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a bit long, my dads driving me up the wall, maybe need depression related advice

(7 Posts)
babyradio Tue 02-Apr-13 00:49:01

Feel like I'm posting on here every day at the minute with a worry or something. Had a look at the AND/PND board but it's not as active and it's not perhaps directly related, maybe it is I don't know.

Anyway I was told I have ante-natal depression at the beginning of last month, which apart from being scary and disruptive (I've never had any history of depression) is actually fine, well not fine, but like it's being dealt with so I know the problem is there but so do all my doctors/midwife/mental health team etc.

The real problem and something which is becoming harder to deal with is the impact it's seeming to have on my relationship with my dad. I am finding him extremely frustrating at the moment, when I try and think of all the things that he really does need to change it overwhelms me and I feel so annoyed with him - which is unfair because he's trying to do absolutely everything to support me and make sure I'm alright.

He's always had a problem with alcohol, he can't go a day without a drink (or 3) but he'd never think of himself as an alcoholic because he doesn't drink in the mornings. He literally cannot imagine his life without alcohol in it. It impacted heavily upon my childhood in a way that I'm only truly realising the extent of now, as we got older it got worse because he felt more able to go out. Everything revolves around going to the pub, everything. My parents split when I was very young and I appreciate how hard it was for him, but now 20 years later it's still a problem and part of the reason my mum had had enough was his drinking and his inability to go anywhere without stopping off in a pub for a couple of drinks. At a guess I would say he drinks about eight pints a day (he doesn't drink spirits or wine very often - he tends to drink weak as piss lager but it's not the point).

Back to the present day - he doesn't eat properly, he doesn't take care of himself, he smokes, he doesn't clean his house properly (hoovers up animal hair once in a blue moon), he's got a dog who barely gets walked and is fed completely the wrong type of food (constant 'treats' instead of a bowl of dog food, the poor creature must weigh six stone - the dog has always had a bad leg but its used as an excuse), my dad has a bad back but refuses to go to the doctor despite the fact he can barely stand up straight, he's got high blood pressure and circulation problems but smokes and drinks like he's 21, he drives a van I increasingly struggle to get in and out of but because I nag him to get a car he will think I am just being picky if I complain and it will make the situation worse, he won't move to a more suitable house and there are some issues with my grandparents house (both are dead, grandma in the last year which he was gutted about) that have literally taken years to sort and every time I ask him he says "it's on the list". But nothing ever changes. It's like he's been having a mid-life crisis for 20 years. And the worst part is that I know he is really lonely and I feel responsible for keeping him company but all that involves is going somewhere like tesco in his van then going to a pub for lunch and his standard couple of pints. At the moment I can barely look after myself.

My boyfriend is on the other side of the world, he has a completely different set of values to me and I can't talk to him about this in a way that he would fully understand. I live alone and the fact that my relationship with my mum only seems to be improving makes me feel incredibly guilty, why is it so easy with her and not with my dad?

I feel like the situation with my dad is only getting worse and worse, and he's very sensitive ESPECIALLY when it comes to me, so I feel terrible for snapping at him and being frustrated but I'm only just getting used to the idea of being a parent to a new baby let alone a parent to my father who is well into his 60s. It hit me tonight that if something happens in the next 10 weeks and I need to go to hospital in the middle of the night, I will have to drive myself or get a taxi because my dad who lives 5 minutes away will have had too much to drink to drive me anywhere. Then if I did ring him and he came along with me I'd be mortified to turn up at the hospital with someone who has clearly been drinking so much, he gets this glazed look in his eyes and comes out with the most ridiculous stuff.

I'm considering making an appointment myself with his doctor to go and talk about it and see if I can get them to call him in under some pretext and have a frank discussion with him about his health.

I am sorry this is SO long but I've been crying for the last hour and didn't know where else to put it all! Any advice welcome from anyone who's experienced this or similar.

Freyaee Tue 02-Apr-13 01:13:05

Sorry you're feeling so low and struggling with your own problems as well as your dad's. I haven't ever experienced this but wanted to say I think you are along the right lines with trying to seek medical a d expert advice for your dad's drinking problem. I imagine if this can be helped then other issues in his life might follow suit as he would be in a better place physically and mentally to deal with it. Does he need counselling? Is there an underlying emotional issue that he needs help with? It would probably be best to let your dad know you will talk to his GP though as he might feel betrayed if you go behind his back. Though I you feel that is the only way he will listen to someone then perhaps it is worth that risk. You obviously care very much, which is to your credit. I hope you have someone taking care of you as well.

HavingALittleFaithBaby Tue 02-Apr-13 08:05:49

Why is it so hard with your Dad? Because your Dad is an addict and until he accepts that he'll always put the drink first. It's worth looking at the al-anon website for advice on having a relationship with an alcoholic. Honestly though? If he's been like this for a long time, I'm not sure there's anything you can do to get him to change and you need to prepare yourself for that fact. It's time to concentrate on your health and the health of your baby.

gertrudestein Tue 02-Apr-13 09:17:40

Hi babyradio, your dad sounds like he needs help, but so do you. I have been going through something similar but with my mum. I also have antenatal depression and I wonder if it's linked?

