I spent YEARS living in a similar role, as did my brother. He spent seven years caring for my father while he battled cancer and other health issues. I spent fourteen caring for my mother. We didn’t have help. We relied on each other, and I am not proud of my breakdown moments. On the flipside, I would not be able to live with myself if I had walked away, pretended it wasn’t something that needed to be addressed (their failing health), and lived a life of selfishness. I’d do it all again. I was their daughter, and that’s what you do.
I came away from the experience with insane levels of anxiety, trauma, and Complex PTSD. I neglected myself so badly while juggling my parents’ health issues that I am an absolute basket case who comes out of her own skin when the doorbell rings. I wish I’d had support, a break, or anyone who actually stepped up while we were all going through hell.
You don’t always know what someone else is going through, so don’t judge them for looking pulled together. It’s a point of pride; not a mask.