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I've heard that there can be triggers when you start to feel depressed, I'm not sure what they are though. I feel alone in this journey, I have a sister who lives near by but is not proactive in moms care I'm the primary caregiver. My husband helps when he can, don't ask too much of him as he works & very tired when he comes home he has a physical job and I guess I feel it's my responsibility to take care of mom. It's been about 3 years since I've been taking care of mom & it's not getting any easier, it was much easier in the beginning. I quit my job to take care of mom and I don't have a life, I try to involve myself in volunteering but it doesn't fill the void. Sometimes I feel suicidal or I wish I wouldn't wake up...then I wouldn't have to go thru these feelings of depression and anxiety...life seems really tough for me and can't climb out of this feeling of unhappiness. I know I need help but I don't even have the motivation to get it that would mean one more thing for me to do...I know I'm the only one who can help myself, but how other than the obvious...I find myself drinking wine to escape...Anybody have similar issues & how are you coping???
Thanks
Fran

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I feel the same way, I am the only one caring for my mother and I do get depressed. Twice a month for 8-9 hrs I have visiting angels come in and I leave for the day to do something for myself. Also, I have a very good male friend that I talk with on the phone everyday several times, he is funny and keeps me going. My husband does'nt support me at all. Thank goodness for a good friend!
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So many wonderful, selfless caregivers here. So many hurting in the process. We need to care for ourselves first before we have anything to give to the loved ones we are caring for. One cannot refresh someone else by giving them drink from an empty glass! Problem is that many of us have drained ourselves so completely we do not know where to start making ourselves complete and worthwhile people again, hang in with one another, there's lot of help in this site.
Hey lefaucon - good to hear how upbeat you are. Done any biking yet?
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Dear fyarsly,
I am so sorry you are feeling this way. I too felt that exact way for about two years. For your depression and suicidal thoughts, I urge you deeply to see a psychiatrist and get medication. I am. If you feel that you have no motivation to do even that, pray to God to give you the motivation that you need. If you ask with all honesty and humbleness, He, the Lord will help you. The Lord knows you and your problem more than you know it. You quit your job to take care of your Mom, now that is so self-less and loving, please give yourself some credit. I too felt that way, didn't want to wake up in the morning, didn't even want to go to sleep at night, lost all my appetite, lost all interest in things that once gave me thrills, etc.....
Do you have the finances to hire in-home caregiving help maybe like 3x a week for 4-5 hours so that you can go out and do whatever makes you happy? Anything that gets you out of the house is perfect. You need to get away from Mom to keep yourself in good shape. If you do not take care of yourself physically and emotionally, you are no good to anyone if you crash and get sick, and sick you will get if you don't do something right now!!!!. I will be praying for you.
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The drugs are both very cheap too!
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I take 75 mg of doxepin per day. The first few days i was very drowsy and slept alot then that wore off and i felt like a normal person again. it's a very old drug,safe and non-addictive. 7 members of my family t
take doxepin. all for anxiety depression and panic attacks. you may need to block out some time for you to rework your meds. it's okay to baby the anxiety until the meds are adjusted. i also take 20 mg of citalopram because most panic patients also have some level of depression. screw the childhood issues...they are wasting your time and money. a physical illness cannot be cured with conversation. i'm so glad that i got to talk to you.
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To Fran and all you wonderful caregivers;

Please do take good care of yourselves as a priority!!!

Caregiving exacts a huge toll due to the daily emotional, mental, physical and financial stress involved. It literally drains your life away if are not careful! Stayed away from alcohol and meds, finding intense exercise a few times a week really alleviates both pent up physical plus emotional tension to maintain some balance.

Believe we as caregivers have to mitigate caring too much plus over extending ourselves beyond what is healthy. If we are "broken" then we cannot properly provide care to our loved one(s). Do make time for yourself, go out for a quiet meal, a stroll, a movie, the company of friends, a hobby, or anything as a break from caregiving duties. It is not selfish to do so, rather, it is a necessity!!! Doing so allows us to function better as caregivers.

