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Old 04-19-2019, 07:46 AM #1
JNNFE JNNFE is offline
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Default Just Wanting to Talk (This is LONG)

I am 61 years old, with two beautiful daughters, ages 30 and 22. I've been married for 30 years to my husband, who is 78. I have personally suffered from depression since I was a young woman, mostly managed successfully with medication. Both of my daughters have also been diagnosed with and are treated for, depression and anxiety. My older daughter has had the most difficult struggle and her illness has seriously affected her life and held her back. She has a college degree and is an extremely intelligent, kind, caring young woman. She has, however, made some bad choices in terms of choosing to drink and occasionally do drugs, and that has really impeded her ability to successfully manage her illness. She has also had difficulty finding a job in her area (art history) and holding on to the jobs she does find. She has mostly done part-time work since college, has been unable to support herself without our help, and this has also severely affected her depression and anxiety. Her self-esteem is below zero. A few months ago she decided to get her certification in order to go abroad and teach English, which she successfully did.



Unfortunately, about that time her poor choices led to her becoming pregnant and having an abortion (no judgements please), which continues to be something she is struggling with. She is not unhappy with her choice, however, she feels bad about herself for allowing a pregnancy to happen. My husband and I were supportive of her choice.



She recognized the lifestyle she was slipping into was destructive and she also wanted to save money so that she could go aboard to teach, so she has moved home with us in order to do that. She got a full-time job as a manager of a bakery nearby and mostly likes it and is doing well, until she isn't. A couple of times she's gone out and gotten drunk. I think when she does get drunk, she really gets drunk. My husband and I rarely drink, but we both had parents who were alcoholics, so this is a red flag to me. When she does this, she feels horrible and ashamed of herself. She recognizes what she's doing wrong, but then chooses to do it anyway. One of the reasons she came to our home to live for now is that she realized she wasn't doing what she needed to (she worked in restaurants, where apparently late night/early morning drinking is huge), but she also misses her friends there and she's lonely. She has one old friend out here, but I'm not sure she's the best person for her hang with when she's trying to avoid alcohol.


When she moved home, I gave her a gift of a few sessions with a trainer at my gym because she's put on a little weight and doesn't feel good about her appearance. She joined the gym and was working out regularly for a while, which helps her feel better, but her work hours have interrupted that a bit - also, she tends to sleep like she's a teenager. She "says" she's going to get back into working out a few times a week, but hasn't yet.



I guess right now I'm feeling terribly frustrated with her, as well as frightened for her future. She wants to change her appearance, but continues to not exercise (which also helps her mental health) and eat crap. She recognizes drinking is a bad thing for her, but continues to do it, even if it's an occasional beer. It's as if she knows what she's doing wrong and knows what she needs to do to change it, but just doesn't do it. I know depression plays a significant role in that, and I can relate because of my own experience, but I've rarely not been able to at least have that little spark of optimism that helps me pull through when I'm feeling bad. She doesn't seem to have that.



She is a wonderful person who is super smart, kind, funny and sweet. I love her to death but I don't want the rest of my life to be as a caretaker for my children. I want her to be able to be independent and functioning independently. Sometimes I think my life is going to be going back and forth between my two girls when they are going through difficulties. Last summer I spent weeks with my younger girl when she quit her meds and made her own bad choices that led to a serious relapse in her depression. She is now, thankfully, back on meds and seeing a therapist and doing well (knock wood).



My daughter saw a therapist for a while, which was helpful, and has tried to find one to see here, but her insurance makes it difficult and every therapist seems to be booked for months. We found a low-cost organization and have contacted some of their therapists to hopefully, get her in to see someone soon - she does want to begin therapy again. I have also encouraged her to reach out to a group to help her deal with the emotional aspects of post-abortion issues, but so far she hasn't done that.



The past few months have been hard for me - my father passed away in December and we spent months before his death back and forth to hospitals, my mother's health is failing, my husband is a good bit older than me and has his own health issues and I feel like I also have to be a caretaker to everyone. I wonder if I enable my children because I continue to provide financial support and always "come to the rescue" when something bad happens. I don't want this to be the rest of my life. I want to be able to do what I want to do without worrying about my kids. I don't want to spend all my money on them. But I worry what would happen if I didn't step in and help when things are bad for them.



