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Lost and don't know where to turn
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Ashley_T_ posted:
I'm just reaching out in the hopes of having someone to talk to. I do think that's what I need, but lately I don't seem to have anyone. I am 26 years old, married, and work a full-time job as a Receptionist. I did recently change jobs to help resolve some of my depression and anxiety issues, which it has, but now I seem to be in a rut.

Over the last month it has become more than apparent to me that I am putting myself last. Naturally, I am the giving person who never does anything for myself and because of that I feel like I don't know who I am. I often exclaim to my husband that I need to do something for myself but when asked 'what' all I can come up with is "I don't know". Over the last month I have started attending Zumba classes, which has been great and fun, but now it feels like other obligations are pulling me from that, hence this "revelation".

I recently assisted my long-lost brother with removing himself from the relationship he was in (that's why he disconnected from the family) because it was becoming abusive. Of course, this involved me making the hour long drive during my off hours a couple days a week until everything was finalized. I didn't mind doing it especially since that was his only means out, but after having the ex chase after my car during the last trip, my anxiety went through the roof.

Anyways, my brother is now home with my parents, which is the other contributing factor. My parents health has been deteriorating over the last couple of years, coincidentally around the same time that my last grandparent passed away. The latest news is my mother has some sort of blood disorder, although it cannot be investigated because she cannot afford the tests, which coincides with her sudden and unexplained low bone density, and my father is on the verge of becoming paralyzed and the doctors are unable to do anything about it.
Out of every person I have mentioned in this post, I am the only person who can drive and has a vehicle. Does anyone see where I am going?? So yes, I am at everyone's beck-and-call when they need something, regardless of me living in a different city then my family. The best way to describe it is that I feel like I'm constantly being pulled in different directions. It's ok that my husband doesn't drive since he works from home, but frankly I'm annoyed and want to sell my car just to make a statement - and I would be ok with that! Am I being irrational though?

I want to talk to friends about this but sadly, I don't have any. My only good girl-friend is my sister-in-law so that is somewhat awkward, even though I feel comfortable with her. I haven't been married 2 years, but the mother-in-law turned on me while I was planning the wedding - she told my then-fiance to leave me or the family would disown him (her point being "do you really want to have to put up with her health problems for the rest of your lives?!). It ended up being that I scrambled to find random people to come to our wedding and he has not spoken to any of his family since.
When it all went down, I threw in the towel and told him to leave if that was easier. I just did not want to be in the middle of it.
I haven't been the same since, clearly, and I am worried it has all distorted my image of everything. As of lately my husband has been constantly stressed/depressed and feels like he's stuck in his job (his reason being we would be in financial trouble if he leaves), which completely rubs off on me. We have discussed it to no end but the problem I find it that he shuts down and doesn't express any feelings. This makes me feel like running away.. Am I wrong?
Reply
 
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rohvannyn responded:
Sounds like you are in a tough spot. It can be really rough, being the only person with resources such as a car and wanting to help out. But you know you can't do it all, your depression is your body and mind warning you about that. You may wantn to check with your local community, or rather their local community, for resources and help. There are programs for adult respite care, as well as van services and ride share for people without transportation. Some you pay for, some you don't, but with gas the price that it is you might be surprised at the cost savings. Look online for adult caregiver resources. The more you help them, the more you will need support yourself. I've been a caregiver and I know it's about ten times as hard when family is involved.

My best to you. You are welcome here.
 
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itmatsb responded:
Sorry to hear about your situation. Women do have problems putting everyone before themselves. You're not alone with this one.
You do need to take care of yourself or you will be of no help to anyone, plus a big drain on your husband. He has stood by you against his family. That says a lot for him, don't you think? You should celebrate his devotion to you rather than "not being the same since". Your husband has no control over what his mother says, but he took control by choosing you. You don't say what health problems you have, unless it is your depression. That means that you need to set boundaries on what you do.

