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I want to scream "HELP ME! I'M DROWNING!!!" at the top of my voice. I've lost 20 lbs in 3 months from stress. Depression is nipping at my heels. I cry everyday. I need help but I don't know from whom or with what. I crave peace of mind but I have none.

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Hats off to you, RGARDEY! I did all of the things you said to do when I had to find some relief. I found it alone because I was always alone in taking care of my MIL. One day, when I finally couldn't stand anymore, I booked a trip to INDIA and disappeared for three weeks! It was Heaven! Actually, it was HELL ON WHEELS because I had no money and basically spent about $3 US a day there backpacking and walking everywhere. I was often in danger. It was so overwhelming that I didn't have time to think of what was going on back home. Better the chance of me being murdered in a foreign country than to stay where I was. FYI: I didn't tell anyone where I was going except my best friend and no one in the family noticed I was gone for the first 5 days. After I came back, they treated me with respect. And they were really really really MAD that I dared to get away from everyone. I admit this is an extreme measure but I had been full time caregiving fork 17 years and no one was listening to my pleas for help until I was in a place where I couldn't hear them anymore. They are lucky I even came back!
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I very much agree with ferris1: the nursing home staff are now your father's caregivers so you can just be a daughter, not his caregiver. Visit when you can but stop stressing about his care. I envy the fact that you are able to have your father in a nursing home rather than having to provide all of his care at home. I am caring for my husband, who cannot be left unattended for even a few minutes, at home and occasionally pay a lot of money to put him in a "Memory Care Assisted Living" facility a short stay of 4-5 days in order to give myself a much needed break from taking care of him. I still worry about him when he is there but I don't feel guilty and I don't let any concerns I might have spoil the few days of freedom I have. Try to take the opportunity you have to take care of your own health and to enjoy your time with your family and friends.
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Since you dad is already in a nursing home, stop beating yourself up! Let the professionals take care of him and you visit when you feel up to it. No one said you needed to ruin your health "worrying" over another. Do what you can, and let the rest go. CHF and cirrhosis are not "general age-related" health issues. When his liver stops processing the meds he will die. When his CHF gets worse he will die. Either way you cannot do a thing about his condition. Take care of yourself and your family FIRST! Best wishes.
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I felt like the waves were passing over my head too, trying to take care of my 85 year old mom, and my cancer afflicted partner, and my smart but autistic son. I just kept going until I passed out on the floor and came to in the ambulance. Don't let it get to that point with you. Listen to your music, take a walk, have a nice cuppa tea, eat some chocolate. I know, simple stuff, but you don't need complicated. You are only human and can only do so much. Hugs to you and yours.
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Honey, I'm sorry you feel this way. Is it care taker stress or some other stressful issue in your life? I like this website for the opportunity to vent ( yes I admit that) and because I can see I'm not alone. And you aren't either. You may also need some support from the medical profession, and if it is a caretaker situation bringing you down, maybe a real life group would help.
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Some good ideas here. Thank you!
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Oh boy do I feel for you. I have been there. You have to take care of you and that is a must. If you don't you won't feel well and symptoms will get worse. I lost 40lbs in three months and felt aweful. Long story short I got help with therapy once a month to talk and also got on antidepressants. That has helped so much. It took a long time for me to balance myself but for now I'm doing ok. I also was not eating and didn't think much about it. You must make sure you are eating even as hard is it may seem. Take a few minutes out for yourself away from it all and breathe eat drink water close your eyes and just chill. All easier said than done. I didn't think that I needed meds but it sure has helped. I still have days of blah but just going to therapy helps because it gets me away and it helps you focus. I wish all the best. hang in there and please make sure you eat. So important I can't even say it enough. I have started eating again not really good food but food and have gained seven lbs and feel so much better. Take care
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Rgardey...i liked your comment. Especially the last few sentences. They spoke to me too. Give your kid a hug---it's hard for them to see you stressed and sometimes they suffer in this silence. I absolutely think it has an effect on my son...thanks for this reminder and God bless you tooo!
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dunwoody owns it, take care of yourself or there is nothing left! A lot of people here really KNOW what you are dealing with at least parts. Take good care of yourself, do what ever you have to to get safe and sound.
