Therapy was exactly what I needed, and I found an amazing therapist who worked with me and helped me let go of a lot of anger. I came to a stage where I could see clearly how much my family tried to adapt and help both me and my sister. And that they didn't sacrifice me at the altar of my sister (which is what I used to think back then). This is not to say I let go of all the grief that had built up, but I made progress.
I used to be very bitter when everyone used to talk to their siblings, especially when they had a good bond. I had tried many, many times to forge a good bond with my sister. I used to feel like I have all these memories of the two of us…but what do I do with them now? In fact only three years ago did I truly let go of a lot of feelings of disappointment and bitterness. Because, for all my sister's troubles, she never judged me! I’ve come to realize that she accepted me with all my faults. And now, she does come around when she wants—but on her own terms, I don't need to force her. My parents, who were once so lost about what to do, are now able to look back at good memories they shared with my sister without pain and appreciate them for their beauty. My aunt and grandma helped me get to the point where I was able to let go, really let go, because while I know the past was painful I don't feel the pain anymore.
The one thing I wish people would take out of my life is to not be afraid. And, to be open about any mental health issues! If people didn't gossip and burn a scarlet letter on anyone with any form of mental illness, I firmly believe my sister would be in much better shape than she is today. I liken it often to proper sex education. It helps prevent a world of issues and can prevent deaths. So does proper education on mental illness. The only difference is while there is a lot of misinformation on the former, there is at least some form of dialogue on it. More people need to at least bring up the topic of mental illness.
The writer's sibling was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age of 18 but had had severe manic episodes as early as 14 years. Much later the young woman described that she could sense changes even earlier. It took several years of misinformation (arrogance, defiance) and several hidden attempts at suicide before she was formally diagnosed. Therapy and medication followed...with a lot of support from family. The young woman has periods of stability interspersed with depression and mania. The two siblings do stay connected even thourgh these periods.