I have lost ten years of my life as a carer to my mum. I now will definitly at 49 not be having a wife and children. I have my own medical problems to look forwards to. I have no friends, no family that care. Will have to bear the guilt of putting mum in a home sooner or later. I am severly depressed have severe anxiety. I will be the only one at my mum's funeral. I have nothing to look forwards to in life.
DO not keep feeding this dark dog of depression, I know it's hard, been there done that. One minute at a time find something to make you feel like you matter, one foot, one breathe at a time, until you can do two, then three, then an hour, a day, a week, if you muck up, oh well, get back up and start back in. When we are subjected to depressed people 24/7 365×10 years it is bound to affect us adversely, so starting today you be the leader of the atmosphere in the home, you can do it, consider it the greatest gift you'll ever give your mum, even greater then the 10 years of caregiving. Light, laughter and love. It will make your burden lighter and the Bible says "laughter doeth good like medicine" So I bet you both feel better. Don't be afraid to be silly, watch funny movies, learn jokes everyday to surprise mum with, get a kitten to foster, lots of laughter in them or a puppy. Anything!
Time to grab those boot straps and say open for business.
You can do it, every person on this site has found or is actively finding their way through the trial of caregiving. Come share your wins with us or a good joke. We are all rooting for your success.
You still have lots to look forward to, and it's not too late to get married and have kids. You have had the character to stick with your mom through this--think what a solid husband and father you will be. Good husbands are hard to find and in demand though you can't see it right now.
You're quite rightly depressed and exhausted. It's hard to think clearly in that state.
Please take time for yourself. Walking or sitting outside, watching the birds, squirrels, sky and clouds, will help to give you some perspective. Read, exercise or do whatever makes you feel better and keep doing those things every day.
Remember, nothing lasts forever. Someday this will be in your past.
Me, I'm going to travel....with my now 6-month old cat, Bruce, whom I've been harness training since he was 8 weeks old, just so I can travel with him. I'm going to work on my music and songwriting - I'm still an average guitar player, and I've barely begun to learn the keyboard. I'm going to finally learn how to paint with acrylics. There is a Makerspace in town, with a brand new pottery wheel and kiln, and I'd like to get involved with that, too. Having something to look forward to is entirely in your hands. You must have things you've always wanted to do. Why give up on them now? 49 is young!
I will never marry, because I never wanted to marry. But I'm certainly not giving up on romance! My father was 54 when he met my beautiful stepmother - the love of his life. And he was the love of her life - she wrote beautiful poetry about him, and never re-married after he was gone. One of my best girlfriends is 64 - she met the love of her life (who is my age, and a truly wonderful man) 7 years ago. He is a musician who takes her everywhere with him, and has even written several songs about her.
Since you're a man (forgive me if I assume wrongly), your chances of having a spouse and children are FAR greater than mine - not only because you still have the biological ability, but you also have the statistics on your side. May I point to George Clooney as the most famous example of an over-50 first time father? Ok, he's rich and handsome, but come on. There are millions of guys who start their families, or begin 2nd families, once they're over 50. So it has been since the beginning of civilization!
The best way to make friends when you're our age is to take up a new hobby, and that's from personal experience. Almost all of my closest friends now are people I met AFTER I turned 38 and took up the guitar. I still meet new potential friends all the time, just through my music alone. Hobbies are also an excellent way to meet potential partners.
(By the way, I also suffer from major anxiety. When pharmaceuticals and therapy didn't work, I tried CBD oil. It has done amazing things for me, and I'm not the only one. I suggest Googling it. If that's not your thing, definitely talk to your doctor about your depression and anxiety. There are all kinds of options available to you.)
I just learned my mom probably has less than 6 months, so I'm hoping not to have to put her in a home. I suspect her next and last move will be to the hospice house, if I can't manage hospice care at home. But if she did not have such a short time left....well frankly, I don't think I could keep doing this much longer. Since you've admitted you'll have to put your mom in a home sooner or later, why not make it sooner? Why keep yourself in such a hopeless state when there is so much to hope for?