If the toll of being a caregiver has led to depression, thoughts of suicide, alcohol or drug dependency, then please realize a caregiver simply cannot continue. It is not the lack of love or effort to continue providing care, but simply continuing to sacrifice your well being will not make your loved one better!

Perhaps I wrote this also to convince myself as well......Thank you all for sharing.

Take care and be well.
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Careful---Thank you for your kinds words and the info. I've not heard of doxepin. It got RID of your panic attacks??? Why in the world did my doctor not order that for me years ago?? Nothing works for mine. The Xanax is a controlled substance and costs me 20 dollars per month since now I take three a day when years before it was just 1 or 2 a day and the mg have increased now as well.
If it wasn't for the Xanax, I would not even be able to function at this low level I'm at. I don't have any health insurance so can't see a neuro-psych. I see my therapist once a week (for two years now) and I'm such a mess when I get there for my "visit" that we still haven't talked about ANY of my issues from childhood, teen, adult years. I told her one day that I felt I was not getting any better at all in the past 2 years and she said that I just have too many problems and we'll have to tackle them slowly and one at a time. I am highly sensitive and "thin skinned" as they say. Mom was just like this when she was in her 30 's and was taking 15 or so meds a day. She's 76 now and still takes 18 a day. I don't want to be like that but mom never had any panic attacks. She was just always extremely nervous and shaky all the time. However, she had no problem getting up on stage and singing, playing the guitar and piano, etc. I could NEVER do that. My doc who prescribes the meds said that I am probably getting worse instead of better. Hmmm..is that something he should say to me? Isn't he supposed to be prescribing me medication to actually HELP me? Yes, the anxiety is with me constantly...non-stop day and night. The panic attacks are daily and happen even if I am on the phone. I stay home and don't go out except to grocery store when I have to ....VERy early in am when nobody is there. Or, I go to see mom at the NH. That's it. My life has come down to this. I will ask my doc about the doxepin. I just can't see me ever getting rid of the anxiety but if it got rid of yours, maybe there is a chance for me. How I would LOVE to work again and be able to leave the house more often. It's a lonely world but I have my doggies. Thanks again for the info!
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Oh teachergear I'm so sorry to hear you are having a rough time. I have taken doxepin for over 20 years for my panic attacks and the med gave me my life back. I fought the agoraphobia before I got diagnosed and lost all kinds of weight because I couldn't eat. Once they got the attacks under control then my phobias lessened and lessened as time progressed. I found a specialist in Orlando, Florida by the name of Dr. Richard C.W. Hall. He took care of me for 9 years. An amazing physician. Anyway, he told me that our brains send a thousand more stress signals than the average person and that the medicine blocks these signals. They have actually lit up the attacks on ct scans. When we have an attack we associate what we were doing at the time with the attack and this is how we get phobias. I have to tell you though and I don't want to scare you, but Dr. Hall told me that Xanax is a highly addictive drug and should be pulled from the shelves. I'm concerned that you are taking it. There is also a book you should get. It is older, but has information in it that we haven't discovered here in the states about panic and phobias. It is called, "The Good News About Panic, Anxiety and Phobias" by Dr. Mark Gold. It isn't because your mother didn't love you enough. It is an illness just like epilepsy or diabetes. If you're not going to a neuro-psych then you need to. So good to talk to you and if I can help in any other way let me know. If you are still having anxiety then the meds aren't working. You should be able to venture out once the meds have the attacks under control. I haven't had an attack in at least 20 years.
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Hi Fran and caregivers,
Since taking care of my 89 year old mother who has Dementia and other illnesses, I feel as you do...Depressed and anxious. I cry constantly mainly because I miss the days when my father was alive and together he and mom were pillars of strength. Now I am the one who has to be the tower of strength and I feel just the opposite. I am unemployed and the sole caregiver to my mother as my brother and his wife are deep in denial. They never come to visit and rarely call to show support. I feel like I have already lost my identity and when I am not taking care of mom, I sleep and just feel so numb. I am a Christian and try to attend services, pray and read the Bible and this does help pull me up out of the pits of despair. I know I am not alone and there are many who are much worse off than me. Finances are low, so I have been hesitant to hire a CNA or other caregiver to help me and my mother does not like strangers in her home. Sometimes I feel as though I am literally going insane and wish I could just drift to Heaven and peace. My husband died in 1987 and I have been caregiving ever since I was laid off from my job about 5 years ago. Hope seems to be non-existent at times and I wonder if I will ever be able to pull myself out of this state of mind. I just don't have the energy I once had and find little pleasure in doing things I used to do. I have tried to attend a caregiver support group, but the needs were so different than mine. I know we are doing this for the Lord and he will more than bless us when the time comes. Meanwhile, you are not alone friend, and this group usually pinpoints my exact feelings every time I look at others' stories. Take good care of yourself and know that God is with you through these difficult circumstances.
