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I dropped out of college after my father suffered several stokes. It has been 9 months since then and I've lost nearly all outside relationships. Due to the isolation, some days are unbearable and my frustrations can sometimes manifest into anger. How do I control these awful emotions before they completely become me?

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Um. What possessed you?

Unless you were already disenchanted with your college course, you were very badly advised to give it up. I'm extremely sorry that your father suffered these strokes, but I imagine that he, as a good father, would be sorrier still that his illness has had this impact on your young life.

Full-time caregiving is not something you are obliged or can be compelled to do. If you were my child, or, say, my niece, I would urge you to telephone your college, speak to the student welfare office, and ask how you can retrace your steps. I would expect you to get a sympathetic hearing from them at the very least.

Could you please say a little more about how come you landed the job of 24/7 caregiving? Where's the rest of the family? But even if the rest of the family is just you and nobody else, there are still other agencies and other options for your father's care. Nobody is ever indispensable, and that goes for you too. This should not and need not be happening.
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Leelou, how old is your father? If you are in your 20's, chances are your Dad is only in his 50's or 60's, or a tad bit older. Your Dad should be around people of his own age group on a daily basis [and so should you], and with serious daily physical therapy your Dad should be able to gain back some of his mobility so that he could live in Independent Living.

Or if you still wish to be your Dad's caregiver for years on end, check out how to become a certified Caregiver, take the classes, and sign up with an agency.... then that way your Dad could hire you and you would get paid and have a new career. Just a thought.
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I understand the feelings of anger! Giving up your hopes and dreams to care for a loved one is hard at any age but when you should be gaining education for a career and relationships, the resentment can be high. You shouldn't feel guilty about the anger because it is a survival response to your situation. However, I would suggest getting some counseling to help you put your world in focus. When caring for someone, they become the focus of the world. Remember that there is more out there for both of you. Take the good advice given here and explore your options. You are not abandoning your father in choosing what is best for both of you. Also do something active to release that stress. Get out of the house at least once a day. Get help. Help is out there! Don't do this by yourself.
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My advice is to stop being a 24/7 caregiver. (Make other plans for your dad, first, of course -- don't just walk out.) If Dad were on hospice and near the end of his life, giving up a school year to be with him would make some sense. Are you planning on devoting your life to him for the next 20 years? This is just not an appropriate role for a person in their early twenties.
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It is very loving of you to step up in your Dad's time of need but you cannot do this all alone. Please take care of yourself and your future. I seriously doubt your Dad intended for you to give up your life to care for him. You have been given excellent advice from others here and I am sure you will receive more.

Talk to your Dad's doctor about services available in your community and find the assistance he needs now. It is important that you get back into school as soon as possible, even on a part-time basis. The longer you put this off the more difficult it becomes.

Where is the rest of Dad's family in all this? There are many options out there that will allow you to continue your life and education, while your Dad is being well care for under your watchful eye. I wish you the very best. God bless!
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I think all of the caregivers on this site understand your compulsion to step up in a crisis and put your life on hold for your dad. After 9 months you have passed the crisis and are facing the bleak reality that he is not likely to gain any further independence. It is time to sit down and make a plan, not for the next few weeks or months, but a plan that can sustain you both in the years ahead. You can't do this alone. Call together whatever friends and family you have and figure out where to go from here. You need a life, and he needs his independence, whether in a group home or assisted living or with aids in his own home. You won't be abandoning him, you can still be his advocate and will always be his child.
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And there's no guaranty that it will last 6 to 7 years. I stayed home to help my dad with mom who started showing signs of dementia when I was age 22. That was 26 years ago. Mom was bedridden about 14 years ago. I've been told by nurses and paid caregivers, that majority of bedridden patients don't live long. Well, mom lasted 13 years. One visiting nurse for me (I had heart infection) was shocked when she entered our house and exclaimed to mom, "You're still alive!" I'd recommend finding a way of finding a permanent help for your father. You need a job, to mix with other people, get married and have kids (if this is one of your wishes) and have enough money to retire in your old age.

I haven't checked out Dave's info on the young caregiver's website. The more you read and learn from others, the more you have options to deal with your situation.
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I think many people expect that when they become caregivers they can pick up right where they left off once the caregiving is done (due to death or placement in a nursing home) and I don't think that's the case. At least it wasn't for me. Once I became a caregiver I began to live in an alternate universe in a way. I had nothing to contribute in normal social conversations because I had no life. My friendships suffered. And it went on for years.

Once my dad died I tried to get back to my own life but it was so difficult and I felt very alone. He's been gone now for over a year and I still feel out of it a lot of the time even though I now work and have the opportunity (and desire) to nurture friendships. It's difficult to maintain friendships while being a caregiver because we give so much of ourselves emotionally to the one we are caring for. There wasn't a lot leftover for friends.

I want to tell you that I hope you can get out of being a caregiver. You're too young to wonder, "What's happened to my life?" You should be in college and having fun and going on dates and building relationships. And while I know you put your school on hold for now it's going to be very easy to tell yourself that you can always go back. What if you're a caregiver for the next 6 or 7 years? At the end of that time you'll have nothing to show for it, no resume, no work experience, and you'll be faced with starting your life all over. Being a caregiver isn't something you do with your life, it's something you put your life on hold for.

Please reconsider and get out if you can.
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I'd be angry too! You shouldn't be trying to control the emotions, you should be figuring out a way to get your life back on track.

Did he go to rehab after the stroke? How was the discharge plan developed? Did you participate in making this plan? We're you given information about resources in your community to help with the caregiving?

Can Dad go to adult day care while you attend school? Can you/do you work? Giving up your life at 22 to be a caregiver is not a good choice since it will leave you without financial resources for your future. Tell us some more details so we can give you some concrete advice. (((((Hugs))))))
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