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Just make he has everything he needs, the care he needs from the staff, the basics, books maybe? hand/ eye coordination things, easy memory things, easy remote to work if he needs it, you did your part, nothing else you can do, when you visit, visit with a visual of a POSITIVE visit, not the usual that you walk in expecting, help him turn around his feelings of being there without his family connection, maybe focus on his lonliness issues if that may be and look into you and your brother getting him a daily project to work on or accomplish that will ease his tendancies, I would think you would be a Daddies girl, my sister was,,,, my visits with my dad were tense until I said F**K IT, que sera que sera, and it quickly got better, had to take his attitude and cynism with humour and patience, I new he was ill, but he couldn't accept it, I too am a recovering alcoholic and have issues every now and then with that and it doesn't help when anxiety takes hold....
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Wow, from what I'm hearing from you ladies, caregiver stress is a remarkable new way to lose weight. Think of all the weight loss infomercials on TV. I'll produce it, and we'll call our new product "Caregiver in a Bottle." Our tag line will be: "Our life might totally suck, but look how good we look in these pants." Sorry, just some black humor here to keep me (and perhaps you) sane while dealing with this hell.
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I hear you,I have been drowning too.I am almost floating again,I have made the decision to find other living arrangements for my mom.I will be 51 on Saturday,I have lost 30 lbs in 5 months.That part is ok though,I was getting fat.Hugs!! Please do what you need to do.
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Look, if you could get help, you'd have help. It takes respite time to line up respite time. I've lost 4 teeth in 9 months. Stress is taking us down. Sometimes a hot bath helps. I moved back to my parents city after not being here for 20 years. Honesty, If I knew people here, I'd find cannabis. The professionals, dr's etc..they don't get urgency and the small amount of time you've have to deal..they wouldn't be able to be professionals (probably) if they had this sort of stressors. The best shot is other people like ourselvs..support groups have real experience to offer. I've wasted SO much time on well meaning professionals. I've seen them handle minor situations, but they tend to punt when it's really nasty. Messes up their percentages.
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Eyerishlass....I know the feeling...I was there not long ago. I also was wearing myself ragged. Last year I was running back and forth to my mom's Senior apartments 3 times daily. I have 3 kids in school and was attempting to keep my part time cleaning jobs...as well as do everything at home and try to maintain my duties as a housewife. I didn't take any time for me. I have 6 other siblings and was crying out for help...but everyone else had they're own lives. Depression gets the best of you and then your body starts to shut down. Then mom fell in July...she was down for most of the night before I found her that morning. She spent 4 days in the hospital but couldn't go home. I then took on the task as a fulltime caregiver. Oh boy!!! That was a journey in itself. There are plenty of good options and advice here on this forum. Stay here and vent and seek answers. So many of us have gone through what you are going through. The Dementia is killing our loved ones and it's painful to experience. As much as it might make you feel bad...or guilty. Take time for you. It's so important. Remember the dementia is killing off their brains. They will say things and do things that are not really them, my mom turned into an imposter. I had to separate myself as her daughter and look at her as only her caregiver. This dreaded disease changed her so much and I didn't recognize her anymore. So when you see your dad...just remember that it's the disease that is making him say things.
I also would like you to do some research on dementia...the symptoms and how to react to your dad's frustrations. Google "Teepa Snow" she is very informative on Dementia and Alzheimers...I learned so much from her. Also stay on with Agingcare.com these are the most informative caring people here. They will help you through some of the frustrations.
We understand what you are going through...we are here for you. You are not alone. God Bless you.
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Welcome to Hell on Earth. First, do whatever you can to separate yourself from the "loved one" and situation that has put you in this mess. Look at them as an object that needs to have certain needs and comforts met. Second, pretend you are just an employee hired to take care of this person and hence, no personal attachment. Third, get some professional caregivers in several times a week so you can get the hell out of there, and Fourth, PUT YOURSELF FIRST, no matter how guilty it makes you feel. Because if you don't that "guilt" will destroy you and kill you long before that elderly person passes.
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I read your profile, and wow. You have a LOT on your plate, and you realize you NEED to take steps to reduce the stress in your life. Your Dad is in a SNF and your brother has taken over his care there - I think it's time you reduce your visits WITHOUT GUILT. Your well being, and that of your daughter's, should take precedence over your Dad's "emotional care" at this point. If you have a nervous breakdown and are unable to work, where will you be? Your daughter? Your Dad??? SOMETHING has to give. Don't let the facility at the SNF pile more guilt on you - they have no idea what you are going through unless you tell them. Reduce your visits to twice a week, focus on yourself and your daughter, and most importantly do NOT feel guilty about the above. You're running yourself into the ground and that doesn't do anyone any good.
