Overwhelmed with caring

Hi I’m new here and just looking for somewhere to say how hard I am finding things out loud I think.
So apologies in advance but I just need to say this somewhere.

I’m a 30ish year old who has become a carer to my husband’s older brother 1.5 years ago . He has a learning disability and autism. I became an carer after my husband’s mother and father passed away with cancer. I also have a 4 year old son, work full time as a MH nurse and am midway through a masters degree.
I have adhd and it’s likely my son does also. so a lot of juggling going on already!

It’s obviously been a devastating time for us as a family and was asked by his dad to care for him with my husband.

He now lives with us and although my husband is here he works a lot and it’s me that has to juggle most of the day to day caring. I am finding it just exhausting. My home no longer feels like a home.

Although he is very independent in some ways e.g we have been able to support him to travel independently he has a job and is linked in with mencap and activities there , there are lots of challenges. He is kind and funny at times and I used to enjoy seeing him but this has completely shifted since he moved in with us.

there have been lots of challenges that we were unaware of and that have not been addressed previously.

He is a hoarder including taking things out of the bin and at one point we found him collecting urine in glasses and he lies constantly about what he is doing where he has been and lots of things, does not care for his personal hygiene in terms of showing, changing clothes, so have to prompt him +++++ or support but then he is rude and angry and is in general very irritable.The same goes for doing things in the house he would just watch tv/ play playstation all day and not clear up after himself. He also has a big dog who now lives with us whom he cares for very well but not in terms of cleaning up the dog hair, or ensuring the dog does not smell etc. I also now have a million extra things to juggle.I do understand completely this has been a huge he challenge for him having to move into our house and am very proud of how he has adapted but feel exhausted and like i’m constantly nagging, prompting and just feel like i’m loosing patience and compassion and feel so angry and resentful at my life and then and feel so guilty as I know it’s not his fault and it’s so hard . I just feel so burnt out. I’ve completely let myself go and end up constantly dropping the ball with so much to juggle: and was something I was not the best at anyway re: my adhd) It doesn’t help we need to move as in quite a small space for us all.

I tried to get mental health support re: the hoarding but as he does not want to talk was limited to what we can do and the sessions were stopped.

I just hate being at home now and literally in the evening go to bed as soon as my son does just so I can feel like I can breathe.

I just feel like I am failing so much and feel so lonely. None of my friends etc can really understand and just say “we don’t know how you do it” or talk about how hard it is as they know they have 2 children. but it’s different they chose that I feel like I had no choice - but I also know he didn’t.

I try to talk to my husband about it but I know it’s hard for him too and he just avoids the conversation or makes me feel bad.

I don’t know what I’m hoping to achieve with this post but I think just need to say this all out loud.

Does anyone else ever feel this way? Just feel like i’m failing.

Does it get better? what has helped you all?


1 Like

Hello elb2018, welcome to the forum. You are not alone when it comes to caring as we all do get overwhelmed and find different ways to deal with it. You got enough on your plate without looking after your brother in law… With autism it is very hard to know what to do as there many different things you can do. You have got to be firm in telling him to do things or off. The carers have a hotline number you can ring and they can help you get the best help that you need. You need a break from your brother in law,for a bit contact social service and ask them for help or the GPS, medcap should also be able to help. I think your husband is also overwhelmed and doesn’t want to talk about it but give him time and he will. Your husband got to understand that he would have to talk about his brother to someone if he got into trouble or was in hospital as problems would not be resolved. It is like having two children on times but just be frim and fair with your brother in law to show him he can’t get away with things. As with the hoarding speak to somebody about it as some of it could land everyone in trouble like going through the bins. It will get easy but the 1st step is the hardest part asking for help and speaking to someone. You are half way there by asking us and opening up, well done.
Take care and good luck.

Hello Elb. I think you are coping with so much and need a break. You need to talk to your husband. I realise that your husband promised his dad his brother would be looked after but it seems much of the caring is now your responsibility.
Can you ger some respite care for your b-i-l so you can recharge your batteries ?.
Look after yourself. you sound like you are depressed.
Your immediate responsibility is to yourself, husband and son.
I care for my 86 year old dad. He doesnt live with me and is quite a challenging personality. My sister is very demanding and expects me to do all the care, My health isnt as good now and I have a lot of pain. I`m not sure I can look after my dad any more. I too have a neurodivergent son ,20, still living at home.
If caring for your b-i-l is affecting you ,your relationship with your husband or the care you give your son, something needs to give.

Hi @elb2018, welcome to the forum.

It was very kind of you and your husband to take in your BIL, however it doesn’t sound like it is working out for you or for him. Taking care of him can take many forms and helping him to move into a place of his own and supporting him with this transition could be one of them.

Mencap have different housing schemes available and since he is known to them already this could be a place to start. If he was living in supported living he would have the opportunity to learn to do more for himself and you could all go back to seeing each other socially for fun times again.

Tricky conversations to have, but who knows, he may think this is a good idea too.

Welcome to the forum. Please read my comments based on my experience with my own brain damaged son, who can’t read, write, or do any maths, but can do other things really well!

You should never have been placed in this position. It’s not fair on you, and most of all it’s not fair on your son, who has a right to a happy mummy and a happy home where he can play and have friends round etc. etc.

It’s time you told your husband, he has to choose between you and your son, or his brother.

I told my eldest son that after I die I’d like him to keep an eye on his brother, but under no circumstances do I expect him to care for his brother.

I would suggest that you asked Social Services for an urgent Carers Assessment.

Is he paying you the full cost of his care at your place?

BIL needs his own place, somewhere else.
Are Social Services aware of his existence? Did he have a Needs Assessment before he moved in with you? I’m horrified that you didn’t realise that he had lots of issues before he moved in, especially hoarding and personal hygiene issues. Your husband must have known. However maybe he felt it impossible to refuse what his parents had always assumed he would do?

Talk to the council’s housing department to find out how their system works.
My son lives in a privately rented flat with carer support. Fortunately, he always showers every night and loves his place looking like a show home - unlike my place!

Counselling would help you hugely, I found it life changing when I had problems with mum.

Talk to the council housing people.