I guess I'm a little at a loss as to how to continue with my older girl who keeps shooting herself in the foot, but is so remorseful and beats herself up so badly when she does fall. She told me that she feels pretty hopeless that she'll ever get a handle on her illness and be able to manage it and one day she is afraid she'll just end her own life. I feel like she's made it hard for her to even try to manage it when she's engaged in destructive behaviors most of the time she has been treated.



Thanks for listening - just need to vent, I guess.
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Old 04-19-2019, 08:46 AM #2
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Default Re: Just Wanting to Talk (This is LONG)

Wow. You have a lot on your plate and I'd like to share my experiences with you and offer some encouragement and possibly advice-if it's ok with you.
Quote:
Originally Posted by JNNFE View Post
She has a college degree and is an extremely intelligent, kind, caring young woman. She has, however, made some bad choices in terms of choosing to drink and occasionally do drugs, and that has really impeded her ability to successfully manage her illness. She has also had difficulty finding a job in her area (art history) and holding on to the jobs she does find. She has mostly done part-time work since college, has been unable to support herself without our help, and this has also severely affected her depression and anxiety. Her self-esteem is below zero. A few months ago she decided to get her certification in order to go abroad and teach English, which she successfully did.
I am sure you know this from experience but she is not alone in these struggles. So many women (men too) struggle with mental illness and normal responsibilities. Is she Bipolar I or II by chance? I can relate somethings with myself and some with my daughter.
{My daughter: Becca turned 19 in Feb. Last year when she turned 18 she literally ran away. She always thought she would all of a sudden be able to do what she wanted when she turned 18 but she was still in highschool. We were left a letter on the table and devastated. I have three kids and I am 44 and our family is extremely close. She has always been the one to push the limits and is BPII (like her mom) and unbeknownst to us had been dabbling in drugs and alcohol. I am an alcoholic in recovery so I cant believe I missed it. We figured out where she was staying- ( 21 year old party girls who's mom allowed drinking and drugs) she refused to come home and stopped going to school. *shortest version* Two days after she left we towed her car away cause we owned it, turned her phone off in 4 days began family therapy after two weeks and had to learn how not to be devastated and let the consequences come down. She showed up on Mothers day after having been homeless and addicted to many things. She went inpatient (resumed medication)-to florida for rehab- back to NJ for Sober living- moved to halfway house and now a recovery house. Has almost a year clean and a job and was allowed to graduate late. She has no desire for further schooling and we have had to help out a lot. She has had 8 jobs in a year and a half but the current one pays enough where I think she will stick it out because she can pay her bills.
Quote:
Unfortunately, about that time her poor choices led to her becoming pregnant and having an abortion (no judgements please), which continues to be something she is struggling with. She is not unhappy with her choice, however, she feels bad about herself for allowing a pregnancy to happen. My husband and I were supportive of her choice.
Good for you, amazing work on your part. Becca ended up with an STD due to her poor choices but we had put her on birth control in highschool (the implant) and that is the only reason she is not a mom now.
Quote:

She recognized the lifestyle she was slipping into was destructive and she also wanted to save money so that she could go aboard to teach, so she has moved home with us in order to do that. She got a full-time job as a manager of a bakery nearby and mostly likes it and is doing well, until she isn't. A couple of times she's gone out and gotten drunk. I think when she does get drunk, she really gets drunk. My husband and I rarely drink, but we both had parents who were alcoholics, so this is a red flag to me. When she does this, she feels horrible and ashamed of herself. She recognizes what she's doing wrong, but then chooses to do it anyway. One of the reasons she came to our home to live for now is that she realized she wasn't doing what she needed to (she worked in restaurants, where apparently late night/early morning drinking is huge), but she also misses her friends there and she's lonely. She has one old friend out here, but I'm not sure she's the best person for her hang with when she's trying to avoid alcohol.
Do you think she has an addiction? There is problem drinking and binge drinking/drug use and addiction. There is a fine line between the two and I feel very strongly that mental illness contributes to drug and alcohol abuse when untreated or unmedicated and even no matter what. (at least for us)
Quote:
When she moved home, I gave her a gift of a few sessions with a trainer at my gym because she's put on a little weight and doesn't feel good about her appearance. She joined the gym and was working out regularly for a while, which helps her feel better, but her work hours have interrupted that a bit - also, she tends to sleep like she's a teenager. She "says" she's going to get back into working out a few times a week, but hasn't yet.
We are not ready to have our Becca home. We could not handle it now and she really doesn't want to live with us. She gained independence good or bad and would not want to be accountable to parents. Self care like exercise is tough while doing well, and when you are not doing so well it is a huge chore. She may not have gotten the benefits of it enough to want to do it, or feel too bad about herself and not want to try.

