I'm out of my depth - a wake-up call. (long)

Sorry mum. :frowning:

I realise I’m way too much of a newbie to be posting a “my life is shit” thread in the Pit, but right now I have to get this out of my system.

Firstly, my mum’s a clinical depressive. She’s been diagnosed with endogenous (sp?) depression, which as far as I can figure out means there’s actually something chemically wrong and it’s not all in my head. My youngest sister, SmileyBrat, is a 9-year-old ADHD kid (unmedicated, last thing we want is a zombie kid), which makes her a bit of a handful. My other sister, SunnyBrat (15), is also a little on the irrational and emotionally unstable side (she thinks that life’s problems can be solved by throwing trashcans at people), but has never been diagnosed with anything… mainly 'cause she’d never go to a psych willingly. And as for me, I’m probably a nicely fucked-up li’l guy myself, at least if the gene pool’s any indication.

Anywho… mother dearest has had a few problems over the last few years, one year she had a gambling problem and lost the money she had saved up for Christmas. Lately though, the only thing that seems to have been a problem for her is alcohol. Now, this isn’t a new thing, but recently she came into a fair bit of money from a deceased aunt. We’re a fairly poor family in the outer western suburbs of lovely Sydney, Australia, which as any Sydneyite can tell you isn’t a very nice place to live. What I’m trying to say is that generally mum drinks to excess, but because of her somewhat limited income (limited to what the government will pay her for two children under 18) she can’t afford to do it often. However, as I’ve said she inherited a few K off a relative a month or two ago… and since then, I don’t think she’s been sober for three straight days. Looking back over what I’ve written, I’ve focused on the wrong stuff, but I need to get this written or I’ll never get it out. Mum’s drinking problems, combined with her depression, make for a very turbulent and unstable household. Since this has been protracted this time, it’s had a worse effect than usual. SmileyBrat basically never gets attention except when she’s yelled at, I get blamed for every damn problem in the household, and SunnyBrat - the only one who has some kind of working relationship with mum - is getting sent to the school counsellor with frightening regularity.

I know I’m just dumping on you guys, but I seriously get lost when dealing with big things like this. I know I’ve only painted half the picture, but I’m a uni student with finals coming up in a few weeks and I’m having enough trouble dealing with shit at home without those as well. I’m getting behind in uni work and the fact that I don’t want to be home doesn’t make it easy for me to catch up.

Anyway, what I need to know is, where would other people put their priorities? The way I see it, the problems break down to:

  • my schoolwork
  • the welfare of my sisters
  • getting some kind of help for my mum
  • my own welfare

My question is, what order should I be putting these in? Mum’s really getting to the stage where I’m worried she might hurt herself (unintentionally), but my sisters are getting a fucked-up view of what’s normal in their formative years between living in this neighbourhood and being in this family, but trying to deal with the other shit drains me and takes time that desperately needs to be put into uni. I know I’m being selfish here but I can’t deal with all of this by myself. I know everyone at uni has their own families, with their own problems, and there’s people going through much worse… I’m not smart enough or strong enough to. :frowning:

DJ - sorry for the self-indulgent, self-pitying whining.

Here’s what I think your priorities should be, and why. But this is only one person’s opinion and should not be viewed as a mandate:

  1. Your own welfare - because unless YOUR needs are taken care you can’t take care of anyone else.

  2. Your sisters - because they’re human beings and, being not quite adult, they are less able to care for themselves than a grown up

  3. Your schoolwork - because that’s your ticket to a better life

  4. Your mother - because this will be the hardest project of all and where you are least likely to succeed. I’m sorry, that’s a hard statement, but given how many years her situation has gone on changing things will be a real bugger.

Now, a couple other points you can use or not as you see fit:

If SmilelyBrat actually DOES have ADHD then she should be medicated. A properly medicated ADHD person is NOT a zombie. It really does help. Read some of the threads by ADHD suffers on these boards for first-person accounts. But are you sure that’s what she’s suffering from, and she’s not acting out for other reasons?

SunnyBrat, and to some degree SmileyBrat, are having their problems due to their environment, over which you and they have little control. SunnyBrat is also dealing with adolescence, which is sure to destablize anyone. If her tirades get her what she wants then she will continue to perform them. You need to break the cycle.

If you mom truly has endogenous depression she should try one of the many new drugs for this disease - and it IS a disease. IF that is her problem one of the new meds may help her. Apparently, she is already self-medicating but alcohol is a lousy antidepressent. IF that is her problem, and if medication helps, then she will be a much improved human being and may find it possible to stop drinking.

DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor or a trained psychologist. This is only an opinion, and not even an official one. You may use or not use my suggestions as you see fit.

DJ I’d suggest Al-Anon. For you. It’ll help you find out what your priorities and your boundaries should be. Remember, you didn’t cause your mom’s problems, you can’t control them, you can’t cure them.

And depression is damned tough to treat in someone who’s actively drinking and/or using drugs.

Good luck.


Hey there-
I have to second the Al-Anon suggestion, for both you and your siblings. It really helps you learn to deal with your mother’s disease. I know how horribly overwhelmed you feel right now, and I hope with all my heart things get better for you and your family.

For those who are not aware, DarkJudicatoris my son.

He’s correct in saying that he’s only given half of the story - he’s also correct in saying that I’m a chronic depressive who has been drinking way too much lately.

I don’t intend to share the intimate details of all that’s happened in the last year (and stuff has happened to all of us) in the Pit - this messageboard and #straightdope have pretty much been my lifeline throughout what has been a difficult year.

I have no intention whatsoever of putting down my child in my own defence - I simply cannot give my son what he needs right now; not because he’s a bad kid, but because I’m just in this totally fucked head-space.

The truth is that none of us in this family want to be home very often right now. It’s a hideously unpleasant place for most of us to be most of the time.

Having said that, I’m curious about why my son chose to post this on SDMB as opposed to the very many other messageboards available to him and of which he’s a member.

One of the major issues which exists in our household is that of “space”. One of my major grievances is that I’m 41 years old and I still don’t have any space. Smileybrat (who is about to turn 10) sleeps in my bed because Sunnybrat is such a bitch at times that she will physically attack her sister for “breathing too loud”. Unfortunately, my son posting his complaint on this particular messageboard only leaves me feeling that one of the last remaining “spaces” I had available to me has now been violated.

I know that in general, only the OP can ask for a thread to be closed. However, this is an entirely personal issue and I would ask that the mods please close this thread in the same way they have closed threads between warring partners who’ve chosen to use SDMB as their battleground.

We could ALL do with your support right now, and I’m not going to get the shits with anyone offering my son or my daughters support vis email, but I believe that letting our family conflicts stand as a Pit thread and only make the problems we are facing worse.