Newbie with introduction Jul 30, 2008 9:03:57 GMT -5 Quote Select PostDeselect PostLink to PostBack to Top Post by downanddirty on Jul 30, 2008 9:03:57 GMT -5 Hi everyone. I have posted as down and dirty because of depression and the mess my family has been living in. It is a hopeful thing to find a place where I can be honest and hopefully not resented for the state of mess I have let pile up. I haven't had much understanding, in most cases-none at all. I hope I can find ways to work with this problem. I guess I''ll get down to the real introduction.I am a 41 yr. old married mother of 3 girls, ages 11(will be twelve in a few days), 14, and 17. I fell into a constant state of anxiety and panic attacks and sought phsyciatric help years ago. I constantly felt overwhelmed with that "fight or flight" feeling all the time, the flight urge overwhelming my life. I was diagnosed as major depressive and given Prozac, which was always being adjusted because it just didn't work. This all happened when my youngest was a toddler. The medication was supposed to help, but for 1 and a half years I never felt any better. I kept telling them that, but felt it was an insistance by the nurses and people I had to talk to that the drug was helping at least a little, which I always ended up just agreeing to, even though I would start out telling them I was noticing no change. Up and down the dosage went until I was on 60mg. a day. My emotions were pretty much gone, I just felt numb, although I did spend nights of insomnia cleaning. I eventually attempted suicide after a long period of time drinking and staying drunk. I was involuntarily committed for several days to the psych ward for this. There, another doctor diagnosed me with bipolar and was supposed to have contacted my regular doctor. My last session with my doctor, the phsyciatrist, was when I wanted to discuss with him what had happened and he didn't know. I told him I had attempted suicide and had been hospitalized-his reponse was"that can't kill you". I took the packages of medication they had always given me, went home, and stopped it all cold turkey-no more meds or psych doctors for me. Then all was fine, truly. I was back to my good self again and life was fine. The meds really messed me up mentally and unfortunately, left me with urge(later on-last year) to kill myself for good. I had never felt any feelings or thoughts about suicide before in my life, until I began my "drug therapy".Now, for reasons I'm not sure of, I have spent the last several years in serious and major depression. I don't know what happened or when, just that I went from being a busy and good mother and homemaker every day, to becoming a crying messed up person who was sleeping all the time, avoiding everything, and not cleaning my home or interacting with my family or anyone else. The real me, all of the vitality and happiness, hasn't been there for years. Whether this has any cause in my problems or not, I have hyperthyroidism-toxic nodule goiter. I have no energy or stamina to make up for all the work that has piled up and I don't get any support or understanding/forgiveness for what has happened. I know the way I've been has affected my children, my youngest least of all. I am somewhere around stage 3 squalor, the only difference maybe being that although I don't own an animal, we did "save" one winter of 2006-07 because a neighbor decided she did not want the housecat to live in the house and just tossed it out the door. During the time we had the cat, downstairs with piles of clothes(with my daughter's room, then the laundry room), and the cat puked, peed-everything, all over our clothes. Many had to be thrown away. You see, I don't just have a pile of clothes or a few bags worth built up, but I have at least 10--55 gallon contractor bags full. Each bag is full to the top, so they can't even be carried anywhere. My kitchen is pretty much always a mess, with very few exceptions. It is usually my husband who will dig in and spend an entire day trying to clean it up on the weekends. Clothes pile up day by day and I can never get caught up and can't afford to take them to the laudromat. We are always having problems with our washer or dryer, and it seriously sets back any attempts to get even somewhat caught up. I feel so guilty to admit that my children have worn dirty clothes that need to be washed, because they have nothing else to wear. I know that is not being a good mother, nor a decent wife, to have let things go. But none of it was on purpose. I used to clean EVERYTHING, everyday. Sweeping, mopping, clothes, dishes meals, organizing and straightening up, making the beds, paying the bills, running errands, doing the shopping, etc. I may not have been the perfect person, but I surely did my part and mostly everyone else's too. My husbands only work at home was mowing the lawn and taking out the trash. The rest was mine, and I was happy to have a clean house where my kids could have friends over and things could be easily repaired by the landlord when needed-nothing was there to hide or be ashamed of.But these years of depression have taken an emotional toll on my family and a physical toll on me. I find that I can't just get up and get back on the bandwagon and get it all done myself. I get dizzy, I become out of breath easily, and don't even have the actual strength(physically) to accomplish all that needs to be done. As I do what little I can at a time, other daily messes build up and I feel I'm getting nowhere. Things being so bad at times that there are dirty dishes on the kitchen floor because there is just no more room to put them anywhere else. The children eating in the living room and leaving dishes and garbage all over the furniture and floor, rancid milk from bowls of cereal and cups of milk everywhere-the stench of rotten food left in cookwear and in dishes stinking up the entire house.I have fought my way through this depression on my own. No medications to help me, with the exception of taking tranquilizers and high blood pressure meds(both for high blood pressure and the effects of panic attacks along with my hyperthyroidism and it's symptoms). I have prayed, talked and cried many times with my husband(who has been supportive and loving) and basically determined in my mind that I want my home back. Not just the clean