Dear Annie: I am going through a situation with my daughter, who is 26 years old and suffers from manic depression.
I had my daughter at a young age and raised her as a single mom. To avoid issues with my ex-husband and his family, I moved to Florida.
When my daughter went to school, I worked full time during the day and attended an online university in the evening. During the weekend, I had another part-time job. I did all I could to provide a roof over our heads, food and a car. And as a reward for her grades, I would take her and her friends to an amusement park.
I dated, but I was always told that my daughter’s severe behavior issue was the reason the relationships would not continue.
My daughter was aware of this and thought it was funny. By the time she was 16, I insisted that she needed help, and she began to see a psychiatrist, who found several issues with her.
I began to constantly receive calls from her school; she was being suspended or expelled. Due to all these issues, my employers fired me from work, as I always needed to go to her school for meetings because of the problems she was causing.
I was able to find another job, but her school kept calling, and then it was involving the resource officers. At the same time, I began to have financial problems. Sometimes we did not have money to pay for the electricity bills or food.
All the stress that I was going through caused me to have two major strokes at age 31. I lost my speech and use of the right side of my body. I also lost vision in my left eye.
While I was recovering, my daughter did assist me. Her behavior completely changed. She began to be responsible. I was able to find a new job, and she was considerate of my condition.
My daughter and I moved to a different county, as her school district had expelled her. The new school was across the street from our new home, and I thought that with the move she would be happier.
At first, all was good. She was happy to attend school with some child actors. They even encouraged her to do theater, and she was successful. Unfortunately, I couldn’t attend, as my employer would not give me the time.
I believe that because of this, she began to act out. I will take her to school, and she will turn around and go back home and go to bed. What can I do to ease this constant battle and stress?
— Distraught Mother
Dear Distraught Mother: First and foremost, I am sorry for your medical problems and glad that your daughter was able to help you recover faster. While you have faced some formidable challenges and curveballs, dwelling on the past and thinking that things are out of your hands does not do you any good.
To live a more joyous and happy life, take responsibility for it. You are your daughter’s biggest role model. If you want her to go to therapy, I suggest you start treatment yourself and then either bring her with you or encourage her to find her own therapist.
Misbehaviors aside, your daughter sounds like a very special young lady who was there for you when you most needed her, and I have no doubt that has a lot to do with your being her mother.
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Dear Annie: I read your recent column about the discovery of audiobooks to ease the tedium of a long commute, and I wanted to write to you and ask you to make your readers aware that their public library can provide downloadable audiobooks free of charge.
Ask your local library which provider it uses, and how to log in. All you need is a valid library card and your own device. For folks who prefer physical audiobooks on CDs, their library can supply those, too.
Dear Librarian: Thank you for this reminder. Supporting your local library is always a good idea.
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— A native Californian, Annie Lane writes her Dear Annie advice columns from her home outside New York City, where she lives with her husband, two kids and two dogs. Her debut book, Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie, features favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette. Email your Dear Annie questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.