Has anyone out there just completely walked away - without overwhelming guilt?

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When getting your nails done isn't enough. I'm really starting to worry about my own mental health. I wake up every morning on the verge of tears - a lot of times I have tears running down my face while pouring my first cup of coffee. My mom is my first thought when I open my eyes and my last thought before I fall asleep. Then I wake frequently thinking of...wait for it...mom. EVERY time the phone rings my stomach clenches up, sometimes to the point of getting sick. I tried giving my mom her own ring tone or even a seperate line to call but often where she lives call from her room or she gives the seperate number out so that doesn't work. If I just don't pick up then I worry about what bomb is waiting for me on the message. Last night one of my moms old friends called - we had to move mom - again - last Monday and the friend wanted to see how mom is. The friend was so kind - asked me how I was doing, said I was a wonderful daughter for all I did - things I haven't heard from my own mom in years. From mom I get nothing but meaness. And yes - I know it's the disease but repeating that montra just doesn't help anymore. Because I have an adult son with severe autism living at home getting away isn't an option. And frankly "carving out me time" is so difficult and stressful it can make things worst. I just want to go ONE DAY without my phone ringing, without having to talk to her doctor, her pt, where she lives...her,her,her! Short of running away from home, I don't know what to do. I want to clean my own house, go to the store without picking up something for her. I want to be more of a wife than the tired, drained bitch my husband comes home to - he wants that too, I'm sure.

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((((((hugs))))) I stopped answering all phone calls when I got to the point that they were triggering PTSD. Guess what? The sky did not fall in. Mother continued as she had been, eventually problems got solved. She was in an ALF and they contacted me when there was a "real" problem. I would limit things you do for your mum to what you can handle and as some have suggested take a total break first. You NEED it more than she needs the things you are doing for her.
I don't care what is causing your mum's behaviour, I am more concerned about your behaviour, You have needs and they are not being attended to, Your mum is being looked after - she is safe, housed, fed and has carers around her. There is no law that says you have to put yourself last and these demands of your mum first. You have a huge load with a severely autistic son and a mother with ALZ. What happens to him of something happens to you? Put the oxygen mask on yourself first. Your husband's and your child's needs and your eed come before your mother's. Take time for yourself, consider seeing a therapist as to why you got yourself into this predicament of messed up priorities and why guilt is running your life.
Have you heard of FOG - fear, obligation and guilt? You are lost in it. Find your way out by not allowing the FOG to rule your decisions. Real guilt is when you have done something wrong which you haven't towards your mum except enabling her. Why not feel guilt towards your husband for not being there for him? False guilt is what you are feeling - which happens when you do not live up to the usually unrealistic expectations of others e.g. your mother. You are allowing yourself to be manipulated by her - disease or not - it is not healthy for you or your family and you are the only one who can change it.

Good luck and blessings to you in this difficult journey. I trust you will start to make some changes for your own and you immediate family's benefit.
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There is no way on EARTH you need to be fielding calls about mom every day. Someone is paying thousands of dollars for her care. Let the caregivers do their job. Instruct them they are NOT to call you unless it's an emergency...like the building is on fire. And call mom once a day at your convenience if you must.

Talk to your doctor about helping you with your anxiety. You need medication. Make an appointment today.

