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Help me to recognize the symptoms


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Hi again!

The first thing that made me search for a site like this was my dad and the problems I have with him. I wanted to ask you, from the very beginning, but now I think I have the strength and time to do it.

Years ago he told us that he was diagnosed with depression or that they just have given him pills for this. I don't know any details about this, all I know is after he took his first pills he decided to cut them off cause they made him sleapy, like a vegetable as he said. So all I have in my hands now, is how changed is his personality, and that the symptoms I have seen that match with his behaviour is more or less the symptoms of dipolar or monopolar (if you call it that way) depression. And that's why I am here, I wonder wether you could help me to find out what it is. I know you can't possible make a diagnosis. But asking him to go to a doctor is out of the question. Tolerate the time to be with him is out of the question too. I know his life is a mess and I should help, but recently I decided that if he is sick I can't help, I just can help me from being hurt (inside). Anyway, maybe at least I can calm things down when I see an episode coming through and maybe you know the way cause all I can find in the internet is how pills and therapy can help but there is no place they say how relatives can help (apart from sending the patient to a doctor). But even if relatives can't help in home, it would be a relief to know what's the problem with my dad. Who knows, maybe I can find a relative team support in my city, depenting in his problem.

So, before I try to tell you details of our (full of problems) life so as to make you have a clear view, is anybody interested to help me?

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The thing is that he doesn't understand that he needs something. All that happens is that he always feels tired, in pain (he has big headaces all day long for years and many health problems), he feels depressed and sorry for himself, sometimes crying for no reason, or he yells at as and he doesn't even know what to yell for, as long as he does. He tries to find something to quarrel and I can smell that in the air. Every time he opens his mouth he has to critisize you or say something negative for whatever... even for what he hears on tv. It's like he is searching for just any word to catch and start a fight. Of course when you try to tell him (politely) to look after himself he says that "you know everything now, you are grown up heh? You think you are a doctor or something? Autognosy! She knows better than medical world!". So to try and tell him he needs a doctor is out of the question obviously. To take a doc home pretending he is a friend is out of the question too...he is so so clever!!! He will know as soon as he talks to him. And of course trying to imply without offending him that he needs to find a way and take care of himself is out of the question too!! I have done it and I had the above reply. I know I can do nothing for him and if he dies or something I know I will feel guilty for not helping him because he was not always like that but now he is the person that won't leave you breath without his approval! All I want is at least tell you the symptoms and story and find out what he has. So then I'll try to find a support somewhere for me. The other two in my family seem not only to understand his problem but have a strong stomach as well. But I'm not like that, I need to find my peace, I need a guide to wether I have any responsibilities for him and what kind of wall can I put so as not to get hurt anymore from this situation.

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I will have to make a last try and whoever feels like he can answer. So I will explain the situation

Many years ago my dad told us that they told him he has got depression and that he took the pills they gave him but he felt so sleapy that he decided to cut them off. From around that period he was sometimes ok, sometimes he woke up so badly that we had to tollerate with his very bad mood and yelling and accusing us for anything -and that, would keep for the whole month. (The same period he was telling us for a joke that he is going to live alone in a mountain on his village or that he is not against sueside cause you can't decide to get born but you should decide if you want to die. We couldn't tell if this was just a joke though).

At first we blamed his brother for his anger attacks who wanted to make him take a divorce from my mother, so every time he went to visit his brother he came home with anger and start a quarrell with my mom. Then we saw that there is a slight drinking problem and relatives noticed that too. I remember my mom wondering if his bro makes him drink every time he goes at his home and that's why he yells, cause he is drunk. Anyway, after years, he had a fight with his brother about the situation and their connection stopped till now. But years after that, he started to have a really bad attraction to alcohol till he started to have a health problem due to it and he quit till now. Well not quit for good, he drinks 2-3 beers in launch and I've noticed that a period he drunk non alcohol beers he had terrible bad anger crisis, so now he switched it to normal alcohol ones and he seems to be satisfied with it. Anyway I don't know the real reason (if the drink made him depressed, or the depression made him drink or anything) but I remember peacefull periods followed by epic verbal fights for almost 15-20 years now. My mom seems to have found her piece after decided not to pay attention to what she or we want but instead he gave him what he wanted: somebody who will shut up. The same time, even if I didn't want to hear his yelling, afterwards she would come to me and tell me what he said, even when I tell her I don't want to know, and then she blamed me it's my fault he is angry and should go to ask for his forgiveness. This happens for surely 10 years now. I have never understood what to forgive me for, so I never did ask for any forgiveness and I have never accepted to show there is no deal (like my bro does) or that I am willing to shut up if anyone asks me anything. But that not means I am taugh inside and can tollerate the situation. Well I understand that my parents as a couple has found their way to communicate -he yells, she says sorry please calm down. He know she will say sorry, she knows things will calm down if she shows he is on top. But that's their communication. My dad can't accept I am not my mom and I won't go under anybody just because he is sick or a dictator or for any reason. I don't mean I continue the fight every time he starts it, I just try to get out of it without talking, or leave him shouting alone. But on the other hand I don't accept to show him he is right to behave that way. He knows I am like that, and that bothers him. For him it is always about who is on top and what HE wants.

