Need help understanding Mental Illness

Discussion in 'Coping and Compassion' started by Tinker'n'Fun, Sep 12, 2008.

  1. Tinker'n'Fun

    Tinker'n'Fun <font color=purple>"apple", peaches, "pumpkin pie"

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    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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  3. Mackey Mouse

    Mackey Mouse <font color="blue">Me read the Navigator? I don't

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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.
     
  4. Belle1997

    Belle1997 <font color=blue>I married a beast and found my pr

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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
     
  5. kimis

    kimis DIS Veteran

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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!
     
  6. Tinker'n'Fun

    Tinker'n'Fun <font color=purple>"apple", peaches, "pumpkin pie"

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    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
     
  7. Mackey Mouse

    Mackey Mouse <font color="blue">Me read the Navigator? I don't

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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..
     
  8. Tinker'n'Fun

    Tinker'n'Fun <font color=purple>"apple", peaches, "pumpkin pie"

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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.
     
  9. alizesmom

    alizesmom Pumba is my hero but I love Donald

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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
     
  10. Tinker'n'Fun

    Tinker'n'Fun <font color=purple>"apple", peaches, "pumpkin pie"

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    Thank you for the kind words... I really hope my sister tries to help herself...
     
  11. A Mickeyfan

    A Mickeyfan DIS Veteran

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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 :hug:
     
  12. kaffinito

    kaffinito <font color=teal>Grant me the Serenity to Accept t

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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. :hug:

    Karen
     
  13. A Mickeyfan

    A Mickeyfan DIS Veteran

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    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.
     
  14. Tinker'n'Fun

    Tinker'n'Fun <font color=purple>"apple", peaches, "pumpkin pie"

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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.
     
  15. A Mickeyfan

    A Mickeyfan DIS Veteran

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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).
     
  16. Tinker'n'Fun

    Tinker'n'Fun <font color=purple>"apple", peaches, "pumpkin pie"

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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.
     
  17. Tinker'n'Fun

    Tinker'n'Fun <font color=purple>"apple", peaches, "pumpkin pie"

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    Well I have had a horrible day and I needed a place to come. I hope someone is still out there with me. I need to get some things off my chest, feel free to scroll down but any insight would be appreciated....

    I have been very absent out of my sister's life since this all came to a head in the last 6 months. She resents me and my family and I have come to terms with that. I still would be there if she asked and I tried to keep my mother out of all the drama she has caused our family. But today it all came flying through the phone at me....

    My mom hasn't dealt well with my dad's passing a few years back and this week a friend of hers died of cancer. She was going to skip the wake and funeral. These are the same people who cared for her after Dad died. So I told her that I would go with her, but she should be a friend. She agreed and all was well.

    So today I get a call from her about my sister. We have been going back and forth about the $ situation since it started. I want her to understand if something happens to her, she needs to have money saved. Well she freaked out at me and said that I was no different than my sister (see below for expanation) and why did I always put my sister down... I told her that I didn't put her down, I just didn't see my sister doing anything to help the situation so she could pay her back. She never made an appt with the Dr. therefore is totally out of meds and its okay, cause she will make the appt next week. In the meantime my Mom is paying for her rent and now a new cell phone that she went way over on minutes and texting. My sister said the counselors said its okay not to pay any of her bills so she will get more services. So the money she does get goes for her to go out and do stuff. But my mom says she is trying.... I don't see it at all. I have her old cell phone because I was helping her and I still get text's from her friends about going out and drinking and partying. I am so hurt about my mother saying I am just like her and that I should get over it......

    Okay here is the background to make some sense. DH and I wanted (NOT A NEED, a WANT) to send our kids to Catholic HS. It is very expensive and we are by no means rich. My mother offered to pay up front each year for the schooling and we pay her back monthly within our budget no interest. I am grateful that she did this for us. Yes I owe her money and yes the kids will be out of school 2 years before I finish paying it off. But I pay my mom before any other bill gets paid. And I thank her every month for doing this. I also made it very clear that if she could no longer help us, we would understand. No hard feelings. So since I took her money and pay her back, that makes me just as bad as my sister who gets her rent and bills paid each month with no signs or repayment anywhere:confused3 :confused3. She hurt my feelings so bad....

