I feel stuck and don't know what to do


#1

I know this is long, but it leads to my dire situation.

I was born prematurely with a cleft pallet and messed up teeth. My mother divorced my father when I was only a year old. She got married again and divorced my step-father when I was 6. My step-father hung around, but rightfully paid more attention to my step-brother and step-sister. He also fathered other children afterwards.I never really had a father figure in life and I think that haunted me later on given other circumstances.

I lived with two brothers and sister in a rural area in the deep south. Schools closed down around here and we had a 4 hour bus commute everyday. Gas was $3-$4 a gallon. All my mother had was a 1988 Toyota Camry. I lived in a trailer and shared a room with both of my brothers. Socially I did horrible. I was very unattractive and self-conscious. When I opened my mouth I looked like some Lovecraftian monster. I had to try not to smile to reveal my horribly formed and misplaced teeth. I also have a large scar running from my nose to my upper lip. It’s been so bad that still to this day I don’t look in the mirror. Whenever I get my haircut, I always look down to the floor to avoid seeing myself in the mirror. It didn’t really haunt me that much. I was weird, I wasn’t really interested in dating. All I really wanted was someone to hang out with me.

My older brother was the opposite. He had no problems getting phone numbers from girls.I was a straight B student with 23 ACT score who had study every night. He was a straight A student with 30 ACT score who barely had to study. We had a decent relationship despite having different tastes. I looked up to him because he was (and still is) much much better than me. He met a girl who was head over heels over him. She got him job, taught him how to drive, and everything. He joined the Air Force. My biggest regret is not joining up with him. But they probably won’t take a scrawny 70 pound guy who could barely lift 30 pounds anyways.

I was never taught to drive. My older brother promised to teach me someday, but Air Force needed him in Alaska. Eventually he got married to his girlfriend. We only had a 1988 Toyota Camry. My mother couldn’t afford another car. She herself owed a ton of tickets to the point where she had her license revoked. Teaching me to drive could mean trashing the only car we have and could land my mother jail.

I went to college. It was just me, my mother, my younger sister, and my younger brother. My step-father was moving the ranks to become a Physician. My mother was able to move to a college town near by since child support payments increased. She only had the 1988 Toyota Camry. I majored in Mathematics and later picked up Computer Science. My step-father gifted all of his kids a laptop. I really only saw him when he drove down five states away every Summer to pick up my brother and sister. He was thoughtful enough to gift me one too. I used this laptop to learn how to program so I can be more employable when I graduate. I paired my Math degree with Computer Science. My laptop allowed me to do it (school underfunded CS lab almost always full).

To avoid paying overhead for college since $20K of it was loans, I regularly took 18-21 credit hour classes and was able to graduate in 3 years. I landed a part time Math tutor job. I was too self-conscious to make friends. Also having my mother drive me around is embarrassing so I didn’t bother. I later regret not trying to make friends.

My sister barely graduated in from High School. She had a social disability. She was always quiet doing her own thing. My step-father wanted to fix that so she went to live with him. My younger brother also graduated. He struggled a bit more after graduation. He never got along with my mother. He ran away few miles down, lived with some friends, and worked at Waffle House. Like me, he didn’t know how to drive, but was fortunate enough to have friends to take him places.

It took me 8 months to land a job in software. Between 8 months, I took a job as an overnight janitor at Wal-Mart. My step father rightfully cut off support and my mother was still unemployed. That’s when I started paying for everything. With $8 an hour rent, groceries, and utilities, I barely could afford it. It was better pay and more hours than tutoring so no complaints. For most part I enjoyed it. In particular, going out at 2 AM by myself on a nempty parking lot emptying garbage cans. I worked mostly alone. I had the best boss ever. She cooked for the whole crew every Thursday. When I told her I finally landed another job she told me how proud she was of me. It meant the whole world to me.

Anyways, I started out as an automation QA guy making $40K a year working on 2 projects. It was a lot of work. I was paid $40K a year. I liked it a lot and learned a ton of useful skills. Eventually moved on to .NET software development and DevOps roles. I still haven’t learned to drive. Having my mother drop me off was embarrassing. Sometimes I walk an hour to work and an hour back. Also I wanted some freedom. I decided to do something about it. First I purchased a car. A 98 Honda for $3K.

I put an ad on Craigslist $30 an hour for driving lessons. It was a small town. I got few nibs, but not bites. One guy said he will do it but never showed up. One creepy guy called me, he looked me up on facebook, and asked a ton of strange unrelated suggestive questions. I only got actual bites when I raised the price to $50 an hour. I got this guy. He was really nice, but I think he took advantage of me.

Lessons went on for 4 months during weekends. He wanted to do 2 hours Saturday and 2 hours Sunday. For 2 weeks I was doing circles in the parking lot. For about 6 weeks I went around the small college with only one stop light with little to no traffic. I relayed this to my mother, she thought he was taking advantage of me and not putting effort into the lessons since I wasn’t practicing on anything real. I didn’t think much of it. I was naive and stupid. I suggested some neighborhood driving. He agreed, but we did it for 6 weeks straight. When I suggested something more, he told me I wasn’t ready. Then parking for 2 weeks. So I never actually went to a busy street. He vanished the next week. He called later that night and said he was in trouble and that he needed to borrow $200. That he will pay me back ASAP. I was like sure whatever. I did like a big dumb dumb and never heard from him again.