That is to give you the whole picture.

Then, last 10 years till now (he is 65), he mostly is in a bad mood, he even yells to what he hears on the tv, he has even started a verbal fight with me this summer cause I said that I will go cycling after launch!!! He tried to pisse me off and that was the first time I talked back to him though I could see he was seeking for a fight. He is very clever, he knows how to manage what he wants. Anyway, he works with no stop though he is so tired to do so and he blames us that he is doing it for us and he is sick due to it. He has got many health problems including headaces all day long that he won't go to a doctor and look at. When you tell him to look after himself (and I am the only one I have done it in my family) he yells that 'you know everything'.

Anyway those last years I can see that he is so tired and in pain that most of the time he is not well. I've seen him cry for no reason, he holds his head, he yells and critisize badly everyone for everything, he says he aces inside (meaning the soul). The most weird: Some day he started talking to me. He couldn't stop (it was not the only day he talked without a stop the last 2 years) and even if he was asking me things, he couldn't stop to listen my answers, so he talked about anything like stories from the past I have heard a thousant times and it went on till 4 in the morning (it reminds me the symptoms of mania). Then, after having a talking that he seems to have fun in, a week later, without a reason he stood up and said that he feels I don't want him and my mom around (it was like seeing a movie scene in front of me, I couldn't believe it, it seemed so out of the reallity! My mom, a passive person begging him on her knees to stay and I couldn't believe the sceen in front of me!) so he said he is going to leave home and go to a hotel, so (while yelling so loud the whole block could hear him), with spasm moves he got his shoes on and left for an hour and a half. Then he came, and slept immediately like nothing happened, while I couldn't close my eyes from crying.

A friend of mine says this looks like a dipolar. I am searching internet and many symptoms lookes like a bipolar (eg he has got a very weird or little sleap, the drinking problem, phases between beeing ok -he is never really full of energy- or a hurican) but as times goes by, it looks it is more close to depression than mania.

What do you think? Is it what bipolar looks like? Can relatives do something about it apart from taking him to a doc (that he will never accept). My mom and bro, though they are older than me seem to not understand. They say it's ok, it could be worse, like hitting us and that they thank him and love him cause they don't starve or anything. I think that is egoistic and cruel for them, him and me. Here I have to say that the last years the fights is almost everytime about me, though my bro who acts like there is no problem in the house (sorry but I really believe all my bro cares about is the money secure that dad provides him, even though he calls it "respect"), is his favourite person and he calms a little down whem my bro is around.

What can I do about him, how can I treat him when I see a yelling crisis is on the way? Am I responsible as a relative to help him in any cost, though he is a taugh person and don't accept help? How? He lives in a small city and he has clients there, I can never let people there understand he has some mental illness. It's not just the job cause he is retiring in 2 years, it's mostly the gossiping and the respect he will lose.

And mostly, what can I do for myself cause I think I am going to explode inside everytime this happens (and it is everytime I see him or talk him to the phone-fortunately we don't live in the same city). I don't want to gain psychosomatic problems. Moreover I feel I have got many many nerves lately, someday I even threw my mobile on the flour and do things like this when I get mad and I don't want to end up like that.

I am despirate looking for answers cause if I don't manage I'll have to find the money and search for a therapist in my area to help me.

Thank you for listening.

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My dear Autogony, I'm sorry this situation is bringing you so much heartache. It sounds so much like the story of my relationship with my dad, perhaps I can provide some help just by sharing a little...

