More threads by heartsfire

I am new to the forum and thought I would take a second to introduce myself. I am 35 years old and have lived with the mental problems of family members all my life.

In my teens, my mother was diagnosed with Paranoid Schizophrenia and manic depression. She also has multiple personalities. One minute she can be a scared child and the next an old lady wise beyond her years. She was hospitalized for several months after attempting suicide and was put on medication which she refuses to take. When she was diagnosed she was living in a big city and the only family around was my dad, my brother and myself. When she moved to small town America and was around other relatives, she stopped taking medication and seeing a psychiatrist because she did not want her family to know. She didn’t want to be labeled as “crazy”.

For a while, I became my mother’s mother. I had to care for her as one would a child. She slipped into a helpless childlike stage and it was all I could do to help her without losing my own mind. Therapy and medications did help her to become an active member of society. Now she just has what I call “episodes”. I eventually had to move far away from her because during those episodes we could not be in the same house. We have had physical confrontations when together for very long and she blames me for her disease. She makes me feel as if all the problems in her life are my fault because I was born.

I can talk to her on the phone but I have trained myself to listen for tell tale signs of her personality switches. She will begin crying for no reason and her delusions have made her believe (during an episode) that my daughter who is 10 is really her child and that I have kidnapped her.

My father has a heart condition and tries not to allow her to get to him. He basically ignores her or will slip her some medication when she isn’t paying attention. It about kills me that I can not go and visit my father because of the anxiety I feel in the house. I know that right around any give corner, at any given moment, she will “snap” and life will become unbearable.

I have a brother who is 6 years younger than myself. He had entered the military when he was in his late teens but shortly after graduating boot camp, he tried to kill himself and was released from the military with a medical discharge. He was officially diagnosed as being a manic depressive. Since that time, he has spiraled out of control and into drugs and alcohol. I have reached out to him so many times only to be slapped in the face and told he doesn’t have a problem. His philosophy, “I get high, I feel good, what’s the problem?”. He rarely speaks to my mother and for many years had a strained relationship with my father. Lately he seems to have wised up and has gotten a job (he was homeless for about 3 years) and an apartment and told me on the phone that he has decided that it was time to change his life around. We shall see how this goes.

I have always tried to keep the peace in the family and have always been there when needed. I just find it easier not to be around them. I try not to even think about them as this causes my anxiety levels to skyrocket and causes problems in my own life. I have noticed that my own depression is hormonal. I seem to be fine for 3 weeks out of a month but for 1 week people don’t want to be around me much. I have been told it isn’t very bad but I fear that I too have the genetic makeup of my family and that I could be prone to the same illnesses that strike them.

I have a 10 year old daughter and up until 3 years ago it was only me and her. She was recently diagnosed with a learning disorder which brings down her self esteem. We have gotten her treatment and special classes and is doing much better in school. However, she has abandonment issues. She has since she was very little. She craves attention and that includes negative attention as well. I am afraid that this will lead to more severe problems as she gets older. It has been quite an adjustment for her having a new daddy. In the beginning, she fought him on everything. Her thoughts were if I can make mom and dad fight then he will leave and it will be just mommy and me again. He took her aside and explained that he wasn’t leaving but he also wasn’t going to tolerate her attitude anymore. She has learned to trust him more but still feels it better to ignore him than to give in and allow herself to accept what is going on around her.

Well that’s me in a nutshell (no pun intended).
At this time I am not being treated for depression. Knowing what I do about the disease and knowing how it affects people, you would think that I would seek help. I guess since I have remained the "strong" one all my life, I feel it is hard to give in and accept that I may have a problem. It also has quite a bit to do with having the money to pay for the medication. I know these are just excuses and I think I am more afraid of accepting that I have a problem.

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
If it's hormonally related and there are no contraindications in your medical history or status, one of the birth control pills might be helpful. Alternatively, generic prozac (fluoxetine) may work for you and it's relatively inexpensive.
Thanks for the advice. Yes I have discussed this with my fiance. He reiterates that it is hormonal and he has grown to know that once a month he needs to move to the garage. He says (from his point of view) that it isn't so much depression as it is mood swings. I am a smoker and 35 so birth control is not an option for me health wise. I have been contemplating therapy just to have someone to talk to and possible skipping any type of medication. Right now I am just exhausted mentally from dealing with my mother on the phone earlier who was having an episode. It was sparked by the tone of voice my fiance used with her. I finally just had to hang up and have a good cry. It's not easy being me but I deal with it.

Thanks again for the advice. It's good to know someone out there cares.
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