June 25, 2008
Concerned for Bipolar Relative
By Annie's Mailbox
Dear Annie: My 28-year-old niece, "Jane," has suffered from low self-esteem and depression since she was 14. She is currently seeing a psychiatrist and taking medication for attention deficit disorder. She is "wired" on this drug. She accomplishes her assignments at her job, but she sometimes takes more medication than the amount prescribed and then runs out before renewal time. When she is not on the drug, she becomes almost comatose. She'll sleep for days and cannot be easily awakened. Then she loses her job because when she doesn't show up for days, she is fired.
My sister worries herself sick about Jane and doesn't know what to do. Jane resents any suggestion of help and just says she wants to die. She has seen several psychologists and psychiatrists. Two said she was bipolar and another said she's not. Manic depression runs in our family.
My sister and brother-in-law are physically, emotionally and financially drained. Is there a support group to help them cope with their daughter's illness? -- Concerned Aunt
Dear Aunt: First, your sister should call Jane's current psychiatrist (or whoever is prescribing this medication) and describe Jane's overmedication and comatose reaction. The doctor will want to have this information. In the meantime, suggest they contact the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (dbsalliance.org) at 1-800-826-3632. Someone there should be able to help.
Dear Annie: I want you to meet the most stupid woman in the world: me.
My 37-year-old son, his girlfriend and their 14-year-old daughter all live with my husband and me. Maybe once in a blue moon my son might give me some money toward the heating bill. His girlfriend doesn't work, so she cannot help out.
My husband is 78 and retired. I'm 65 and don't know who would feed these people if I stopped working. I can hear you shaking your head from here. The reason I put up with this is my granddaughter. I love her more than life, and I think these two freeloaders know it, so I am being held hostage emotionally.
Please let me offer some advice to any mother out there. Don't do it. It may seem cruel to tell your child when he comes home with a pregnant girlfriend to make the best of it and be responsible for his own life. But believe me, it is worse to grow old, regretting the day you let them in. -- Old, Stupid and Tired
Dear Tired: We don't think you are stupid. We think you are compassionate and willing to make sacrifices for your family. It is difficult to tell your children to fend for themselves when there is a grandchild at stake. Now that your granddaughter is a teenager, however, it's time to get your life back. Tell your son he needs to find his own place. (You can offer to let your granddaughter stay if you wish.) Add that you plan to retire soon and may sell the house, so he should consider his options now.
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to [email protected], or write to: Annie's Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. [copyright] Creators Syndicate Inc.
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