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Careful---I thought I was the only one who was familiar with panic attacks!!! SO good to hear of someone else who knows about them. I had my first one in 1993 at age 35 when I started my first year of college. I couldn't even state my name and my major in class that day. As it got closer to me..to where I had to state my name and major, it started.......about two people before they got to me, I got up and ran out..went to bathroom and had the full blown attack which lasted 40 minutes. It is horrible living like this. I had to go to the doc back then and was put on Xanax which got me through college. Then, they started again in 2003 after I'd been teaching for 6 years and they have not stopped since then. Now, it is PTSD, Panic Disorder w/ Agoraphobia and Bipolar II. I never dreamed I would have all of that!!! Paxil worked for 9 years then stopped working a few weeks ago. New med now is Prestiq. So far, it is helping as I'm not having the suicidal thoughts as much and not nearly as much crying. I just can't do anything...including taking care of myself. This is what happens if we IGNORE our feelings. We must FIGHT...find the courage way down deep inside and FIGHT for our lives. The Prestiq is FREE and the xanax never will be as I take three each day...just waiting and praying that I get a favorable determination from SS disability which I just applied for about 2 months ago. I'd give anything to be NORMAL and be able to work as I always did. Don't let yourselves get like me. It's a lonely place to be. My dogs are what keeps me here and going every day. God Bless you all for giving all that you have every day!!
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it's a cheap four dollar drug too! an added bonus if it works for you.
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Like you I got depressed while taking care of my mom and dad. I was already on a medication for anxiety for over 20 years due to panic attacks which started in my late teens. It's definitely a brain chemistry issue and you would be surprised how quickly the medicine works. I started getting what I call "impending doom" feelings shortly after my dad died. my sister suggested I talk to the doctor about taking what her family and my cousin were taking. right away the super dark feelings went away and i haven't had any bad side-effects. don't ignore the depression because it is sooooo serious and it's not necessary for you to suffer needlessly trying to cope with it without meds. i take 20 mg of citalopram every morning at breakfast. no biggee. my doctor says people who have these types of illnesses are really smart....so be a smarty pants like me and get to the doc. :) let us know what you find out.
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Hello Fran, I have been working with my daughter for 6years now. At first learning what needed to be done for her was a great learning exprience. My mind was so focused on taking care of her the best that I could, having never done anything like this before, living at the city hospital with her for months doing what I saw and hoping that I would remember it all. Really in denial thinking that I would never really need to put these specific skills to use once she came home.. dellussional that she would somehow, like in the movies, just get up out of bed and continue life at was!! Over the last 6 years I have been through every emotion, just like all the others on this posting, euphoric that she was still alive, terrified that I would not be able to do what she needed 24/7, angry her husband could and would turn his back on my daughter and putting the knife in even deeper by his taking her and our family to court divorcing (having an illigitamate child and moving the other woman into the home that my daughter decorated and where my grandaughter is living) but yet maintainng his innocence of abandoning my daughter while she was in acute care at a hosp. The ups and downs of every and any emotion that is comprihensable to the human brain. I too quit a job that I had struggled to achieve. My daughter is certainly worth anything that I can do to make her life as good as possible. She has short term mem loss, she sees her daughter via court order several times a week, she has brain injury that "faulsly allows her brain to remember how to do physical things from walking, eating,running,having sex,being a mom and anything that we do as adult people... but when she goes to do any activity her brain shuts down the "activity function" and with that she can not even roll over... nothing... but she sure can discribe how it is all supose to work!!! It is very frustrating for her... hell for me to. The depression came in several years ago. Dealing with it was and is a contant struggle. Asking God to give me strength one more min, second that He only knows why all of this is happening and that as long as He continues to give me the power,strength,tollerance and patience to do what He has obviously put into our lives I will continue. Suicide or not wishing to wake up is always in a little corner of my mind... knowing I would never give up my place in heavin because I didn't have the faith to know that God as always and will always give me what I need when I need it and that the love that I have for my children I could not give that up. The depression had absolutely consumed me about 3 months ago... and what I realized was that the depression was about me... It was definately a "GRIEVING" over loss... loss of the life that my daughter was heading towards (her house,child and career) all lost.. oh the pain and sadness I feel for her loss. The loss of my dreams and hopes of the life my husband of 32 years was to be having... travel,enjoying our grandchild,a bank account and the future of a great retirement.. all dashed to pieces on one fateful day. The total loss of ME... who am I now.. where do I fit in, what is my life good for now? The day after day of the diapers, changing an adult and all that goes into total care. The