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Really Need Help/Advice....Mentally being torn apart

Community Member

Hi.I’m an only child at 55. I lost mum in March and then 3 weeks later my mum’s brother who I may have been closer to than my father.So now there is dad, he is 92 and physically well and living alone. But, he needs me and I have a family and work full time. I cannot always be available.

I feel like I’m depressed, torn, confused and just feeling guilty…..I knd of dont even know really how to express how I feel. I feel I have all these competing obligations but in all this there is no time for me.

I pay all dads bills, am executor to the estate of mum and my uncle I try to see dad twice to three times per week and call him daily. But he says he’s bored, or all he’s done is watch TV each day and so I feel guilty or maybe a powerlessness over my situation. Selfishness comes to my mind....can I and should I do more ?

Dad and I were never really close but he now needs me. I have tried to organise home help but he doesn’t want it. I’ve suggested community groups where they take you out for a few hours but he’s not interested. As an only child all the burden falls on me. And I feel like I have to please my wife, my dad, work and it’s just too much. Am I selfish ? Am I just whimping out ? Am I just whinging ?

I do know all this mental anguish is a negative. I dont want to sound like a victim here but the competing interests make life hard. I dont think I have depression but sometimes I just want to scream out STOP, this week is mine all mine to do what I want. I've been trying to do this since mum got sick with dementia so maybe about 10 months I've been trying to juggle these balls. With mum now gone it's intensified or maybe I've made it intensify within myself.

I really am confused and have decided I need to get counselling, there’s no point talking with those who know me because they have a biased view and need to speak with somebody that sees me as a blank canvas. Any advice would really be appreciated.

Thanks for reading this.

8 Replies 8

Community Member

Hi Shadow

Can I just say that your post really moved me, for a number of reasons. Fortunately I still have both my parents but I only have one child - and it worries me that someday he'll have to deal with this very situation you are facing. I just really hope that he has his own family who can support him through the tough times - a family who understand the importance of looking after loved ones in there time of need.

I'm really sorry for your recent losses. I can't imagine what it's like to lose a parent but it must be really really hard. It's so soon too and you must still be grieving. You also have your own family to be strong for and be supportive of your father. I work a lot with elderly people and one thing I have learnt is that many don't like to prepare. They lose their capacity to troubleshoot and think ahead. And understandably (and annoyingly) they can reject community support when they clearly need it - not just for themselves but it reduces so much burden from caring families. So I guess we just have to forge ahead and operate in "crisis" mode.

You need time to grieve and you need time for yourself, even if it's only a couple of hours to get a massage or go for a walk. I totally agree with getting some counselling. Can your wife help with dropping in on your Dad at all? I'd consider having a word with his GP to see if he can get some "buy-in" in terms of arranging supports (and even a community ACAT for respite for emergencies).

You're not whinging - you are truly overworked. You need to be able to vent and express your emotions, otherwise you bottle up and explode. I admire your commitment and sacrifice you've made to your family. This makes you a truly decent human being in my books. I know it's hard but your Dad needs you and you know it - can you reconnect with him and enjoy the time you do have together?

Sorry I haven't been much help but if anything totally agree with seeing a counselor.

Community Member

Hi Shadow750,

Firstly, welcome to the forums and explaining your story.

Seems everything has just piled up on you so i can understand why you are starting to feel depressed. I don't think you are selfish or whinging at all, we all need "Me time" but i think for you it really sounds like you barely have had a chance to mourn the loss of your mum and uncle, which in itself is hard because until you can mourn a loss, you can't fully function just on day to day stuff let alone having to do all your stuff, your families and your dad's stuff as well.

I unfortunately don't have a lot of advice in this area but I just wanted to reach out and let you know I heard your story and to say keep hanging in there for your family, you are showing a lot of character and strength to do what you are doing and also and just to let you know you are doing the absolute right thing going for counselling. I think you'll be amazed how much it will help someone in your position and you said it perfectly, an unbiased opinion on someone who see's you as a blank canvas. That is what you will get just don't hold anything back.

My best for you.


Community Member

Sincere thanks for the replies. I had tears starting when I read these. That scared me a bit. But really finally opening up to people who dont know me helped me and I am grateful.

There is that saying that you try to make everybody happy instead you make yourself miserable.... something like that. I guess that sums up how I feel.

Community Member
OMG I feel exhausted just reading back little dainty snippets of my childhood/life. Am I, 3? 7? 12? 15? 22?....older and older and older what day is it? what year is it?

I was reading poetry in one hand and an electronic screen in another.......that came out all wrong.

Apologises xx

I know of a secret island. I'll send you an owl.

I meant a horse.

An owl will just give you a little note reminding you that this is your life. Thanks for that.

A horse.

Community Member
Hi there. I know what you mean juggling all the balls at once. I have done that too and went to pieces very quick. Just remember you must take care of you or you won't be there to take care of anyone else. Set sand boundaries and save some time for self care. It's really important that you do. I hope this helps.

Community Member

Shadow. Thanks for sharing and reaching out. Thanks to the other posts. Great advice. Apollo Black. You doubt your ability to advise. Please keep on doing what you do. The advice you post is always helpful.

Absolutely agree that the counselling will help. You are spot on to seek that out.

I think boundaries is the key here. There is a fantastic book that is actually called "Boundaries". It is by a bloke called Henry Cloud. It is written in a religious context but it has great advice in it even if you aren't religious. The Christian stuff is just a bit extra if you are operating in a Christian mindset. The underlying principles are universal. Maybe see if you can get your hands on a copy of that book. I think most local libraries would have it but I do know that Koorong bookshop always has it. I'm not usually into self-help or Christian books but this one changed my life. Wish I'd learnt the lessons at 12 rather than 38 years of age though!

Maybe ask your counsellor about boundaries and some insight into that.

I wish you well on your journey. You are off to a good start.