Caregiver Depression and How I'm Dealing With It
After Mom and Dad moved into a SNF and were approved for Medicaid, I still feel a vast amount of stress that has led to a relapse into depression. In the four months since they've moved in, there have been tears, arguments, financial stress and trips to and from the hospital. It's as if a roller coaster changes to a bumpy road and back to a roller coaster again. (FTR, I hate roller coasters.) I don't live that close to my parents but I always feel on edge. Waiting for news. Waiting for the next payment to send out. Waiting for the next mood swing. Waiting to soothe tears. Shouldering their needs has made me bottle up my own and while I thought for a while I'd be okay, everything overflowed. I had a few panic attacks and severe breakdowns in grief. My depression progressed to the point where I was just sitting and staring at nothing for hours. I wasn't happy but I wasn't motivated to do anything at all. I stopped eating well. Stopped seeing friends. I stopped exercising. I stopped all of my hobbies. More frightening than grief was this absolute feeling of indifference for anything I used to love doing. I felt like my existence was just to worry and wait for the next thing I have to do for my parents. I'm constantly flipping the phone over checking for a message about them. I had a tough month and the lowest was last weekend. I'm better today but I don't feel 100%. I could fall back off tomorrow. I'm naturally introverted and generally a ball of anxiety. Despite my parents not living with me, I still feel so attached and worried for their well-being and care. But logic pulled through and I knew I couldn't stay like this. I found a therapist and I'm going to my second session tomorrow. My best friends (from childhood and college) came over and we had long talks. While I've gained quite a bit of weight to the point where I physically feel unbalanced, I'm taking small steps with little workouts and long walks --maybe I can work my way back up to dancing and weight lifting like I used to. (My mom's in this state because of diabetes and here I am putting myself on the path TOWARDS diabetes!) I started my hobby again tonight after weeks of not doing it. Love hurts and I know that. I can logic my way to feeling better but my heart breaks for my folks. This is tough and if you're feeling the same way I do, know you're not alone. It's hard to take that first step to self-care but if you KNOW you need to do it... just do it even if you don't feel like it.