house, but to prove my love to my children and husband and get back into doing the things I always enjoyed. I want to love life again and look forward to things and stop looking back. But there is a lack of forgiveness and other problems with my eldest girls that is hard to work past(or through, I should say). They have lost respect for me especially, and to some small extent-their father. I feel I have let everyone down and can never make it up. Time has been lost, precious years with my family, precious years for me.My dh and I have tried to implement(many times) rules and reasonable chores, so the girls will learn to do things they should've been doing all along. Cleaning up their rooms(instead of me), cleaning up their messes(food, garbage,etc.) and throwing them away or rinsing them out. We've also added reasonable tasks, after working hard to get it all cleaned ourselves, to KEEP things clean so we can move onto other things that need to be done. They are not child slaves, but they are not toddlers anymore either. They are all capable of straightening up, washing some dishes, washing a couple loads of clothes. Interchanging the days each one has a chore on, so that nobody feels they are saddled with the same thing all the time. My husband and I are also on the chore list, along with all the extra things we can do to catch up. Maybe my real first problem was in doing everything for everyone, with no expectations that anyone should pick up their room(I'd get tired of asking then telling them, yet it was still a day long mess I would end up cleaning up and organizing). I never taught them basic things about being clean. They never cleaned their rooms, they never put toys up, they never put their garbage in the trash, never kept dishes in the kitchen, etc. That is my blame. Now they do whatever they can to be gone all the time at friends homes, spending sometimes 3 or 4 nights in a row with a friends. My eldest is gone all the time, out with friends or a boyfriend, and keeps making promises to help, but always leaves and is gone before I realize she didn't do what she said she would. We are dysfunctional at this point, usually just letting them go and stay with their friends and go out without putting our foot down. Mainly because I know it will start a debate and almost always a fight or argument. My eldest has so much anger when she doesn't get her way, she has been physically and very verbally abusive. My middle daughter can be verbally abusive, but I have never feared her hitting me, since she never has and I believe she has not lost so much love or respect for me that she'd do such a thing. Also, the fact that she was a witness to the first time my eldest hit me and how it effected her may have put any thoughts of how violence hurts people in many ways in perspective for her. That incident had her hysterical. My youngest is the most motivated. She has worked very hard to completely declutter their shared room(hers and my middle child) on her own. She is tired of the mess, but she doesn't leave all the time because she "hates it here and doesn't want to be here"(as my other 2 girls have stated). So she is my helper and inspires me to do things. She has bagged up numerous contractor bags and regular bags of garbage to be tossed out, whether her sister wants it gone or not. She will clean the bathroom or living room on her own, without it being her chore or being asked at all. Just because she wants a clean home again, just as I do. Funny how you can learn so much from an 11 year old child. Basically, I'm on a path, but I do falter a lot. I am at a loss of how to get my other girls to stay home and help. Because, in my own way, I hate it here too. Too many bad memories that overshadow the good ones. Too much to do and everyone gone and when home, they just increase the mess, rather than even attempting the simplest of things to keep it to a minimum. Our home is just a garbage dump to them now, leaving items everywhere and not even getting up to throw things away or put their dishes in the kitchen. Many evenings I have to make numerous trips from the living room to the kitchen(and other rooms), just to put the things they've used back where they belong. Our home is just a stop off place where they drop by to eat, leave garbage around, get a change of clothes, and leave again. How does a person ever keep a good outlook and keep trying when the people around them won't help? How do I keep a good outlook when my eldest 2 demean me and always have something to say that hurts and makes me feel even worse when they don't get their way?I don't blame my children for my illness. Frankly, I need help. I need someone to physically be here and work with me so I can truly get something done. Yes, it would be nice to have the money to hire help or to have a family member to help, but I don't have that option. My dh's family has no idea, and they have families and work or their own to do. My only relative, my sister, thinks I have been manipulative and need to just suck it up(this was said at a bad time during my depression). I hold so much guilt over so many things, many going back to childhood. I have had the reposibilities of an adult since I was 13. My mother left, drinking, on the streets, multiple suicide attempts, because it was too much for her. I took care of my father, who had suffered a severe stroke, giving him insulin shots, all of his meds, cooking, cleaning, writing out checks for him to sign for the bills-everything a housewife would do(nothing perverted) for years, all on my own with no help from family. Not to forget school and some sort of friends and social life. So I am not new to the whole cleaning and taking care of everyone routine. My eldest two girls feel as if all our home is about is cleaning and chores, and complain of being bored. It is frustrating to know what my youngest has worked on(while her sisters are off having fun elsewhere), and the things they see me doing right in front of them and how they sit and listen to music or play on the computer, talk on the phone, or come straight home to stay up late and work on a puzzle. That is all my eldest 2 do. They will be gone so long, the chore list has no meaning very quickly. How can regular chores be rotated if I'm the only one here to do them all?My greatest fear is that my frustration