Bold and Daring Adventure?

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According to yesterday’s fortune cookie, my life is a bold and daring adventure(!) That’s not exactly how I’d describe it. Right now, my life feels more like a stressful and overwhelming disaster.

As Christmas draws near, it seems the intensity of caregiving has kicked up a notch. There are a plethora of worries to choose from.

Jerri will be alone this year. I’m going out of the country and she wasn’t invited to the family festivities. Christmas is an extra depressing time for her and I feel guilty for leaving. Telecare, her mental health provider, will check in on her while I’m gone but still I feel guilty . . . and sad. No one should be alone at Christmas.

For Christmas, Jerri asked for a bird. Until recently, her housing complex did not allow pets. But there is a new property manager, Brian, and he consented. Pets are great therapy, I know this, but what if something goes wrong? What if she can’t handle the responsibility? What if she forgets to feed and water it or exposes it to environmental dangers? What if she forgets to clip its wings or can’t afford to and it flies away? I feel like I’m her parent, not her sister. I never had kids for a reason. Having responsibility now for a 48-year old is quite daunting. I don’t want Jerri dependent on me. She needs to be able to make her own choices and deal with the consequences. But I know her history with animals. We adopted Max, her dog, when she moved here and he was quite traumatized from living with her. She lost one bird when her air conditioning went out while she was hospitalized and another when it breathed in fumes from the Endust she was spraying. And how can she even afford the food? Her finances are a mess and she’s eating at the shelter, three meals a day.

Sigh. I bought her a bird anyway. I pray it will help her recover more of who she is. I pray this is not a huge mistake. I pray the bird doesn’t keel over.

My husband and I are at odds about Jerri’s car. Her license was suspended when she failed to show up in traffic court and she owes back property taxes. She attempted to sell it to the manager of a boarding house where she once lived. He made the first payment then absconded with the vehicle. It’s now awaiting retrieval from a lot owned by the county sheriff’s department. Detective Smith relieved said gentleman of said car upon incarceration. Really. You can’t make this stuff up. My life was amazingly sheriff-free before Jerri. The car has no keys, a dead battery, and four flat tires. We agree the car must be dealt with. We just don’t agree on when or how.

And as an extra cherry on top, Jerri just received notice from Brian that her rent is past due. Housing for New Hope, who owns the property, requires residents to have a payee so Telecare pays her bills. Telecare says they submitted payment. Brian says he didn’t get it and it’s Jerri’s responsibility as the resident to see that he does. Sigh. Do you see why I’m leaving the country?

And all of this is added to the end of the year madness at work and my own melancholy linked to the holiday. Can anybody out there relate?

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4 Comments on “Bold and Daring Adventure?”

  1. Van says:

    Wow, I did not know you were dealing with this. Were you dealing with it when we were in college? Thank you for starting this blog and letting us in to this unknown world. I worked at a school where we had an emotional disorder class for elementary students so I know a little bit of it, but definitely not to the level you must know and live with. I definitely do not walk in your shoes, but know you have my support in any ways that is needed.

    • Hi Van—In college Jerri was struggling with substance abuse but we didn’t yet know about the bipolar. The two of us (Jerri and me) weren’t close then. She had her first child my freshman year and there was a great deal of family drama around that since she wasn’t married. Don’t know if that rings a bell at all. I didn’t talk about the situation a lot because I thought everyone else’s family was normal. Ha! Now I’m not even sure there is such a thing. Your support means a lot.

  2. Ellen says:

    First of all, thank you for reaching out regarding my own post on mental illness. Secondly to answer the question you already know the answer to: YES, I can certainly relate.
    I especially sympathize to your situation since bipolar individuals can at many times seem very capable to those who may not know the situation. It’s almost like you have to prove that there is something wrong to those who are doubters. Getting help is a lot harder when the diagnosis isn’t as blatantly obvious, like in the case of my brother who is clearly developmentally disabled.
    I commend you for taking on such a responsibility. I know that you aren’t asking for any advice, however out of concern for you and your own sanity/mental health, I strongly urge you to find some balance so that this doesn’t consume you or your own relationships. Remember, you deserve to be happy in this life, too. Boundaries are key, and I’m just learning to let go of the guilt that unfortunately attaches itself to the word ‘boundary’. I wish you nothing but the best, hope that you can let go of your responsibilities while you’re gone and use that time to gain new perspective. Big, BIG hugs to you!

    • Ellen, thanks so much for your comment and for the hugs 😉 I am working on the boundaries and it is superlative advice as well as one of my biggest challenges. Trophy Daughters are notorious fixers. The biggest thing for me right now is to step back and let Jerri handle Jerri messes. She just lost cable because she got behind in her payments and while I won’t give her money, I’m fighting the urge to contact Time Warner and negotiate a solution. Ah, good times. Best wishes to you as well. I’m cheering for you!


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