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I understand your situation and sympathize with it. Your definitely in a 911 situation. Please seek help from your Doctor, the United Way has free mental health support groups, county operated senior centers have free support groups for caregivers. Check with your community, you are not alone with this. I agree with all the above postings, your father is well cared for and YOU NEED TO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF!!!!! YOU ARE A PRIORITY RIGHT NOW!!!!!!! You are not being selfish. I am very concerned about you and your situation. Please donot delay at getting help. I pray God is watching over you right now and will keep you safe.
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Eyerishlass,

My prayers are with you. I went through a bad depression and had some thoughts that were really bad about my whole situation to say the least. What helped me pull through is God (pray a lot!), talking to a mental health counselor, writing in a journal, and telling my family flat out that I needed their help and "would not" be doing the caregiving by myself any longer. My husband agreed to this because he knew there was something really wrong with me. It's horrible to admit, but I used to go into my bedroom closet and just sit there and stare up at the ceiling or wall for hours at a time. I was so depressed that it took control of me for a while, until I said ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. I was tired of feeling like a different person, and one that was so incredibly unhappy too. I would cry for no reason and couldn't concentrate on things I was supposed to. I understand where you are coming from, believe me. A lot of people here do (at least with the caregiving and depression), so you came to the right place to tell us about how you feel. I am praying for you, but please, you have to take the step to get help for yourself. You will be SO GLAD you did. It makes all the difference in the world when you get help and have a professional to talk to. I can't tell you how much better it made me feel, and now by the grace of God and all that help I am doing 100 times better. :) There is hope for you too. While I don't know your whole situation, I do know how it feels to be completely trapped, like a caged animal, as a caregiver, and now I am able to care give without being depressed. There IS a way out of it. Put yourself and your child first. Everything else will fall into place once you do that. Sometimes other family members just need that extra nudge to get off their butts and start helping with caregiving, and you are due for help from your family from what it sounds like. With lupus on top of your depression, you definitely need to be seeing a doctor anyway, as I'm sure you know. Best wishes, and God bless you.
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Eyerishlass, I agree with all the suggestions from above especially taking care of yourself is the main priority. Although it is much easier said then done you start out with one thing at at time. You can also pray for a partner who is willing to help you in every area that you have need of, someone who is not going to add to your stress but pour into you love, kindness, patients and not be critical of your situation. I would like to offer you my assistance in anyway I can. My mother died three years ago she had Alzheimer and I was her caregiver, currently I am my father caregiver and he has dementia. I understand the stress of it all however, I have also experienced the peace and joy of serving my parents and this only comes with help from others but most of all I have learned to bring balance into my life. My prayers are with you.
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I went through this as well. I was weepy, grouchy, and extremely exhausted. It landed me in the hospital with a heart problem. Sometimes you don't know you've overdone it until you're overdone. My body was giving me signals that I had to learn to "hear". Do talk to a Dr about your depression. You will need some time get a handle on your health. With your responsibilities this may seem like a luxury... it's not. Start out with small steps. I learned sleep hygiene, breathing exercises, how to ask for and accept help, and how to say no. My friends and loved ones responded by taking my place on elder visits, cooking for me, shopping for me, running errands and the like until I took back my load piece by piece. Do they always understand... no, but I was no use to anyone when I became ill. I still get stressed out, but I know the warning signs and reach out. I do spend some time each night in my room without "noise". A little quiet music, a hot cup of tea, and a purring cat in my lap. I ask for strength and peace of mind from above, and remind myself of all I have to be grateful for. Balance is difficult with so much on your plate. But you can only do what is humanly possible. In regards to your father, you have done what you could for him... bless you. You may not see his happy side, but you know that he is being cared for and monitored. Acceptance will give you some peace. Give your kid a hug, it's hard for them to see you stressed, they sometimes suffer this in silence.
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It sounds like even though your brother is taking care of medical care, your Dad has chosen you to care for his emotions. My Dad would tell me all of the things that bothered him and confided in me about unresolved problems he had. Complaints about the nh, how bad the food was etc.... It was like he depended on me to help him sort out his feelings. With the other siblings he would be cheerful and upbeat. It is so hard emotionally on us to constantly hear the troubles. Especially when we feel sad and worn out.
What I did with my Dad is I made a photo album (just a notebook with page protectors, very inexpensive and quick), I would add photos and we would talk about them. I also put photos on a DVD so he could watch them on his TV. Anything to keep his mind on something else while I was there. I still had the complaints, but some interesting things happened in between.
I don't think there is a way to eliminate the pain we feel when we are chosen as the emotional caregiver, but we can re-charge a little, by doing something for ourselves. Even if it is a short walk in a park on the way home from the nh.
