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Old 12-24-2007, 07:50 AM   #1
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Unhappy Family Crisis! 21 years too old. Holiday stress [bookish Long]

After a tough thanksgiving with my dad having a heart attack at 50yrs old, and spending a week taking care of my mother up in the mountains until he was well enough to go home. My school suffered and I continued to work full time in the local ER. Then I helped myself. I had got myself on track again, eating only when hungry, exercising because it felt good, and I lost 5lbs back in one week. I felt the best I had all year, and for a first... it was during the holidays! Then the crisis came the Friday before last.. After too much to drink, my mother (who has real unresolved health problems), attacked my father [blood, bruises) and was sent to jail for the weekend. That court deemed that my father a victim of batter-husband-syndrome, and placed a restraining order against my mother. I was called, as her oldest daughter to come get her and before I knew it she was released into my CUSTODY until her court date in MARCH! My father with his failing health is in depression without her, he calls me everyday crying about how much he loves and needs her.

My mother hasn't always had obvious issues like she does now, she had a psychotic break down LAST Christmas that resulted in her being hospitalized and my going to court to testify that she needed help. I was one of seven witnesses. Shortly after her sister was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and the OTHER sister moved in to be a full time caregiver. It's been hard. Once in my house, my mother rearranged my kitchen, she riffles through my personal belongings, and accuses me of spying on her for the government. She's invaded my space and I can't turn her away because I love her and I know she isn't always in control. When I got up last night for work, the house was pitch dark and my cats were running around my feet, I got some water and returned to the living room. It was so dark I couldn't see, I felt for a light and she was in a chair starring at me.

Having just paid for a full quarter of school, money is so tight that food isn't always available, and I have to scrape for extra hours to get by. I can't get it through to her that she can't leave the heat on in every room all the time, and that she needs to have more than two articles in the washer to run a large washing cycle. It's not okay to take a bath in the morning, a shower in the afternoon, and a bath before bed. I can't afford the electricity bill. And then there is the eating. My girlfriend and I are accustomed to getting by day to day on her tips.. we bought 50 dollars worth of groceries; we all know that that isn't a lot. When I came home yesterday my mom stated, laughing, that she was so depressed and board that she ate 3 quarters of a previously untouched loaf of bread. On top of that, she is weight obsessed and reminds me everyday that I am obese.

I want to take care of my mother; I want to be a good daughter. When I was growing up we had a terrible relationship that never got repaired. I feel guilty and bad all the time. I feel bad for the stress this puts on my girlfriend of 4 years, she has bore this really hard year better than I and she still has lots of love to give- even if her temper is sorely frayed. Me? I've been so stressed I can't sleep (between trying to get a hold of attorneys during the holidays, visiting my dying aunt, caring for my mother, helping my father (listening to him cry, taking him to the ER when he thought he was having another heart attack due to stress and still working at the same time as bouncing to his bed side).

Working in the hospital I leave one crazy environment and go home to another. There is no rest or respite. I went home early on Wednesday because I almost made a terrible error cleaning a facial laceration because I was so distracted. I was shaking. I want to cry and I can't. Then when I got home I just shut off and felt so far away from everything. I am just feeling crazy myself. It's just so much all at one time... and I feel so old and devoid of joy. My anxiety is high and my chest hurts all the time, that feeling like you are about to start sobbing, that terribly achy sinking feeling. I don't know how to help myself, I don't know how to keep my temper and patience with her, I just don't know. To say the least, my eating has gone to **** and I haven't had time to exercise (she won't leave the house). To get extra hours I worked this schedule in a 30 hour period: 7pm-9pm (went home) 11pm-5:45am (went home to sleep) 11am-4pm (tried to sleep, but mom kept coming in to check on us) 11pm-7:30am (on my lunch bread right now). And then she calls me crying that she is lonely and that I am just trying to get away from her, but really I just want to be able to feed us and pay for school.

