Online forums

Before you can post or reply in these forums, please complete your profile

Complete your profile

Before you can post or reply in these forums, please join our online community.

Forum membership is open to anyone residing in Australia.

Join the online community Community rules Coping during the Coronavirus outbreak

Forums / Supporting family and friends with a mental health condition (carers) / At what point is it ok to feel how I do? *Trigger Warning:Family Violence and Sexual Assault*

Topic: At what point is it ok to feel how I do? *Trigger Warning:Family Violence and Sexual Assault*

11 posts, 0 answered
  1. AngusBob
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    AngusBob avatar
    18 posts
    27 November 2017

    Long story, and I shall try to simplify.

    • Current 20 year old daughter with substance abuse issues.
    • Drug use began 4 years ago.
    • Building psychosis for those last 4 years, with the crescendo of psychosis for the past year.

    In that time, she has abused me, put holes in walls, crashed her car, got into huge debt, got me into debt, threatened me physically, wanted to kill people ect ect. I had to take her to the hospital where she was admitted to the psychiatric ward with the diagnosis of drug induced psychosis. Not easy things for parents to go through.

    The biggest reason that I allowed her treatment of me to go as far as it did, was guilt. I carried an enormous amount of guilt of what the then 9 year old heard in court due her brother's sexual assault court case. At the time, the police investigation and court case takes a toll of everybody and she had a lot of viral tonsillitis at the time.

    So after several stays in the psych ward, she began to feel good in herself and then used drugs again with an instant psychotic result. This moment cut the cord of guilt that I had and has been replaced by resentment, anger, hostility and antagonism towards her. I told her that I didn't want to see her for a long time until I could work through my issues. She however, got a big fright about that and encouraged her headspace caseworker to initiate family counselling.

    I know her worker is all about my daughter, as she should be, but she keeps telling me how unwell my daughter is and they are still getting her medication right and that I should be more patient with her. But at what point is it ok for me to say "hang on, what she did to me was bad and I am struggling with it".

    Beginning to feel as though I should just lay down and be a doormat to anybody who wants to wipe their muddy feet on me and that I am expected to just suck up the 4 years of hell and move on as though no psychological damage has been done.

    Just over it and right now don't know which way to go in my own thinking. Part of me knows that what she has put me through has been horrific, but the other part thinks that I should find a way to forgive her for her poor behaviour as my feelings in this situation just don't matter.

  2. Hope and Love
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Hope and Love avatar
    18 posts
    28 November 2017 in reply to AngusBob

    Hi Angusbob,

    Sorry to hear the hardship you are going through right now. I don't have any solutions to offer, but I do have some advice.

    Start focusing on yourself first. The golden rule here is, if you're not healthy physically or mentally, you cannot help anyone. You can try, but in the end, you may be in a worse situation than before.

    Have you been told in the past to write your love one (daughter) a letter, but don't send it? Write out all your resentment, anger, hostility, basically everything you wanted to say to them in whatever beautiful language you desire. Through this act, I hope you can relieve some of those emotion that are building up inside of you.

    I believe it is okay to say no. Your daughter is not in a position where you are require to take care of her. How society sees it, as soon as the person turn 18, you are no longer legally require to be their guardian. Their choices are theirs a lone. Forgiveness can always come later. Asking for some space is not at all wrong, so I hope you can give yourself that without any guilt. Additionally, if you could write out a letter to your daughter explaining that you are currently not in the best shape, but am proud of her for getting help and will be in contact when things are easier on your side.

    I would also recommend writing down a list of things you would like to improve for yourself. Set some small achievable goals. A new month is approaching, so setting the goals for the end of the month (december) might not be a bad idea.

    I look forward to hear your progress. Stay strong not for others but for yourself, because you deserve it.

    Regards,

    M

    1 person found this helpful
  3. Sophie_M
    Community Moderator
    • Works for beyondblue moderating these forums
    Sophie_M avatar
    6141 posts
    28 November 2017 in reply to AngusBob
    Hi AngusBob,

    I’m so sorry to hear about what sounds like an incredibly tricky time for you and your daughter, it sounds like there has been a huge amount of trauma for everyone involved.

    It’s absolutely ok for you to have your boundaries about what is ok/not ok for you and I encourage you to set them clearly and work from that point – your feelings are valid and you don’t have to dismiss them because your daughter is unwell. 

    I’m really pleased to hear that your daughter has a headspace caseworker and has been getting support for her issues – I wonder what support you are getting?   I would encourage you to link in with a counsellor who can help you work through your feelings about this.

    I’m not sure what state/area you live in but counselling online  https://www.counsellingonline.org.au/ might be a good starting point for you – you can call a drug and alcohol service in your state, or contact the service by email or webchat and talk to a drug and alcohol counsellor.

