Anxiety prone mother and depressed brother

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Hi there, I'm new to carers UK.
I'm 30 years old and have been caring for my anxiety prone mother and depressed brother for a while now. I have my own health problems (fibromyalgia) and I'm struggling to cope with it all.
I don't get paid for my caring and, as I live at home with them both, I cope with it all 24/7.
I know they are struggling too and can't help being this way but with my mum's panic attacks, my brother's low moods and my own limitations, it's hard just to keep myself happy.
Thanks in advance for any tips, advice or help. :(
Frankly, move out.

There are so many carees here who think that because they are ill their husband/wife/son/ daughter must look after them. Not true. As kids we might have to do what mum/dad tells you to, but not as an adult.

You risk being treated as a child, expected to do what mum says as a dutiful daugher, forever more, unless you vote with your feet and get out.

Then you can control how much you see them and how much, if anything, you do for them. Only then will you find time and space to live your own life.

I realised too late that I sacrificed so much as a "dutiful daughter".
Hi Rachel

Have a look at this thread for some ideas on how to keep yourself "balanced" and uplifted. ... od#p382441
Yes, I think it's time to move out.

To put it another way, how do you see the situation in five years time? In ten years time? In twenty....?

If you stay then you are basically giving up YOUR life for your mum and your brother. Whatever their problems, they have NO right to expect that of you!

Sadly, while YOU do the caring, THEY will just 'go on as they are'.

Only when you 'walk' will they find the impetus to sort their own mental health problems out.

There's a key and essential difference between 'supporting' someone with mental health problems, and merely 'enabling' them.

When you support someone, the focus is ALWAYS on their IMPROVEMENT. Getting them BETTER ie, to a point where they need far less or even no support, and become fully functioning adults, taking responsibility for themselves.

But enabling merely allows them to continue 'unchanged' in the same 'bad place' they always are.

Moving out is going to be the key here - it is the 'firm love' that both need.

They will NOT thank you for giving up your own life to enable them to stay in the grip of their own problems.

Is either of them 'in treatement' at all, whether that is with antidepressants or talking therapy of some kind?

It's sad to say, but many folk with mental illness become, in effect, 'parasites' on those who look after them. They have no 'wish' to get better as they are looked after by others.

Google 'secondary gain' and you'll see what I mean! It's the 'bonus' that mentally ill people get - ie, they can avoid all responsibility for themselves, and simply 'collapse' on 'someone else'.


What are YOUR hopes and dreams of life? Your life is JUST as important as theirs!!!!
Rachel here. Thanks for your advice and tips.
I worry that if I moved out (which will be hard, as I'd have to get a council flat - wheelchair - and the whole business of actually moving out) that they would agrue all the time.
Also, as we were hoping to move house anyway, would they be able to find the right house/area before the council bump them down from a 3 bedroom to a 2?
I'm scared that I would struggle to do the basics of cooking(can't chop food, use heavy bowls, mix/wisk) and housework is VERY exhausting!
To reply to Jenny Lucas, they are in a bacis form of talking therapy and both are on antidepressants. But they need more intense and regular versions, not once every month!
My only hopes and dreams is that I get better, kinda lost most of my dreams due to my disability limitations.
Hmm, I didn't realise you were quite so badly affected by FM. (My niece has it, and she has 'bad days' but she mostly can function pretty well overall).

If you are wheelchair bound, then you are de facto disabled, whatever name the medics call it! I take it you have to be on PIP etc, if you are that bad?

Given that your own health is SO poor, and your mobility clearly pretty non-existent, just what actual 'care' CAN you provide your mum and bro??

I don't mean that sarcastically (!), but quite genuinely. If you are not doing 'stuff' for them (because you say you would be worried having to fend for yourself if you moved out, with things like cooking and cleaning), then is your caring role really that of 'in-house counsellor' or thereabouts? That you provide the 'emotional' care that they so endlessly needy for?

If you do, and I've got that right, then that is INCREDIBLY DRAINING on you.

People with depression and anxiety are, to be blunt (and perhaps a bit tough!) , all too often 'emotional vampires' - they feed and feed and feed on 'anyone and everyone'. The problem is, they are SOOOO consumed by their OWN misery that they really don't give a stuff for anyone else.

OK, so you and your mum and bro would argue all the time. Er, so what?

Their relationship is THEIR responsibility, not yours! It's up to them to work it out. You are not there to be the eternal 'peacemaker', though I fear that is the role you've been cast in.

I do think that if you DON'T move out (and I can see the practical advantages of moving with them to another house)(what's behind the move by the way? eg, easier wheelchair access etc?), then you simply have to 'harden your heart' agasint both your mum and your bro.

Yes, it's very wearing being in a house full of depressed and anzious people, but you CAN learn to 'blank' them. To 'leave them to it'. Just tell them you don't want them offloading on you, that you have your own problems thank you very much, and they are both adults and to get on with things.

Don't expect much from the NHS. It's pointless 'lamenting' help that is not there, or saying 'the NHS should be doing this that and the other'. It won't. It hasn't got the money.

It really is up to your MUM and to your BROTHER to tackle their own problems, and not dump them on you.

PLEASE don't think YOU have to be their carer, even if you live in the same house as them. It's THEIR PROBLEM NOT YOURS.

Why are you, for example, also not crippled by depression and anxiety? How come YOU were 'voted to be their carer'?? As I say, mental illness can make its victims 'monstrously self-focussed' and it is up to us to RESIST their endless self-concern, self-obsession, and self-pity.

Their lives, their problems, their responsibilities. NOT YOURS.