Men typically don't express feelings very easily as women do. But he has certainly made his feelings known about his job. What more do you want from him? His feelings are very painful and he has told you about them. Why do you say that him talking about quitting his job means financial trouble rubs off on you? Is that because you want to quit your job? Then you can tell him that, since he has said pretty much the same thing to you. Now are you sharing your feelings with him?

It sounds like you got burned out helping your brother way too much. But that is now done with and you feel good about doing it. You don't say why your brother can't work or drive or help his parents who he is living with. That would help things.

I think that you need to set boundaries on your obligations to your parents and brother. Perhaps you could go visit them just one day a week. Did you say it was an hour drive? Then take 4 to 5 hours out of your day to visit them 2 or 3 hours. Or make it once every 2 weeks or whatever you are comfortable with. Unless you have no feeling for your parents, they aren't going to live forever and you will probably feel terrible if you don't go to visit them at all. But that should still give you time for yourself.

Let me know where I am wrong on your situation, because I may be way off. Really let me know. I do feel for you and you do have options to help yourself. You take care. Sara
 
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Ashley_T_ replied to rohvannyn's response:
Thank you Rohvannyn.

I am sincerely hoping that all of this is just a result of my brain going crazy, but sometimes (of course) I have to wonder "why me?". It is very hard being in a caregiver position, like you said, and I feel for you too.

I have begun to start saying "no" but that is always followed by a guilt trip and "why not?"'s. I feel terrible but at the same time I know I won't hear anything again until the next time something is needed. Any recommendations on coping with this problem?
 
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Ashley_T_ replied to itmatsb's response:
Thanks itmatsb,

I do appreciate you taking the time here although I admit I wasn't sure what to make of your response.
For the sake of clarification though, I was given the initial depression diagnosis as a teenager, but also received the following diagnosis as an adult: dysthymia, GAD, social anxiety, and a couple other small personality "traits" like good ol' OCD. Dysthymia was a new term for me (I still just say Depression) but it followed after the fact that I had a couple of years with no "up".

We did recently have a chat about the whole family situation (since his mother's betrayal has left him with nothing but the occasional visit from his brother) and he's very stern on not caring about his mother. For me, I just wanted to make sure - it's not an easy thing for anyone to go through, no matter what the circumstances; this is what I was worried about.

Sorry I am being driven off track.
EMERGENCY:
So about an hour and a bit ago (I'm just about to finish my work day) my brother sent me a message asking for me to do that out of town drive for him after work TODAY! I recoiled and said I don't have the time today.... later in the week perhaps I can tolerate it. I left it alone.... so my father calls MY WORK!! My work number - of course, only because I am the receptionist - to ask to borrow my car while I am at work tomorrow so he can drive my brother. It is so he can pick up his tax money that was delivered by accident to the ex (here's why I feel obligated..), but here I am at work having it out on the phone with my Dad because he called for that. I got edgy and expressed that I don't appreciate being asked at the last minute to make out of town trips, and that "where's my life" in this, but guilty me agreed.
Input? I'm still steaming... need to leave work now.
 
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Ashley_T_ replied to Ashley_T_'s response:
UPDATE:

I was actually attempting to reply to this post yesterday when this situation occured. Can I get some serious opinions on this behaviour? I am so livid right now...

While I understand the out-of-town trip was needed for my brother so that he could get his money, I really don't see how that's MY problem. He texted me at 3:30 yesterday afternoon saying "urgent, I need a ride right after you're done work". No questions on if I am busy or able or willing, just "I need" (this is typically how I am spoken to). My response was that I have my own other obligations - I don't feel I need to explain so I simply said I am busy for the next couple of days and it would just have to wait. Of course, the response was "why so long? can't you just let Dad borrow the car?". I left it unanswered, but within half an hour my Dad messaged me asking to borrow the car. I ignored it (I'm at work!).


Then the work phone rings, I answer as normal - completely oblivious... did the initial "how are you?" then all I hear is "Can I borrow your car tomorrow?".

