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Carers UK Forum • Drug addict mum with bpd. I feel alone.
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Drug addict mum with bpd. I feel alone.

Posted: Sat Aug 13, 2016 9:47 am
by MeggeM
Hi there,
I've joined this forum in the hope that I might find people to talk to who are in a similar situation to me.
I'm a carer/supporter (depending on what she needs - varies from month to month) for my mum who has borderline personality disorder. She is currently on a 'detox' programme at a rehab centre because she is also a drug user (I'm told this is common for bpd sufferers). She's a codeine addict and recreational user of other illegal substances.

At the moment my job is house sitting and dog sitting - she has 5 dogs!! - and basically just waiting around to hear how she's doing. This scenario is not new to me... My mum was diagnosed over 10 years ago and has spent much of the last decade in and out of various psychiatric institutions. When she's really unwell she frequently attempts suicide, self harms and becomes psychotic. She struggles with hearing voices and paranoia.

I have a caring partner of 6 years who is very supportive. My sister occasionally steps in and helps with practical jobs... But there is no other family around to help and i don't have any emotional support from any family other than my partner who can't really understand what it's like to support a mother through this kind of mental illness because he's never been in the position.

I generally feel very isolated and alone when mum is ill. I have my own struggles with anxiety and depression and insomnia... Which all get particularly heightened when mum is ill. My usual, probably unhealthy, response is to isolate myself. I find I just don't have the energy to spend time with friends or even talk to friends at times like this. Social anxiety is one of the ways that my anxiety manifests generally... But I also think that when mum is ill I cut myself off because I just find it too hard to try to explain what is going on to friends who have no experience of this. Does any body else experience this??? I feel guilty for cutting friends out but at the same time just wish they'd leave me alone because I simply don't want to talk to them, I just want to get on with doing what's required of me as a carer/supporter of mum. Does anybody else have feelings like this????

Another reason I want to connect with people who have had similar experiences is that I also sometimes feel like I don't know if I'm reacting proportionately/ 'correctly' to what's going on because I have no reference point - I've never known or seen anybody else care for a mum with a mental illness and so I can't compare the way I feel or relate it to anybody else's experience. I don't know if that will make sense to anybody -
But if it's a way of thinking that you relate to it would be reassuring to hear from you.

Basically id just really like to talk to someone who has supported/cared for/experienced a parent with a mental illness. I'd also really like to talk to anybody who relates to anything that I've said so please do reply to this post if you do.

I really hope I can turn to this forum if/when a crisis arises to ask for support and advice. I kind of wish I'd found it earlier - there have been so many times that I've felt so very alone dealing with this stuff.

Thanks and hope to hear from you.

Re: Drug addict mum with bpd. I feel alone.

Posted: Sat Aug 13, 2016 9:57 am
by Pet66
Hello Gemma Welcome to the forum.
I'm not in a position to help or advice you as my situation is different.( Husband in a nursing home now, with dementia and suffered strokes)
However, some peace on the forum will understand you and the difficulties you are going through and I'm certain will be along shortly
I do hope you are trying to take care of yourself.
Pet66

Re: Drug addict mum with bpd. I feel alone.

Posted: Sat Aug 13, 2016 10:07 am
by MeggeM
Thank you Pet66. I appreciate the thoughts!
Gem

Re: Drug addict mum with bpd. I feel alone.

Posted: Sat Aug 13, 2016 10:20 am
by Pet66
** should have read people!! Not peace except I do hope you find some xx

Re: Drug addict mum with bpd. I feel alone.

Posted: Sat Aug 13, 2016 10:47 am
by bowlingbun
Hi Gemma, welcome to the forum. You've said a lot about mum, very little about yourself. Am I right in thinking you are fairly young? Is mum assuming you are going to spend the rest of your life running around after her and her FIVE dogs?! What do you want in life?

Re: Drug addict mum with bpd. I feel alone.

