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I am a professional who deals with caregivers often, I spoke with a lady last week who shared she wanted to drive her car into the river, but she was a Christian. Another recently shared she wanted to end it all but knew she had to care for her husband? I want to know if this is common or an isolated incident? I want to educate others and get more help in the areas needed and open up the discussion so people are not alone. Thanks

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Do you notice how you apoligize for simply being real, raw and truthful about where you are? This proves how important this topic is to bring out in the open out of the darkness. Caregiver you are not alone in your darkness, we cannot change the situation or walk away, however, we can be encouraged that we are not crazy, mean, wrong, you are affected by your cirmcustances in the most common feelings. It is I hope a relief to know your reactions are a normal part of a bad situation. It does not make you a bad person or mean you have ill will towards those we are caring for. Yet, you have become prisoner to the very love and care you want to give. I commend you all for your honesty and bravery. I would be a fool to think words could make it better, instead to know your not a lone in your struggles. This forum is valuable! Being real is being brave!
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to be honest I see no reason for a person to carry on once they have got to the final stages id rather my loved one could pass so as not to carry on for nothing no light at end of tunnel so sad david Cameron has said we must do more but lets just say its going to take along time as they cannot tell if you are suffering from dem/alz until the brain has been looked at after death sorry to sound awful xx
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I think there is big difference between "clinical depression" and depression but where i am now is im very unhappy i wouldnt say depressed just wish i had my life back and what makes me feel so bad is knowing that having my life back means mum has to die im sorry if that seems harsh but i cannot see any other option it would kill me to put her in a home it will kill me to stay here and look after her for the next ?? If we had a timeframe of knowing how long this will go on it may? be easier to handle? i am 48 i feel sick when i think mum may still be here and in worse state in 10yrs time? I want her suffering and mine to end but i do not want to lose my mum? its just heart wrenching. i look at her and think is she happy? is she suffering alot more than i think? does she ever think of wanting to end her life? "they say" patients dont suffer people around do? until this has been proven im battling with my head everyday if i had any notion proven that she was in excruciating "mental pain" i would end it for her myself? so you can imagine what stress and turmoil goes on in a carers mind it never stops until one day we have peace and even that takes along time to come after caring for someone with this illness. My friends sister was the main carer for her mum with ALS 6yrs later she still cant talk about her mum and the care she did its just too painful and now i know why.
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hope you can help someone with what you are learning here, this is reality, there is no harder job than to be a caretaker for someone with Alzheimer's Disease, and with the numbers growing every day and soon to be an epidemic, people like you will be greatly appreciated. People in the health field have no clue, they do not go to med school to study this disease that KILLS, why bother. And that my friend is so sad.
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To all who responded.....you are all helpful, that is it, I don't want to be the average health care professional who causes more harm then good. I have not been in your shoes and wouldnt dare to come close to knowing exactly how you feel however I believe I can still be effective. I tap into my own pain, and try to put myself in your shoes, this forum is raw and real-exactly what I wanted. I empathize greatly-I esp. appreciate the illustration of "painting yourself into a corner" and "a prison w/o bars." As for the horrific story of the man who took his wife and his own, I know that is rare, however what I sense is the feelings he had were not. That is what I am trying to tap into. True?
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Captain, thanks for the promotion! I've gone from "idiot" to "inane" so quickly! And to think, only a few months ago I was a "troll". LOL
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id agree with pam except responding to the hurting person with a bunch of inane questions . if i pour my heart out to someone im looking for advice not patronizing questions . i know this sounds hateful in print but its not meant to be . my va phsyc responds to me with 500 calm questions . not very helpful lady , ya sound like a freakin parrot ..
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if I had my druthers, I would still be here beside my husband. A few weeks ago I was really feeling down and out and wrote in my journal about the prison without bars, that's what most of of live in, it's a make it or break it deal, but I gave in ( the first and only time) and thought about throwing in the towel as I re- read my words, I snapped out if it in a few days but it was a very dark and lonely place to be.