My mother has always been difficult, but a few years ago I decided to forgive her for everything because I love her and she loves me and we all have faults ... etc. Since I've become pregnant I've found her behaviour increasingly unbearable. I think it's linked to the fact that I am going to be more dependent on her now, so I can't just let her be.

Suddenly all of her problems seem to have a direct impact on my life and on my baby's. I've started remembering things about my childhood that I thought I was 'over.' Before I know it, I'm waking up in the middle of the night horrified at the idea that my baby will be like me, or like my mother. And, similarly to you, I am getting on fine with my father (who I've never had a good relationship with) so this just adds to the guilt.

Why do you feel like you need to look after him? You need to concentrate on looking after yourself. If you have depression then you have a serious illness that needs attention. If you feel like you can barely cope with looking after yourself, then perhaps that is the route of the problem

I don't have any solutions, but one thing I'm trying is to distance myself a bit from my mother and realise I don't have to solve her problems, and also that she is not going to solve mine. We had an argument last week where she said, 'I know I always support you but now I need you to support me.' I was so outraged by the injustice of it that I was floored for about 4 days! It made me realise that I desperately want her support, but I never get it. So perhaps that is the problem I need to deal with - why I feel in need. I can't change the fact that she can't support me.

It sounds like your father isn't really able to support you in the way you want either. He certainly sounds like he could do with some help, but is now the right time, and are you the right person, to do it? Are you seeing a counsellor about the depression? Can you talk to them about it?

Good luck, and I hope you're feeling a bit better since writing this all out.

glossyflower Tue 02-Apr-13 11:13:29

It sounds like to me that your dad hasn't really changed in his behaviour for many years now. But, now you are pregnant, and vulnerable it's suddenly presented to you as a problem. You feel you need your dad to take responsibility and be a supportive father to you, but if he has never done so far he's not going to change now.
With your depression, I really think you need to concentrate on yourself and your baby for now. Maybe talk over your feelings with your dad, and tell him you wish he could look after himself better and be supportive and reliable to you.
You say your bf lives far away but do you have anybody else nearby you can rely on for support?
Your dad is an addict and unless he can see he has a problem (which sounds like be doesnt) there is nothing anyone else can say or do. He has to realise it by himself.

My situation with my dad is not at all the same, but I'm expecting my first baby, it will be the first grandchild and my dad has been very ill with leukaemia. He had a bone marrow transplant but the past six months has been suffering bad side effects from his medication.
My dad is not the dad I know, the high dose steroids make him confused. It's difficult to get a proper conversation out of him, he sometimes snaps at people unreasonably. He's now falling over, being wobbly on his feet, and he's only mid 50s. Before 6 months ago, even when he was having chemo he was still quite independent and mobile, working full time.
Now I barely recognise him.
Baby is due any day now and my dad has been readmitted to a hospital 50 miles away from home..,makes me very sad so I can empathise with you. At the end of the day we need our mums and dads to be mums and dads to us not the other way around. Xxx

babyradio Tue 02-Apr-13 18:30:29

Thanks for your replies. I really appreciate the advice. I look after myself as best I can and my mum comes to stay about once a week. My friends don't bother with me as much as they were which is upsetting but everyone has their own lives to worry about I suppose.

glossyflower, I'm so sorry about your dads illness, I hope you are doing ok.

Felt a bit better after I wrote it down, had to go up to his flat today and it is clear that he NEVER cleans. I spent 20 minutes cleaning as best I could with my mum (they do get on quite well), I made a point of showing him how utterly filthy the cloths were and I think he was genuinely embarrassed so perhaps he will try to clean today now he's on his own and really looking at it. I wiped the smoke residue off the kitchen cupboards except for a few patches which I left yellow so he can really SEE the difference.

I realise I'm not painting a good picture, he is a lovely, genuine, kind man who would like to think that he would do anything to make me happy - but because he won't accept that they are problems he can't see how happy it would make me for him to stop drinking or stop smoking - I think a lot of it is that he is afraid to try because he is afraid he will fail. I wouldn't swap him for the world, but he has gotten so fearful as he's gotten older and won't do anything out of his ever decreasing comfort zone.

If anything the constant excuses irritate me as much as the problems themselves.

afrikat Tue 02-Apr-13 21:34:47

Hi babyradio. I can massively sympathise - I also have an alcoholic father who has pretty much given up on himself (and his relationship with his children). He lives in a different country so I rarely see him now and every time I do it gets worse - he has truly given up caring about anything other than drinking. He smells, his teeth are rotting, he is massively overweight with dozens of health problems. This is a man who used to be so funny, so strong, so vibrant - a successful business man. Yet all he does is drink and slowly kill himself. For years I tried to help, I wrote him letters, I had long talks with him, I sent him pamphlets from my dr about alcoholism and depression etc. I thought I could save him.

Eventually, with the help of a therapist and via a couple of meetings I attended (adult children of alcoholics) I realised there was NOTHING I could do. If he wanted to change he would. But he doesn't.

My brother and I have both stopped making an effort now. It's too hurtful and it was making me depressed. What matters is what you can control - your health and how you deal with your relationship with your father. I think attending a few of those meetings would help you gain a perspective on how an alcoholic thinks and help you realise you need to protect your emotions. It can be so destroying constantly trying to be a parent to your own father, especially when they are suffering from a disease like alcoholism.

I hope you continue getting the support you need for your depression x

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