with these overwhelming tasks will put me right back where I was, in bed avoiding everything and everyone. I don't want to be there. I may stumble and have those days now and again, but it is not a constant thing. It is merely a minor setback. I honestly NEED help and don't know what to do. I know I cannot do all of this on my own physically, so I can never really get ahead. I've tried. I've spent an entire day washing an enormous amount of dishes and cleaning my kitchen, just to find myself physically unable to do anything besides try to get to the bathroom for 2 days afterwards. That wouldn't be so bad, but during those 2 days, more and more messes are made that pile up and nobody else cleans them. I even had a system of working every day on certain chores, just to maintain something. Keeping the bathroom clean, straightening up the living room and making the bed in our room. But all of that becomes a horrible mess the day I try to work on laundry or anything else(like trying to find the floor in our bedroom again). I am quite serious when I say it only takes a day, maybe two, for things to be as bad or worse than they were before I had it all cleaned. I don't understand why nobody else seems to care.Even a few months ago, my husband(dh) had said he wished he had one week where he could work with me(and everyone else here) to get things in order. Then he takes a weeklong vacation(he only gets one week a year until next spring, when he will get 2 a year) in which he spends no time doing anything but laying around reading and watching tv, with only one short trip on a cool day to have a "family" day of fun swimming at the lake. I never swam, as the wind and water were so cold. That excursion lasted maybe 2 hours, then it was over. He never helped with all of these things he said he would. I know it is his "vacation", but he should not have said those things about working with me if he didn't mean it. Sometimes I wonder to myself, if I had died instead of dealing with depression, how would my family make it? Nobody wants to work together, and never did. I got sick, needed help, and everyone was clueless about what needed to be done or how to do it.Needless to say, relationships between us in our home are bad. My youngest is the only one I can invest time and effort with, as the other 2 are gone so much. There is shame and fear of someone coming in to fix things that have been left broken, because of the mess. I am afraid of eviction or worse, losing my children. My husband and I haven't been the same in some very important ways for a long time. There is no intimacy between us and hasn't been for over a year and a half. He is interested, as am I, but doesn't read even the most obvious clues/hints that I give him. I feel unsure of my marriage, unsure of my childrens feelings towards me, unsure of my very place or reasons for even being in this house. I can only guess that everyone feels since I let them down with my depression, I have to not only fix everything myself, but maintain it on my own. I'm not trying to garner pity or refute my part in this. Why is it that I feel that if it were cancer I had, everyone would love me, help me, and not hate me. But because it is this horrible illness that can't be seen, blame is placed upon the person suffering. "Suck it up" "Get over it" "You have it easy compared to..." "What do you have to be depressed over?" This is the stigma that people deal with when they have depression. These are the things people cruelly say to someone when they are emotionally at their worst. Nothing like kicking someone when they're already down. Especially from the ones who are supposed to love you most and SAY they'll always be there for you, no matter what. People say, but they aren't honest. They'll be there for you "if it's convenient and they want to". That is how it works.Pretty long introduction, I know. Maybe I'm not owning up to my own problems and obligations. I don't know what anyone may think or feel. I just simply need help and support. I need it more than anything. Not just words or promises, but real help. I will work, as I have been, at getting things back in order. But I simply can't do it alone. I need help for how to deal with my girls and their lack of responsibility for their own messes. I need help knowing what else I could or should do. I know there are those of you who know and understand what I am trying to face and deal with. How does a person deal with this in a houseful of people who seem to be working against you, rather than with you? There are times I want to just pack up what belongings I can and leave with my youngest. Then my husband can deal with the eldest 2 and the mess all on his own. I know that sounds ugly and hateful, but I wonder if a dose of stark reality would wake him up to what I'm dealing with everyday by myself.I know this is not a forum for family problems and I had no intentions of making it one. But the horrible messes and the many reasons and problems that cause it to begin or happen, also have lasting repurcussions on a family. That is a reality. The levels of mess that we live with impact our daily lives, our relationships with friends and relatives, our social lives and with our own children and spouses. Now, when things seem so far gone, but I keep on hoping and trying, it continually eats at me in one way or another. The girls blaming me, angry over things I don't even remember. Apologizing repeatedly and being told by my middle daughter she would give me "one more chance", but if I screwed it up, she wasn't bothering with me anymore. It's as if I've lost all value as a human being with everyone except my youngest. I know they are somewhat young, but not that young and certainly old enough to know how badly words alone can hurt. The bad thing is, I know that most of the hurtful words are their real feelings, not spur of the moment comments made in anger. They really seem to feel this was something I made happen on purpose and I should feel bad and I should fix it all myself and I better not let them down. I'm feeling like I'm at a breaking point, despite my best efforts to the contrary, and any help or advice or even an understanding or caring ear would help. Thank you for this place. It helps to be able to be honest about things that I just can't talk about to anyone else.