This will also be my first Christmas where it is impossible to have dinner with my parents, because they can't be in the same place and live 1.4hrs apart. So... I am trying to take a little initiative to help... I am going to call the employee-counseling program this morning and see if a counselor will help. I needed somewhere to get this all out... I'm just so lost and now I can't seem to muster the care to keep up with weight loss and health that makes me feel good. I am about to break.

I am not losing weight for I have no intention of going out and finding it again.
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Old 12-24-2007, 08:41 AM   #2
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My heart goes out to you. I wish I could help. You definetely need help, this load is way to big for you to carry alone.Are there any other relatives? Do you have brothers or sisters ? How about your mom, does she have brothers or sisters, that could help?And your dad, does he have any relatives, brothers or sisters ? Somebody needs to step up to the plate and give you a helping hand. Does your mother have a doctor that you could get advice from? How about a pastor. anyone that can advise you ? You also need some help in the house with your mom. I know you are aware of all this, I am just hoping to give you some idea of where you can go next, you will buckle under this if you don't get relief. Praying for you.
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Old 12-24-2007, 08:56 AM   #3
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You work in an ER, right? So you must be able to ask people there in the hospital what your options are for your mother's care. I have to tell you that it may be dangerous for her to be alone in your house in the condition she's in. She sounds like she is having another psychotic episode. Of course, I am not a doctor or a psychiatrist, so I am just guessing.

There are probably crisis facilities that you can look into that include inpatient treatment, even if short term. She needs to be evaluated by a medical professional and probably ought to be on medication of some kind.

I urge you to go beyond trying to handle this yourself. It is way too much for anyone to deal with--I know this from experience. You cannot help her in the way she needs to be helped.

Please get her into a safe place as soon as you can. She will not appreciate your efforts, but you may save her and yourself some real heartbreak.

P.S. It's important to tell any facility to which she goes that she drinks excessively--so that they can be prepared to treat her for withdrawal.

"My religion is kindness." --His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Last edited by JayEll; 12-24-2007 at 09:53 AM.
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Old 12-24-2007, 10:55 AM   #4
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I am sending you a HUGE ! Please know that you are in my thoughts.

You have already received some great advice, so I just wanted you to know that I read your post and I have so much sympathy for you. I, too, went through a long court battle involving a parent that resulted in jail time, and it has been tough on everyone in my family. Both of my parents are still alive, but I may as well be an orphan. I understand, to some extent, what you are going through.

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Old 12-24-2007, 01:05 PM   #5
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I have been thru the parent having a heart attack part...but I can't even fathom the stress the rest of it is putting on you.

Can your Dad maybe help financially? It wouldn't help for the crazy atmosphere...but it would be one less thing to worry about.
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Old 12-24-2007, 04:23 PM   #6
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i think i'm in agreement with Jayll. I think its time to see what the state can do for you. you mother sounds like she needs help. And if you continue doing what you are doing, you will soon need serious help too. I recommend talking to the case worker dealing with her court case. I understand she can't be near your dad....but maybe they have a place for her short term. Is there any other family that could help you too? But it really sounds like you mom needs some serious help. Hugs for you. Look for the help...you dfeinately need it. Good luck.

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Old 12-26-2007, 02:09 PM   #7
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I see from your profile, you're in Washington State. Here's a link to that state's Mental Health Division's website. If you haven't already contacted them, perhaps they might be able to offer some type of assistance/guidance?


And here are crisis lines by county in WA state:

Is there a social worker you can talk to either through work or the court? I agree that this is too much for any one person to handle alone. Let us know how you're doing.

Weight loss is since May 2004

Last edited by nylisa; 12-26-2007 at 02:10 PM.
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Old 12-26-2007, 08:42 PM   #8
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Wow, what I nightmare. I don't have any good advice, except to try to tap in to any resources you can find to a) help care for your mother, and b) help you deal with the incredible stress that you're under. Good luck to you.
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