DEAR ABBY: My daughter is mentally ill, homeless and on meth. A year ago, when she wasn't so bad, she asked if I would take her 3-year-old daughter, "Lucy," so she could get herself together. Unfortunately, she went the other direction.
It was fine when I thought that the arrangement was temporary, but when I realized I would be raising Lucy as a single parent at 49, things got hard.
My so-called friends have abandoned me, and so has my much younger boyfriend. But what is actually killing this is that I get no respite. I am an extreme introvert. Constant contact drains me. When I don't have my "recharge" time, I tune Lucy out, and the next thing I know she has cut up the curtains or hidden my shoes. I'm afraid I'm just going to lose it. Work doesn't count; there are people there, too. Bad thoughts are going through my head because I feel such resentment.
I know if I had time for my own mental health, I could be a good surrogate mother to Lucy, but if I can't, I'm starting to think I may have to give her up, and that breaks my heart. I want to scream, to throw things, to just leave the house and walk until I drop. Please help me. -- END OF MY ROPE
DEAR END: How much time do you need to recharge? Would it be an hour or hour and a half at the end of each workday? Would an afternoon during the weekends suffice? Have you discussed this with Lucy's grandfather or her paternal grandparents? They might be willing to get involved and lighten your load. Would a neighbor watch your grandchild on a regular basis if you compensated her or him? How about the person who already takes care of Lucy while you're at work?
Please explore these options if you haven't already. Screaming, throwing things and leaving the little girl alone are not viable scenarios. However, if you feel that you might harm her, it would be better if you placed her for adoption or in foster care.Read more in: Mental Health | Addiction | Family & Parenting