I hope this will help you in some way. There are some very wise caregivers on this website, I hope you find comfort.
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If you are able to do as people here suggest, then by all means, disconnect to the extent possible and focus your attention on getting yourself well. Losing 20 pounds in 3 months is a pretty serious reaction to the stress you are under (I went the other way, gaining 20 pounds because I am home with my husband most of the time and eat when I am anxious and depressed.) It is also very important to find the time to do things that are fun like go to the movies and/or dinner with friends who are supportive of you. Caregivers can easily become more ill than the person they are taking care of so please do everything you can not to become one of those terrible caregiver statistics. As Madeaa said, put on your own oxygen mask first, as they tell you on the airlines, before trying to help someone else. Please make it an immediate priority to take care of your own health.
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I too can relate. I have had ALOT of relief from the various symptoms that accompany extreme caregiving by doing alot of what some of these posts said...mainly PRAY and plan a little time (even if 10 minutes) for ME. I've learned to let the guilt go. I listen to an awesome CD that centers me back and helps me process things differently and it helps. I don't know if you've ever heard of Louise Hay - Self Healing. It's a great listen. I also help calm myself naturally by using 100% certified pure essential oils. I could NOT manage without them and the supplements they make that I take. They TOTALLY sustain me. I can give you more information if you'd like. They are also extremely helpful to people with Lupus which is gather you must have. I have a website but if you email me i will be happy to send you some free samples so you can try them for yourself and see. Keeping you in my prayers. Remember...this too shall pass and God WILL sustain you! -- from a caring fellow caregiver, mom, wife - overmaxed and sustaining! :)
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First things first take care of you, put your own oxgen mask on first. Once you are stable the way will become clear.
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I think there are lupus support groups. Find out from your doctor/local hospital. You deserve all the help you can get. Hugs to you
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Pray. See your doctor. Pray. See your clergyman. Pray. God bless. I have gone through the same thing. Talk to friends. Read a book. Take a walk. Do something just for you. Vent here. Help is out there. Keep the faith. Take care.
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Jennifer, my heart goes out to you. As said, your father is well taken care of and you have quite enough on your plate. Your well being and the role of a mother are your first priority. It is comforting to know your brother is involved.

As suggested above, take some time for yourself to get well. If you don't, things will spiral out of control and that is no good for anyone. It is not selfish to take care of yourself, especially when you have Lupus; it is vital and imperative that you do so. I do understand and know first hand that the stress that some of our parents can cause is detrimental to our health. I developed stress related problems from the "difficult" parent while already living with chronic pain.

I learned to let go a bit; and hope you can too. My children were extremely affected by my caretaking responsibilities; and my health kept failing. After a life long battle with "guilt" imposed on me; the health issues I developed were a sign that I needed to take care of myself as I had children depending on me. I lost the guilt and would not allow my mother to get to me.

Blessings and hugs to you - you are a wonderful daughter and have gone above and beyond - take care of you and your family - and you will be better for it. Take care.
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Step back. Tell your brother and father you are ill and will be out of pocket for 6 wks, 2 months whatever you feel is reasonable. Give yourself permission to take this time without interuption from father's family matters.
Then stick to it. Don't call, email, refrain from contact -- as the days go by it will get easier and you will get better. Make an appt with your physician or a psychiatrist or maybe just join a support group in your area so you can talk through your anxiety, stress, etc. -- do this even if you start taking meds so that you get mind/body support. Take a yoga class at the Y. Turn off your cell phone for a couple hrs a day (if necessary, set your settings to receive calls only from your kids and husband, no one else when the phone is off). Take daily walks to gather your thoughts. Have afternoon tea time (by yourself) to just relax before everyone comes home.
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Eyerishlass, I have a friend with lupus that has a bad time with depression when she is having symptoms. It does sound like you concentrate on yourself and child until you get through this. You will probably feel very guilty for a while, but you don't need a lot of extra stress in your life until you are able to get back on your feet. Do you have insurance through your job? I would certainly take advantage of it to get the depression in check. Your father is being cared for. Let your brother and father know that you are having trouble and need to concentrate on getting better for a while. They know that you have lupus and that you're a mother, so they will probably understand. Explain the same thing to the SNF if they call. I am glad that your brother has taken on the business end of that.

It is very true that we have to take care of ourselves before we can help take care of someone else. I hope that you can pull out of this depression quickly. Hugs to you while you are getting better.
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