Also, if there is no one to attend a funeral....don't have one! After my father died, my stepmom, brother, and I went down to the river and played Elvis's "Peace in the Valley" (his favourite) on a boom box, while my stepmom waded out and released his ashes into the water. It was more beautiful and appropriate for him than any kind of funeral would have been.
I know it's hard to see past the way you're feeling right now. But it doesn't have to be this way. You just have to start taking the steps forward.
I disagree with the comment to avoid online dating sites. I know quite a few people who are in happy relationships, including marriages, with children, after meeting their mate online. It is especially useful for those who do not have a large circle of friends and acquaintances to draw from.
I have a friend who goes to work, home and shopping, she is not out in the community where she will meet anyone, but she is interested in finding someone. How else is she going to meet a fellow?
Me, when I start looking, I will renew an online profile, but I also am surrounded by people. Most my classmates (I went back to university) have parents my age, my profs are my age, the people at the organizations I volunteer at are my age. I chat with strangers all the time.
When in the depths of despair and depression, the future looks bleak, but with medication, therapy, exercise and sunshine, basically self care, you will see so much potential ahead of you.
Zephyrblue, imagine if you did have a wife and children. There would be an added set of emotions, and your family would feel abandoned unless they were willing to work along side you taking care of your Mom. But in many cases, that is too overwhelming for the spouse, especially when there are children and another house to maintain.
Even at 49 you can still get married, or are you thinking that you will still be a hands-on caregiver until you are 60 or older? There is no expiration date on finding a mate. You never know who you will meet the next day, next week, or next month. The new spouse could have already had her children and now you can enjoy the grand-children.
At 49, you speak as if your life is over. It's not. Fourteen years ago at the age of 49 I left an abusive relationship and started over. It can be done. The last 14 years of my life have been my happiest: life for me began at 49!
You've got some good advice here. Address the depression. Find alternative care for your mom. You've more than done your part. If it wasn't rude, I'd type in capital letters: No Guilt!!!!!
When my husband needs me to help him with something, I jokingly tell him: 'What would you do if I wasn't here?' He would jokingly respond: 'Oh boy! What wouldn't I do?' Haha. I love him.
ZephyrBlue, my husband is your age. He is right, not in his case, but in your case. What wouldn't you do? So many things to choose from. One word of caution, be careful when you date. Don't look for dates online, there are too many scammers out there ready to lighten your wallet.
But first, see a therapist to help fix your depression problem. Once you're ready, life will be waiting for you.
I hope my little pep talk works, or at least lifts your mood a little. ;D
However, Jeanne, I will cheerfully challenge one of your statements, i.e., that it's too late to take up ballet. After a random article in one of the magazines found in grocery store cart storage areas, I found a woman who teaches ballet ONLY to older adults.
Being a life long ballet lover, I was ECSTATIC! As I recall, one of her students was in her 70's - so there's hope for me! I don't ever expect to do 180 degree extensions and probably not pointe work, but for me, it's the beauty, the grace, the appreciation of the artistry of the discipline and music. It's absorbing oneself in a beautiful art, succumbing totally to the transcendence that occurs in the beauty of blending music and dance.
That lifelong love also created other similarly related post-caregiving plans. I did some research after my sister died, when I needed strongly to rethink positively, and found a dance company specializing in post Renaissance French formal dancing.
Zephyr, I'm going to suggest something that may sound trite, but I've been through it and found it extremely helpful. For each of the "I can't" issues, then of how you can, as Jeanne as suggested.
1. Lost life: I've been caring off and on for my family since 1999 when my mother and sister both were diagnosed with cancer, and more steadily for my father. I've lost my life, realized the emotional cliff I was on, and did a lot of thinking and fought hard (and still am fighting) to maintain a life of my own.
Sometimes I think of it as climbing an emotional Mt. Everest - I don't pay thousands of dollars and freeze while facing the challenges, but I climb my own emotional mountains, rest, regroup and keep on climbing.
