I am a 24 year old only child who just recently graduated with my bachelors degree. I had originally planned on taking just 6 months to rest after going through four years of rigorous course work and to study for graduate school exams. In November, My father fell a few times and was sent out to the hospital. Upon his discharge he was sent to a care facility and then a week later back in the hospital with gastro-intestinal issues. He spent two months there during the winter and two months in short term care(STC) in the spring. My father has MS and due to the 2 month stay in the Hospital he lost a lot of muscle mass and didn't rehab well in STC. We have had home PT through home care come in and work with him and he's getting better but he still needs someone to be primary care giver essentially. My mother is the only one who works and needs to keep her job for insurance and rent and other bills. Lately he's become more verbally abusive towards both of us (mostly myself) and I cannot take it anymore. I have become bitter and angry towards him and others and I can't control it. I feel trapped at home and I feel guilty for wanting to apply to jobs or grad schools outside of my state in my field because there's no one else to take care of him. It has come to the point where I'm pretty sure I'm depressed and I don't know what else I can do. He can be left for an hour or so but that's it. I've tried getting out to the library and other local spots close to my house but I can't spend much time there before I have to go back. My mom is supportive of me and she does stand up for me but I've never been good at talking about this with her because I don't want to cause her more stress. She has enough on her plate and I don't want to weigh it down more. I feel like I owe it to my mom for everything she's helped me with throughout my undergrad because she has been the primary support for the household since my dad's MS diagnosis in 2009. I just want to take my life off pause or at least get a part time job so I can make some money and start saving up.

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CWillie, great insight. My father also has MS and he has been a quadreplegic for almost 20 years. I've helped take care of him since I was 12. He has been to almost every continent, traveled the world, did so much with his life and now I am his slave and have to live his life. Urine, feces, diaper changes, dirty laundry, smells, no freedom, etc. My advice to this young man is to run away and don't get trapped. If you think you are depressed now, just know the rabbit hole goes way deeper.
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I wrote a long rambling post but erased it. The bottom line is that your father will need care for years, and although you are a loving child it is not your place to put on a superhero cape and come to the rescue. Sooner or later your parents - especially your mother - have some hard decisions to make about the future, and your presence is allowing them to squeeze their eyes shut tight and deny the need to make them. It is one thing for a loving child to step in temporarily, it is an unreasonable expectation that you put your life on hold indefinitely, and maintaining the status quo one day at a time without making firm alternate just plans leaves everyone in limbo. How long will you stay, one year? Two? A decade?
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Dear cloudedgrad,

I'm sorry to hear what you are going through. It is tough being a caregiver at such a young age. It is only normal to feel some resentment and bitterness when there is verbal abuse. I know your dad's escalating care is not easy on him either. He is probably very frustrated about his body. The meds could also be affecting him as well. He might also be scared about his own future and lashing out.

I know you feel trapped and alone and you don't want to burden your mom, who is also carrying a heavy load. Please know there is help. Geewiz made an excellent point about trying to access resources through the community and church and MS Society. Consider talking to your mom or a social worker and figure out what care options are available for your dad. Maybe its time for assisted living or a nursing home. Maybe more home care is possible.

I grew up feeling very responsible for caring for both my parents. In hindsight, I wish I had gotten more help. I just struggled along and feeling sad about my situation but never really doing anything about it.

I would strongly encourage you to get help for yourself through counselling or a support group and looking at other options for your dad's care with your mom's help.
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Have you or your Mom spoken with anyone at the MS organization/chapter near you?
(nationalmssociety dot org) I know that when I helped a friend who had Lou Gehrig's the local chapters REALLY helped --- they understood the issues for the patient as well as the family.
Since you are only 24, I am guessing your Dad is fairly young. And your Mom must be quite frazzled. Some random thoughts: If you are able to work in your community, would you be willing to dedicate a chunk of your earnings to pay for caregiving for your Dad? Do you belong to a house of worship that might have members willing to visit with your Dad while you pursue some free time? If he can be left for an hour while you are gone and then someone else comes in for an hour and then he is left for the next hour --- well that would give you a 3 hour break.
Can you work in the evenings while your Mom is home? Can you pursue your graduate degree with on-line and evening classes? I know this doesn't fulfill your desire to get away from it all but it may help put you in a better place. BUT I feel it is most important for you to do a few things --- Understand the options (speak with the MS chapter). Ask them for guidance ---where to get financial help, caregiving help etc.. Seek counseling for yourself. And do you have a good grasp on your Dad's prognosis? That might give your plans some guidance.
Leaving home helps you but it will leave them in a bad situation unless you can identify other resources. MS is an expensive illness due to caregiving.
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