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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.


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.
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.
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.
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.
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
First things first take care of you, put your own oxgen mask on first. Once you are stable the way will become clear.
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! :)
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.
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.
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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