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Comparisons with other peoples lives are destroying me.

  • 10-08-2023 9:43pm
    Registered Users Posts: 1

    I have a fairly unconventional life. Im a 40 yr old gay man, just bought my house 2 yrs ago after saving for years, and all I do is work, look after my elderly parents, sleep and repeat.

    The last few years have been extremely tough as myself and my older brother (43) have had to pull out all the stops to help our parents, who both suffered a lot of health issues at the same time. My mother sadly got dementia and there was a lot of us being in denial and trying to excuse her behavior before it became unfeasible for her to stay at home, so we had to get her into a nursing home on Fair Deal which was very stressful trying to get forms complete, doctors diagnosis, research the homes and then convince her to go. We got zero help from anyone. Her family are all dead and our older brother couldnt care less about us and lives abroad, havent seen him in 10 yrs.

    Then our father turned to drink in a bad way: lots of falls, aggressive behavior towards us, he had a heart attack and is now very frail and needs help with a lot of things, he cant be left alone for a night. I missed a lot of work due to their emergencies and various appointments etc. Needless to say I have no friends or partner. My life is work...look after or visit parents.. sleep. I get on with a few people in work but they have their own lives and hobbies, I dont expect them to wait on me.

    Recently I have found myself burning with resentment towards other people, and even though my logical brain knows that everyone faces hardships and you cant believe the outwardly crafted falseness of social media, unfortunately these insidious thoughts override this logic and I get stuck in loops when I see other people just breezing through life. Guys who have the perfect model wife, the great job where everyone seems to just take to him like a duck to water, tonnes of friends, wedding invites every week, perfect kids etc and i end up thinking "you fcuking ba$ dont deserve any of that. Here I am working hard and paying a mortgage and i have no fun in my life whatsoever. I get no wedding invites and nobody even knows i exist". I know its not intentional but the amount of people who moan about going to weddings, and all i want to do is scream at them, at least they have the opportunity, at least someone out there knows you enough to invite you, stop being so ungrateful..

    We were lucky enough to get HSE respite for 2 weeks for my Dad so me and the brother went to Portugal for a week recently just for a break and chill out but again, the sight of all the happy families on day trips and laughing in restaurants just exarcerbated my distress with thoughts of "you are so weird, who the hell goes on holiday with their brother? This isnt normal. You have failed at life, look at all those couples and families having fun. You missed the boat and they did the right thing in life: partner, marriage, good job, kids, bingo".

    These thoughts are just depressing me and making it hard to get out of this pit of apathy im in. The most upsetting thing about these thoughts is: i think they are true. Look around, being 40 and single is a turn off in society. Nobody makes friends in Ireland unless you played GAA with them since you were 8. Elderly parents need more and more of your time until they die, and i dont know a single person who goes on holiday with a sibling.

    Im sorry for such a long post. Any thoughts please? Thanks for reading.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,575 ✭✭✭Charles Babbage

    from the Desiderata

    If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

    This might seem trite, but it has truth. Your brother is obviously a support for you, some people do not have a brother. You can afford to go to Portugal, not everyone can. There are always people with more money etc if you start comparing.

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,322 ✭✭✭✭fits

    im sorry to read your post. Just wanted to say I’ve gone away with my sibling twice in the past year. It’s not weird at all. We went to different places than where I’d go with my family. You are young still. Try to make some time for yourself if you can.

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,566 ✭✭✭✭Dial Hard

    You know what they say, comparison is the thief of joy. And it goes without saying that you have absolutely no idea what's going on behind anyone's perfect facade. Maybe take a break from social media for a while

    Also, I'm just back from a holiday with my entire family. My sisters are going on a cruise together in October. It's really not unusual to travel with a family member at all.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,444 ✭✭✭denismc

    You sound like you may be experiencing depression, have you spoken to your doctor? They may be able to recommend a professional counsellor, they should be able help you with the negative thought loop you are in and managing some of the stress.

    As for going on holidays with your brother, there is nothing wrong with that, I know people who on holidays with siblings, parents or on there own.

    The situation with your parents is tough, I went through something similar a few years back, I definitely reckon it was the most difficult period in my life. My parents are both gone now and life is a bit better but I feel sorry for anyone going through the same

    What helped us greatly was getting some private home help in for a few hours a week. I don't know if your finances will allow for this.

  • Registered Users Posts: 355 ✭✭NiceFella

    There is no one has an idealic life or at least very very few. You could literally have it all and still complain and most put on a front anyway. I have read some stoic philosophy and found it to be quite useful when dealing with adversity. Letters to a stoic Seneca or the meditations by Marcus Arelius.

    Character is everything and an easy life is not nessesarily the best life to live.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,526 ✭✭✭standardg60

    That's a great saying, haven't heard it before.

    OP as above seeing a GP would be my best advice, you're obviously going through a tough time but you will know yourself if you've always felt a bit resentful of how easy and happy life seems to be for others.

    You certainly wouldn't be alone if you do, medication can make an enormous difference in this regard. I wish you the best of luck and I hope you feel better even posting your situation and reading the replies.

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,127 ✭✭✭✭Purple Mountain

    Agree totally.

    We always compare upwards, never down.

    We don't watch the news for example and say look at those forest fires in Europe, we don't have them here!

    We might watch a travel show to Thailand and feel resentment that we not be able to afford that type of holiday.

    That aside, you do sound stuck in a rut.

    Can your father go into a nursing home too on the fair deal? Or can you at least apply for a home help for a few hours weekly?

    There's absolutely nothing wrong with going on a holiday with your brother. Be grateful you have a good relationship and have someone to go with!

    Next time, don't look at the happy family beside you but notice the man alone by the bar who goes on holiday alone every year since his wife died.

    To thine own self be true

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,983 ✭✭✭spaceHopper

    Stop been so hard on yourself, I went through all that during the Celtic Tiger years, couldn’t afford a place yet others were on their 3rd move and had and investment property – they went to England in 2013 to go bankrupt and lost the house here and the apartment – everything was on the credit cards. People only put the good stuff on line and you see people on holiday but you know nothing about the other 50 weeks of pain.

    I get what you are saying about your parents, my dad died and my mother has advanced Parkinson’s – I’m down every weekend to her and have arranged a lot of care for her. My sister has pissed of on holidays  again leaving me holding the bag.

    Look at all the things you’ve achieved. You have your own home, a good job and you seem to be close to your brother. See if there is anything on you might be interested in, everybody doing it is in the same boat as you.  

    To improve things, try to have a routine  with your brother for your dads care. If he’s bad time to get the HSE involved, could you get him a few care hours. Ask the public health nurse to visit him, ask for an OK assessment of the house. Is your dad drinking because he’s lonely is there any care in the community he can go to once or twice a week, the public health nurse will know.

    Set him up with a Tesco  shop online so that you or your brother can get food delivered on his card. Also I used to get this for my mother all you have to do is microwave the food.