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Is this hyperstress? What do I do?

Posted by Nativethings

Warning: My life is like a bad soap opera these days. 

On other sites, hyperstress is defined only in terms of being overworked in the workplace, but I haven't been able to find any other term that might include having multiple major life stressors all at once.   Please talk about hyperstress, its symptoms, and how it can be treated.  I guarantee you:  a cup of herbal tea, meditation, long walks, or a hot bath are not going to help in this case.  What I really need is for the problems to be resolved, but since you can't do that for me, I'm hoping for some help in at least dealing with the huge level of stress I'm under.

Starting in Feb. 09, I had about 1/2 dozen major life stressors fall on me practically all at once, and it's getting worse.  My husband moved to another state for a job, while I stayed home to sell the house.  My mother was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, with 2 months to live.  I took care of her and my 92 year-old father during her remaining time.  My mother died April 5.  I stayed to take care of my father.  My husband was laid off from his new job, so we couldn't make the house payments.  We finally sold our house for much less money than we needed.  He moved into my father's house with me. 

For the last several months, the rest of the family has been  falling apart, with my 2 sisters having turned against me, and my brother burying his head in the sand about the whole thing.  My sisters are trying to manipulate my Dad (who has lost his wife of 66 years, is depressed and grieving, has such a severe tremor that he can barely pour a cup of coffee, has just been diagnosed with macular degeneration in both eyes, and is possibly in the early stages of Alzheimer's),  into dismantling his Living Trust and selling his house--since about a week after Mom died--so that all his assets are in cash and not protected by the Trust (Red Flag!  Red Flag!).  My sisters have convinced my lost and vulnerable Dad that I am mentally ill, so that he believes that anything that comes out of my mouth is either a lie or some delusion that I actually believe but is totally untrue.  They now refuse to be in the same house with me, hoping that Dad will throw my husband and me out.  I have been made the scapegoat, am so left out of the loop on absolutely everything regarding the family that I'm basically being shunned, and am probably going to be driven out of the family.  My husband, who's never had any problem getting a job before, is still unemployed. 

I am trying to take care of everything Mom used to take care of (which was literally almost everything), as much as I can of the things Dad used to be able to do, help my husband with his job search, try to find alternative housing (with only unemployment for income),  and try to take care of my independent-minded Dad, who doesn't think he needs a caretaker, and who thanks to my sisters, is angry and resistant toward me.  I go to every Federal, State, and other agency I can find looking for help to protect my Dad in this bizarre situation (and have found nothing very useful), and I'm trying to find a support group for me before my head explodes (and have found nothing appropriate there, either).  I have now been doing all this for 8 months now, with--not just no help from my sisters--but actual sabotage from them. There is so much to do, I feel guilty even taking the time to try out support groups, yet I know that if I don't take care of myself somehow, I can't take care of my Dad.

I will not desert my Dad, regardless of what he's thinking of me and how he's treating me these days, because in reality he's just as much a victim as I am.  Because he believes I'm a nutcase, however, he'll never move in with us if my husband does find work.  My sisters think they can stick him into some cheap retirement home, but he can't take care of himself, and they can't see that, because they're never here and they don't believe what I say.  His estate isn't large, and he's going to need it for himself, because assisted living is much more expensive, especially if it does turn out that he has Alzheimer's.  Mediation has been suggested at 2 agencies, but my siblings are scattered up and down the coast, and are not willing to treat me like a sane person anyway.  Attorneys have been no help, because I don't know for sure what my sisters are up to, and because--at least as far as I know--they haven't done anything yet.  State and Federal agencies want to send out an investigator to question everybody--but my Dad can't remember enough of what my sisters say to him to realize that they're coercing him--he thinks he's making his own decisions.  My sisters, of course, would only deny everything.  With only my sayso to go on, nothing will be done, except maybe the court would appoint a non-family conservator or guardian, who gets paid from Dad's estate, which is part of what the Trust was designed to prevent.  All I'm really finding out is that nobody is equipped to deal with this complex and bizarre situation.

Aside from my husband, who is also overstressed, I don't even have anyone to mourn the loss of my mother with, and now I feel like I'm mourning the loss of every family member I have, too.  I still can't believe my own sisters are doing this to me and to my Dad, and it hurts more than I can express.  My father is lost without Mom, is summing up his life and coming up with zeroes and a host of regrets, and is crumbling before my eyes.  That, too, hurts more than I can express.  We have no income, our assets have been severely depleted, and we don't have many years before retirement in which to financially recover.

How do I deal with all the losses, the deception, the work, and all the combined stress of all these things?  Our income doesn't make counseling an option, which is why I'm looking at support groups.  None are designed to deal with everything that's going on in my life.  I thought the early-stage Alzheimer's group might help me with how to deal with Dad, and to get more information about early stage symptoms, but he doesn't have a diagnosis yet, and I can't get his family doctor to send him to a specialist, so I don't know how much use that group will be.  Tonight I started what I thought was a support group for depression & anxiety, but it's actually more of a class.  Two days from now, I'm trying a grief support group sponsored by the Hospice group that helped with my Mom's death.  I don't know if I can spare 6 hours a week on support groups and still get enough done.  I'm out of ideas, I'm out of hope, and I'm out of strength.  Somebody please help.

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