up with a psychiatrist at this point but we couldn’t afford one.
So we took things into our own hands. My parents and I made sure that she knew she was loved and we made a conscious effort to be supportive of her.
Essentially we were just there to hear her out and tell her about the amazing things we saw in her which she couldn’t see in herself anymore. I don’t know if what we said was useful or nice to hear for her. We were all scared.
Slowly, things started getting better.
This process is lengthy and she is facing each day as it comes. She still has bad days but is much more positive and hopeful about the future. Now I’ve decided to study there and go live with her. Let’s see how that works out.