stress of depression I could tell was killing me. My relationship of my family and friends being strained because I was so vial and irrate. DRUGS.... I am now on RX drugs and though it has a few side affects they are nothing compared to how I treat my disabled daughter and how I am with everyone around me. I am much calmer (panic disorder and anxiety attacks 100% of my life was just to distructive). The making time for myself has come easier now. As long as I know that my daughter is not in any kind of danger where she is at in my house, I can do some laundry, tune her out for 15 min and play solitair or sudoku or shower. I have noticed too that since I have been on meds and have lost the anxiety and impatience, she has become more calm and accepts my need to go housework or something for me for just a little while. I totally belive that grief is hard to accept that loss of heart,mind and spirit is just as bad as litteraly loosing someone by death. Please hang in there. We all have to do what is best for our situation. If something happens to you or any of us caregivers (be it emotional or physical) what would happen to the person we are caring for. In my situation it would be devistating to my daughter... her life would be over too. Love in Christ and prayer for mercy and peace.
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fyarsley--I'm not much on alcohol (don't like the taste of it) although my sister has chosen that path for MANY years..her's is the hard stuff tho, not wine. And, SHE has nothing to do with mom whatsoever...has NEVER taken care of her, visited her, sent her a card on birthday...NOTHING. I've been taking care of mom as I mentioned for over 25 years, the last 6-7 since doc said she can't live alone anymore has been constant. As I mentioned in this or another thread, I didn't realize how bad my own mental health issues were and even tho mom was VERy abusive to me as a child (and sister), I forgave her years ago..doesn't mean I'll ever forget it. But, I forgave her and have been the ONLY sibling to care for her. Two years ago, while still teaching, I broke down in the classroom. The students were SO hateful and bullied me..ganging up on me and telling me if I didn't give them a better grade, they would tell Principal lies about me and he would believe THEM over me. I refused to be blackmailed! These 9th graders could barely write a complete sentence and I had just started teaching them ...three months into it, I couldn't take it any longer and told my Principal that I wanted to go to sleep and never wake up. That's the day I went to doc and they sent me for psych eval. PTSD, Panic Disorder and Bipolar II. I was bullied and abused by mom, sister and her friends from 2nd grade on. Then, it was husbands trying to kill me (three of them), then boyfriends whom I had had 5 year realtionships with. NEVER had ONE good relationship with male OR female. I was SICk and TIRED of it and caring for mom on top of all MY issues I had never dealt with. AFter that psych eval in 2010, I finally got help but it is still an uphill battle every single day. I stay home and do not go anywhere but to see mom at NH and grocery store...sleep on couch (for 20 years now) where I can see both front and back doors..and sleep with my loaded gun. Nobody will EVER break into my house again when I'm asleep!!! I had lost all faith in humanity many, many years ago. The medication change a few weeks ago from my doctor has given me new hope. It is Prestiq and of course the Xanax I've been taking for over 16 years. If not for the med change to Prestiq, I can say with 99% certainty that I would not be here today. Please, FIND the motivation to get HELP as I did. If I can do it, ANYBODY can. It WILL help. I took quit my job several years ago to care for mom full-time in my house. It only got worse each day and after 4-5 months of constant negativity and complaining from her, her trying to hit me, etc. I would find a NH to put her in. Then, after some time, I'd see how they were neglecting her and felt sorry for her again and would move her back in with me. This has been going on for 6-7 years. I just finally accepted the fact that I cannot care for her at my home ANYMORE....ever. Period. Tried and tried and is always the same outcome. I had to admit that even tho she is soaking wet with urine down to her socks and shoes when I go visit ...I just clean her up and tell the nurse AGAIN, visit with her for a little while and GO HOME to my peace. An abused child should not even try to care for an abusive parent who NEVER changes. Just think about what I said..it has saved me at least for now. BIG HUGS!
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The most wonderful thing about this website, is that we find that in our isolation, we are really not alone. We are doing what we have to do, because we believe in our hearts that it is right. My heart goes out to each and every one of you, because I am there, too...in fact, I'm 8 years into it. The one day a week that I used to have off, is no longer a reality. My dear aunt, who used to spend one day a week with my mother, is now in a nursing home rehab unit, trying to recover from a debilitating stroke. I don't think she'll ever recover to the extent that my mother has. My mother is a good person...but, I don't believe that she really has any comprehension of all that I have given up. As other's have said....they have lost their friends...so have I. When one has to give so much of one's self to a parent, there is nothing left to nurture the friendships. At the end of the day the fatigue is so overwhelming, that even a phone call seems a burden. So, the computer, and this wonderful website, becomes like a lifeline. I've taken to writing my feelings down, in order to cope. I've posted this once before and I had a really nice note from one woman who told me she was going to print up copies and give to her family members...so that they could understand the feelings that us, the caregivers, actually have....let's just call it...Caregiver's Lament! My original title was Control Issues.

