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Re: Depression?Autism?Anxiety Disorder?Hypothalumus?

Posted By Kathleen on April 30, 1998 at 03:33:41:

In Reply to: Depression?Autism?Anxiety Disorder?Hypothalumus? posted by Janet on April 13, 1998 at 17:35:19:

My sister has an odd set of symptoms I have searched far and wide to diagnose.  I wonder if someone can help me help her...  I would say she is slightly depressed, but that is not the source of the problem.  She has very low self esteem.  She worries about everything.  From her 2 year old falling down to the neighbor not taking care of their animals properly, to the 16 year old neighbor dropping out of school.  Her senses are increased.  What I mean by this is, she claims to have twice as many taste buds as everyone else.  Example, her first taste of an Altoid breath mint almost sent her into hysterics.  Her nickname as a child was always "eagle eyes" and that has not diminished.  She can hear her name mentioned a room away.  Things bother her that normal people shrug off.  My Dad recently landscaped the yard...  My sister freaked out when she found out he paid $55 for a bush.  Hello!  They can afford it.  She does not think it proper for her husband to go anywhere without her or have any outside interests.  She is constantly complaining about aches & pains.  I was around her for 3 hours Easter Sunday & I heard complaints of headaches, ankle pain, shin splints and nausea.  It is like everything she experiences is amplified 100 times.  I know she can't help it.  She does not fit the definition of a depressed person although I think she may be slightly depressed,after living with the above for many years.  She is 30.  She was always a very hard worker, helping my father out on the 20 acres growing up, but does not seek employment fear of failure.  She had a few friends in high school but has become exclusive with her husband and family members only.  She is very controlling of her 2 year old & her husband.  I think putting them down, the 2 people closest to her, makes her feel better about herself.  Her 2 year old is always on the verge of cracking her head open or falling off the swing or getting bit by the dog or, or, or...  She does not seem to comprehend that a 2 year old will fall down & will not die if she does fall down.  All conversations have a negative conotation.  She thinks moving to a different city or having more money will solve her problems, but will not go get a job to help resolve either of the above.  She is not lazy by any means.  I know & everyone in the family knows there are psychological or chemical problems.  My mother is up nights worried about her & my sister has refused to see doctors, probably due to the fact that she was diagnosed by an M.D., after a 15 minute visit, with depression.  The symptoms are basically an amplification of all senses, low self esteem, anxiety, hypersensitivity, irritibility.  My father has displayed some of the above symptoms his whole life but not to the degree she has.  I was diagnosed ADD, whether it was an accurate diagnosis or relevant to this discussion I don't know.  Without help, she will end up divorced, possibly lose custody of her child and to my concern effect the health of my mom.  My husband, My brother & his wife, to name a few do not want to be around her due to the negativity surrounding all conversations, but to appease & help mom we tolerate her but end up frustrated and not wanting to return for visits.  I just want to say to her, What makes your problems so much worse than everyone else's, but I don't 'cause I know she can't help it!  I told my Mom something needed to be done, she needs to agree to treatment, or maybe we need to commit her for 72 hours to get treatment started.  That would break my mother's heart.  Nothing we say helps... Please help.    
It is interesting that you mention autism in your subject line.  Does your sister have problems interacting socially?  Does she not make eye contact with others?  You might want to read some info about Asperger syndrome, a mild form of autism.  I have Asperger syndrome, and I can identify with a lot of what you write about your sister, but I don't know nearly enough about her to say whether or not that may be what is going on.  It is common for people with Asperger syndrome to have sensory sensitivities, and that, in combination with the intelligence and overly analytical/logical thinking that goes along with AS, also combined with being lost socially, does contribute to some degree of anxiety and depression, though those are not the primary problem.  Asperger syndrome is neurological, not psychological, but learning about it and how to compensate for the differences helps a lot.  Reading about it may give you some idea whether that might be a possibility.  I do know that forcing treatment on someone, particularly without a correct diagnosis, can be much more harmful than helpful.  
Some info on Asperger syndrome:
Online Asperger Syndrome Information and Support
My own description of Asperger syndrome:
As I've said, I don't know whether that might be what is going on with her, but I can certainly identify with a lot of what you have written.  
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