I am suffering from depression and anxiety while dealing with my parents.

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Just frazzled and anxious. Dad had the beginning of Alzheimer's before prostectomy in April, although he woke up from that surgery far more progressed. Mom's dad's primary caregiver, she also has narcolepsy she won't admit to. My own health--8 comorbid, active autoimmunes and finances from being disabled--led me toward nearly death 1.5 years ago. Stress is bad now. It reminds me of why I nearly wanted to die. I can't afford a car, so mom's the only one driving. Parents are in their 70's. They kind of can't figure out why I'm so stressed out so badly, but I see what they can't get outside themselves to see. And conversations with dad, once lively and deep, are...delicate. He believes he still has cancer even though all PET scans have come back normal. He believes he's dying from it. He knows his dementia is more advanced than his doctor expected and he's lost hope now that his brain will grow back. He won't call it Alzheimer's yet. It takes him 20 minutes each time in the bathroom. He can't adapt to change well at all. He's forgetful, regimented and security-obsessed. When I had my spell, I was gone for a bit and mom started going through my things without me and she still does. It feels as if I'm being punished over and over. In good times my antidepressants tide me over. During such stress, I wish there were more. I do have to say I was grateful when dad's last neurologist, at some pleading, put him on Cymbalta. Our family has been through one medical h*ll after another, never letting up, for nearly 36 years. It's wearing. I'm clinically depressed and anxious (tried a therapist, she gave me very bad advice, so that's not a real avenue for me.). I really could use a community of friends who understand these kinds of things and could possibly help me understand them. I'm a compassionate, loving person who just doesn't know the skills to get through it. Oh, did i mention I'm getting a dog Saturday? I'm fearful of any more stress that may bring. The shrink says it'll be a help as a therapy animal. I'm not sleeping well and yet I'm tired--stress.

6 Comments

It sounds like you have the right to be stressed. There is so much going on with your health and with your father. If your mother is in good health, I would leave his caregiving to her and concentrate on getting your own mood as good as you can. Stress will just add to the autoimmune problems. There are so many things that can help reduce stress. One way is to drink water and less it help wash the bad things from your blood. Water is actually a good tranquilizer if you let it be. Exercise is very good for stress. Walking in the morning and listening to birds does wonders. Walking your new canine buddy sounds like good therapy. It gets you out of the house and active.

There are some things you can't change, but there are ways to learn to cope better with the stress. I like funny movies and shows when I'm feeling stressed and down. I also like to go places and talk to people. That always makes me feel better. I also like to find some work to do that gives me some accomplishment and, in my case, a little money. The worse thing for me is to dwell on how bad things are, because then I just get depressed and don't feel like doing anything. Many times when I start feeling like that I get up and do something to get my metabolism and mood back up.

I hope you find some stress relievers that work for you. Walking the dog sounds like a step in the right direction. Dogs can definitely become our best friends. And you'll have a reason to go to the dog park and be with people. 
Thisisb- I'm sorry to hear your having a hard time right now.

I think it's great you're getting a dog! In my opinion, dogs are the most wonderful creatures on this earth.

I'm sure there will be some stress for both you and the dog as you get to know each other. Especially if this is a puppy or even a younger dog. He/she is bound to make some mistakes but if you treat him with patience, love and kindness you will be rewarded with the most devoted, loyal companion you'll ever know. Dogs love you unconditionally and don't care if your hair isn't perfect or you've eaten something you shouldn't. They just want to please you. In return, all they ask for is a word of praise, a scratch behind the ear or a belly rub. They are also very good listeners!

Be sure to get a couple of chew toys for him ahead of time. If he's nervous or restless he might chew - this can happen in mature dogs as well as puppies. Also - a small bag of treats for training - rewarding good behavior or even developing a special "treat-time" ritual that is a bonding time for the two of you.

If you run into any issues or have questions, there are several excellent websites where you can look for advice and information. Personally, I like one called Ceasers Way.

Good luck to you and your new best friend!
Dear Thisisb,

I'm so sorry to hear what you are going through. There is a lot to manage and I know its not easy. Please know we are all here to listen and support you in anyway we can.

I hope the dog will give you some comfort.

Please don't give up. I would try and talk to a social worker about your parents care options. And I would also consider looking for another therapist or support group. There are resources in the community and through church but sometimes it takes time to find the right person to help us.

Hang in there. Sending you hugs.
Thisisb; how are things going?
Better, but still hard to adjust to. Dad can be short or mean with mom and I have to tell him to be nice. Today he was with my mom at a cancer check follow up and he'd forgotten how to use a public restroom so mom had to help. I'm sad that he isn't getting a chance to be the warm, sweet, deep, incredible man that he's always been. Mom's looking forward to seeing the social worker on Monday, though she hasn't told dad what she's going for because he keeps accusing her of doing things behind his back or confusing his mind. He's looking forward to the dog, but it's so hard trying to name her something I want but also something he can remember. Alzheimer's eats away at a person, filling them full of doubts, fear and shadow memories. There's just no way to see what's coming or know what to do next, you know?
Dear Thisisb,

Thank you for coming back and giving us an update. I know the caregiving journey is hard. I hope your mom is able to get all her options after talking with the social worker. Maybe your dad can help with picking the name of the dog. Hang in there. Our thoughts ware with you.

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