Posted: Sat Aug 13, 2016 11:15 am
by MeggeM
Hi bowlingbun. Thanks for your reply. Nice of you to ask about me.
I'm 26. Which i guess is pretty young. I dropped out of school at 17 because of mum's illness and the fact that I ended up living alone when she was in long stay hospitals and needing to work to support myself... But I did eventually go back and finish my a levels and then get a degree. I'm now studying for an MA in women's and gender studies. One of the big issues I face is that when mum gets ill my life does get put on hold. I've already had to take 1 year out of my MA because of stress/anxiety that was certainly partly caused by her illness and I am really scared that when she completes her current rehab programme she goes into crisis again. I know that I will be told that I must complete my MA and that I must concentrate on my own life but when she is really unwell it is just impossible for me to think about anything else. The practical and time commitments that caring for her involves are part of it but it's also the emotional side of it too - can't focus on my work and I become so anxious that I frequently end up being able to commit to paid work. I don't really know what to do about this though. Except hope beyond hope that she doesn't go into crisis again.
So to answer your q - I am getting on with my own stuff, I'm proud of my academic achievements, but yes - if she needs me then my life/work/everything gets pushed aside to make way for her stuff. When it's happening though i feel like I can't NOT put her before me because I'm so scared of her hurting herself and I want so desperately to help her. I don't think she expects me to put my life on hold for her - to be honest I think she doesn't really 'think' full stop about what happens to me when she's ill. I don't think this is because she's selfish I think it's just too much for her to deal with when she's already suffering so much with the pain that her illness causes her.
None of this is ideal but I don't really know how it can be another way.

Re: Drug addict mum with bpd. I feel alone.

Posted: Sat Aug 13, 2016 11:18 am
by MeggeM
The fact she has five dogs does make me angry though because it's such a lot for me to deal with when she's not capable. The worst thing right now is that I'm not getting any sleep because they are so used to all sleeping in a bed with her and as a long suffering insomniac myself I simply can't face even trying to have 5 dogs in bed with me (the thought kind of grosses me out as well!) so they just bark and make noise all night long. Mum keeps calling from rehab to check on the dogs (they are the centre of her world) with no thought for the stress they put me under. Sorry - needed a bit of a rant about that.

Re: Drug addict mum with bpd. I feel alone.

Posted: Sat Aug 13, 2016 11:19 am
by jenny lucas
Gemma, welcome to the forum. Do take a look at some of the postings on the Mental Health section lower down the list, as I'm pretty sure you will find folk there who are experiencing very similar situations as yourself.

Coping with someone with MH issues is VERY hard - it's in a league of its own. And I suspect that with the best will in the world, those who have not experienced something similar will find it hard to understand quite what you're going through, how 'trapped' I dare say you feel?? (That said, all carers are 'trapped' by their carees' needs!) (Very few - any? - of us 'volunteered' to become carers - ie, all of us wish our carees didn't actually NEED care!!!!)

One of the 'truths' of life, I feel personally, is that the world divides very much into people who had/have 'easy' parents, and those who don't/didn't!!! I was rasied by a mum with paranoids schizophrenia (she was being followed around everywhere etc etc), and possibly BP as well (huge mood swings)(she could go on benders for Britain!), and a dad who was completely 'helpless' about it all (not surprising really)(Both were very loving, thankfully). And I know that whenever in live I met up with other people who had 'difficult' parental situations, we shared a bond that those who had 'easy' parents just could not really imagine (thankfully for them!)

I hope you find this forum helpful, perhaps with useful advice (most of us here are, I suspect, further on in years than you, and have got quite a large and varied collection of Carer T-shirts!), and certainly with emotional support. It's a great 'safe space' to 'vent'. We can say the unsayable here - sometimes even the very unsayable. For example, that whilst we may love our carees, we WISH with all our hearts that they weren't such a 'burden' to us. Please feel entirely free to say such 'negative' things here - we understand the inner emotional conflicts that assail carers, we truly do.

We also know it's vital to 'seize the happy times' as well, whenever we can.

Best wishes to you in your VERY difficult situation - kind regards, Jenny

Re: Drug addict mum with bpd. I feel alone.