And actually, I'm finding ways to do what I love while caregiving. I took great joy in playing piano at rehab facilities when my mother and father needed help, not only enhancing my own ego but providing pleasure for others. I was never a great pianist, but it was so heartwarming to see patients wheeling themselves down to the areas when I began playing.
Gains: I've been able to help my family through the most difficult times of their lives. I feel as though I've gained insight, become a more proactive, thoughtful and insightful person. And I think (hope!) I am a better person for it. If I hadn't done it, I would live forever with a sense of guilt for abandoning my family when they most needed help.
2. Not having a wife or children. See Jeanne's suggestions. Not only could you find someone to share the rest of your life, you both will have passed through the "young love is blind" stage and can live and plan more realistically. You can also adopt, or work with youngsters in scouting or other groups. I'm sure there are additional ways to work with children.
And, again realistically, if you had children now, you'd be in your mid to late 50's as they go through their own teenage challenges. That could be a volatile combination.
3. Medical problems: you have advance experience in what you might be facing. You can make plans now, be more proactive and perhaps avoid some old age challenges. Think of your experience as an insight into what you might face, and make changes accordingly. Old age often takes most of us by surprise.
4. No friends or family. You're far from alone. Caregivers are often unsupported by family. And at my age, almost all my friends are or have been caregivers. Believe me, there's a vast difference between people who've been through caregiving and those who haven't. I have little in common with people who haven't cared for parents. There's a clear Grand Canyon wide gap between experience, problem solving and tolerance levels.
Don't see "putting" you mother in a home as guilt; think of it as caring for her in probably the most challenging period of her life. You're there for her; that's the important thing.
5. Depression and anxiety are serious. Consider Real's and Jeanne's suggestions. Also, set aside time for yourself, which I know is hard to do. Listen to music; resurrect activities you used to do(I know that time is limited). When you're relaxed and your mind is clear, plan to integrate some "me time" daily, even if you have to have someone stay with your mother for a while.
I've just gone through a state similar to yours; it was NOT easy finding a way out. The overwhelming responsibilities, lack of time for me, constant stress, were terrible. I still have to work hard at keeping a good perspective. But it can be done. Be confident and develop faith in yourself.
6. No one else at your mother's funeral. Well, I've thought of that as well, and my feeling is that if others didn't care enough to visit or help during last illnesses, I don't want them anywhere around at the funeral, which really isn't for the deceased but for the survivors. I'm not a person who's tolerant of others wailing and pretending to experience loss when they weren't around when the person was alive.
7. Nothing to look forward to. Zephyr, you're ONLY 49. I'm 74. I plan not only to take up drawing and music again, I probably will go back to school. I've always loved taking classes, whether for credit or just to audit. Stimulating the mind is exciting.
What have you always wanted to do? How can you do it after your mother is gone? First you have to address your depression and anxiety, then let your mind wander and make plans.
You are probably correct that you will have to put mum in a home sooner or later. Would you consider making it sooner? You could relate to her as her loving son instead of her caregiver, and begin the transition to more fully living your own life.
Forty-nine is too late for some things. You cannot take up ballet at this point in your life, at least not professionally. But it is certainly not too old to get married. You may fall in love with a woman who has children, or a younger woman who wants children. Or maybe not. But you certainly have a chance at it, once you are visiting your mother and not doing the hands-on caring.
I am sorry to hear that you have no friends or supportive family. I wonder, though, if once you get the anxiety and depression under control you might find out there are some people who do care. The gloomy cloud that you are under may be hiding them.
First, get some help with the anxiety and depression. Then consider making different arrangements for Mum -- arrangements that will enable you to live your own life.
I learned 40 years ago that family is not by blood but by love. Those I love are my family, seek Christ based counseling to help you find your path in this life, I am sure your mum doesn't want to have you loose your life by caring for her. Start today finding things that get you out of your own head.
Best of luck finding balance, love, peace and joy for you. God bless