Several weeks after that. I walked into the office and noticed my co-worker didn’t come in. This was unusual as she was a huge morning person and would always come in at 6-7 AM. I was told that she was killed in a car accident. That hurt bad. It really instilled fear of driving. For a while, I bothered not to learn how to drive.

I relocated to a different office out West. I brought my mother. I decided to relocate because she was becoming more and more depressed. Her relationship with her mother, my grandmother, was deteriorating. Her relationship with my older brother just getting worse. She wanted something different. My younger brother was still working at Waffle House. My older sister was still at my step-father’s place. My younger brother was in contact with my step-father often. He tells me that my sister went to community college and put zero effort into it. She failed everything. She really only responds with “ok” and “no”. She has a possible social disability. I later learned stuff my brother didn’t tell me before. Like she didn’t wipe and she was walking around with feces smearing through her undergarments and pants. And that she had to be sent home. That was just one among other things. This was big news to me. I just know her to be quiet person who kept to herself. We did have conversations like about Pokemon, Harry Potter, etc. She wasn’t unintelligent, she just lacked motivation and social skills. He also told me that she shop lifted a few things and got a shoplifting charge.

Not long after I relocated, my step-father passed away suddenly. My sister had no where else to go so she moved with me and my mother. I still don’t know how to drive. After spark of motivation, I decided to give Craigslist another shot. This time I will be more careful. I found this military guy. He was so cool. He only had two weekends though. I learned more in those two weeks than with the other guy. We did circles, neighborhoods, busy streets, highways, and finally parking. Parking was the only part I struggled on. He just told me to take test and I will be ready. I failed the test at the last part. I didn’t wait for oncoming traffic in the DMV parking lot which was an auto fail. I just need to try again.

But unfortunately, things happening all at once…

Number one, my apartment got infested by bed bugs. Apartment manager or the required renter’s insurance won’t cover. The total cost was $4,000.

Number two, my uncle and grandmother’s health isn’t doing so well. Uncle has pancreatis and grandmother has a heart condition.

Number three, my Honda broke down requiring $2K+ in repair. I had to quickly purchase a cheap car since that was cheaper.

Number four, my brother moved in with his girlfriend’s parents. He shares a room with his girlfriend and pays rent. He got laid off and is behind on his rent a few months. At this point he knows how to drive. I make a deal that once he graduate in a semester, he will come down and teach me every weekend. I gave him $4K from savings so he won’t get kicked out.

I moved back but closer to my grandmother and uncle. At a cheaper place too. Since I paid for everything, I went from $15K in savings to $2K. A couple months later, mother was seriously ill throwing up blood. She also lost strength to do simple things like picking up something she dropped on the floor. She was admitted to the hospital and stayed for 2 weeks. They had to remove benign tumor on her spine. She was fine, but need care. Something my sister won’t be able to handle. Thankfully, I was able to work remotely since none of the guys in the office really worked with me.

My Hyundai I got stops in the middle of the road every now and then. It’s an old used car bought on a whim so no surprise there. My mother now have really bad back issues and less strength. It’s got to the point where she no longer can drive. She went ER through taxi, vitals looks good, blood work came back and looks good, and they set up a CT scan scheduled 3 months from now. I live right across Wal-Mart so I am able walk to get groceries. Her medicare doesn’t cover medication. My work insurance only covers spouse and children. $100 on taxi every doctor visit and $300 on generic medication a month. Bank account is shrinking rapidly. I start using credit card.

I talk to my younger brother through messenger. We keep talking. He tells me not to worry that he will help after he graduates. I even taught him Python down the way. He goes quiet all of the sudden. He is not answering my messages, calls, or text. His girlfriend isn’t even answering. I know one of his friends and he said he still around going to school and kicking. His graduation is nearing and not a peep in 2 months. I think I have been had again.

Company haven’t gained any new work in 8 months so far. Half of the project team laid off. The work I am contracted for ends in early July. So there is a good chance that I will be out of the job by then. Remote jobs are extremely difficult to come by so I am still looking.

Now it’s depressing the hell out of me. I don’t look forward to weekends. I can’t go any where. I don’t enjoy anything anymore. I can’t get to therapy much less afford it. My financial situation becoming grimmer and grimmer. I don’t know how to drive. My mother is very ill. I may be out of a job in a couple of months. My younger brother isn’t responding. My older brother all the way up in Alaska in Air Force. My younger sister can’t do anything.

I am stuck. I feel lost and hopeless.


#2

In reading the details you’ve shared, of course you feel overwhelmed. Anyone would be in your circumstances.

I don’t have any concrete solutions to offer other than even if you can’t afford it, there still might be some sliding-scale options in your area for those in need of it. I would definitely look into it because it sounds like you could use some support outside your family since you’re taking on a lot, if not all of the responsibility there.

From what you described, it does seem like a lot but you’re not stuck. Things can still shift for you! Do you think you have the energy to concentrate on what you do have control over (like the job search for after your current contract is complete)?