Need Support & Strength TO HOLD ONTO SANITY! :-)

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Hi Everyone. I hope you all had a nice Christmas and New Years. Hopefully 2011 will be a better year for us all, including those we care for. I feel myself getting more and more depressed and am feeling very hopeless regarding the ongoing situation of caring for two ill, older people. I'm feeling exhausted physically and mentally. I'm trying to keep a smile on my face in front of my mom and s-dad, but it's becomeing increasingly hard. I've stopped trying to keep up with all of the cleaning, laundry, etc... I still do what I can plus more, but I can't keep up with all that I was doing before anymore. My mom seems distant to me now. I can tell she's disappointed that I'm not doing as much as I was for them. I'm not breaking my back with cleaning up after them as much anymore. I'm not vacuuming b/c I just can't! I can't get a place of my own and have no place at all to go for 'respit' (?sp)... I'm to the point of feeling weak myself and have a lot of pain b/c of my own health issues. Yet my 'issues' don't seem to matter b/c they need help if they want to stay in their home. I'm sorry for rambling here. I just don't know how to get out of the rut I've fallen into. Other than the support I get from my online friends, I have no one else at all to talk to except for the councelor I see for one hour a week.

If I may ask, how do you deal with the depressive atmosphere when you're in the midst of being the caregiver, laundry attendant, 'go for'... grocery shopping engineer, weight lifter, councelor, etc... ???

Any and all replies would be very welcomed!!! I know that you're all going through hard times with this caregiving thing too. It's not rewarding, and (for me anyway), it can suck the life right out of you. I hope to hear from y'all.

Glad to be here,
Kathy K.

18 Comments

I am in your situation myself and it does suck out your life. Have you any siblings who can give you a break? Social services in your town or county may offer help for daycare or finding affordable in-home respite care! Also many churches now offer help with daycare for the elderly (sometimes called elderly social network) etc. Just a few hours away can be so precious to you, please try to work it out. If you're sick, they could be without care unless you let others in family, neighborhood and community know. Remember Jesus loves you and can answer your prayers for help, he has me! I'll pray again that all caregivers such as we get help from unexpected sources, but we must care for ourselves as much as possible. Counseling over the years has been of great value to me. Good luck and God bless you!
Thank you SO much for sharing some of your story with me and for understanding. I feel horribly alone. I'm having panic attacks and I am worried about my own health declining b/c of the 24/7/365 task of caregiving. I've spoken with my mom about having help come into their house to help with cleaning, esp. vacuuming, getting Meal's on Wheel's, grocery shopping, etc... and I've told her that I'm not going to be able to keep up with all of their needs. She and my s-dad blatently refuse to allow anyone into their house to help them...which in turn would be a huge help to me too. Unfortunately, I have no other family. I do have two step-sisters, but neither of them are fond of their father, so they're of no help. His one daughter won't speak to him at all anymore, and I don't blame her b/c of his cruel comments to her. The other step-sister lives only 3 miles away but she rarely stops at the house b/c she "can't handle the negativity and oppressive depression that lurks in this house." If she could help me with just one thing it would help, but she won't. I've asked and she's totally aware of what I'm going through with my mom and her dad, but still, she doesn't have to look at it. Both my mom and s-dad are 100% clear mentally and I'm renting a room in their house, since I lost everything when my own health went bad and I had to go onto Disability. The see how much pain I'm in and they don't have any empathy. They want to stay in their home no matter what, and since I live here I end up taking care of most everything. I know I won't be able to keep up this pace and I'm getting more depressed by the day. The only thing that keeps me going is that I have a 3 year old Pomeranian, who is my world. I don't know what to do regarding the situation I'm in now. I don't see any way out and fear being separated from my dog should something happen to me. My puppy has 'separation anxiety' issues with me, so we're a package deal. I do have a wonderful counselor, a pastor's wife, and she's offered to come to where I live and at least do an assessment of the situation. I pray hard and thank God that I have Jesus in my life. I know that if I didn't have my faith, I wouldn't be here, living like I am. There's just absolutely no joy at all in life and I have nothing at all to look forward to. I can't date b/c I can't bring anyone into my parent's house. I have no friends. My s-father is very inappropriate and verbally sexually abusive to any female that comes into the house. It's awful.
I'm sorry again for rambling. I'm so lost here and feel so alone. I'm SO greatful for all of the wonderful folks and support here!

God Bless,
Kathy
oh kathy, i send u love and energy and patience.
1 suggestion- u say they absolutely refuse to let anyone else care for them?? Well, maybe its time to let them know, it is a necessity!!
u cant do this all by yourself--they will not be happy to have others in their home, but u have to get some relief-this can kill u-then what would happen?
try and be strong, see what your church can do- maybe they can
get a few people to volunteer a few hours here and there, that way
eventually u could get a break.
u are doing something very wonderful-thankless and difficult at the time, but u are good-and they r lucky to have u as a daughter..
write and vent as often as necessary, it will help-if only a little-and sometimes a lot-
sending u love
karen
Willow, you need to TELL your parents that either they allow you to bring in a cleaning lady a few times a week, or you're through. Unless you're the martyr type, then keep trying to keep their unrealistic expectations alive and end up in a nursing home yourself, either way you'll be through. Both are your choices.
Kathy,
I'm keeping you and all of us caregivers in my prayers. It's a thankless, but powerful job. . .one that God would have us to do. I'm also sending an endless amount of hugs of support, armed with millions of high fives for what you are doing. Thankfully in your mom and s-dad's case, there was one who was willing to step up to the plate ("YOU!").