My dad (he passed away 2 years ago) was a pessimist and loved to blame everyone around him for his own frustrations. He was a very proud man who did not like to be contradicted. One had to play up to his ego, and like your Mom, mine knew how to do that very well, and it kept her out of trouble with him... Like you, I was the one in my family who started talking about there was something warped going on in my home, when I was an adolescent (I was the one receiving the punches so I figured I had a right to speak up). I have never been very good at just brushing things under the carpet, I have a need to call things the way I see them, and this opennes made me the family scapegoat. That appears to be the case in your family as well... someone to blame when there is no-one or nothing to blame for his anger. Did'nt matter if I was even there, somehow anything bad always ended up on my head. Ah, if Symora could just shut up, all would be well! But they weren't well, even when I shut up, this man had anger and control issues. My dad was not a drinker, but it's quite normal in alcoholic families actually that everyone enables the drinker because it makes life easier for themselves, and the one who tries to bring things out of denial is made the target...

Are there any Al-Anon groups where you live ?(they are support groups for family members who have had to deal with alcoholism jn the family and all the negative impacts of that). Even is your dad is perhaps not an alcoholic, he does have behaviour that resemble one...

My dad eventually had a heart attack that forced him to change his ways, somewhat, at least he could no longer be so enraged or he would immediately feel faint... But he was negative till the day he died and his need for control never really went away. My mom even told me one day to stop disagreeing with him or I would kill him.... So I changed as well. I was never submissive to him though, and we had major fights where he would push me to submit or see things his way. But it's just not in me to submit to someone who is mean or who I disagree with - a fault of mine probably... I did change my approach though - I forced myself to be more detached, aware that I would never change him and that he and my Mom had their own thing going and I wasn't going to change that dynamic either.

Your dad is master of his own life, even though you can see that it is killing him and the relationships around him, but if he does not want help there is nothing you can do. Sure you can try to make him see how seeing a doctor would be important, but he sounds very stubborn and if he doesn't want to, he won't. Perhaps something will happen, God fobid, where he will be forced to see a doctor, he is getting older after all. He sounds very tired, worried. He projects his fear on the two of you, like you don't want him anymore. Perhaps that will change once he retires and is more rested.

You are lucky in that you don't have to live with him, at least that is consolation.... My dad and I had reconciled our differences over the years. As he got older I think I became the one he had the most respect for, because we were equals and he valued my strengths, which perhaps include stubborness as well :-). So don't despair, people change, unfortunately it's in their own good time though...

It's nice to see that you are so concerned for your Dad, you are obviously a loving daughter...

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Dear Symora,

It's so interesting and reliefing to see your story repeated in another persons story.

I don't know if there is any organization for relatives etc in my country but first I have to know the excact problem so as to search for the related organization.

Near a decade ago a friend of mine who happened to meet my dad (and guess...they had a fight together) told me the same thing as you: "You have to see that you can't change your dad. He has brought his life where he wanted and you are not responsible for this." I guess I am somewhere between this statement. I believe in it but the thought that someday if I lose him, I may regret for not helping him when I could, because if I say that mom and bro are egoist not to help him and I don't help him also, then I am not different from them. The thought that I know his real good face and I know he is sick but as a so close person I did nothing to help him.

On the other hand I can see I am going away (meaning my soul), I have even losen the times I phone them cause I am not a social worker, I am involved in it and I have to protect my feelings from the situation.

Anyway, maybe someday I'll visit a doctor and ask him all these. I just afraid that he will insist to see him in order to give answers, and they are not cheap at all. Or worse he could say anything like "he is dangerous for himself/others so it's up to you to bring him". Brrr that is impossible!

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It sounds like you are doing what you can, even when he demeans you for it. When opportunities come up you can continue trying, but you have to accept what the decision to seek help is ultimately his. You love your dad, he is lucky to have you in his life. You are also young and know more about medical conditions or mental health issues that can account for his behaviour, but unfortunately he has no interest in learning more about it.... I think you have no reason to feel guilty, you have tried and continue to try.

For now, keeping a certain distance to be able to detach a little from the situation sounds like a reasonable idea. You have to continue living, taking care of your life, you are responsible for that and it sounds like you're doing a good job of it. You never know what the future holds, perhaps with time and age he will come around...

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Thanx a lot!

Seems to me yesterday I freaked a little out as a young man I know -and seems so calm person, from a wonderful family- killed his brother. Well I thought that if he could do it, everyone can. Then thoughts like "my dad is not calm at all, what could ever happen to him or my mom if his anger gets out of control...what if the illness he has is dangerous?). Well this is something I couldn never dare to say loudly but that was my thought. And I can't imply anything like that cause he has never ever hit us or warned us he would do anything like that. Surely the fact that he doesn't accept any help is my excuse to let him do whatever he wants with his life. After all he I am not the parent in the family -he is.

Thank you so much, that was calming words...

Take care!

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