I am losing it caregiving for my parents.

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Ok, I'm new here and perhaps in the wrong place. I am the only son (4 out of state sisters) of my 80ish parents who lives close enough to care for their daily needs. My father has had 3 heart attacks and fatal lung cancer (about a year to live) and my mother suffers from dementia. I am also the father of a 15 year old boy and husband to a wife who had breast cancer 2 summers ago. As a teacher, I was able to take a 1 year leave to care for those around me but, it is destroying my sense of self and the frustration and anger grows. My wife has been very understanding as I tend to my parents each day but I am loosing it. any help would be appreciated,


tmack, yours is a heavy load and your feeling of being overwhelmed is entirely reasonable, not to mention normal. You may want to start with your own doctor and share that you are feeling overwhelmed. Many doctors are great about referrals, including to local support groups, etc. Working full-time and being a caregiver is a recipe for losing it, yet so many caregivers have no other choice but to do so. Contact your local hospitals and ask whether they offer support groups for someone in your situation. Also check out respite care as you do need a break now and then. Consider having a family conference call with your sisters and laying it out for them and requesting their input and help. Let them know that if they can't help you, your parents may be at a stage where they need long-term nursing care. While you may not know what their answers will be, it will afford them an opportunity to let you know where they stand in terms of pitching in, or remaining hands off. Have you all had such a discussion yet? If not, you may want to consider getting that ball rolling. There is only one you and you will be no use to your parents if you burn yourself out. Good luck regardless of whatever you may choose to do.
Hey Tmack.
You are definitely in the right place. Alot of us feel the same way & if you remember your Elizabeth Kubler Ross know that anger is definitely high on the list - as is feeling like you are losing it. Caregiver to caregiver, losing it is the right term. We lose it a little bit every day - the trick, I have found is not to deny the feelings of losing it - instead, all any of us can do is have a good weep, gripe, have a hissy fit, or stare blankly in the mirror asking 'who the heck is THAT?" - once done, well, time to get back to what we are doing. You are right about losing your sense of self. Caregiving, especially in the extreme circumstances that you are going through changes you. You will never be the same. None of us will. But if you use this site as a cathartic release, it may help take the edge off a bit.
We all used to think we had control over our lives & want to fix things & make them better, but the conundrum of caregiving is that we can't fix things - we have no control, and it is humbling and hard as hell to be there for someone you love at the hardest time when there is not necessarily anything you can do - whether it is dementia, cancer or the day to day.

Take care, I hope you stay here & start to feel less alone. If you are angry - this is the place to rage & vent. I think that you must be an awesome person to take on so much and still be self aware enough to talk it out. Hope to read more from you.
What a wonderful son you must be. It is not easy trying to juggle the needs of your family and the needs of your parents. It seems like the responsibility for aging parents always falls on the shoulders of one child and the rest sit back and really don't help. Have you talked to your sisters about just calling them from time to time and letting them know how your parents are doing and what caring for them is doing to you. They may not be able to physically help, but perhaps they can provide some emotional help and support. Continue to keep us posted about your situation and how things are going.
3930 helpful answers
Tamac, you came to the right place. Nearly half of the caregivers are now men, and I hope we can get more men to follow your lead and talk about their feelings in this forum.

You are giving and giving and giving. We all understand that. Sometimes it feels like there's no more to give. Talking about it with others who understand can help let off steam. Often you will get some very concrete advice. However, the most rewarding value is generally the fact that talking about these issues breaks the isolation.
how you are doing.

Keep coming back here and talking. We want to know how you are doing.
TMACK, you are in the right place as everyone else has said. You are not alone in your feelings. It is such a relief for me to come here and blow off steam, and not be judged. And you have valuable experience to share with us. So it is a "win-win" situation for all concerned. Keep posting so we know how you are.
Thank you all for your responses,
I can't thank you enough for your wisdom and thoughtful responses. I appreciate
3930 helpful answers
Keep checking in, tmack. The connection to others who understand can do wonders for one's sense of self. Caregiving is a JOB. People who don't do it don't get it. And I think that part is harder on men than women, though it's hard on us, too. Society needs to change, but it will be one caregiver at a time.

Take care,
Hi cat I like what you say about not denying our feelings,just today I wanted to scream to the highest mountains my mom starts preaching to me like I am 12,it is so insulting all I do is walk away removing myself from the situation, then it is like walking on egg shells the rest of the day, so Im not going to deny I have feelings,and try to quit acting like a robot which feels nothing Bernardine
Tmack-listen to the above ladies they are awesome- I have been here less than a year and when my computer was broke for a few weeks I really missed vent and crying and laughing and being scolded if needed-we know we are there ourselves and we get it so keep in touch
Hi Bernardine,

Glad that if it helps - - its better to get away, outside for a little bit rather than letting it eat you up inside. You can't change anyone else - certainly not your mom...what makes it difficult to bear is that you are in it all the time. Not good.
Sending you cyberhug & bunch of cyberflowers. You are awesome even if you don't get the acknowledgement at home.
I honestly believe that if we don't acknowledge our feelings and pay attention to them problems get worse, and perhaps it triggers other things. If you are angry, sad, whatever, it is your right as a human being, and healthy to admit it - then you can let go & move on. take care & if that doesn't work - - - get into another room with some whitenoise like a fan (aka caregivers secret stress buster) ... & just breathe.

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

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