New here and about to have a nervous breakdown (again).


I guess this is just a vent. I feel like I'm spinning a downward spiral alone and at the end lies a padded room.

I'm 43. I've been a single mom for 16 years. My daughter just completed her first year of college. Finally some time to spend on me, right? Wrong. I work full time in the medical field. My mom (who is single) had cancer, then a brain injury and I cared for her for 6 years before it became too much and she moved to a nursing home.

My dad is remarried. His wife has cerebral palsy (it only affects her legs , not her brain) and is in a wheelchair. My dad ALSO had a head injury 5 years ago and was subsequently diagnosed with dementia, then Alzheimer's (among other health issues).

I have a brother out of state. No other siblings or help in town to help me care for THREE parents in THREE different locations with multiple health issues.

My dad (who lived at his home with my stepmom) is currently being bounced around from hospital to nursing home to (currently) ...psych ward.

My problem is my stepmom. She is NEEDY (emotional, physically and mentally DRAINING the sanity out of me). Cannot drive. Is jealous of my relationship with my dad. Doesn't want me involved in any decision making. Doesn't want me visiting my own dad without her. Doesn't want to talk about future plans (I don't even know if he has a will, burial plot, means to pay for it), moving to a better suited living situation, or anything to help make things easier on them (and me). She's been terrible about managing money, has REALLY let the house go (think filthy hoarder), And didn't care for my dad very well when he was home. He currently has a MASSIVE bed sore to the bone because she let him sit in his own urine without a shower for days.

She DOES However, want to call me at all hours freaking out about things, drive to get her stupid items (super glue was the last request), take her dog to the vet, take out her trash, explain to her how to adjust the thermostat, drive her to get cigarettes, drive her to visit my dad....etc etc etc. these are no easy trips, since she needs physical help and I have to load/unload a wheelchair as well.

I'm expected to answer her medical questions, when she doesn't want me to talk to doctors. That leaves me with 1/3 of information, second hand from her in a non-sensical way. She doesn't know what follow-up questions to ask doctors, even if I write them down. She lacks common sense, which is not from her disability. I am her 'back up plan' when she can't do things, yet she won't accept outside help, or the fact she and him need to be placed somewhere with full time help.

I could go on and on. But, the short version is- I'm burned out. I'm exhausted. I'm frustrated. I'm angry. I'm scared of losing my dad.

And, I feel TERRIBLE & guilty that I have some awful thoughts that won't go away.

This is affecting my relationship, my job, my hobbies, my demeanor.

I need a friend who understands.

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We ALL understand. And we know YOU will need to change things because none of the three parents you care for will.

You have a full time job in the medical field. That's demanding (I'm a nurse, so I get it.) That's 8 hours a day. Commuting may be another 1-1/2 hours. Showering, cooking, eating, dishes...another 2 hours. Sleeping (hopefully 8 hours). That adds up to 19-1/2 hours and leaves 4-1/2 "free" hours a day. It sounds like you are sacrificing more than that doing all this caregiving.

You are SEEING the signs of stress and the effects it's having on your life. So, you know what you have to do.....back off WHERE YOU CAN. Everyone has given great answers on suggestions for "helps" for Step-Mom.
YOU are going to need help getting over the GUILT of cutting her loose and having her depend (much more) on government resources. But it's you or her. WHO shall it be? What good will you be to all of them if you have collapsed or stroked out?

She can't tell you that you can't see your dad. He is an adult and has the right to see whomever he wants. I agree to get on the HIPPA list to have his docs share info with you. Do NOT LET her manipulate you. She obviously is NOT ABLE to care for your dad. If she's confined to a w/c, then she can't be giving care. Your dad will not be able to go back home if he can't do his own care. It is inexcusable to have a bedsore go to the bone.

You are going to need to set up a schedule for YOUR benefit. Pick a day (I guess a precious day off) that you can help out all 3. Do NOT do any errands on any other day.

If you're in the medical field, then you understand the effects of stress on the body. If you can't set boundaries because you feel too "mean" then lie to them if you have to. Make up anything but DO NOT go anywhere unless it's an emergency-a REAL emergency. If you can't even do that, I would suggest a therapist to help you sort out your priorities.

Do you want your daughter to be motherless? You have got to cut down the amount of help you are giving or your child won't have a mom. There........if that doesn't give you a backbone to set priorities, nothing will. Look at it as you are securing your future as a grandmother.

Good luck.

Um, Pepsee, Isthisreallyreal shared my idea. When someone posts on this site, they do want advice whether they say it or not. They want some sort of reaction anyway. It’s very difficult for those of us who care, to read a post like that and not respond especially if we’ve been there. I’ve cared for in-laws, Mom and Hubby at one time plus being a babysitting grandma to two children with special needs so I do understand this poster.

