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
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?
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.
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.
Pam, your words are poetic and lyrical.
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?