    You might wish to repost this thread on our main forums here, as there are more members posting and your thread will be more widely seen:
    https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/online-forums/supporting-family-and-friends-with-a-mental-health-condition-(carers)
    1 person found this helpful
  4. AngusBob
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    AngusBob avatar
    18 posts
    30 November 2017 in reply to Hope and Love

    Thank you Hope and Love for reminding me of a strategy I have used many times in the past! Funny how when you find yourself in the high stress zone for a number of weeks that you really do forget to implement many of the strategies that will help to get you through.

    I have written a letter and had a good cleansing cry and felt a bit better. And then, as has been happening, I got an out of the blue phone call from the Crisis Assessment Team (CAT) as my daughter had missed a call from her Headspace worker and nobody could contact her. Then that was backed up with a call from the police who had been called by the CAT team. It seems as though every time I try to distance myself from her, the other organisations drag me back into it. And, as is sadly typical of these organisations, when they did locate her, nobody called me as she is an adult and they are not at liberty to divulge anything. As I reminded them politely, they could at least call me to let me know that she was found and ok.

    Now I am finding myself in the high stress zone and not game to come out of it as I think I will only end up there again as this has been going on for so long.

    It is really not easy being me right now.

  5. AngusBob
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    AngusBob avatar
    18 posts
    30 November 2017 in reply to Sophie_M

    Hi Sophie,

    I am not sure how to repost this thread, if you could let me know, or, I allow you to do it on my behalf.

    One of the greatest difficulties I have found is, there is wonderful help available for victims. CASA, psychiatrists and psychologists were all available for my son with his sexual assault and the court case that followed. And there was no acknowledgement for me, apart from the police and the court as I knew the assault was occurring but could not stop it, neither could the police due to the written letter of the law in which victims have to come forward before an investigation can occur. And because there was no services catering from the secondary/related victim, we are left with the feeling that we should be able to cope and should not be having negative feelings. Afterall, it wasn't the family that was assaulted. I do know that things in that area have improved since we went through that in 1997, but lasting impressions are made under extreme stress.

    I am now finding a very similar thing in this case with my daughters substance abuse. She is looked after, there are many services looking after her. But the rest of us are ignored. Unless, she goes missing or is uncontactable, and then the organisations and police ring me to get information and if I know where she is. But then nobody calls me back when they locate her! I call them, to be told that are unable to provide me with any information as she is an adult. So unless I am useful to them, I feel, as though I don't matter. I feel, as though I should not be feeling stressed, anxious, can't sleep, struggle to swallow, constant headaches ect.

    I did ring the mental health helpline in my state once. I was told and I quote as I was so shocked that I will never forget it "Your daughter will be in an out of the psych ward, so you are better off just cutting your losses with her and getting on with your life. If you do want to talk more about it, maybe you should ring lifeline". Safe to say I will never ring them again. But again, that type of response minimises what I am feeling and makes me question whether I am carrying on about nothing. I do see a psychologist, for the past 8 years, and at the moment the 10 sessions a year is far from adequate as this crisis has been long and continuous this year.

    Thank you Sophie and Hope and love for validating how I feel. I really need that right now.

    :-)

  6. Sophie_M
    Community Moderator
    • Works for beyondblue moderating these forums
    Sophie_M avatar
    6141 posts
    6 December 2017 in reply to AngusBob
    Hi AngusBob, your thread has been moved to the Supporting Family & Friends section.
  7. Croix
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    Croix avatar
    10561 posts
    6 December 2017 in reply to AngusBob

    Dear AngusBob~

    Your situation is a very hard one and just getting though it yourself takes perspective, determination - and a dose of luck.

    You said: but the other part thinks that I should find a way to forgive her for her poor behaviour as my feelings in this situation just don't matter.

    I don't think that half of your mind could be more wrong. Of course it matters - greatly. We all have a sort on inbuilt disregard for emotional and mental hard times. If we had the equivalent physical experience we would not expect anything like as much from ourselves.

    Wanting to help the daughter you love is natural. Being able to help is another matter. I guess it requires two things. Firstly you have to be mentally strong and robust enough to deal with it long term, and secondly there has to be a clear path as to what actions to take.

    Dealing with the second part first. You sound as if you have already gone to every effort to help her, and the results have not been good. I'm sure you would have thought of anything that might have helped already.

    Your daughter does have professional help, and by the sounds of it they are struggling. Perhaps that is enough for now.

    Looking after yourself, building back your resources is they best way to help everyone, you, your daughter and your son. To do this it may indeed be you need to be isolated from her -at least for a while. While those 10 sessions of course are not enough I guess they may be enough to set out a framework for a lifestyle that promotes your well-being.

    I would thing you already have pretty good ideas how to do that, with exercise, nutrition, good sleep and trying as best you can to avoid situations and people that raise your stress levels. This all sounds very ordinary however I've found this sort of approach helpful. I also find regular activates I can look forward to that distract me and take my mind away from everyday life a real bonus.

    One thing you have not mentioned is if there is anyone in your life to support you? As you would understand this can make a huge difference if there is anyone.