If a poster doesn't want a reaction, they’ll vent to a journal and put it away in a desk or drawer. By our reaction, we are telling this poster we are “a friend who ”understands”. When the poster who says they are on the verge of a breakdown, suicide, violence toward others, etc. and we respond, it is very worrisome to those of us who care to understand the total silence that follows.

You could contest your stepmother's POA pretty easily. I assume an ambulance transported your father to the hospital from his urine-soaked bed? Two witnesses to your stepmother's inability to care for your father and hoarding disorder. Just threaten her; at the very least she'll give you unrestricted access. In San Francisco, on Saturday mornings lawyers speak with people for free at our main library; you might want to check out what sort of pro bono programs your city has...

I'm right there with you. Are you sure she doesn't have brain issues? I definately understand. I'm feeling the same way having to deal with my mom's constant, persistant need for this or that. Some of which are legitimate needs but she doesn't seem to posess the ability to wait for anything and everything seems to be an emergency for her.

Umm, no ahmijoy she never asked for advice. First sentence .....
*I guess this is just a vent.*
Last sentence.......
*I just need a friend who understands.*

Yes. Another one who asked for our advice and then shot down everything we said. 🙄

I think DogRescuer has left the building.

Dads wife has no children or family? I agree, us softharded people don't know how to say no and then blow up when we get overwhelmed. I set boundries with my Mom when she stopped driving. TG we lived in the same town around a BIG block from each other. Took me five minutes to get to her house. Walgreens was right between us so could pick up her meds "when I was out". I made no special trips unless it was something she needed right away. We picked one day a week, convenient for me, to do grocery shopping, banking etc. We do BK on Friday and she went with us. She still had a Church life and friends who gave her rides. I usualky went with her on Sunday because out of 4 children I was the only one who attended Church. I can't do needy and will back away from anyone who starts showing signs of it. I will help but don't like being "expected" to help

I am assuming you had no real relationship with this women so don't consider her a "Mom". Other than being Dads wife, you owe her nothing.
Being in the Medical field do you wear scrubs? Wear them to Dads facility. I found when my daughter came to Moms facility in her scrubs the nurses told her everything. In NJ having Cerebral Palsy can get you services with the Dept of Disabilities. I am starting my journey with them with my nephew. I was told they will be with him the rest of his life and thru all the stages. They can set him up with transportation, place to live, and help to become independent. There must be CP organization. Call Office of Aging, county Disability Dept. To find out what services they can offer her. Once you get a list of names and phone numbers give them to her and say you can no longer deal with her expecting to do for her. You have a home, job and daughter. You need time for your mother and father. She needs to start relying on someone else. But, start setting boundries while doing the research. Tell her there will no longer be phone calls at all times of the day. (I have my cell phone set that only my contacts ring thru. All others go to my voicemail) Explain you have a very stressful job that you need "me" time when you r home. Tell her to pick a day for shopping. This means she will do her banking and get her cigs to last her the whole week. No more running her around for this and that. So she needs a list. I bought Mom a white board. When she thought of something she wrote it done. Don't allow her to hold Dad for ransome. My nephew started a Mobile Vet business. See if a Vet in the area offers this service. Appts should be made at your convenience if possible. Office of Aging may have a bus service she can use relieving you of the duty. I think you have enough on your shoulders without a woman who doesn't appreciate what you do for her.

Hello DogRescuer,
It is 3 AM and I am wide awake. Why? Because my roommate for 9 years--my Mom, was always up and about at 3 AM. Even though she is in a nursing home now, I still wake up at 3 AM. Habits are hard to break.

One of the problems with online chat groups or forums, is that the "Personal Touch" is missing. I cannot take you for Starbucks coffee or for Ice Cream or to a fast food restaurant (or ANY place) where the two of us can just sit and talk, or I can sit and listen. The ability to look at another person's facial expressions and body language is not available. All we have are letters put together into words. And unfortunately, very few of us are talented enough to be able to express our emotions or feelings or thoughts like poets or musicians or writers of books/greeting cards. And there are only so many ways that a person can say "I care" over the internet before it begins to sound like a "tired old record". So we do what we can and that is offer advice and suggestions.

If I copied a saying or poem from a greeting card , it would violate copy write laws. And I (and other people) haven't figured out how to add an eCard or even funny images to our postings yet to truly show how much we care.

We are ALL your friends and we care a great deal about you. We realize that you have an unique and difficult situation and that you need to express yourself. But how can we express ourselves to you?? We give voice to our concerns about your situation and offer suggestions. I know that the suggestions may sound like we are criticizing you, but we are not. Because we are "fixers", we want to help you because we care for you and are your friends.

Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8" RSV states that there is "a time for everything":
"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace."

The NIV Bible's explanation of Ecclesiastes 3:1-22 is "the Teacher shows that we are subject to times and changes over which we have little or no control, and contrasts this state with God's eternity and sovereignty."

"The Lord bless you and keep you: The Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you: The Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace." Numbers 6:24-26 RSV

I vote for contacting APS. I don't think your dad should be at the mercy of stepmom's "care" again.

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