I'd like to set aside a minute,
To see if there is pleasure in it...
To take a cleansing breath so deep,
That I'll forget my lack of sleep.

I'd like to set aside an hour,
To prune a shrub, to plant a flower...
To find a hidden shady nook,
Where I could sit and read a book.

I'd like to set aside a day,
To give myself some time to play...
To take a stroll around the park,
To linger out way after dark...

I'd like to set aside some time,
To paint a picture, pen a rhyme...
Regain a bit of sweet control,
To do those things that soothe my soul.
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I've found it helps to have a healthy pride in what you're doing. (note - you have to focus on it)

Not everyone thinks I'm doing the right thing as a caregiver, that I ought to put Mom in a home, get a job and a life. And that I should be ashamed of myself for being a "mama's boy" by allowing Mom to manipulate me into this corner.

They don't know the details of what's going on and it's none of their business.

A good movie to watch and study is Twelve O'clock High with Gregory Peck.
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I suppressed my anxiety for many, many years. It finally came out in the form of PTSD and Panic Disorder. Don't suppress those feelings. Therapy helps. I've learned this the past two years. I actually look forward to going to therapy and am not ashamed anymore that I have to go (drs orders). I was on the verge of having a nervous breakdown (like mom.she had many) when my family doctor sent me for a psych eval. I was shocked....PSYCH eval??? ME????
That was two years ago. Mental health is AS important if not more important than physical health.
I like the way you think, JessieBelle. My mom is like a robot that cannot do ANYthing without being told and not just once but 5-6 times. If she has to go to the bathroom, I take her to the room. She stands there looking at me. I tell her,..mom, you had to go pee. She still looks at me waiting for me to tell her to "pull your pants down so you can sit on stool". She will BEGIN to then stop and look at me again as she's already forgotton what she was supposed to do. This goes on and on and on and on and on...you get the picture. It is the same with anything..not just bathroom.
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fyarsley, your message came up just as I was wondering some things. I have been feeling downcast and unmotivated lately. I have been taking care of my mother, and she is getting worse and harder to deal with emotionally. I can no longer connect with her mentally. It feels like I'm living with a zombie who needs my instruction a lot now.

