I am a caregiver going through mixed emotions. How do I deal with all of this and where do I start?

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I have been a caregiver for my wife for 5 years. She was diagnosed with scleroderma. I love my wife and I am glad that I can take care of her and love her. I am tired and losing energy. I try to stay as busy as possible so I don't have to think about what if. I never knew you could grieve for someone that is still alive. My wife is pain 24/7. I feel so bad for her. I feel helpless and it brakes my heart. I use to have so much energy and now I am tired. I never thought I would say that I am depressed but I am. I fear that I will find my wife dead. If I can not deal with it now how am I ever going to deal with it when she is gone. I am physically, mentally, emotionlly exausted. My health is being affected. Everytime I go to church, I just cry. I have never felt so many different types of emotions. How do I deal with all of this and where do I start?

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Top Answer
IS4031 You have already started by asking for help. Many will tell you this is a wonderful, caring and supportive group. First let me say, I am so sorry your wife is so ill. Second, I want to tell you how honored I am to hear about a man so dedicated to his wife.It must be agonizing to watch and not be able to do much to alleviate her pain. Next, you also have to take care of yourself. If you recognize you are depressed( which is very common for caregivers) go to the Dr. and get started on medication. Grief is exhausting, along with your other duties and hence the "tired" feeling. We can not think straight, do our responsibilities, and cope with day to day things if we are depressed. Medication will not change your situation, but it will help you to cope better. It is ok to cry, and yes it is possible to grieve someone still with us. You are also grieving your life together. You will be in my prayers and please continue to post and let us know how things are going. Many will reply to you and give you support during your difficult , and at times, impossible situation. Their are grief counselors also, try contacting one or a group in your area. The load is not so heavy when shared. Keep us informed.
God Bless.
IS4031, welcome to this group. I feel for you and the pain, Taking care of yourself must be first, please don;t ignore the feelings inside. keep posting, others are listening.
I just read about you and your wife. Obviously you are doing everything you can do for your dearest. Fatigue is expected..that is part of what makes you human. Scleraderma is a viscious disease and it has no mercy. I, too, am a caregiver for my 34 year old daughter who was diagnosed with cancer in October. Be kind to yourself..I agree with the other writer...get some meds and get some counseling. Counseling is sometimes misunderstood. You are not only grieving the loss of your wife's health, but also the loss of the future happiness together. Watching suffering is a nightmare. A therapist (counselor) doesn't "fix" you. What they do is show you the tools you already have, but don't know, and how to benefit from them. You take care of yourself, and you are taking care of your wife. Namaste
I am so sorry you are going through this right now. My husband had a serious heart attack four years ago, and now has been put on the transplant list. I have the same fear as you...finding him passed away in his sleep. We have only been married ten years, and he is the love of my life. I also care for my mom, who is recovering from a mild stroke. I own a small business that I just opened last year. Between these three things, and a family that doesn't do a lot to help, it can get overwhelming. Please don't feel as if you are alone. Even though I don't know you, I am sending you my love and my prayers. I am not overly religious, but I do believe there is a higher power that leads us in the way we should go. I have put all my difficulties in the hands of this power, and it has helped. You can't do anything to change what is happening to your beautiful wife any more than I can help what has happened to my husband and my mom. You can just love her while she is here, and believe that the universe will look after you both. Please take care of yourself. You are a person that needs rest, love and care as well as a person who is physically ill. Please know that I care, and I will continue to think of you.
IS4031, you are not alone and yes we who are walking the same paths but under different circumstances, understand and most know of your suffering. It's like watching a loved one die a slow and agonizing death and changing before our very own eyes and we caregivers feel so very helpless and ache and grieve for the one we care so much about.

We do understand your stress and weakness through this transition and I, like many others, offer you the power of uplifting prayers for strength, peace of mind and spirit as well as HEALTH for yourself.

This community can be a wonderful tool for you to keep expressing your anxiety and fears during this time as well as your own church in which to release your emotions, which is a very good thing at times.

Keep coming back here whenever you are in need. It truly does help to not feel so alone. We are listening.
Blessings to you and may you find peace with every step you take.
Thank you for all your comments. Finally I have found a place where people really know how I feel. I read other comments posted and I am like "Wow, I can really relate and they understand". Thank you for thoughts, advice, and prayers.
My father cared for my mother the same loving way; she has alzheimer's. He passed 4 yrs ago. I now (the only child with no spouse or children) took over caring for her. She cries constantly throughout the day for no reason. It is not easy and I feel you. Please hang in there and I will pray for you and please pray for me. I can't attend church any longer because its hard to get my mom out. Church services give you strenght and courage to go on a few more days.
IS4031, your feelings are perfectly normal because you love your wife and have been faced with a serious, life-altering event. There are no words to describe the pain, the feelings of isolation and the fears of "what-if." This may not make any sense, but if you allow yourself to go through the range of emotions, with time, it is possible to arrive at a place of greater peace and acceptance, if only because continuously try to reconcile our pain with the reality of what we face in our individual caregiving journeys. When you are exhausted, be sure to slow down and rest; when you are feeling most vulnerable, remember that you are not alone in your feelings. May God bless you and your wife.
I hear your call for help in what you are saying. I speak from having gone to the brink of a breakdown from spending all my time on caring for my special loved one. I woke up one day and realized if I did not do something for myself, I would be unable to cope and both of us would be helpless.
What comes to mind is what the flight attendant on an airline says when demonstrating the drop down oxygen masks in case of emergency:
"First put your mask on so you can breath. Only then put on the masks of your companion."
Perhaps it is time to "put your mask on" and find a way to get rest or help. It isn't easy putting your needs first, but think of what the airline stewardess says and put on your "oxygen" first so then you will be able to deal with your beloved's situation.
My heart reaches out to you in your hour of need.
I am a new Caregiver 2-1/2 months. My mother who now lives with me has mid stage Alzheimer's and Chronic pain. She needs more than I can give her while working full time. She is going to fight hard when I tell her she needs in-home care. How do I approach her?

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