I apologize if this is not the right place or even website for such a question, but I'm at the end of my rope stressing out over this and decided to give this site a shot.
I'm 23 and earned my M.Ed last year. I've recently begun the process of applying to positions at universities, which has been an exciting prospect to think I'll finally put my skills to use.
But then there's the family side. My family essentially consists of me, my uncle, my mother, and my grandfather. My uncle and I live in a big city about 4-5 hours from my mom and grandpa, who live in a small town. My mother contracted a disease five years ago that has her in chronic pain all the time, which has worn her down mentally and physically and pretty much driven away all of her friends because of her inability to spend time with them without pain. In addition, my grandmother passed a few years ago, leaving my mother caring for my grandpa. All things considered, he's in good health, but looking after him can be a monumental task when any little problem he encounters then becomes my mother's problem. He doesn't really know how to care for himself since it was always done by my grandma, so my mom has taken on the task of preparing meals for him (so she cooks twice, because he eats much earlier than she does), cleaning his house, and running his errands. All in all, that doesn't sound too bad. But with my mother's chronic pain, she's hanging by a thread.
So I feel stuck. I know there's not proper equivalence to caring for a child and caring for a parent/grandparent, but I feel a sense of duty to move back home and help. But with no cure existing for my mother's disease and my grandfather still looking like he's got several years left (thankfully), I have no way of knowing how long I'd be down there. I wouldn't be able to actively pursue my career as a campus organizer at colleges, I'd be hours away from the nearest city, and I'd have virtually no friends, as they all moved away from the small town as well. And it truly terrifies me to think my life will just be staying in that town and working an office job at some company. My uncle is unable to help because of his recurrence of melanoma, so he has to stay in the city for treatments. I've never been stressed or depressed before this past year, but with this decision having been on the horizon, I've truly experienced both, to the point I've even had meltdowns involving manic actions.
I know everyone's situation is ultimately up their individual feelings and circumstances, but I'm just looking for any advice or thoughts at all. I was supposed to see a therapist, but they never got back in touch with me. And I have to make this decision soon. I want to help my family, who I have a good relationship with aside from the fact that my grandfather can be really arrogant and sarcastic. But I also want to get my own life moving.
My mother I know is too guilt-ridden to ask me to move down to help, but if it's my own choice, she'd probably be grateful. All I would be doing at home would be fairly minor things, such as occupying my grandpa to give my mother a break, shopping for groceries, and preparing a few meals. And while I know even those things would be an immense help, I can't help but weigh that against the value of starting a career and a life.