Also call a family meeting and put your sisters on notice. Insist that they do at least one thing to help out because they are needed -- even if they have to do it remotely -- (pick up prescriptions from the drug store or groceries/cook a meal and deliver them to you at the door, etc.). Give them a chance to do the right thing. Now, if they fail to do this, it won't be because you didn't give them an opportunity.

I would also suggest that you enlist the assistance of understanding neighbors (men included), who might be willing to stay for a few hours with your parents (this includes any members of church groups), so that you can get a break (if for no more than take your wonderful doggie for a walk around the block, or even meet a guy friend for coffee). A male might distract your s-dad (especially if your s-dad likes sports), and they could watch a ball game, play checkers or a board game, or shoot the breeze together.

Also, you might have to pull some rank and insist that folks come into your parents' house to help. . .and I mean help YOU. Yeah, they will fuss and complain -- but if you can get somebody to help with the housekeeping, laundry, meals, errands, and/or grocery shopping, etc. -- you tell your parents that these individuals are helping you help THEM. Chances are one of them might start to notice that the windows are a bit brighter, the carpets are cleaner, there are more clean clothes, etc. -- and these folks that are helping out are part of the team (and if your folks don't notice this, that's o.k. -- YOU'LL notice it). They might even start to look forward to "so and so" coming on whatever day. You'll have to ignore your mom and s-dad's protests (which is hard to do), so that your health doesn't decline further. I had to do this for my mom who didn't want any type of home care assistance, but I couldn't do all of it, look after her, plus work too.

Also check with your county's department of social services/ and dept. of aging for additional resources.

My best to you and others too!
-Deb from Suitland, MD
Thank you all SO much for replying! These people are tough. I made a comment to my mom a couple of months ago about how it's hard to take care of two older, ill people. She became furious with me and told me that "they take care of themselves and I don't do anything for them." That really hurt! Since they won't allow anyone into the house to help them, I have started to do much less. I honestly can't keep up. I have fibromyalgia, multiple herniated discs, chronic regional pain complex, etc... the pain is overwhelming and I've not had one pain free day in the last 10 years. So, if my mom and s-dad refuse to allow anyone in to help, all I can do, is to do much less. Thankfully I have a wonderful therapist, and she's doing all she can to help me get out of this toxic environment. I pray, actually 'beg' God for me to be able to keep my puppy with me. If there's any way for me to change this situation for the better, I'm in!!! For now, all I can do is pray, pray some more and keep reaching out. I'm SO thankful for all of you here and very greatful for all of your support and feedback.

Kathy
Hi Kathy -

I just joined this site for a similar reason. My problematic depressed mother does not live with me, but lives less than one mile away and is very much in 'want' and 'need' of my time. I am trying to come to terms with my resentment of my mother's need of me. I may not be much help here, but reading your situation, it seems for your sanity's sake, you need a break. May I ask, am I understanding you right in that you are living in their home to help them keep it? If so, did you have to give up your normal living situation to accomplish this, or have you always lived with them? I feel for you, Kathy. For what it is worth, know you are not alone in your despair. I don't know much about your situation, but it seems, if possible, moving out of that environment would be a 'positive' for you as right now, you sound emotionally drained. My thoughts are with you, friend.
Hi Mmilady :-) Welcome! There's so much support here. I'm glad you're here for the support you will get, but feel bad for you that you're here because of you too being caught up in the often viscious cycle of 'caregiving'... I do live in my mom and s-dad's house. I pay them rent monthly. I lived on my own for well over 20+ years. I was a nurse, worked full-time, had a boyfriend, friends and a social life. I hurt my back bad lifting a heavy patient and now have multiple herniated discs, in addition to having fibromyalgia among multiple other pain causing conditions, and also deal with depression and anxiety. I have PTSD from witnessing a lot of dysfunction and violence that started in early childhood. I never wanted to have to move back home again! Unfortunately, I b/c of the severe 24/7 pain, I could no longer work and have been on SSDI disability for the past 5 years. I do what I can for my mom and s-dad, but I'm totally worn out. I'm doing less and less around the house for them, buy still find myself doing all of the grocery shopping, cleaning (including vacuuming that I'm not s/p to do per dr. orders and also it does me in. I pay the price in severe pain...), all of the laundry, etc... I'm becoming more depressed to the point that I just want to be alone and cry. I have no friends at all left. I think people get afraid that you might ask them for something...lol... I don't know. I do know that I'm totally alone in the caregiving department. I can't imagine ever having a life of my own again. Still, I do try to keep a positive attitude. Finding this group here has helped a lot.

Thanks for your support and understanding :-)

God Bless,
Kathy
I am sorry for your pain. There is no easy remedy for such a complex situation. I sign up for and finish 2 community college classes every semester I can. I like to read a good book - cover to cover - it seems to give my mind a rest. Hope this helps. The main thing is to keep the focus on what you can control in your own life - in a healthy way. God Bless.
Thank you all again for being here!!! NO one can understand how hard, draining physically, mentally & emotionally being a caretaker is, unless they've been there or are there now. Today has been a particularly bad day. I bought each parent a 7 day med planner, put their names on 'their' planner in big bold black letters and got them planners that are different colors, so there'd be much less of a chance of error. This morning my s-dad got all of their meds bottles out and started separating my mom's mds (AM & PM) and put all of my mom's meds for the week into his med container. It was just one of the things that I've been dealing with lately. I've not been feeling great myself, even having some mild chest pain and have been severely depressed and getting panic attacks. I feel so alone and so so sad. I need all of you here...

God Bless you all,
Kathy

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