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Old 09-12-2008, 10:02 AM   #1
Tinker'n'Fun
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Need help understanding Mental Illness

I hate to admit that I don't understand all the information that I have been reading...

My sister (38) was diagnosed with depression and possibly bi-polar (she refuses to talk to the family about it). This was around 15 years ago. Last year she had a break-down I believe and has been off work for over a year now. Her benefits are running out and she was denied SSD. She see's a counselor and a psychiatrist. I can't give more information because she refuses to tell us. Well we are at a wall right now. She does not have enough money to pay for her car and her apartment and last night she checked herself into the hospital. Without sounding too uncompassionate, I really don't know if she is that ill. Her Dr's are working with her and she states she doesn't want to go back to work ever. My mother is considering paying all her bills for her, thus depleting any $ she will have for future years (she is retired).

I am saddened by these recent developments, but I am also angry that she expects my mother to take over all these payments with even an explanation. She told my mother she wasn't welcome at the hospital and to leave her alone. Can anyone out there help me to understand all of this. I want to give her the benefit of the doubt but I guess I am not ready to accept the truth. thanks for your help, Diane
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Old 09-12-2008, 11:34 AM   #2
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If she has documented depression, documented by doctors...does that mean she cannot work, cannot hold a job? I saw that she had a breakdown as well, and I am sure that this can all be documented... I am thinking out loud here why isn't she eligible for SSD. If doctors are working with her and she had a documented mental illness that prevents her from working, then she should appeal the SSD decision. The doctors should support this appeal with records saying that she cannot work....for whatever reasons.

This is the part where I do not understand... it would be ok for your Mom to support her with money that she has for her retirement, but not ok for your Mom to visit her in the hospital. Sorry, I do not think you can have it both ways.. Unless it is your Mom saying that she will help her financially....and your sister does not know? I am just trying to understand myself.

At any rate, hugs to you... you must be upset worrying about your Mom too.
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Old 09-12-2008, 12:01 PM   #3
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One thing I have learn from Many friends who apply for disability with MS 3/4's of the time they get denied the first time. have no idea why this is the way. But it does not mean she does not have serious issues. Just that governments seem to find anything to deny the first time. Alot have to fight to get this. Also having emotional disabilities is harder to get disability. But that does not make it any less dibilitating. People get it when you break a bone but can not understand mental disability.

Bi-polar is not an easy illness to live with or treat. I am sorry she is not more open with you. Because it does not help you to understand.

A person with true mental illness can not just decided to be happy or get it together. Alot of times the brain chemicals are not right causing many issues.

Hope this helps
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Old 09-12-2008, 03:04 PM   #4
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I also don't understand mental illness but I do know about prayer. I will keep all of you in my prayers. Hang in there!
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Old 09-12-2008, 06:53 PM   #5
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If she has documented depression, documented by doctors...does that mean she cannot work, cannot hold a job? I saw that she had a breakdown as well, and I am sure that this can all be documented... I am thinking out loud here why isn't she eligible for SSD. If doctors are working with her and she had a documented mental illness that prevents her from working, then she should appeal the SSD decision. The doctors should support this appeal with records saying that she cannot work....for whatever reasons.

This is the part where I do not understand... it would be ok for your Mom to support her with money that she has for her retirement, but not ok for your Mom to visit her in the hospital. Sorry, I do not think you can have it both ways.. Unless it is your Mom saying that she will help her financially....and your sister does not know? I am just trying to understand myself.

At any rate, hugs to you... you must be upset worrying about your Mom too.

This is why I am so confused, my sister is very insistant that my mom not visit her,and that my mom is NOT to offer any suggestions on anything (an example being trying to get an apartment with a lower rent), NO suggestions what so ever!! Claimed her counselor said this is why she rages, BUT she expects my mother to pay her bills til things get situated. My mom probably did offer (I wasn't there). If we leave the paperwork up to her it will never get done! SSD denied her and she is suppose to appeal. I am not sure if she did the paperwork or not. Her original paperwork was late and we had to force her to the house and fill it out. I understand she is sick. I love her and wish she would open up, but I don't think this will ever happen.

Sorry to rant so long, but I am frustrated. My mother called me every 30 minutes today. I went over 4 times to visit with her already. Its hard, I have a family and kids too. We are trying to get ready for our vacation and I feel like I am letting everyone down. I can't be everywhere all the time. I needed an outlet and this is it, so thanks to anyone who listened. Diane
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Old 09-12-2008, 08:03 PM   #6
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Diane.. I hear you and it does sound so frustrating..