Quote:
I guess right now I'm feeling terribly frustrated with her, as well as frightened for her future. She wants to change her appearance, but continues to not exercise (which also helps her mental health) and eat crap. She recognizes drinking is a bad thing for her, but continues to do it, even if it's an occasional beer. It's as if she knows what she's doing wrong and knows what she needs to do to change it, but just doesn't do it. I know depression plays a significant role in that, and I can relate because of my own experience, but I've rarely not been able to at least have that little spark of optimism that helps me pull through when I'm feeling bad. She doesn't seem to have that.
If she has a legit addiction and is not abstaining it is very hard to prioritize what is good for her. The "good" feelings of mood altering with substances outweigh the hard work required to exercise, eat right and sleep well.

Quote:
She is a wonderful person who is super smart, kind, funny and sweet. I love her to death but I don't want the rest of my life to be as a caretaker for my children. I want her to be able to be independent and functioning independently. Sometimes I think my life is going to be going back and forth between my two girls when they are going through difficulties. Last summer I spent weeks with my younger girl when she quit her meds and made her own bad choices that led to a serious relapse in her depression. She is now, thankfully, back on meds and seeing a therapist and doing well (knock wood).
I do not blame you and I feel the same way. If I were to offer advice on this, if you really do not want the job you have had dumped on you and want her to be independent- the way for her to be that way will be through natural consequences. As an alcoholic and mental illness sufferer I can tell you that change only happens through pain and consequence. Sometimes those consequences are severe ( jail, illness) sometimes not so severe( being forced to live on her own and support herself, working bad jobs, struggling to make it and doing without.) This is not about tough love I do not believe in forcing any sort of a bottom or forcing pain but natural consequences are a result of choices that she would make. Does she pay rent? Does she have her own car and pay for it? What would happen if she did have these responsibilities? Would you be willing to lay some of these things out for her and hold her to these expectations?


Quote:
My daughter saw a therapist for a while, which was helpful, and has tried to find one to see here, but her insurance makes it difficult and every therapist seems to be booked for months. We found a low-cost organization and have contacted some of their therapists to hopefully, get her in to see someone soon - she does want to begin therapy again. I have also encouraged her to reach out to a group to help her deal with the emotional aspects of post-abortion issues, but so far she hasn't done that.
I used a 12 step program for the alcoholism and am a proponent of self help and support groups for any sort of grief or recovery. It saved me for sure.

Quote:
The past few months have been hard for me - my father passed away in December and we spent months before his death back and forth to hospitals, my mother's health is failing, my husband is a good bit older than me and has his own health issues and I feel like I also have to be a caretaker to everyone. I wonder if I enable my children because I continue to provide financial support and always "come to the rescue" when something bad happens. I don't want this to be the rest of my life. I want to be able to do what I want to do without worrying about my kids. I don't want to spend all my money on them. But I worry what would happen if I didn't step in and help when things are bad for them.
You probably are enabling them and I say that with no judgement and no disrespect meant. I know that I am still trying not to let my heart stop when ever my Becca calls-fearing its always that she wants something or that something bad has happened. Plus that fear of her relapsing. I had to learn that she is in control-not me. She makes the choices-not me. She needs to deal with the consequences of her actions-not me. It is not my job to rescue her all the time or provide for her. Sure I may offer gas money here and there or take her to the grocery store and we have let her use the car to go to work-but that car would be taken right back if she made bad choices. It broke down recently and cost 700$ to fix and we worked out a payment schedule and she has to pay me every two weeks when she gets paid. We added her with when we got our taxes done and she got 120$ back but owed us 80- so we all agreed that it would come out of that refund. And I do not want to give the impression that any of this is easy- its so hard, and there are many nights that I cry for what could have been. She missed prom and graduation. Vacations, holidays. All her choice but they feel really sucky. It is so hard to make your child responsible and I think she played us a lot when she was a teen living here, we just didnt realize it- or maybe I was in denial. Cutting her off killed me but it forced her to learn things and she wants to take care of herself.


