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Something’s not right

Senior Contributor

Is there a good way to approach my family member?

Hi I am not exaclty a carer but I guess can be sometimes but I have my own complex mental health issues. anyway I have a family memeber who is very caring and sweet at heart but me and my family believe they (let's call them Jane) has ASD. Jane refuses to see anyone and will not accept there is anything wrong and gets extreemely offended if anyone even hints she isnt completely normal. to jane everyone else is just weird. Jane has no friends, partner or family of her own but lives with her mother, her father left when she was young and we also suspect he is on the spectrum jane has only one sibling (one of my parents).


Now personally i am fine with Jane not seeing anyone if she doesnt want to but jane is getting older (early 50's) and has only ever managed to get one job which she worked at for many years until the business went under. she is strange to talk to doesnt get social cues and makes quirky jokes and is kind of frustrating at times (not her fault but when people dont know her it can seem strange) and because of the way she interacts i feel it would be extreemly difficult for her to get another job even if we could help her with the admin side of applying. but jane lives with her elderly mother who is currently paying all the bills and jane has no money and cant get centerlink (its complicated) so it is putting a big burden on her mother. it is also now causing jane to get depressed as she has no reason to get out of bed now. 


I want to help but I am not sure how she can get very angry and she just shuts you out completely and wont talk to you for ages if you upset her. she is very nice deep down but it can be hard to see under everything else. she is also a bit of a slow learner and i worry she couldnt keep up in the fast paced tech environment that matches with her qualifications. she is smart but takes a while for things to click for her. I am worried my grandmother will not have enough money for much longer and I am worried that Jane is getting depressed because she has such a closed off life I want to help her but remian respectful of her right to do as she wishes. but it does worry me the burden she will leave to my parent if something happens to my grandmother. is there a way to approach this without causing more problems? 


Re: Is there a good way to approach my family member?

@Eden1919  Hi Eden1919 as you probably know I have two grown up autistic children and from the description you have given of Jane she certainly appears to be on the spectrum. However she really needs to be assessed by a psychiatrist to have a proper diagnosis. I appreciate however that she doesnt want that and that makes it extremely difficult for everyone concerned.


Centrelink wont help I presume because she hasnt got a proper diagnosis and until that happens nothing will happen for Jane or the family..... I wonder why Jane is reluctant to be assessed. Maybe if it is put to her that by being assessed she will gain for help to meet people, make friends through programs basically gain for independence. Attain help with housing etc. 


In the old days people like Jane were looked after by generations of family members until they passed. It doesnt have to be that way anymore with everything that is offered by government departments. Maybe a granny flat could be put in place for Jane on your parents property so that she has independence and your parents are not looking after her 24/7 when the time comes that your grandmother cannot physically and mentally look after her any longer (which sounds like it is imminent).


I hope my little bit has helped it is a problem as I have a similar problem with son2 and daughter. Who will look after them once I and my ex have passed .....peaxx


Re: Is there a good way to approach my family member?

@greenpea  Hi yes no assessment means no help. But there is no way she would ever agree to go. She was bullied all through her schooling because she was “weird” this was in the 80’s ish so I guess times were a bit different then. But now to even hint that she is different is just a complete affront to her. It is like you become her old bullies and there is no way you can even bring it up. Plus my grandmother doesn’t like people talking about her differences even if it is to help her. I think she spent a long time trying to protect her and now it is kind of working against it all. Jane and my grandmother live far away from my family and Jane has never lived anywhere except with my grandmother and would never agree to leave to be closer to my family. So even if we had the time to help her more we couldn’t because she lives so far away plus Jane and my parent have a tense relationship and there is some resentment on my parents part because they always had to give things up so that Jane wouldn’t get upset and things would keep working. But Jane doesn’t see that so it is hard. Jane also is well she sees receiving government help as being a bludger and lazy and doesn’t want to be seen that way. Even though essentially she is just costing my grandmother money she doesn’t see that either. We all love her but she is hard to deal with and can be exhausting and with the other issues in my family we don’t have the space at the moment. Plus living that close to my parent would be not good for my parent, they do better when they have space from Jane. I want everyone to be happy/ok but I worry that it won’t be possible and the hard part is that if my grandmother can’t do something around the house it won’t get done at all so if something happened I don’t even think Jane could care for her day to day needs. But even ignore that for now. I am not sure how I can help her to have a good life she doesn’t trust anyone not even her family it is her against the horrible world as she sees it and I can understand when taking her past into account but it does makes things hard. 


Re: Is there a good way to approach my family member?

@Eden1919  It is a huge dilemma that your family finds themselves in. Your grandmother wont be there forever and then what happens to Jane? It is very hard. Maybe things will have to reach breaking point before it gets settled one way or another. Try not to worry you have enough on your plate with exams and assignments  Love peaxx


Re: Is there a good way to approach my family member?

@greenpea  yeah I guess i will just have to let whatever happens happen. 

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