You want to be helpful but at some point, they have to help themselves.. I would help my Mom if it were me.. I would tell your Mom what the therapist said to you.....seriously, she should know that your sister does not want her suggestions, whether they are right or not, it does not matter, she does not want the suggestions from your Mom..

I would do the very best I can to get that appeal filled out and filed. You know I have been told by many that SSD turns everyone down. When we filed for my DH......we never even got a letter saying he was accepted, they sent his first check. Granted he was close to the age to collect SS and also has a very bad cancer, but people did not expect him to get it. I know that some abuse the system and that is why it is getting more difficult to get SSD.....but in her case, she is not abusing the system...she needs to be on this disability.

One more thought here, I am a Mom to 3....my heart went out to your Mom. How hard this must be for her.. she just wants her to be ok and she is not ok. Sounds like your sister is also angry, and yet will accept the assistance from your Mom, just not the suggestions. I do not have the answers for you... I just want you to know that you are right to be confused because from what you told us here, it is confusing.

Do the best you can, help your Mom and your sister, the best you can, but your trip, you take that with your family. You have planned this trip, you cannot be everything to everyone, people have to take responsiblity for themselves....all you can do it point them in the right direction and be supportive..

Hopefully some others might have some suggestions for you.. hugs..
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Old 09-13-2008, 09:08 PM   #7
Tinker'n'Fun
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I am SO CLUELESS and I hate it!!
 
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Thanks for the hugs... I appreciate them. I found out more information today. My sister has been avoiding everything including her bills. My mom has been lying to me and is paying for all her bills even though my sister has money coming in. Not sure where her money went?? A social worker is coming in on Monday at the hospital to get her signed up for all the services she is qualified for. I am grateful that she is getting that, but I am very disappointed with my mother for lying to me. It's her money and I understand she feels that she has to do this. But the thing that worries me the most is there is no one to take care of my mom finacially after all her money is gone. This is so sad. My mother is spending more for my sister than she gets from her retirement monthly so she is using up all the resources she has saved from when my dad passed. I am trying to just do deep breathing and accept it now.

Thanks again for the support, Diane.
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Old 09-13-2008, 11:41 PM   #8
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It sounds like your sister is truly mentally ill. Sadly, as long as she is enabled, she will probably not seek help. As to disability, she should get a lawyer to appeal. He/she will take a portion of the back SSDI as a fee but it takes the work out of your sister's hands. Will she ever be able to return to work? Big maybe. I have no good suggestions on how to help your mom or sister. Listen and try to be supportive but draw the line at letting your sister's life overcome that of you and your family. Your mom has made her choice and you have no control over it. I will say a prayer for all of you. By the way, I hope I don't sound cold but I have a long history of chronic depression and know that someone doing everything for me would not have encouraged me to get help. Karen
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Old 09-15-2008, 10:24 AM   #9
Tinker'n'Fun
"apple", peaches, "pumpkin pie", who's not ready holler "I"...
i'm just trying to be optimistic!
I am SO CLUELESS and I hate it!!
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alizesmom View Post
It sounds like your sister is truly mentally ill. Sadly, as long as she is enabled, she will probably not seek help. As to disability, she should get a lawyer to appeal. He/she will take a portion of the back SSDI as a fee but it takes the work out of your sister's hands. Will she ever be able to return to work? Big maybe. I have no good suggestions on how to help your mom or sister. Listen and try to be supportive but draw the line at letting your sister's life overcome that of you and your family. Your mom has made her choice and you have no control over it. I will say a prayer for all of you. By the way, I hope I don't sound cold but I have a long history of chronic depression and know that someone doing everything for me would not have encouraged me to get help. Karen

Thank you for the kind words... I really hope my sister tries to help herself...
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Old 09-24-2008, 07:15 PM   #10
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Have you gone onto NAMI's site? http://nami.org/ You will find lots of good info there on MI as well as where you can turn to for help when being denied benefits. Maybe your sister should hire an attorney to represent her. I have heard that when they truly cannot work, it does take several tries before they are approved. An attorney would make it go faster.