Is it just me or was this not inappropriate? My own husband hasn't even called me at work, and it's not as if I willingly gave my parents my work phone # either. Of course, calling me at work really put me on the spot so I agreed, even while yelling at him. Of course, it's like nothing ever happened when they got into the car this morning. I dropped a line to my Mother saying I was hurt and unhappy about it all but her only response was "oh ok then".

???

Am I out of line here? I'm beyond p'd right now but they all act like they did nothing wrong!
 
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Ashley_T_ replied to Ashley_T_'s response:
UPDATE:

I was actually attempting to reply to this post yesterday when this situation occured. Can I get some serious opinions on this behaviour? I am so livid right now...

While I understand the out-of-town trip was needed for my brother so that he could get his money, I really don't see how that's MY problem. He texted me at 3:30 yesterday afternoon saying "urgent, I need a ride right after you're done work". No questions on if I am busy or able or willing, just "I need" (this is typically how I am spoken to). My response was that I have my own other obligations - I don't feel I need to explain so I simply said I am busy for the next couple of days and it would just have to wait. Of course, the response was "why so long? can't you just let Dad borrow the car?". I left it unanswered, but within half an hour my Dad messaged me asking to borrow the car. I ignored it (I'm at work!).


Then the work phone rings, I answer as normal - completely oblivious... did the initial "how are you?" then all I hear is "Can I borrow your car tomorrow?".

Is it just me or was this not inappropriate? My own husband hasn't even called me at work, and it's not as if I willingly gave my parents my work phone # either. Of course, calling me at work really put me on the spot so I agreed, even while yelling at him. Of course, it's like nothing ever happened when they got into the car this morning. I dropped a line to my Mother saying I was hurt and unhappy about it all but her only response was "oh ok then".

???

Am I out of line here? I'm beyond p'd right now but they all act like they did nothing wrong!
 
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rohvannyn replied to Ashley_T_'s response:
I can certainly understand being irritated by this behavior. They don't see what's wrong with it because they get away with it. It sounds like they have a bad case of "me first." It also sounds like they don't understand that calling you at work could, in fact, jeapordize your job.

If I were feeling mean I might be tempted to say to them "look, it's plain by your actions that you don't care about my feelings or needs, but consider that if I lose my job because of you, you won't have anyone to sponge off of or give you rides."

That would probably be excessively rude. Do they know how much this upsets you? Have you ever tried to sit them down and let them know that this is not acceptable? hope you can find a good way to set limits so that everyone can get something of what they need. Best of luck to you.
 
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Ashley_T_ replied to rohvannyn's response:
Hi Rohvannyn,

Well I kept to myself all day until my father picked me up from work with my car. He noticed I was grumpy so I told him that I basically feel like their only hope and I cannot say no to them because they won't take it. My Dad initially gave me a confused look, but then I asked "so am I allowed to say no? What would happen if I did?". For me, saying this much was new/big, but that immediately put my father in defensive mode and he asked "what, you going to become one of those useless family members that backstab?".

I don't know what to do, he said what he needed to to make it right in the meantime, but I have not spoke to anyone since... I am hoping this has shed light on this issue as I am certain he went home and discussed our conversation with everyone else...
 
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rohvannyn replied to Ashley_T_'s response:
I'm glad you spoke up a little bit, there. It sounds like he's threatened and it also sounds like he's being REALLY selfish. I think an important question to ask yourself, or maybe them, is "why does this have to be a binary solution? Why does it have to be black and white?" Advocating for yourself does not equal backstabbing, as you know.

Is there a way of making them understand, in a gentle but direct manner, that this is jeapordizing your ability to help them because it is driving you toward a breakdown? This doesn't have to be an all or nothing thing, but they are shooting themselve in the foot by being this demanding.

Directness can be scary but it is needed here. You don't have to be cruel to be direct. You deserve thanks for what you have done, but more importantly, you deserve some kind of respect. Just because you are a human being! And because they love you. The message needs to be get through to them that you love them, and want to help them of course, but at the same time you need their help so you can continue to be there for them.


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