difficult child - It all started with Lyme disease

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by enabler, Sep 17, 2013.

  1. enabler

    enabler New Member

    My daughter was finishing her Masters degree in Psychology and starting her internship at a major city hospital. She woke one day to find literally baseballs size clumps of hair falling out. At the same time all her joints began to click as she moved, we could all hear it. For two years she visited doctors and specialists. During those two years the most unbelievable symptoms showed up. Scaling and scabs all over the scalp, lip skin would peel off every two weeks, pain in all muscles and joints. She eventually tested positive for having bacteria and parasites caused by Lyme disease. She must have had it for a few years and it went untreated so it caused nervous system and other damage in her body. This illness resulted in severe depression, anxiety and her giving up on her Masters. She tried every pain killer every and every natural remedy to try and reduce her pain. The only thing that seemed to provide some relief was Zolpidem (sleeping pills) at night. After being on an antibiotic PICC line for three months and other antiparasitic remedies a year ago it seemed the bugs were gone. But not the depression and anxiety.

    All this has changed her completely over the last three years. She was a girl driven to succeed, with straight A's who knew exactly where she was going. A wonderful, girl who was always a delight to be around. Now she is rude to us and swears at us. She is noisy and shouts and screams at us and her brother and sister. She never cleans her room, dishes or clothes or even flushes the toilet. We cannot invite people over because she is so disruptive. She is dependant on sleeping pills, no matter how we try and control her supply she finds a way to get more. She goes to different doctors and gets money to pay for them by stealing from us. She spent $6,000 on my credit card consulting with psychics on the internet before we shut that down. She has more recently spent $1,500 on hair products (no kidding, 20 different types of hair conditioner in two weeks). She is still stunningly beautiful despite her substantial hair loss and has no problem finding another boyfriend when she has to. She lived at her boyfriend's for a while and was kicked out for stealing their things. She was engaged to her previous boyfriend and living with him until he could not deal with her any more, he was admitted to a mental hospital for 2 weeks and then kicked her out. She is back home again and sleeps most of the day and will not go back to finish her masters or get a job. She was seeing a psychiatrist for a while as well as a number of different psychologists and now refuses to go to any more. She will not admit to her addiction nor to even being depressed or to her anxiety. Her pain from her illness seems to come and go depending on how well she is doing getting the things she wants. I took her on a beach trip in the summer and she never complained of any pain. The pain returned when we go t home. When she got a new boyfriend her pain went away again for months until the relationship got rocky and then the pain returned.
    We have told her many times to shape up or leave the house and go live elsewhere, but we could not follow through as we feel so terrible about how things got so bad for her through no fault of her own. She threatens to commit suicide if we make her leave. 911 has been called many times and once she was admitted for about a week. We feel like prisoners in our own home. My wife suffered form an emotional breakdown and had to give up her career and now stays at home as well.

    I am positive the right thing to do is to carry out our threat to make her leave if she does not begin to comply with simple rules of living in our home. We are scared she will end up living on the street and get involved with criminals or in prostitution. I know my wife could not live with that thought, she has been to counselling to try and deal with it. I do not know if I could live with that either. May be that is my job, to look after her until die.
  2. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome enabler. I am so sorry you are going through this with your daughter. All of you are suffering and because of your daughter's unfortunate bout with Lyme disease your entire family is impacted.

    You may want to read the article on detachment at the bottom of my post. Your daughter is addicted to pills and substance abuser's personality's change significantly. Sleeping pills can cause depression in some people. If your daughter refuses help, there is little you can do to force her to get help. Many of us have been in your shoes, perhaps for different reasons, but the end story is the same. We are prisoners in our homes because our adult children have ceased to thrive for whatever reasons and they hold us hostage with their dramas, selfishness, manipulations, secrets, lies, theft, and many other equally negative behaviors.

    There is a way out, however, you and your wife must be willing to first of all get on the same page as to setting some strict boundaries. You have all let this go too far because you all feel sorry for what happened to your daughter. Yes, it happened. Now the only person who can do anything about it is her. You are powerless. My daughter's husband committed suicide and after that, she went down a similar path as your daughter without the pills. She is still lost 14 years later. There is nothing I can do. I tried it all, believe me. Enabling hurts all of you. You send the message to her that she is not capable and even if she takes your help, she'll learn to dislike you for it. You keep her a child. She has all of you wrapped up in her melodrama and because of fear and guilt, you are allowing it. I am not being callous, I've been in your shoes. Many of us have. We know the road very well.

    You and your wife will need support. A private therapist versed in these issues will be ideal. Any 12 step groups which address what your daughter is doing will help. Narc anon. CoDa, (Codependents anonymous) will help. NAMI, National Alliance on Mental Illness can help, you can access them online, they have excellent groups for parents. Any parent groups will help. You guys will need very serious support to make any significant changes. If you don't get help, you run the risk of staying in this situation and believe me, it will damage all of you irreparably.