I am telling you, friend, if you do not get a handle on the stress in your life? Mom will outlive you.
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Rainmom: You are eloquent and self-aware. That goes a long way in this alternate universe that we caregivers inhabit. "When getting your nails done isn't enough." Ah yes. The breezy self-care tips in AARP Monthly and Oprah Magazine.....churned out by hired hands who are under contract to write XX-amount of words about XXXX topic by XXXX day. Then your friends parrot the buzzwords. Sigh. On the other hand, great insights from the other commenters. Definitely set limits to the phone calls. Certainly consider an antidepressant to help you reset. Even if you're "not that kind of person." I'm "not that kind of person," either. Consequently, my year of valiant resisting was a year of insomnia, monkey-brain, crying jags and appalling food choices. My favorite season was hunting season, cuz I could spend the day in bed while my sig other was in a treestand from dawn to dusk. It took me 12 months to realize that the pride and denial that kept me from seeking medical attention was the exact same pride and denial that keeps my mother from seeking medical attention. It's almost comical. My mother's self-neglect is what set off my funk. So there I was....neglecting myself. After my epiphany, I stepped out of my comfort zone and sought the help that I needed. (And it sure as hell wasn't salsa lessons!)
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Okay - I hope this makes sense cause it's kinda funny - both "haha" funny and sad funny. When I wrote this it was about 5am. I swear to God I wrote it with the heading question "when getting your nails done isn't enough" and even refreshed the page and saw it listed that way. After posting I went back to bed for a couple hours. As soon as I woke up I came here - anxious to read any replies. And I couldn't find my post. I use my smart phone and it only shows who answered last not the posters name. So I scrolled page after page - crying, of course and thinking " I don't even matter enough for my post to stay up". That and "maybe I just think I posted - this is it - today I offically lost my mind". I had noticed the post headed "has anyone walked away.." And figured at least that person feels like I do - maybe I'll find some answers there. OMG! Anyhoo - I will read your comments with gratitude. In the two weeks I've been here - you all have become my strongest link to sanity, I think.
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If your mom is in a facility, i would try to step away from the daily phone calls. Tell your mom you have a bad cold and need a coiple of days test. Tell the facility social worker you need some down time and that you should be called only in the event of a medical emergency. Then turn your phone off for a week.
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To answer you question, I think there are times when people do need to walk away, or at least put some distance in the equation. Without guilt? That's a tough one. I like to think of myself as a total hard a**, take no crap, no guilt caregiver. Just turn off the give a damn guy. But I get the shoulda, coulda guilt pangs too.

You articulate your state of mind very well. Your post really got my attention. I agree with Maggie. You've got to get some relief. Step back, unplug moms phone, cut down on visits, or completely walk away. There will always be some guilt and people will criticize even the most diligent caregivers. But it sounds to me your fed up gauge is in the red zone.
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It was like that for me until, on the edge of a nervous breakdown, I blacked out doing 85 in my truck. Changed my phone number, made it unlisted and old my mother I got rid of it as I didn't use it, which she believed. The NH had it of course. The palpitations, thundering stomach, constantly checking the phone for messages and jumping out of my skin every time the phone rang continued until the day she passed away.
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I don't have much experience with caring for someone elderly but here it goes. If your mom is in a facility, she or Medicad is paying for her to be there. She is fed, safe and cared for. You don't have to a damned thing you have a severely autistic son that needs care. But ultimatly, you need to put yourself first. There is no shame on getting professional help for you because if you don't take care of you, what will happen to your son? Have you looked at places that have some sort of day care or respite for your son? It might help you reclaim some of your life like discovering new hobbies or ones you forgotten that you had at one time. A group home for your son to move into is worth looking into.
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Quickie update: three phone calls, all initiated by me. Got mom an Rx for Ativan and haldol. If I can get her "behaviors" under control at the new place I'm sure some of the crisis calling will stop. We've been using the Ativan with some success to ease the initial move but after a few days she shows no improvement in accepting things - without the Ativan. So I had to get that rx extended. The haldol was the Drs idea. Has anyone used that with any success?
I'm going to get a dr. appointment for me - by the end of the day. The comment that me denying the need for help is exactly what my mom is doing - well, that hit home.
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I can relate to how you feel as I had a similar situation. There were always daily phone calls with all kinds of issues. It seemed they couldn't solve any issues without me being involved. The facility felt I needed to be called on my job to know that my loved one couldn't locate her comb or that she was just wondering when I would come by, even though I was there almost every day. It was insanity.

I eventually discovered that she needed more care than regular assisted living where she was staying. They were not equipped. It was very stressful to await those calls.

The key for us was moving her to a Memory Care facility. They knew how to care for her and not call me for trivial matters. They occupy her time and she does not call me repeatedly. The facility will call me if there is some reason to call me. That's it. I call them and ask questions. I call and speak with her. I know that she is being well cared for and it is a good feeling.

I hope the new placement for you mother works out well. If they are a good fit, you might see a big improvement.

There is still responsibility, that I would rather not have, but the daily care is in their hands and they do it wonderfully without checking with me on every issue.
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