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Hi everyone,


Historical details not necessary, but has the above happened to anybody? FYI I’m not caring for my mother in-home, but her needs and drama are RELENTLESS. Quick version, after 4 years post Dad death and ensuing work/mom stuff, a month ago a big medical emergency (hers) and now on the first of a few precious days away I was told I had to get her out of nursing care and into memory care in just a few days. No one to help barring anyone I hire.


Before this hopeful mini break, I spent an entire day crying, then after getting this news the first day of my rest I basically lost it. Then I felt too tired to exercise ( red flag ) got a raging UTI, can barely eat, woke up today and first thing almost passed out from a panic attack of all things?


Regarding my mom, I’m not a martyr or a monster; always setting boundaries and am not abandoning her either. But the boundary setting and drama is literally nonstop and there are no other ‘go to’ family members or even friends mom will lean on ( Because they’ve ditched her! Smart! ).


Been going on 4 years of ‘being there’ and I really feel I’ve done pretty good self care, but maybe too much stress is too much. Last night when I talked to her and I said the call had to be short because I wasn’t feeling good she said, “ You have to get well so you can take care of ME! That’s why you have me locked up in here". So yeah, cue waking up in a panic attack, which has never happened in my life like that.


Honestly it’s scary how my normally active body has rebelled. My mind is a mess too. I don’t know how to get out of this and feel overwhelmed by everything. Wondering if I’m extra sensitive or if this is a normal reaction?? It is so hard to ask for help. I feel like I broke.


Bless all of you!

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Is the UTI cleared up now. Please start yourself on D-Mannose now and take it regularly. Private message me if you want my story on THAT, and frequent UTIs over four a year with ZERO in last decade.
That said. Are you POA? It seems you must be. They cannot force you to find a place in that short time. They have nowhere to discharge her to. Are there any organizations/businesses like A Place For Mom that can help you search memory care? The worst they can do is send her to hospital if she cannot safely be handled there, and then get the Social Worker there on it.
UTI recovery is tough. Keep on that. Ask for some mild anti anxiety med; talk with your doctor about all this right now. Remember Panic Attacks are giving us a message. It is fight or flight, and with us unable to get anywhere with any of that the body just paralyzes with fear and anxiety. Be easy on yourself. More people get panic attacks than you can even begin to imagine.
So sorry you are going through this. Remember, a day at a time. They cannot discharge her to your home and must make a safe discharge. Remember to take deep breathes often. Practice breathing in to slow count of 3, and out to count of four. Just the counting of it helps, as well as the breathing.
As to the answer to your question of the have we had the breakdown. Oh YES! And many years ago, not over parents, but over abusive husband. I am 78. I was about 22 at the time. Will never forget it. Talk about an out of body experience. Brief, and never had another, but it was the trip of a lifetime.
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You absolutely are getting the wake up call from your body that you are overdoing it.

I won't go into detail, but years of CG for older relatives, friends, and mostly my DH has left me with hyper sensitivity to stress. I had cancer last year and the TX took me to my knees, emotionally. People kept telling me how strong I was. To only the few people close to me did I disclose that I was really almost suicidal--and wished I did not opt for TX. (I would have died within 6-9 months). I did do the full TX and achieved remission in time to get the shingles, then got through 6 weeks of that to have COVID roll in. (I have not gotten it, but it really does cut into our lives)

Panic attacks became the norm, and I was already dealing with those for years and years. I started having 2-4 hour panic attacks where my heart would pound and race at about 250 BPM. Horrifying and actually painful. I just thought 'great, one more thing to deal with' but I did bring it up to my PCP in a virtual visit. He had me do a 3 day heart monitor test--turns out I was throwing 'episodes' with my heart almost all day long, only the bad ones were making me miserable.

I'm on a beta blocker and it has helped. I have had to be a LOT tougher about DH's desire to argue politics all day--having him home is awful but I don't have a choice. I'm doing a follow up TX which makes me so tired and depressed. Yet, I have panic attacks all the time. They're better--and I know that once COVID is 'better' and DH can go back to work, things will be better.

My Dr. said my body/mind was simply overwhelmed with 'bad stuff'. A lot of family problems, which I will not go into--but I am trying to step away and not be involved any more.

Your body will have a limit. We all have one. Some people are amazingly calm and collected all the time. I used to be...years ago. But life happened--if I listed all the health issues my DH has been through and all the stuff with raising 5 kids--I am amazed I am still standing.

GET TO YOUR PCP and get something for the panic attacks. They are not to be left w/o treatment. List the issues in your life and try to cut out as many of the negative triggering ones as best you can.