There is also a great website called Bipolar World. They have a lot of interesting info on there. There is also a chat & forum you can go on. Here is their link... http://www.bipolarworld.net/

good luck
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Old 09-24-2008, 10:04 PM   #11
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It is really hard to deal with depression. From someone who is bi-polar, you do get into "funks" for lack of a better word when your head just gets totally twisted around. Your thinking gets all messed up, and you don't want to see anyone or have anyone even speak to you. This is hardest on your family members, because they don't understand how you can possibly get that way. It sounds like that's the spot your sister is in right now.

I really feel for your Mom, it's so tough to have to take care of someone who has depression. My oldest boy is bi-polar, so I have some idea of what it was like for my parents to try to deal with me. As a Mom, you feel responsible for your child, no matter how old they get.

I hope your sister gets help. Sometimes medication works, and sometimes it doesn't. I pray that you and your family can recover from her illness, and that your Mom begins to understand that she can't help your sister. Your sister will have to hit an emotional and mental bottom before she can come back up to the surface. My heart really goes out to your family.

Karen
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Old 09-25-2008, 06:29 PM   #12
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Quote:
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It is really hard to deal with depression. From someone who is bi-polar, you do get into "funks" for lack of a better word when your head just gets totally twisted around. Your thinking gets all messed up, and you don't want to see anyone or have anyone even speak to you. This is hardest on your family members, because they don't understand how you can possibly get that way. It sounds like that's the spot your sister is in right now.

I really feel for your Mom, it's so tough to have to take care of someone who has depression. My oldest boy is bi-polar, so I have some idea of what it was like for my parents to try to deal with me. As a Mom, you feel responsible for your child, no matter how old they get.

I hope your sister gets help. Sometimes medication works, and sometimes it doesn't. I pray that you and your family can recover from her illness, and that your Mom begins to understand that she can't help your sister. Your sister will have to hit an emotional and mental bottom before she can come back up to the surface. My heart really goes out to your family.

Karen
It is very true what you are saying. They do need to hit rock bottom like the alcoholic does. The BP person needs to first accept that they are mentally ill and that they need help before they can be helped. Not until they accept their illness will they actually start on the road to living a "normal" life. They can live a normal successful life if on the right meds/therapy too.. it is a matter of them realizing it first.
The roller coaster of BP UGH....and yes, a mother does somewhat feel responsible for their child, no matter what the age. On the same token, they can also enable them too. There is a fine line that we mom's need to watch. I find there are times that I think I do enable (DS is also BP). It isn't because you mean to, but because you do not want to see your "baby" (even as an adult) hurting.. or be in trouble and you do things that you should not to help them out... if that makes any sense to you.
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Old 09-29-2008, 10:44 PM   #13
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Sorry that I haven't updated sooner. I took everyone's advice, went on vacation, and relaxed a bit. I called home daily and my sister was released from the hospital the day we came home. They have changed her medication and she is also suppose to change Dr's. I hope she follows through.

I also took the time to speak with my mother and told her how I felt. I told her that I understood why she was helping but that I was concerned for her also. My mom is seeing a counselor now. Some things are changing, others not. My mom told me today that she paid all of my sister's bills. I had to explain to her that she needs to let them lapse so my sister can apply for HEAP benefits and Medicaid. This is if my sister will follow through with the neighborhood legal service. She was referred by the hospital and will not have to pay for the lawyer to appeal her case and they will also apply for all of the services she is available for. As of today, I do not believe she called back to do this. The first time she called she got mad at the person on the line and hung up on them because she wanted to go see a friend of hers she met at the hospital.

My sister is not responding to the medication as I hoped. She still rages at my mother and refuses to speak with her about money... Says it upsets her too much. I am hoping that the new Dr. and meds help her soon. I pray each night that it will get easier and better for her.

Thank you again for all the kind words and I will be checking the web sites in the next few days.
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Old 10-03-2008, 05:43 PM   #14
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Sometimes it can take up to six weeks for meds to take effect! don't give up hope on her meds just yet. Many seem to think (the patient) that the meds aren't working and want to stop. Tell your mom to watch that your sister doesn't do this. Mood altering drugs take a long time to really get the full effect of them. I know my DS would always give up before they took effect (and still does).
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Old 10-03-2008, 06:19 PM   #15
Tinker'n'Fun
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So I have a bit of an update. My sister seems to be doing better with her friends. (not with the family though) I went to the Dr's today and decided to go see a counselor so that I am not angry with her and my mom all the time. It has taken its toll on me and my blood pressure is running high. The Dr. asked me to not enable her at all so this is what I will do. Thanks again for the support and I am giving her the time to see if the meds work completely.
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