about 25 years ago an older couple we had known for years took the drastic step, no one realized why at the time but the wife had Alzheimers ( in her early 80's and husband late 80's) he was fine mentally - he took her to their basement and shot her first then himself 2nd, it is horrible to even think about but can you imagine how much strength, mentally it would take for one spouse to take the life of a woman he loved, married to all his adult life and did not want to live without. It is very scary indeed. Sorry to drop this on you, but maybe it will help.. We need each other to stay alive & well if not us who will take care of them?
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One of the benefits of a site like AgingCare is that we have a place to vent and to discuss this too-common problem.
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Nothing to be proud of, I just did/do what is right for her and my actions were purely self preservation. In the end it's either them or us. We will have something akin to PTSD for life but, once as free as we can be, we can try to rebuild our lives.
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Thanks for your honesty Ashlynne, it is heartbreaking to read. I do feel it is more common of a problem than is talked about. I think we fight to do what is noble and in the process lose ourselves. I also believe their is guilt in something being about you, instead of the one who is sick. Everyones focus is on one the sick and educating others (family) how to respond yet, where is the help for the care giver? I do hope bringing light to the subject allows others to at the very least not feel alone in their struggles. We applaud mothers of young kids and marvel how they do it yet, care giving gets no reward and I feel it is ten times harder dealing with an adult. I have empathy for the overwhelmed,overworked and overlooked care giver. I am proud of you for making the tough descions.
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My darkest moments (suicidal thoughts) were when my beloved dog died and her attitude was "Oh well". He was all I had left :(
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I think the majority of stressed, burned out caregivers want it to end. I quit my career, sold my home, basically lost everything, and moved 200km to care for my totally narcissistic mother for four hellish years and frequently wished either she or I would die. I lived in her freezing gloomy basement and most evenings I would sit and cry and try to find a way to escape and from time to time I considered suicide.

With Parkinsons, dementia, many strokes and constant falls/injuries it was eventually evident she needed professional care and she went into a nursing home, but I'm still not really free. Her daily screaming tantrum phone calls, along with having to run to the NH to sort out chaos she was causing, made me ill. I changed my phone number, made it unlisted and told her I'd got rid of it. I've been careful never to give her my new address either as 20 years ago, before the dementia, she called the cops on me when I didn't answer the phone.

Basically I went into hiding so she can't get at me any more. I still manage all her affairs, pay her bills, run her errands, ensure she has all she needs and visit once a week (to listen to a tirade of complaints, accusations and miseries).

She has been the mother from h*ll my whole life and all I do and have done for her is purely duty but, in the end I had to take drastic action to save myself and my sanity. Last week one of the NH staff told me that had I not taken the action I did and gone into hiding I'd be dead now ... a sobering thought.
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Many caregivers are clinically depressed. Many people in the general population are clinically depressed. I would guess that it is more common among caregivers, but that is just a guess. I was treated for depression while caregiving.

Some people who are clinically depressed are suicidal. Whether that is more likely among caregivers than others I wouldn't even guess. I have never felt suicidal.

I think among caregivers there is a very strong commitment (out of love or obligation or guilt or who know?) to continue caregiving. I would expect the number of caregivers with suicidal thoughts who actually attempt suicide is lower than for the general population. Even if they are in despair about it, they see a reason to keep living. But that, again, is a guess.

People who are depressed deserve help. The stigma that still exists about the condition is a barrier to getting help. That is true for caregivers and for everyone else.
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Thanks Pam, loved your wisdom
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I have since revised my profile. I had not realized how important that information was to those responding. I am a Bereavement Coordinator who does Grief Counseling including Anticipatory Grieving that happens prior to the death. I am also a Chaplain as needed. I do have encouners with families when they are struggling with various dynamics that complicate care giving. I have been asked to put together a presentation for a care givers function on the subject of losing over a long period of time and the agony of what that entails. I am passionate about really reaching people and assisting them through such difficult cirmcumstances. I believe care giving is the hardest job there is. After a heart felt discussion with a widow and her despair over not having a way out of her responsibilities and wanting to end her own life it sparked an interest in me to find out how privilent the issue is. I want to bring the subject to the fore front if its common and give people permission to share about a difficult subject. I think the attention is all on the sick person and the care giver can be drowning. I appreciate your help and honesty. My intentions are purely for the well being of others and giving a voice to the care giver. In an effort to understand how common it is will then help me and those I work with provide the help early on for those who are may fall prey to it. My education has been primarily on grief aspects and religion. Thanks
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"your open ear absorbs the weight of their burden"

Pam, your words are poetic and lyrical.
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Very common in both the patient and the caregiver to be unable to see beyond the abyss of caregiving. You encourage them to take life one day at a time. Your mere presence is their lifeline, your open ear absorbs the weight of their burden. You responses are formed in questions to draw out the festering emotions. You can no more "save" them than you can save a drunk from booze. You just point them in the right direction, help them get up and move forward.
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First, your profile states that you are caring for someone with depression. You state you are a professional dealing with caregivers. Would you mind explaining your role in more detail? Are you a social worker, psychiatrist?

Second, I'm always a bit suspicious when broadly based, intensely personal questions are asked by someone for whom little background information is provided.

Third, what are your specific plans to "educate others", "get more help"? Through support groups, seminars, publications, on-line forums?

Fourth, your question is one based on narrow and drastic action - "despair" and "wanting it all to end". These are oviously the extreme measures if what you're referring to is suicide.

Fifth, Are you not dealing at all with the intermediate steps which can lead to these feelings, and how to address them so that an extremely dangerous emotional level is avoided?
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