Coping with caregiving, I've gained 30 pounds!

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I'm not sure which category to put this in. One year ago my Dr. put me on Lexipro because of trying to deal with my new life change of moving in with my mom. (husband came too, but he's Never a problem ). Well on came the weight, I felt hopeless but well enough to eat and not care about it. I stopped the med in January and started to see a counselor. He really helped me to navigate through some issues and supported me on some future plans. Such as boundaries and asking siblings for a break. My mom can be sweet or a royal pain. I can't seem to get a better handle on the boundary issue. She has a separate 2 room addition. She just won't keep that darn door shut! And she is safe to be alone. She is constantly coming in to my house for bogus excuses just to see what I'm doing. She asked me yesterday if she was in jail because I keep the door shut. I find myself hiding on her with a bag of chips , cookies whatever is around. Then I feel even worse and blame her, then vow to not get sucked into her trap. But why do I keep putting my finger in the socket?? She is active at the senior center a few days a week, I drop her off and she takes the bus home. One day a week they even pick her up to go grocery shopping. It's like if she doesn't go out every single day she's in my face wanting to know what my plans are for the day. And I do take her out a few times a week, sometimes I just want to be alone.


I can understand wanting to be alone in your own house. Since your mother is safe on her own, could you go out by yourself? My mother would want to know where I was going, etc, but since I go to work everyday, I get some time away.
You moving in with HER changes a lot of the balance. Essentially, YOU took HER space. Even if it's benefitting her, I bet she still feels like she can roam wherever and no excuses.

Sounds like she's actually pretty busy. Make yourself busy too. Also, create in your home a little "haven" if you can, that you can retreat to and be alone. LOCK THE DOOR. PUT a sign on the door "Having some alone time"....and then do NOT open the door to her. Doing this has saved my sanity, as my hubby has a huge TV in our bedroom which I hate, and he refuses to move it or move it into the den, which is specifically FOR a TV. I gave up begging him to turn it off by 10:30 and if I fell asleep, he'd sneak it back on.

I gave up and moved into my own little corner of my home. I don't think my hubby notices or cares. I love the cool, quiet clean little room where I can have peace and quiet and not hear FOxNews raging on 24/7. I'd take an interfering mother over the sounds of FoxNews!!

You can take the hinges off the connecting door and install self closing ones. That way, the door will not stay open. Mother lives with brother and he did this to her, so the family didn't have to see/smell all the mess in her place. She was just like your mom at the beginning of her stay at brother's 20 years ago--but now she cannot even go up or down a step. Time will take care of a lot of the things that are bugging you.

As far as the anxiety (which is what I think you have, more than depression--a mild tranquilizer may help more than Lexapro, which sadly is known to cause weight gain.

Good luck with the boundaries, changes, etc. This is a hard thing to do. Bless you!!
Carolellen, one positive note, your Mom likes to go to the Senior Center many days during the week. And Mom has transportation for grocery shopping. A lot of us would gladly change places with you :)

Since your Mom sounds like she can take care of herself, just curious why you and your husband moved in with her? Or are there times when she doesn't like being by herself? I know how that feels, and it can be scary as one ages.

Any chance you could work or volunteer part-time during the day, especially on days when Mom is at the senior center? That might give you the emotional jump start that you need. It's great getting up in the morning and going to work, even if it is half a day.

Now, as for the closed door, you need to remember that prior to you moving in, Mom had her house all to herself. That's a very hard habit to break. And that there is now that child/adult dynamic going on where Mom is back to being Mom again, and you are a teenager. When your Mom is home alone on her side of the house, she wants to talk to someone, to be with someone on her days off from the senior center. I can't blame her, as last week I was home sick and how I hated being by myself.

Yep, I also had put on weight and it wasn't from comfort eating, it was from the lack of exercise as back when I was helping my parents I was exhausted, and who wants to exercise then?
Thank you all!
A self closing door, that's genius! And since we're having construction it will fall into the project like it wasn't intentional.
I never even considered that I might have anxiety 🤔, you shed a new light for me. I'll f/u with my PMD. And to answer a question, we lived separately in our home 3 miles away. three years after my dad died ,mom asked us to move in with her because she was lonely. We thought it would solve one problem of continuous calls at 2 am that she was out of breath or dizzy or her BP was out of control, it was always something. So we thought it made sense since she was independent at the time. Three weeks after we signed our contract to sell our home, she had spinal compression fractures which took several weeks to heal. Her health physically and mentally has declined since then. At one point last February she told me she was dying and had only 3 weeks to live. ( sucker across my forehead, I figured it must be true who says such things!) łI'm thankful for the senior center and the fact that she goes. I know a lot of you have much more to bear and my heart goes out to you as I read and learn from your posts. God Bless you all.
And btw midkid, Fox News ?! Yup its on here all the time! My hubby too, but hey what can I say ? In my case it's the least I can do for him living with his MIL!!
Hi CarolEllen
I can really relate. I treasure time alone, and my mother (who also had her own suite in our home) would always come find me as I was getting some relaxing time. I put on weight and that added to the unhappiness/guilt/frustration.
The self closing hinges sound like a great idea, as does the carving out your personal haven in the house. But I would encourage you to start walking, if you are able. It doesn't need to be race walking or anything but take an hour a day and hit the sidewalk. Maybe listen to a book on tape. Do some daily reflections (there are a lot of websites/books that can help with this) that focus on self care and thankfulness, that helped me to get out of my head. Making that 1 hour walk and small changes in eating (if you do the shopping try not to buy your weaknesses!) is what helped me gradually get rid of the 20+ pounds I put on.
I would caution seeking a "tranquilizer" they can interfere with judgement and also contribute to weight gain. There are anti-depressants that are also for anxiety. Buproprion is one (also called Welbutrin) that has been developed and does not have the side effect of weight gain for most people.
Best of luck, you are not alone (oh, wait-you want alone time! : )
Oh speaking of Fox News.... when I was visiting my Mom at her long-term-care facility, Mom was sleeping so I went out into the common area. No residents were there so I turned on the sitting room TV and was channel surfing. A nurse/aide came by and asked me politely once I found a station, please make sure it isn't Fox News as that station tends to upset the residents, but the other cable news networks were ok. I also remember hearing that at the hospital when my parents were there.

I thought what an interesting thesis that would make for a psych major.
Off topic--but since I was the once complaining about FoxNews---it has turned my usually calm husband into a raging political fool. I'm enbarassed about the amount of time he wastes watching it--and the programs repeat a couple times during the day, sooo...if he's home, it's on and I just cannot STAND the sound of a single commentator. I actually moved out of our bedroom 2 years ago b/c of it. Hubby is just addicted.

Oh--and he records the shows he "misses" while at work or on a business trip so he can catch up. I never thought I'd be replaced by a TV news station.

I WAS a psych major and I know this channel has altered hubby's once-sunny view on life.

WHY do we have cable when A: I don't watch TV and B: he watches one station?
We have news wars on here too,, hubs is a Fox fan, and mom is a CNN junky. I try to stay like Switzerland ... OMG! I just want to watch Destination America or History channel ! I turned my daughters room into a TV room, guest bedroom! For me...
But back to the weight issue, I also plan to go to a gym after the worst of winter is over.. I know I wont go out when it is cold or snowing. My knees are shot after my broken ankle last year, and my thigh muscles. I sit on the floor to play with the puppy and I have to get on my hands and knees to get up.. it is sort of scaring me at this point how out of shape I am.
Sounds like your mom could use a senior companion to hangout with. Call your local AAA (area agency on aging) for help and payment. Then you can spend one day a week with your mom doing something you both like to do.

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