I no longer speak to my MIL and I never will again. People think I'm horrible, but I just couldn't deal with her. I also don't see my own mother often and that's the way it has to be. I also leave the house if DH is home and working, which is very stressful--our home is small and he is loud. One of our kids has no spoken to me for 6 months--and doesn't respond to texts or calls. That hurts.

But you have to take care of you and I have to take care of me. I'd love for my DH to care for me, but he can't and won't. I am learning to not expect him for anything.

Good Luck. Don't ignore the PA's--they are legitimately awful and a good sign things aren't OK.

((Hugs))
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Wriggley Oct 16, 2020
Hello...I am sending you a big “HUG” today for your honesty and insightful answer on how to handle a dire situation when your body starts to react to constant, 24/7 unrelenting stress. I have been on a similar journey since December 2014. My dear Dad was diagnosed with bladder cancer at age 80...had surgery to remove his bladder and endured severe complications...it took him three months to be released from the hospital...then subsequently my Mother endured a herniated disk and severe UTI which ended up with her hospitalized for three months...all the while my husband has gone thru 3 job losses/changes. We lost my Dad three days before Christmas 2018 which was also 7 days before my parent’s 61st wedding anniversary due to my Dad’s cancer spreading to his brain and bones. Now we are faced with Covid ...my single adult son has been out of work for 7 months...my brother who has been in and out of employment due to companies relocating since my Dad became ill (almost six years)...my Mom has dementia and requires 24/7 care which my brother and I do for 48 hours and then alternate...and now my husband’s widowed father has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and my husband is the only caretaker nearby...so how do you keep from your body completely shutting down from unrelenting stress non-stop for almost 6 years 🤔...the only thing left in me is 🙏...Any other suggestions from this brave, courageous group of full-time caregivers will ALWAYS be cherished.
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You have just got to take a break for yourself. No matter what, you just have to.

Step back and breathe. Get you some "ME" time. You have to take care of "YOU" first.
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Oh I have been the ‘calm and collected one’ which I’m now seeing has created unhealthy dynamics.

I started taking D-mannose after the LAST uti ( became chronic in the past 2 yrs hm wonder why ) plus probiotics and I usually do accupuncture once a month but haven’t since last February due to Covid. At 49 I’m still surfing and doing cardio kickboxing and go bananas being inside not walking around or whatnot, so this body exhaustion is waaaaaay off. As soon as it seems safe I’m running back to accupuncture.

Had panic attacks years ago and for the most part got rid of them, arrrrr. What’s so difficult is even now I’m told to ‘Stay Strong!’ And ‘ Your mother needs xyz’ and my mother keeps after me and it’s this feeling of entrapment. Yup POA and all that comes with it. What’s so unnerving is I have done good self care and boundaries but my body is totally kicking my arse.

Thank you guys for chiming in! I know stress ( duh ) but this feels like a tipping point and it’s scary and frankly embarrassing. We’re the ‘strong ones’, right?!

And MidKid I’m so glad you’re in remission!
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What if it gets worse? How do you feel about getting a hospital SW to have the state take charge of her and place her? Surely you've done all you can, all you dare, with your health breaking down....
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I am so very sorry that you are struggling with this situation.

I actually went to see a therapist for stress overload. Not that I have ever been a big eater but I couldn’t eat either.

My doctor warned me not to lose any more weight and told me to gain weight! My therapist told me that not eating was effecting me negatively. I wasn’t at peace. I was apathetic. I had anxiety and depressed.

Friends and neighbors were starting to ask me if I was sick. I just couldn’t eat. Total loss of appetite. The thought of food made me nauseous!

I cooked for my family. I am a wonderful cook. I enjoy cooking but I couldn’t eat. I used cooking as a distraction and to feed my family but I had no interest in eating much of it.

Did you start getting hives? I did. I would be in my therapist’s office and he would ask me a question and while relaying the answer, I would break out completely in hives! It was embarrassing. He couldn’t help but notice it. He said to me, “You are covered in hives. When stress starts showing up physically you are in trouble.”

My therapist also taught me breathing exercises that I still do. Because another time he said to me, “You don’t breathe. You stop breathing and then gasp for a huge breath of air.”

I was having high blood pressure issues too when caregiving. I was sent for heart tests and everything.

My doctor put me on max dosage. I have since been able to reduce my meds after my caregiving has stopped.

So yes, stress can overwhelm us. It can exhaust us. I hope you find relief soon.

I started journaling. That helped. It doesn’t have to be but a few thoughts a day. Going for a walk helps. Exercise releases natural endorphins. It’s a great stress buster too.

