06-11-2019 03:17 PM
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10-11-2019 12:08 AM
Hello fellow carers. I am a long term carer in a family with five people affected by major mood disorder, at least two of whom, my brothers, have schizoaffective disorder. The worst afflicted one of them has had many severe manic episodes over a very long time...since he was 17, back in 1970. He usually has little insight when he is unwell and he has very long periods of acute symptoms. At least five times he has spent a continuous year in an acute ward. He has a lot of community support but when he is unwell he is likely to leave town and take risks hitch hiking and he frequently ends up needing to be hospitalised elsewhere which is very stressful for everyone.
His brother and mine, has deep depressions between periods of gambling and has always needed bailing out financially. He has had several hospitalisations with paranoid times but together we seem able to head admissions off these days.
One of his children, my niece, is bipolar and now well supported on medication and able to work fulltime. Sadly, her teenage son has recently been diagnosed too.
The other sufferer is my older son who has developed bipolar symptoms after needing large doses of cortisone for brittle asthma. He is the father of three young children and has a wife from a different ethnic backgound who does not want to discuss or consider mental illness at all. He has been able to work fulltime but has been retrenched along with most other permanent staff under a new business model in his previous workplace. I have watched him losing ground recently despite his being able to be well enough to work up til now. I wonder how I can attract his psychiatrist's attention if he is unable to signal that he is less well...he seems quite remote and certainly is less competent domestically than he was. His job hunting seems sporadic and unrealistic. I help a lot with the kids to keep them as balanced as possible although my older husband who is unwell and my other resident son who is autistic make this a very tall order. My son's wife is studying fulltime and is away from home all day and a great deal of the evenings, possibly avoiding things at home as well as being very focused on her demanding degree.
I admit that I am feeling a sense of dismay about how long I can manage to offer support. I have been the one constant person who has not allowed mental health services to reject my sickest brother despite his very challenging behaviours and his frequent rejection of my efforts. I do not invite him home as he has had horrible delusions about me on occasions and he terrifies my autistic son. I liaise with the psychiatrist for my other brother before he gets too ill...he has several acute episodes each year and if he gets a bit high, he thinks he does not need his meds anymore or spends the money on something else like the horses! My niece feels misunderstood by her mother who long ago divorced my brother and wants no further involvement with mental illness, so I always listen and get her to see her psychiatrist when she is less well. She also needs to talk about her son and how he is going since his acute episode a few months ago. My son acknowledges his illness and has a very good psychologist as well as a psychiatrist who knows the family members who are afflicted and treats all but he sickest who he knows from his time working in the acute ward...like many private practitioners, he can and does chose to avoid those with poor insight! My interest is in how some intervention, maybe by geneticists, might be able to turn this horrible gene off before any more of our relatives have this terrible blight. I think documenting family stories might also help researchers develop other effective interventions. So there you have it!
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