When I was outside a while ago, I had a feeling of fear grip my chest. I think it was completely natural to be afraid, but I was uncomfortable with the feeling and pushed it under. I wonder how often we suppress our fear and anxiety because they are uncomfortable and hard to work around. Depression is easier to deal with on the short-term level.

And I wonder if we allow ourselves to feel our fears in some way, would it keep depression at bay? And how could we allow our fears and still function?
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I fully understand Fran. Everything you just mentioned I have and continue to go through, including the wine.

I sometimes wonder why people believe another person is suppose to sacrafice themselves to the point of their own health for someone else minus their minor child?

You MUST get into a support group NOW!
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I recently went through a major meltdown (last week) and finally accepted that I am not going to "do it alone" any longer. I reached out to my employee services where I work as well as "a place for mom" who is helping me with assisted living for my mother. Mom has always, and still says "I don't ever want to go to a Nursing Home". I promised her that I wouldn't, but am about to break that promise to keep my own sanity intact. People are out there who can help and I kept pushing them away in order to keep that "promise" to mom. Now I have accepted that I can no longer carry this responsibility alone and have started talking to people, agencies and joining in on discussions like this. It helps, but does not take away the guilt I sometimes feel.
I too became suicidal, but I personally feel that it is a very selfish act and woke up to the realization that I am not a selfish person who wants to complicate the lives of those I love in order to free myself of a BIG issue that will in all likelihood pass...given enough time. The torment and pain that I felt gradually passed once I realized that I was not able to handle this alone and took that first step in asking for help. I still cry from time to time...I'm human, but now that I know there are others out there who want to help, the weight has started to lift.
I have now taken the bull by the horns and TOLD my brother "I need your help and here is what we are going to do...come with me to tour facilities and lets decide together which one will be best for mom". He doesn't seem excited about it, but I don't care, am not an only child and refuse to carry this responsibility alone any longer. My mother is his mother too. So as in life we shared her as a mother, we now can share in caring for her as she cared for us when WE were in need of care at the beginning of our lives.
I expect some resistance on the part of my mother once she is placed. I know I will feel guilt, cry, get depressed again BUT this time I will not consider suicide as a way out and I will know in my heart that I have done the right thing, with the help of my brother and all of the help that is out there...all I had to do is stop being so stubborn (like mom) realize that people are out there who want to help and then let them.
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lightedpumken, how do you get paid to care for your mother? This is something I've seen lots of people asking about. Maybe you could help others with this. I was at the end of my rope just a few weeks ago..filed for SSI due to PTSD and Panic Disorder, Raynaud's, degenerative disc disease and more....all at age 54. Unemployment ran out and NO money to pay rent, utilties, etc. I prayed HARD to God for help and just when I thought he wasn't hearing them, he sent me an Angel out of the blue! I'm SO THANKFUL. She is from a Faith based organization not even close to the county I live in and has helped me with THREE month's rent and three months of electricity. I should know from SS within 11 weeks as to whether or not I get my SSI. Just a few weeks ago, I was trying to find a used tent on Craigslist to live in and was just going to go pitch it somewhere in the woods and hope I didn't get caught or thrown out. NOW...my faith as been restored. Also, I was suicidal and didn't realize that my meds (Paxil for 9 years) had stopped working. Fortunately, my doctor realized it and put me on new meds ..seratonin and dopamine for the brain. Abuse has taken its toll on me. But do NOT GIVE UP. GOD is listening even though you may not think so. I will pray for you and the others on here who are at their lowest point. Faith-----KEEP the faith always!!!! HUGS.
