How My Sister’s Mental Health Crisis Became My Crisis | NYT Opinion

How much are you prepared to lose yourself in someone else’s pain?

In the Opinion video above, Kaitlin Prest, an audio artist and podcaster acclaimed for her intimate explorations of her own life, leads viewers into the depths of her intense and complicated relationship with her younger sister, Natalie.

Their bond, which the sisters also examined in a podcast series this year, is in many ways governed by Kaitlin’s emotional instability — a condition, she says in the video, in which “everything feels like an emergency.”

Using tag-team narration complemented by animation and an elaborate soundscape, the sisters open up about their relationship, and about how a diagnosis of mental illness for Kaitlin helped bring them closer together.

It’s a story that may feel familiar to anyone who has tried, at great personal sacrifice, to help a friend or relative endure a seemingly insurmountable emotional or physical struggle. How do you balance your love for and loyalty to that person against the need to take care of yourself? That question resonates at the heart of this video.

If you are having thoughts of suicide, call or text 988 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or go to for a list of additional resources.

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