Q: I've been caring for and living with my eldery mother since I got out of college. I can't get on with my life. I'm broke and depressed. I want my life back. Help!

A: Continuation of question: I'm newly 26, single, an only child and have been watching over my mom since January of '08. She's diabetic and due to complications with medicines she went into kidney and lung failure (considered a multi-organ failure patient). She was in 3 different hospitals around my area for close to 5 months.

We've been living together since after I got out of college. Broke college graduates need a little help sometimes. I had plans to move out and get my own place by 25. Obviously...that hasn't happened with all the medical issues. So now we're living together and I love my mom dearly...I just...I don't know how much more I can take without any support whats-so-ever. I really just have no clue what I'm doing.

Most times I feel like I'm drowning and people know but aren't throwing me a rope. Most of the people I thought were friends bailed at the first sign that my mom wouldn't be getting better in a week, so I've truly been doing this on my own. No friends. No family. Just typing this makes me feel like crying. I understand that there are people in this world living off of a $1 a day and that Im in a much better situation than them, but it doesn't make my situation any less than.

There are depression issues (both with my mother and myself - from this situation not a lifetime battle or anything). There are issues with her wanting to go back to work and me not knowing if she ever will (there's a deadline for that too...two more months and her job will officially let her go since it will have been a year since her last being there, so that = a TON of stress).

There is the HUGE issue of the fact that I'm 26 and feel 50. It's hard to be this young, with this much stress and pressure, living with my mom to help her with everything, no friends and definitely no love life. Half the time I feel as if my mom has given up on trying to get better. Her kidneys are doing well and her lungs are back in working order. She still has a trach in her throat and has no muscle in her body from being in a hospital bed for so long.

So to recap there are HUGE financial issues (don't know how I'm going to manage to pay any of the bills on top of my own bills and her pre-existing bills). I honestly don't know how I've lasted this long. There are EXTREME emotional issues (I find that I'm not the huggy person I used to be...besides other things and of course my mom has her own emotional stuff she's dealing with). Now things are also physical - meaning...I can't sleep, I'm overeating, my shoulders feel as if they're in a vice, etc. I'm just very lonely. Very sad. Very frustrated. Stressed. Scared. Etc. I'm no fun anymore. I don't have the money or the friends to go out and do fun things. I just want to be "me" again. I want my life back.

Please, please get yourself some help. There's a therapist in the seattle area that I can direct you to. Her Web site is www.therapyinseattle.com, so you may find her contact information there, as well. She may be able to help you. She's a caring person who has survived cancer and may have a way to help you for little or no charge (I don't know this).

But you need to get help for yourself. You can't do this at your age - shouldn't at any age. The therapist may be able to tell you who can help you free or for little charge, if she can't.

You also should talk with your local area agency on aging (for help with your mom). They can direct you to local resources. Your state human services can help direct you, as well. Find their Web site and you'll get phone numbers. You have an urgent situation and need guidance. Please take action.

Elder care author, columnist and speaker Carol Bradley Bursack is an AgingCare.com contributing editor and moderator of the AgingCare.com online caregiver support forums . Read her full biography