During the 80s and 90s when I was living up in Western Mass. and my mother was living in CT, I was struggling with my own job and marriage and emotional issues and so was my mom. But her situation was (and always has been) much more tenuous. She suffered, I think from Schizoaffective Disorder, which means that you have some problems w/schizophrenia and other problems with major Depression. Also, she was addicted to alcohol and when she stopped drinking, pain pills. Third, she had severe personal trauma that she obviously never dealt with. Well, I had untreated Bipolar, but i was of a different generation and more savvy about mental health and such things as Alanon. Oh, she had severe financial problems and I had financial problems as well. The bottom line is that I wanted to help her throughout my adult life, basically mputting her in mental hospitals 2-3 times and otherwise seeking to help patch her up enough to function minimally. But I was hampered in terms of effective helping by my own problems, of course.
The point of this little essay is that if I had been offered and accepted effective treatment for Bipolar much sooner, I could have done so much more for my mom. And I feel some remorse re her death (from cancer, she was a multiple pack a day smoker at times). What I want to say is that if we take good care of ourselves, this puts us in a much better position to reach out to others we care about and help them.
Finally, in 1998, when I became homeless (hit bottom), I sought out and received effective treatment. Recovery does not happen overnight. And the fact is that my mom died anyway in '94.
I am telling this story not gto share a sob story but because sharing it may help someone else to consider the effective that their undealt with problems may have on others. I also could have been much more supportive of my adult son as he struggled with his problems. Third, I could have been less impulsive in jumping into marriages and dealing with the problems that came up. It is irresponsible to avoid dealing with your own problems partly because we are all put on the earth to give to others in various ways (I believe). And if we are a mess how can we arrive at out potential of giving.
Don't get me wrong, I was not completely debilitated and I was able to give to my mom and son--just not as nearly much as i could have.
That's the story...