    At this point, your daughter is not going to change. She sounds pretty cemented in her sickness. YOU will have to change and the way to do that is with a massive amount of professional support. It will be the most difficult thing you will likely ever do, it was for me too. But you can do it. You can free yourself from this endless drama and horrid life that someone else created and you are forced to live.

    No it is not your job until you die, unless that is what you choose. But since you are here asking for our take on it, I don't think that's what you want to do.

    Get help, immediately. Set boundaries. Give her a date to exit. Research the eviction laws in your state, you may have to formally do it with a court order. There may be a wait, so don't delay. Once a date is set, you MUST keep your word. Here in CA. you can get a Sheriff to escort them out. You can research local shelters where she can get fed, a bed and in some cases, more. That's actually the easy part, the incredibly difficult part is doing it and facing our own guilt, fear, anger, resentment, worry, "the worst case scenarios" that will play in your head in the middle of the night.................all of it. I've been there. I know. So do many others here.

    Your wife has suffered enough and lost enough. So have you. You did not cause this. You cannot change it. You cannot fix it. You cannot control it. Only your daughter can and she won't get any where near trying unless you all let go of enabling her. YOU have to change. I took an almost 2 year codependency course through a huge HMO which literally changed my life. I learned tools to shift my own thinking and I learned to detach from my daughter's choices and I learned the most important lesson of all, to accept what I cannot change.

    I wish you peace of mind. I wish all the proper professionals to show up to guide you. I wish your family the return of joy and serenity to your lives. Keep posting, it really helps a lot.
  3. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Sounds like she has been disabled by the Lyme's Disease. Bet she could at least get disability so that she could afford an apartment of her own. It is really a shame that this happened and I feel deeply for you. It must be so upsetting. But you need to be able to live in peace while she needs to accept that she is differently wired now and has to get the help that is out there to help her.

    I'm so very sorry. I felt very sad reading your story. But you WILL get through this.
  4. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    If your daughter is willing to do more Lyme treatment, I would try that. There are doctors who will treat based on the psychiatric symptoms she has, since it started when she got Lyme. You might have to come to the US for that. It is controversial and you will have to make sure you pick someone who goes by ILADS guidelines for treatment. There are coinfections that can go along with Lyme that maybe she needs addressed. You can find a doctor by posting on lymenet.com.

    There is a therapist in CT that works with families and people who are affected by Lyme. She does a lot of phone consultations. I think she could give you some good advice. I am sure this scenario is not new to her. If you want her contact information, I will PM it to you. You could also ask on Lymenet about that. There are probably other ones.

    I believe that people with Lyme do have pain that comes and goes. I also think that it is easy to be distracted from it when life is going well. I don't think that complaining about it more means she is necessarily just manipulating you, although there could be some of that. That is where the Lyme knowledgeable counselor could help you.

    Before kicking her out, I would try to help her, if she is willing.
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2013
  5. enabler

    enabler New Member

    It is not that we haven't tried to help her. We have never stopped trying. Daughter has a LLMD in Plattsburgh NY. We visit twice a year and we also have ongoing communication regarding her medications and supplements. Daughter completely rejects the therapy angle. My wife and I are seeing a local therapist. Because many of the Lyme medications are not available in Canada we also travel to USA regularly to get prescriptions filled. We take her to at least two medical appointments a week over the past three years. We have taken her to local GP's, pain specialists, homeopaths, naturopaths, all the emergency wards in the area, faith healers, masseurs, physiotherapists and many more, Yet her most common refrains are " nobody wants to help me" " you all just want to leave me in pain". There is no sign of appreciation at all. Oddly enough, my younger daughter also suffers from a chronic illness also tested positive for Lyme. (weird coincidence). The younger daughter has the completely opposite attitude. Takes responsibility for her life. Started her own home based business. Always is so grateful for anything we do for her.
  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    There is more going on here than Lyme disease.
    That may have been a trigger. But... it sounds more like MI than physical. Yes, she has a physical problem. But her reactions to it are not normal... Know what I mean?? Perhaps she was "closer to the edge" than any of you realized, with the pressure of her master's degree and all. This may have happened anyway.

    But she doesn't want help. And that isn't uncommon with MI.
  7. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Enabler, your last post says it all I think. One daughter takes responsibility, one doesn't. Unfortunately, we parents will drive ourselves into the grave trying to help our kids and no matter what the issue is, you can only help another when they are willing to help themselves. You and your wife have done enough. You and your wife have done an exemplary job. Parents just keep on going and going trying and trying and it sounds to me as if you have done all you can do. At some point, we reach the point where we know we've done all we can do, we've turned over every single rock, we've exhausted ourselves plugging up holes as our kids punch out new ones. At some point, we must just stop. It sounds to me, regardless of what your daughter has or doesn't have, or what the issue is, YOU and your wife need help and support for YOU so you can heal and learn to detach from your daughter's choices.
  8. FlowerGarden

    FlowerGarden Active Member

    I would see if she would go to a neurologist just to make sure there is no physical problem with her brain. I know a girl who kept getting headaches and feeling faint. They did a brain scan or imaging and found problems that were caused from her having lymes disease when she was younger.