    So if you are down here reading, my sister is not getting any better. Her meds are not working, she is not going to all the dr's she is suppose to, has gained a lot of weight recently, and we are still not allowed to talk to her about the situation because the Dr's said SO!! We are to keep our mouths shut and let her do as she pleases, and Mom foots the bill. So as I sit here crying I am saying a prayer that my sister will find the right Dr's and meds so that she will get better. And I pray that my Mom found some sort of peace and or help in screaming at me today...

    thanks for listening. Diane
     
  18. kaffinito

    kaffinito <font color=teal>Grant me the Serenity to Accept t

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    Hi Diane,

    Sorry you are having such a rough day today! :hug:

    I wanted to perhaps shed some insight into what happened with your mother. Whenever my Mom would get stressed out or worried about something she would call me up, insult me, and was just generally nasty. Afterwards she would be contrite, but I would still have hurt feelings. Then I noticed that I would do the same thing at times, and that the person I was upset with had nothing to do with what I was really upset about.

    So from then on, when Mom would call to yell at me, or was nasty to me, I would ask her what was really bothering her. It took a while, but eventually she would call me to vent about what she was upset about, not to yell. This might be what happened with your Mom today. I know she didn't mean to equate you with your sister, but your sister might be what has her so upset.

    Maybe your Mom needs to vent to you or to someone about what your sister is putting her through, and how worried she must be about her. I know you are very upset about your sister, and confused as to why she is behaving the away she is. I also think your Mom is doing the best she can to take care of her the only way she knows. Your Mom is just going to have to come to the realization on her own that enabling your sister is causing more harm then good.

    I hope this helped a little - I really feel for you and think about you often :hug:
     
  19. Tinker'n'Fun

    Tinker'n'Fun <font color=purple>"apple", peaches, "pumpkin pie"

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    Thank you for responding. I am going to try very hard to let my mom know that I am aware she is hurting. I hope that I have the courage to do what you did. It is a wonderful idea and I am so glad you replied. Diane
     
  20. Mackey Mouse

    Mackey Mouse <font color="blue">Me read the Navigator? I don't

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    Just thinking....does your Mom have outside activities? Like does she work and have friends and go out or is she home missing your Dad, worrying about your sister all the time and has nothing for herself..

    How close is she to her grandchildren?? When my Dad died, my mom was young, maybe 49.....it was very hard for her. There was lots of drama between siblings and inlaws, but eventually we got to the place where her grandchildren were her life and she travelled and was doing ok, she missed my Dad till the day she died, 20 years later.. I think back now, she was so young, maybe she could have met someone else, but she was never interested and I never pushed.....

    I am wondering if your Mom is there yet? She has the drain of your sister, she probably sees all the things that you see in her, but she is her daughter and she might feel protective. You, on the other hand, do is what expected of you....and she needs to vent about your sister but instead picks at you.. Hugs on the hurt feelings, maybe a heart to heart with your Mom about you and her and hurt feelings but no discussion or fingers pointed at the your sister. I am sure she knows what your sister is doing....

    Hugs!!!
     
  21. Tinker'n'Fun

    Tinker'n'Fun <font color=purple>"apple", peaches, "pumpkin pie"

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    My Mom does not work outside of the house and she hasn't been keeping up with her friends as much as she should. We have had conversations and I am trying to get her to understand she has to do things outside of the house. She is getting a bit better. My children are the closest of her 4 grandkids. DS13 goes to visit her every day... He prefers being there as she feeds him and lets him nap during the day and mean old Mom (that's me:lmao:) prefers that he help out with chores or homework. He spends at least 2 hours a day at her house during the week. I think that is pretty good for a 13yo. The problem begins after he leaves or during school times. She bores easily and wants someone to talk to at all times. I call her at least 2 times a day, but she seems to feed off it. Sometimes she just walks in the house unannounced. This is very hard for me. So I guess after writing this novel, no she hasn't gotten to a place where she can do stuff during the day and feel content at night. She also refuses to travel. I did mention her coming with us to Disney next Christmas and she is "thinking" about it. So that is some progress. The only problem I have is we would be there a lot longer as DD is dancing at the Orange Bowl, so we were going to combine the experience. I need to get her to the point that she will fly home alone...

    Once again, thank you for your kind thoughts and suggestions. This is one of those subjects that if I talk with close friends I get looks like I am cold-hearted because I don't want to spend all my time with her..... Here no one judges and it is my place to just fit in and I truly appreciate it. Diane
     

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