    Please know you can talk here as often as you would like, we will understand

    Croix

    1 person found this helpful
  8. AngusBob
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    AngusBob avatar
    18 posts
    7 December 2017 in reply to Croix

    Thank you Croix for reminding me of the self-care strategies. All things I am well aware, have followed for the last 20 years, yet in the heat of crisis completely disappears!

    My husband and I have had no support in the four years of her drug use and building psychosis. On her first release from the psych ward into our care, I insisted that we were given support if we were to manage the situation proactively. We were assured that the Crisis Assessment Team would contact the family and assess what we needed and would get us in touch with the relevant support groups. She was released at the end of April this year, and at the time of writing this, we have not heard anything from the CAT team in relation to our needs.

    Also, I attended a meeting at Headspace at the end of July, that included my daughter, her case worker, the centre manager and her GP. I told then that I did not know how to handle the situation, her moods, her psychosis and was even at the point where I wasn't sure how to be a mother anymore. I was told by all of them, that could help me out with that. Again, at the time of writing this, I am yet to hear from anybody.

    I guess a big part of the problem is that in this situation that creates a feeling of vulnerability and confusion, that we look to these organisation to guide, direct or point in the right direction. As I know, when I am in that high stress zone, I lack the ability to think clearly and rationally and basically unable to go off in search of help myself. And if these organisations make the offer to help, of course I am going to wait around for it. Afterall, they are the professionals in this matter. But when they don't contact at all, and I am highly stressed, I know my thinking reverts into self-punishment. I start to think that I should be able to cope, I should know what to do, I am carrying on about nothing. I am also aware that that type of thinking is unhelpful and not accurate. In times of high stress, my rational self doesn't get much of a say as the irrational comes out to play.

    I think also that I have been unwilling to vent my frustrations towards these organisations as they are helping my daughter when she needs it and I don't want to harm her recovery in anyway.

    Thank you for listening, just being able to offload does clear some of the fog that is floating around in my head.

  9. Croix
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    Croix avatar
    10561 posts
    7 December 2017 in reply to AngusBob

    Dear Angusbob~

    You said
    In times of high stress, my rational self doesn't get much of a say as the irrational comes out to play.

    Well, I know exactly what you mean, I have to remind myself to breath sometimes:) And my decision making is 'unusual' too. The big thing for me nowadays is I realize what is happening, and can then take steps.

    I also understand your reluctance to vent your frustrations to these organizations however I think you may be being too forgiving and making too many allowances. I would not expect them to change how they treat your daughter based upon what you do.

    Have you considered going back to start, getting your GP to write/refer you as in individual? I suspect you are being lumped in with 'family' due most probably to their own limited resources - I'm guessing.

    The other thing - once again you most probably have thought of it already - is a support group for families of those wiht a drug problem. I can't make any specific recommendations, however our Help Line (1300 22 4636) may be able to point you to something in your area. Interacting wiht other families in the same situation can't hurt.

    Posting here can be a help - even if it is only to blow off steam, which is something we all need to do when life piles up too much on us.

    Croix

    1 person found this helpful
  10. AngusBob
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    AngusBob avatar
    18 posts
    8 December 2017 in reply to Croix

    I know you said in your earlier post that getting through this will require a bit of luck. Just after lunch yesterday I rang the Carers Support Centre in my state. I received a recorded message that they were all in a team meeting and to leave a message with my number and they would get back to me. I did leave a message asking for information on specific carer support organisations to help me deal with my daughter who has mental health issues due to drug use, and my phone number.

    Once again, nobody has called me back.

    So, here I am, having to find a way through this on my own as quite honestly that is the last straw as far as seeking support is concerned. Right now, I have no inclination to try to contact anybody else as I feel I will only be let down. I know people say keep trying, keep going until you find the support you need. Honestly, right now, I don't have the energy or mental/emotional capacity to do that.

    Time to take a step back.

    I know that the mental health system has come a long way, but jeepers there are still some gigantic cracks which I feel I have fallen in head first. It is really frustrating and disappointing.

    What now for me and my husband? I honestly don't know. I can only sit back and reapply some strategies and hope they help and get us through however long this situation is going to last. At least ceasing to search for nonexistent help will remove that particular pressure and frustration which will hopefully free up some energy to navigate this situation.

    That you for your responses and suggestions, and no doubt I will need to offload at some point in the future.

    :-)

  11. Croix
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    Croix avatar
    10561 posts
    8 December 2017 in reply to AngusBob

    Dear AngusBob~

    Well, I'm sorry that happened again. As you say the MH system is full of holes. Perhaps reserving your energy for strategies in your life rather than reaching out might be the way to go, at least for now.

    As for offloading, go for it - it will probably make you feel just a little better to tell someone who understands, but may also have the unintended byproduct of making people that just read this thread and never post feel less isolated and their situations not unique too.

    There are actually an awful lot more that only read the Forum

    Croix

Stay in touch with us

Sign up below for regular emails filled with information, advice and support for you or your loved ones.


Sign me up