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I feel your pain. I am on anti-depresants quit drinking a year ago relapsed when I moved in to care for mom after a year but am taking meds now so drinking is not an option. I think everyone is giveing great advice and we all know what we are feeling but we have to be very careful not to let it get the best of us. I have had four trips to the er this year due to stress anxiety and not being able to control my breathing. I too have a hole in my heart found that out on one of the trips. But as we all know takeing care of us is last. I'm so thankful for this site to vent and read the stories. I read these stories as if I had wrote them myself. We have a tough job and no one will ever understand what we are going through. I am also doing counseling and it's helping. I like the idea of having someone come in and help but I'm so afraid of mean caregivers that the guilt scares me. I thought raiseing my daughter was gonna be the toughest job ever but that was a piece of cake. Please get help even if you don't feel like it. I promise anything is better than the thoughts we have of not wanting to be here. They need us and we have to help however we can. My mom was mean growing up and is still mean to this day. I get called all kinds of names cussed at ect. I just walk away and try to remember this is not my mom. Sad but please take care of you. Your doing the right thing. Just make minutes for you as you can and sleep eat and breathe. Take care :)
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Yes I feel the same way. I just had to read your story when I got it in my email about your topic. Because I didn't want to feel all alone ether. I read what you written and I'm crying cause I feel like there' s no way out. I love my Mother and its been more like 6 yrs I been doing this and I feel like to give up lay down n die. I have gotten payed for the past year now but never did before I didn't want the help or the truble even to try. But I had to I am single I lost my job I have nothing I lost all my friends I don't have a life my sister says it's my fault She wont help me ether. If so very little. But I just can't find a nice place to put her in I don't really want to do that but I know she needs the right care and she wont listen to me makes it so bad so hard for me. I know If i put her in a place even if i do find a nice one they will stop all my income and I will have Nothing I would be in the street and I'm scared. Yes I feel the way you do and I do drink a lot to escape. I am lost and feel all alone and don't know what to do....but I know I must more on I have been doing this way to long as you say and all I can do is go into a homeless shelter and give up.
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Fran - as all are saying, this is really typical when caring for an aging parent, especially when you are the primary caregiver. I both work in senior living and have a frail 89-year-old mother that I spend all my free time with. It's been over 10 years of caring for her and I will tell you to watch out because this type of chronic stress seems to get harder to deal with over time, not easier. As others have said, you must try to find some other caregivers to spell you. If there are not any extra funds for this, see if you have a local RSVP program (Retired Senior Volunteers) as they often have volunteer (aka free) caregivers who could at least come spend a few hours with your mom (they don't do personal care like toileting, etc) to give you a break. Also, some churches have people who will volunteer time this way. You don't always have to get a caregiver through an agency (though they are licensed, bonded, insured, etc) and there are many nice people out there who do this type of work free-lance. Oh, and I am a big fan of wine! And exercise. Basically, trite as it sounds, you have to take care of yourself. The good news is that in taking care of your mom now, you will have no regrets in the future. Sending you good thoughts, CCM
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Depression can be caused by so many things, and undue stress is certainly a big factor. I struggle with anxiety and depression, and am Mom's primary caregiver. Though she does not live with me, I travel 3 hrs to see her 2x/week. Combined with all the other events of life (family, work, etc.) there is no time left for me, so I do understand where you are coming from. sometimes just a small treat for yourself can go a long way. I treat myself to a monthly massage, I use an ipod with very soothing music, I try to walk, even if it is 10 minutes on the treadmill. Positive affirmations can help, too; caregiving often leaves you feeling inadequate, so a bit of positive self-talk is needed. Call on your loved ones for a break now and then, even your sister. she may surprise you... All the best!
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I've been suicidal in my life and it didn't/doesn't matter the circumstances that trigger it. There's only been one thing that solved my problem....when I finally got faith in Jesus. I was in therapy and had people/specialists telling me (including a priest) to take anti-depressants...but I always felt I could solve it organically and I have - spiritually. Noone can take it away from me. I currently am the only caregiver for my mother, homebound with polio for 5 years now...during this terrible recession and I have to support myself and get no help whatsoever and she only lives on Social Security. I lost my fiancee to a brain tumor 5 years ago - i was his caregiver for 2 years. I love my brother many years ago to drug addiction. I am telling you these things so will know the severity of what I've been through and how I've overcome the darkness through Jesus Christ. A good place to start is with Joyce Meyer's books - if you carefully read them - her first bestseller "The Battlefield of the Mind" will introduce to the spiritual aspect of what happens and why you think the way you do. God bless you and good luck.
