Caregivers taking back control, anybody interested?

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I feel very blessed that despite what we are going through that there are places for all of us who are care givers to get help. I also feel that a lot of the care givers on this site are feeling overwhelmed, helpless and guilty, NEEDLESSLY. Let's talk about it. I have a very interesting view point that works great for me anyway. Lets protect our own physical and mental well being.

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Trying to control something to my standards which I can't control any more (like the refrigerator contents) is frustrating. But today I took a couple of hours to winterize some planters -- cutting stems to root or dry before they get frosted, bringing some geraniums into the greenhouse. Got it done, my way, no interference, well before frost.

Feels good! To hell with the refrigerator.
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Hi, Mystic,
Thanks again for starting this thread and for all your nice comments elsewhere. I was glad to see a thread inviting all of us to tell our own stories and talk among ourselves about what works for us. Now I wish I had time to! This week is very busy, I just have a few minutes now and then.

If anyone wants to know my story, it began at "End of my denial".

One thing that's working right now for me, is regaining control of my own time and my own stress -- by lowering my standards, giving up control of a lot of things like good housekeeping and saving gasoline and keeping things from being wasted....

If he wants to make two trips to town instead of one, okay, it wastes gasoline but the autumn leaves are beautiful along the road, and driving on our roads is a peaceful thing. Leaving his tools out in the rain ... throwing away some good food item ... instead of running to intervene, I'm resting and letting him deal with the consequences himself....
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One of my favorite quotes that I go by is "Count your blessings, not your problems."
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Hi mystical. Thank you for the virtual hug and for responding to my other post. In my opinion and what works for me is that if I'm feeling "overwhelmed", I stop whatever I'm doing and I don't do anything. When you're in a state of doing "nothing", you are able to relax more and think more clearly. If you have the time, sit down and take a little nap, drink tea or coffee, watch some tv, read a book or magazine, chat on the phone, etc. And then when you're in that state of relaxation, you will become more productive and have more energy to accomplish what needs to be done for today. The italians refer to this as "La Dolce Far Niente" which means "the happiness of doing nothing". I heard that in Italy, most businesses and shops close for a short time during each day probably an hour or 2, so that the workers can go home and relax and do whatever they want and be with their families and then they come back to work relaxed and more productive.
As caregivers, you don't have to do everything in 1 day and don't be afraid to ask for help either from family or from other health care resources. See what needs to be accomplished today and then continue tomorrow and the next day and so forth.
If your loved one has 2 doctor's appointments in one day, see if you can reschedule the other one so you only have 1 appointment. Caregiving is a journey and it is work. Work doesn't have to be completed in one day. It is an ongoing process. You can always reschedule your tasks. If certain members of the family doesn't want to help/delegate their responsibility on others/refuses to help out, then they are not qualified as part of the caregiver team. They are on a different journey. Just like everyone who applies for a job isn't qualified for the position because some have more experience than others. We can not expect or force family members to have compassion and support if they don't have it in them. Let them go and love them from a distance and only appreciate the people other family, friends, or health care workers who are helping you out and showing their support.
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The other thing I would add is that I believe in a strong mind-body connection (even though that was never covered in my undergrad psych degree). I didn't get a 4.0, but I went to a pretty good school. :) So when your body starts breaking down, there's a pretty good chance that you're expressing unresolved stress from other areas of your life and your body is trying to get your attention. Autoimmune disorders, anxiety, depression, weight problems, insomnia, etc. can all be indicators of unresolved stress.

In my case, I have about 70 extra pounds and an autoimmune thing going on in my mouth (oral lichen planus). Those are ways my body is telling me that I'm not handling my stress well. I participated in a pretty good program found at ebt.org where we learned that those kinds of issues were symbolic of either not nurturing ourselves enough or not setting strong enough limits with ourselves or others (to respect us and our space). I believe those things to be true and you can see that in threads on here every day.

Caregiving is stressful in the best of circumstances. If you've been raised to play the role of family scapegoat, it's very hard to break out of that role. It can be done, but it's a hard slog. We need to positively support each other in our efforts to learn to take better care of ourselves and to set limits and boundaries with those around us. Attacking each other here isn't helping anyone. And a lot of us need help.
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I agree. Helping others is a wonderful but stressful event. My parents are bringing me down.. I now try to limit my time at their house and insisted my Mom talk to her doctor to get a nurse in to help her. I feel so drained and stressed after dealing with them so I make sure I eat healthy, exercise just about every morning, meditate and do good things for me so i can be strong for them.
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myst - you came on this forum as a brand new poster posing what, to me, appeared to be a philosophical point of view about caregiving and purporting it to be soliciting conversation about same.

Many here's seemed to be able to "read between the lines" even though I don't think it was your intention to reveal so much of yourself right up front.

When folks began responding, from their heart of hearts and own personal experience, you seemed to be demonstrating a pretty weighty "chip on your shoulder". Didn't your 4.0 in Psych teach you that, once identified, people will try to knock that off? You COULD HAVE come on to this forum and spent just a little time reading other people's questions and answers, thus learning a bit about some of us before coming on like an authoritative gangbuster.

You have been prolifically posting in a short period of time. I have read all of the information in this thread as well as all of the posts on your wall and your activity including hugs. It is very clear to me in your personal correspondence that you are seeking support, even asking people sympathetic to your view to post within the thread, thus showing some of the folks who disagree with you that there are people who DO agree with you.

How psychologically healthy do you think it is to invite yourself in amongst a group of people who could become your friends, and begin almost instantaneously trying to polarize them? You need to reexamine your philosophy.
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My Care Receiver sometimes gets upset and rants at me. I've found that when he has that much energy/adrenalin, he can fix his own supper after I walk out. ;-)
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Laughing with you. Hoping people will end this thread about who is smarter than whom.
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@ mystical,
dementia care is a special animal. it teaches humility and compassion. it makes new rules for the sake of breaking said rules. im not trying to give you a hard way to go, just saying that its the most humbling and difficult thing ive ever done and EVERYTHING ive ever done was difficult. i will never be as intelligent as my mother so ive had no need to exert control over such a brilliant person. only keep her safe.
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