Care­givers need care, too

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - YOUR DAILY BREAK -

DEAR AN­NIE >> I have a 31-yearold son who has al­ways strug­gled with men­tal ill­ness is­sues. He was di­ag­nosed with de­pres­sion at age 15 and again in his early 20s when we sent him to a week­long in­vol­un­tary res­i­den­tial treat­ment. He will not stay on med­i­ca­tion or go to coun­sel­ing.

In the mean­time, af­ter years of not be­ing able to keep a job, he fi­nally had a good job for two years, which he lost 16 months ago. He moved in with us 10 months ago and has made no ef­fort to search for another job. We gave him a dead­line to get a job or move out, be­cause we are near­ing re­tire­ment age and can­not con­tinue to pay for his liv­ing ex­penses, his car in­surance and other bills that come up. It is ob­vi­ous that he is not go­ing to get a job. We do not want him to be home­less. He has been there be­fore, and I know the out­look on home­less­ness and those with men­tal ill­ness is not good. How­ever, we can’t con­tinue to en­able him. He can func­tion. What should we do? — Par­ents at a

Cross­roads

DEAR PAR­ENTS: I AM SO SORRY THAT YOU AND YOUR FAM­ILY ARE STRUG­GLING WITH THE ON­GO­ING BAT­TLE THAT IS MEN­TAL

ILL­NESS. AS PAINFUL AS IT CAN BE TO DRAW BOUND­ARIES WITH OUR ADULT CHIL­DREN, YOU SAID IT BEST >> To con­tinue pay­ing all of his liv­ing ex­penses at this point would be to en­able him. If he is ca­pa­ble of work­ing, as you stated, then a job could not only help sta­bi­lize his hous­ing and fi­nances; it could help with his men­tal health. Hu­mans thrive with rou­tine.

So let your son know that you will al­ways un­con­di­tion­ally of­fer your love, but you can’t con­tinue to of­fer your money. If he is at a loss as to how to get back into the work­force, you can point him to­ward In­di­vid­ual Place­ment and Sup­port (https:// ipsworks.org). The Na­tional Al­liance on Men­tal Ill­ness states that IPS “can help peo­ple with men­tal ill­ness find and keep mean­ing­ful jobs, sup­port­ing their men­tal health re­cov­ery.”

And lest you think you’re alone in this, please read on.

DEAR AN­NIE >> I’ve read let­ters in your col­umn from par­ents at their wits’ end re­gard­ing chil­dren’s be­hav­ior, whether they’re ado­les­cents or adults.

My son has a per­son­al­ity dis­or­der, and I of­ten have found my­self ex­as­per­ated. I had to call the po­lice twice and take him to the ER once. And I’ve done a lot of pray­ing. I talk to him ev­ery night and tried to en­cour­age him. I am al­ways bend­ing over back­ward. It has been very dif­fi­cult.

Many things have worked out well for him that pre­vi­ously were sources of stress. We are all still work­ing on it. I’m very thank­ful to God and my rel­a­tives, who gave my son much needed so­cial sup­port. I en­cour­age par­ents who have writ­ten to you in sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tions to keep pray­ing and to con­tact NAMI. I have done that in the past. And ask fam­ily and friends if they can help.

— S.B.

DEAR S.B.: I’M PRINT­ING YOUR LET­TER BE­CAUSE IT TOUCHES ON SUCH AN IM­POR­TANT POINT >> As im­por­tant as it is to set bound­aries, it’s equally im­por­tant to reach out to oth­ers for sup­port. Care­givers need care given to them, too.

“Ask Me Any­thing: A Year of Ad­vice From Dear An­nie” is out now! An­nie Lane’s de­but book — fea­tur­ing fa­vorite col­umns on love, friend­ship, fam­ily and eti­quette — is avail­able as a pa­per­back and ebook. Visit http://www. cre­ator­spub­lish­ing.com for more in­for­ma­tion. Send your ques­tions for An­nie Lane to dear­an­[email protected]­ators.com.

An­nie Lane Dear An­nie

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