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Talk to your doctor. Ask for a referral to a therapist. Seek out a caregiver support group. You are not alone, even though you may feel alone. Depression is treatable but you cannot treat it yourself any more than you could treat your own brain tumor.
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I am sorry to hear of the way you feel. I hope you will find a way to cope with the feelings that's causing your depression. I have been taking care of my mom 24 hrs for the past 10 years. Even though we didn't live together(close proximity) I felt she was on my mind 24 hrs. She's been in NH since march 2012. What keeps me clear minded was attending bible study, church services. kept me away from bad thoughts. Itsnot just taking care of her that stresses me out, it's when she lies to a family member. Mom has early stages of dementia, and yes that may be what to expect. But when other family members are told lies about me that's more depressing. I am an emotional eater. I try to please and i get the worst possible comments from family members. I know that the lord is watching me, he's who I will answer to. God bless you!
Equinox
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my therapist recommended the book "Feeling Good... The New Mood Therapy" by David D. Burns. it is helping me resolve all the thoughts in my head. i recommend you read this and see if it helps.
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Hi Fran; It's great that we can share our stories and family life together and hear other responses and advice. I also am caregiver to my 84 year old mother who is abusive, reclusive, and relies on me for everything, I think including her happiness. She moved in with me six years ago after my father passed away - I bought the family home, and as my mother was enabled for all her life and my father did everything, and for her, she called me two months after his passing and said that she didn't think she could afford to be on her own. So, being the good daughter, I told her to come and live with me. Big mistake as it has taken such a toll on my health and life. She had cancer a couple years ago and I took her to her radiation appts., may doc appts etc. I too have been quite depressed, suicidal thoughts at times, anxious, can't sleep, low self esteem, no self confidence. I lost my job a few months ago also which didn't help matters. The worst part of it all is it's a thankless job, exhausting, and she doesn't have anything nice to say - every word out of her mouth is spoken with bitterness, and she is abusive. I know this part of her aging and she has always had mental health issues through her life. The good daughters that we are cannot turn our backs and walk away. I would not want someone to do that to me either. But, it would be so much better if they showed that they are grateful, and try to be nicer. It's amazing how nice and pleasant she is with everyone else but me, so it must be difficult for alot of these people to really understand what I am dealing with. The one thing that is helping me these days is exercise and yoga - I take an antidepressant daily that I've been on for years (wellbutrin), and I have alprazolam for anxiety which I take as needed. There are times when I take seroquil for sleeping but don't like to often, but let;'s face it if you don't sleep then you don't function. We can't change them, we can only change ourselves, so we need to find ways to cope. I try not to discuss much or talk much with her at all, she does not socialize as she stays in the house every day, not even to sit on the porch, and gets her hair done at the hairdresser once a week if she wants. Since she has embaressed me in public at a restaurant by calling me a slut (not once but twice), I refuse to take her in public unless I absolutely have to. They don't care how much we are sacrificing our lives, in fact, they could care less as they don't see it like that, what we are doing is 'expected'. Just do what you can, and ignore the rest. We are not superhuman, we too have feelings. They become old and miserable, but don't let them bring you down. We deserve to have our life, as they have already had their chance to live their life. I wish I had stayed in my townhome that was almost paid for, but we all make our choices in life. She will never agree to go to a nursing home, so I'm stuck. Do somethiing to make yourself happy - life goes by too fast and we don't want to end up like them. God bless
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