I suffer from major depression, PTSD, and agoraphobia and I am caring for my parents.

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I live with my parents one of which is getting alzheimer's just like my grandmother so I know I am next.. She drinks and gets angry at me spontaniously and doesnt forget that but forgets she repeats herself. She has no problem talking to me about my illness but when I try and explain to her that I too feel helpless to help her as she is to help me she gets angry at me. I know that I have to be here for them to take care of them but I barely can care for myself and my brother and sister are four states away living their own lives. I sometimes feel so hopeless no hope to help myself or my parents. She is on meds to try and slow the progression of the disease but they arent working and i dont know of any other meds out there to suggest as I am not a doctor frustrated as everytime I start to feel ok they get angry with me and it makes me slip down again. I live with guilt for wanting to be on my own to have my own life that I know will never be mine. My life is not my own and never has been.

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Oops, Mishka again, posted too early. Anyway - just wanted to say you should not beat yourself up!! And that I wish you well. God bless!
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Hi brokenwillow. My heart hurts for you. It sounds like you are beating yourself up for having a mental illness and needing help from your parents. If you had had cancer and your parents helped you with that would you feel as guilty? Mental illness is just that -an illness. Not a choice. Not something you should feel guilty about or be made to feel guilty about ( your siblings). I should know -I have OCD. And panic attacks as well. I am on Paxil and that helps and take clonazapan for my panic attacks.
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(((((((brokenwillow))))))), I agree with jessie. There are options, and you may need help exploring them. Someone suggested a caregivers group. Since your mother drinks -have you thought of Alanon, You talk about guilt, and needing to return what your parents did for you, but that should not include accepting more abuse from your parents. You have nothing to feel guilty about in terms of wanting your own life. It is healthy and normal to want that, and to have it. It is not healthy to stay where you are being abused. Likely someone else can do a better job of looking after them. It is easy for your bro and sis, who are states away and living their own lives, to say that you owe your parents, but they are not willing to pitch in. it all sounds very dysfunctional, and i cannot see you getting better - if that is what you want to do, while you are in your present situation.
I would like to encourage you by telling you a little about myself. I was born with one hand to an alcoholic father, and a borderline personality disorder/narcissistic mother. My sis is probably worse than my mum and feels I should be doing more for my mum too, but she will not help. I have had various health issues, and still have some, for which there is no obvious treatment i.e. chronic fatigue/fibromyalgia, and have been on antidepressants. Thankfully I am OK ff them now, One thing that was obvious to me is that I would not get better as long as I had the stress of my mother's anger, and incessant need to attention, heaped on me, so I needed to protect myself from that. I think you need the same, and believe me, it is possible to do that. - not easy, but possible. No one can do it for you, though support from counsellors, groups like Alanon, and places like this are invaluable. My question to you is "Do you really want a life of your own?", because no one can claim it for you except you. We are here to support you if you do want it. Others here have gotten out of situations similar to yours.
More (((((((hugs)))))))) Joan
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BrokenWillow, it sounds like you are painting yourself into a corner with "yes, buts..." You are able to do many things, so let yourself do them. If you close off every exit available to you, you will stay in the corner. I have the feeling you are underestimating yourself and your ability to feel better. Caregiving, especially with depression, can do that to you. You have to get away from the "yes, buts..." and choose the direction you think will work for you.
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thankyou notwellmyself but as for my brother and sister they live five states away and are very in to themselves I had to find out that my brother is engaged to be married on facebook for the fourth time. My sister is to busy with her art work and festivals and says that because my parents have been here for me all this time it is my turn to return the favor. Of which I agree but I also long for independence but I know if I left I would live with so much guilt it would kill me.
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As part of illnesses I have, I went thru a period of panic attacks. Not finding the medicines acceptable for me in my situation (work & driving), I finally found a counselor who helped me learn to deal with them. The more of them I am able to surpress, the stronger I get. Don't give up on the meds. I too develop tolerances really easily. It just means you have to find a doctor that will help you cycle thru them. First and foremost, take care of yourself. Do not neglect your care. I caused permanent damage to the nerves in my feet because I thought I could not find time to go to the doctor. When my feet felt like they were on fire and I sat in bed crying, I found time to go to the doctor. You cannot take care of anyone else if you neglect your care.
Please contact a social worker. They can help you find assistance for both you and your loved ones. Finally, call your siblings and tell them they have to help. There is not any reason it has to all fall on your shoulders. They can come in for a weekend every other month or so to help. That will give you a short "take care of yourself" break. My sister works and lives 6 hours away. Her husband is not in great shape, but she manages to come over here about once a month just so I can sleep. A few weeks ago when I was watching my father's health fail while he was in the hospital, she & her husband drove over here for a few hours just to give me a hug & take my mother to get dinner. I call her almost every day to get a warm hello. There are ways your siblings can help from far away.
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I also feel what you are going through, as I have taken care of my sister, who has traumatic brain injury, for many years now. What I suggest, and what helped me, is locate your local Care Giver Alliance Agency and go to their support group meetings, or obtain a counselor there. It is very helpful. Of course, always see your doctor of your are not feeling well.
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I feel for you also and think you should find care for them. I have recently started with anxiety while driving and it makes me so angry! I think I am cracking up myself and although I try to hold it all in, giving up our lives for so long wears on us more that I ever thought. Good luck. I would also like to hear from anyone else who suffers from anxiety driving for help myself.
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My heart goes out to you, Broken. I too have emotional problems, largely due to abuse suffered from my father and brother. I would not be able to care for my elderly father even if he wanted me to because he is still abusive. You should not feel guilty for wanting out and should do what you need to to be free. On the other hand, even if individuals suffer from emotional problems, as long as they have not been found to be abusive, they should be allowed to care for a loved one if they want to. My mother, who I love dearly and get along with very well, was stuck in a nursing home at the orders of her abusive son and husband, even though I was more than willing and able to care for her. In fact, I did care for her at home after her stroke and was told by the Hospice social worker and DCF Investigater that I did a great job. But my father and brother still ordered her put in an institution out of spite (which I will not go into - suffice it to say I exposed them for the monsters they really are).
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BrokenWillow,
I really feel for you. I take care of a family member with severe Alzheimers too at home. The one thing I would personally recommend is getting help for yourself. You won't be able to help your parents in the best way you can unless you take care of yourself first and foremost. It can be a hard step to take, but believe me it is an absolutely necessary one. I had to seek help myself from the depression and overwhelming emotions I have been experiencing because of being a caregiver. I was actually embarrassed to have to go to mental health to get help because I figured I should be able to cope myself, but the sooner I actually admitted to myself that I couldn't do it alone and sought the help I really needed the sooner I started learning coping mechanisms that help me get through the tougher days. Have you tried writing in a journal as a way to release some of the stress inside? How about music or reading? I know it may not seem important, but you have to have an outlet for your feelings. Thankfully, you found this place to let it out and vent too. I know holding all that stress inside is very bad for you. I pray you get the help you need. Remember, you deserve to feel better too. God bless you for all you are doing to help your parents. We all know how hard it is to take care of those who need constant help.
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