Trying to hang in there.

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When I read thru the forum, I realize many have it worse than me. I have been suffering from depression due to feeling trapped in this caregiver role. I was very naive when I started it. Now I feel I'll be lucky if I survive. I often feel I'm losing my sanity, and I try to talk to supportive people. Somehow I'm making it through. I'd like to believe there is a special place in heaven for us caregivers, but now I think that is just something people say because it makes them feel better. I'm lying in bed now, too tired to get up and face my sad life again. Best wishes to all who are in the same boat.

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Julie, caregiving be it hands-on and/or logistical is down right exhausting. It's a job that the vast majority of us haven't any training and there is rarely a mentor by our side to guide us along. Helpers are far and few between, unless Mom saved for these rainy days, it's now pouring out there.

Oh how I wish I knew about boundaries, that we could actually say "no" to something regarding caregiving or errand running. Oh, but the guilt.

From your profile I see that your Mom is living in Independent Living and is dealing with general age decline. Funny that term "independent living", if our parent is living independently, why are WE so tired??? Or are you living with your Mom, or her with you?

Honestly, we need to set boundaries. Make a list of everything, and I mean everything you do for your Mom, now cross off half of the items, then cross off some more. Next time Mom asks for you to do something on that list say "sorry, I can't possibly do that", and say no more.

Welcome to the forum, feel free to ask us anything, or just to vent when the day has become crazy !!
Julie, who knew that caregiving could be so draining? Not many of us until we actually got into it. FF is right about the need to set boundaries.

What are your mother's specific care needs? Is she mobile? Does she need help with preparing meals, eating, housecleaning, transportation, toileting? Managing her finances? Taking her medicines?
Hi Julie. Welcome. I have heard that so much. "A special place in heaven". Ya. I don't believe it. I think , I pray , it's not going to be h*ll because I'm not accepting this gracefully. Honor thy mother thy father. Ya. I try. I'm dying on the inside feeling trapped for God knows how long. Dealing with an illness I've had next to no experience with. Trying so hard to be kind/ respectful and it's a nightmare. My mothers loss of memory and abilities are over whelming. I'm no nurse and I feel I need to become one. She's my mother. I'm not hers. This role reversal takes a huge mental toll. We have to take on the responsibility for their care, but to me , that in my heart feels like I'm not respecting her and in reality, it's what I have to do to take care of her. It's such a huge transition. It's a hard one. For me, I realize I have to respect her and be able to direct her and in essence " call the shots", because she can't anymore. Who ever saw this coming? I'm trying to keep as active , positive and healthy as I can. You aren't alone Julie. Again welcome
Dear Julie,

I'm sorry to hear how you feel. I know its tough. Please know there are options. I know you feel stuck. I did too. It was hard. My father passed away 9 months ago and when I think back, I wished I reached out sooner. Please know there are resources in the community and through church. Look for respite care. I still feel guilty and depressed about the last three years of my dad's life. I hope you can find a better balance. Take care my friend. Thinking of you.
"Honor thy father and mother" and "a special place in heaven" can have different meanings. I often see people on this site say they have to take care of their parents, and that their uninvolved siblings and family members will get their due in the afterlife.

As someone posted on here, "honor thy father and mother" doesn't have to mean that the adult child has to become the abused slave of the parent. The parents' needs can be honored by someone ELSE doing the hands-on caregiving, even if that means the parent gets placed in a facility, becomes a ward of the state, or whatever.

We are also told that our bodies are temples, and, quite frankly, we are not treating our bodies correctly if we allow them to become sick and neglected because of elder caregiving.

And then there's this --- we are supposed to help others strive for heaven, also. We are supposed to be evangelists. Well, wouldn't be helping others by insisting that they do their share of caregiving, also? Too often I see people here are told to let their uninvolved sibs step out of the picture. But then they are losing their chance to gain heaven, right? We should help them get to heaven.

None of this is intended to be religious preaching. I realize people on here may have no religion. It's just one way I sometimes think of it. Too many people here allow themselves to be placed in a caregiving h*ll.

I struggle with all of this, too. Society's stance is often that the daughter should take care of the mother. I only have brothers (and they are long-distance; of course I am the only local sibling). Enough people have told me that they took care of their "mama" while their sibs often did nothing. 

I don't think this is my way to earn heaven, though. I don't see any lessons to learn. I think I'm disrespecting myself when I allow myself to become anxious and depressed if I'm around her too often. 

I have told my brothers that if her demands become too much (fortunately, thanks to this wonderful forum, I've set boundaries early on), I am simply walking away and she is their responsibility. 

I lost my young adult son suddenly, and the lessons I've learned and am still learning from that are enough for me.  I don't want the full course of lessons from elder caregiving.
CTTN55, so sorry for your loss. Agree with what you posted. I'm going to focus on your statement, " alllow themselves to be placed in a care giving h*ll". To the other posters , yes setting boundaries is something I'm going to work on.

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

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