Posted: Sat Aug 13, 2016 12:01 pm
by Susan_160712345
Hi Gemma welcome to the forum i am caring for my hubby who has just recently been diagnosed with Dementia we are only in our 50s so am trying to come to terms with it like you said it is all new and dont know how to handle these situations so it is very daunting please never think you are alone that is why i joined the forum and it has given me back a little of my sanity I know when you say about isolating yourself as that is what i do as i do get the feeling people who are not going through something like this really don't get it I find they say things like "Oh i am sorry but i just do not know what to say"and then i must admit i feel like oh just go away it is awful having these feelings but i think it is all part and parcel of the process so i feel for you greatly especially with the age you are and i am sending plenty of hugs thinking of you and take care xx

Re: Drug addict mum with bpd. I feel alone.

Posted: Sat Aug 13, 2016 2:21 pm
by MeggeM
jenny lucas wrote:Gemma, welcome to the forum. Do take a look at some of the postings on the Mental Health section lower down the list, as I'm pretty sure you will find folk there who are experiencing very similar situations as yourself.

Coping with someone with MH issues is VERY hard - it's in a league of its own. And I suspect that with the best will in the world, those who have not experienced something similar will find it hard to understand quite what you're going through, how 'trapped' I dare say you feel?? (That said, all carers are 'trapped' by their carees' needs!) (Very few - any? - of us 'volunteered' to become carers - ie, all of us wish our carees didn't actually NEED care!!!!)

One of the 'truths' of life, I feel personally, is that the world divides very much into people who had/have 'easy' parents, and those who don't/didn't!!! I was rasied by a mum with paranoids schizophrenia (she was being followed around everywhere etc etc), and possibly BP as well (huge mood swings)(she could go on benders for Britain!), and a dad who was completely 'helpless' about it all (not surprising really)(Both were very loving, thankfully). And I know that whenever in live I met up with other people who had 'difficult' parental situations, we shared a bond that those who had 'easy' parents just could not really imagine (thankfully for them!)

I hope you find this forum helpful, perhaps with useful advice (most of us here are, I suspect, further on in years than you, and have got quite a large and varied collection of Carer T-shirts!), and certainly with emotional support. It's a great 'safe space' to 'vent'. We can say the unsayable here - sometimes even the very unsayable. For example, that whilst we may love our carees, we WISH with all our hearts that they weren't such a 'burden' to us. Please feel entirely free to say such 'negative' things here - we understand the inner emotional conflicts that assail carers, we truly do.

We also know it's vital to 'seize the happy times' as well, whenever we can.

Best wishes to you in your VERY difficult situation - kind regards, Jenny
Thank you so much for your message Jenny. I have already had a look through the mental health forum and found it helpful. I can't believe it has taken me so many years to find this forum... I think it's because I didn't actually realise that I could actually call myself a 'carer' for so many years. Partly for sure that was because I was in denial - I didn't want to accept that on some level mine and my mums roles had reversed... But also I think there are misconceptions about what a carer is. I mean, a carer doesn't have to be somebody who is washing and dressing their caree... But I didn't realise that for a long time.
It's already really reassuring to know that there are people like you out there who understand that it's hard to be a person who had a difficult parent, even when you're grown up!
I sometimes feel a bit pathetic when I feel sad that my mum can't be a 'mum' to me - because I'm an adult now - but I don't think we ever stop being part of that group you refer to - of people who had 'difficult' parents.

I hear what you say about this being a safe space but I'm a bit nervous about speaking too brazenly incase anybody who knows me or my mum ever reads what I write. How private are the posts on here? Do you know?

I always feel guilty when I speak negatively about my mum in anyway (although I know it's healthy to get frustrations off my chest) and it makes me a bit nervous to post these things online.

Thank you for sharing your experience with your mums mental health difficulties. I find that it being my *mum* makes it particularly difficult to deal with - what I mean is that it would be hard to watch any one I love go through mental torment but it takes a very particularly painful emotional toll when it's your mother. do you agree?

Thanks again for your post.