Quote:
I guess I'm a little at a loss as to how to continue with my older girl who keeps shooting herself in the foot, but is so remorseful and beats herself up so badly when she does fall. She told me that she feels pretty hopeless that she'll ever get a handle on her illness and be able to manage it and one day she is afraid she'll just end her own life. I feel like she's made it hard for her to even try to manage it when she's engaged in destructive behaviors most of the time she has been treated.
does she take medication? Therapy is a must and so is that support group. You may want to consider making that mandatory- however you can. She would need to understand that not going is not an option and not part of the deal.
I really hope I havent offended you or made it seem like I am all that and perfect. I just feel kindred with you and feel compelled to share what I have been through especially since it is so fresh with us and because we are currently dealing with it. She is moving to another house yet again and the move in cost is 200$- her choice, her financial responsibility. Holding her accountable is much harder than letting her do whatever she wants. Another thing I thought of was: You can tell her that drugs and alcohol are not ok under any circumstances-but you will need to have a consequence you can uphold for her to realize you mean business. I hope this helps. Blessings for you and your family.
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Old 04-19-2019, 09:20 AM #3
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Default Re: Just Wanting to Talk (This is LONG)

Thanks for your response. She has not been diagnosed with BiPolar. Her diagnosis has always been depression, anxiety and OCD. Her OCD became so bad at one point that it was debilitating and therapy helped her get that under control. She is going to do therapy, as long as she can find someone who will be able to see her. The insurance situation is absurd - the only therapists she can see are all booked for months. She was able to see one a couple of months ago because she had a cancellation, but can't even get an appointment with anyone there until literally June. We looked and found and organization that has therapists whose fee is about what an insurance co-pay would be, so she reached out to them and will hopefully be able to see someone soon. She does want to get back into therapy. The drinking - I don't know - she's not drinking every day and she'll sometimes go out and have a beer and will just have one - but if she knows she has a day off the next day and wants to go see her friends in the city - it's a sure bet she'll have way too much. She'll come home the next day, not having slept, and be a mess. I have a feeling her impulse control just goes away when she's had too much to drink. I don't know if this is an addiction, or just wanting to join in on the fun when everyone else is drinking. The fact that it goes to the point where she'll do irresponsible things is what bothers me the most. I grew up with alcoholic parents and it triggers every button I have. I have seen how hard it is to regain sobriety when it gets to the point of addiction and I don't want her to let it get that far.



We have not asked her to pay rent, as she's trying to save a few thousand dollars in order to be able to go abroad to teach. Unless she gets her mental health managed, however, that would probably be a disaster anyway. Her whole reason for moving back in with us was to save money and get herself to a healthier place. She recognizes what is wrong, she just doesn't seem to have the discipline to move forward with trying to correct it. And she IS doing better - however, I fear she'll end up losing her job because of it and then she's back to square one.



I have considered telling her that any drinking whatsoever is unacceptable as long as she's here. She feels embarrassed and ashamed of living at home and working in a bakery at her age, and constantly compares herself to other people. I keep telling her that people change courses in life at many ages, and lots of young adults have to go home for a while to get back on track. She's just not living the life she, or anyone, expected she would be at this age. To be honest, I think she is a little emotionally immature - she's sort of lived like she was still a college student for the past few years and now realizes that it was a mistake. For me, that would be the motivation to make changes. For her, I feel like I'm giving constant pep talks to try to get her moving on.



I appreciate your insight, it does help.
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