Best wishes to you.
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Midkid58 Oct 15, 2020
When I was at my worst, I also could not eat. I could barely swallow cold water.

Lost a ton of weight, but in a very unhealthy way.

When I start feeling that way again, I know something is 'triggering' me.
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4 years ago I felt like I was losing my mind... Anxiety, panic attacks, etc. and I didn’t know what was going on. I found out I am in perimenopause. So needless to say stress I could normally handle I just couldn’t anymore. With problems at home and an aging father with dementia next door, everyday is stressful. I can’t get away from it. Im on anxiety pills and may need hormones because I haven’t figured out how to handle everything yet. Journaling was recommended but I haven’t tried it yet. I usually text a friend and beg for help 😁. If anyone has any other suggestions please let me know. I’m very sorry you are going through this. I hope you find the help you are looking for.
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NobodyGetsIt Oct 13, 2020
Dear "Martz06,"

I know the combination of perimenopause along with the anxiety, panic attacks etc. makes everything look so much more magnified. Our bodies aren't meant to be producing constant cortisol (a primary stress hormone) which is very harmful. It contributes to the "fight or flight" response. We can't be in that mode 24/7.

I've had to take anti-anxiety medication too because of the negative toll it was taking on my health.

I know no one likes the word "exercise" but, it truly is one of the best methods when it comes to stress and anxiety. It's free and it can be done whenever you want as well as in the privacy of your own home if you don't want to go out. It could be 30 minutes or even 15 if that's all you have - the key being "it must be something you like" or you won't do it. I play my favorite upbeat music and do dancing/aerobic type movements. If you can't think of anything you like to do "exercise-wise," think of something else but, hopefully there's some actual movement rather than being completely sedentary which basically keeps us in a slow, low energy mode.

I liked your statement "I usually text a friend and beg for help" - that works too unless they stop returning your texts, LOL!
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Good advice and suggestions, especially advice on how our very human and vulnerable bodies react.   

Madison, first I would mentally eliminate the "cuckoo" in your screenname, if only in your mind.    I don't disagree that mental challenges present themselves to someone in your situation, but accepting them works against getting past them.  

Personally, I think caregiving at any level affects someone, with varying degrees depending on the individuals, extent and length of care, and especially lack of support.   I also think getting through and then past this was probably the biggest challenge of my life.    I'm still working on it.

I know that time is scarce, but we do have to find some way to relax, redirect, and find resources to cope.   Perhaps the hardest aspect is recognizing when boundaries need to be set, and doing so.    Sometimes just explaining that you can't continue to provide support as you have been doing w/o some relief, and that works both ways, so you both need to find ways in which the arrangement can work is less stressful.  

Sounds easy in writing, doesn't it?   We know though that it's not.   It's challenging; we feel guilty; our parents, perhaps in a panic we can't even begin to comprehend, feel abandoned.    In some ways it's a negotiation.     I approached it that way, and it helped me.

I also listened to music, a lot, wandered through my garden and sometimes at a local park, crafted or designed crafts that I didn't have time to make...I found that creative ideas sparked an otherwise dormant coping mechanism and helped me plan, more positively.

Perhaps all the good advice others have and will offer can help you realize you're not alone; I'm sure that many people face similar situations but don't share it.   And many are fortunate to have family who help.  

This is a challenge, and you will be stronger for it once you're able to begin putting distance between it and your life now and in the future. Yes, that's easier said than done, but it can be done.  Each of us has to find the method that helps guide us through.   

The "overwhelming" issue needs to be specially addressed.    Prioritizing helps, making charts and lists helps, but they need to incorporate down time, even if it's only 5 minutes every hour.   

What were your hobbies and pleasures before caregiving started?   How can you now resurrect them, again, even if only in a planning stage, or for a few moments a day?

I always kept gardening magazines in my tote bags and relied on them heavily when sitting in the ER or hospital room.   I also took a notepad and made sketches of different garden configurations, or just plans for the next season.  The distraction helped immensely, especially while waiting for diagnoses.

Help us help you by telling us of your life before caregiving.  What did you do?  Were you working, involved in volunteer work?   What hobbies did you have?   Spent some time thinking about them and sharing them with us; I think it will really help.

Something else that helped me is keeping track of decisions and factors affecting them, what alternatives existed, how my parent and I handled them, and especially those that were successful.   I can translate some of them into lessons learned for the rest of my life.
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NobodyGetsIt Oct 13, 2020
Beautifully said "GardenArtist" and you have given the OP as well as the rest of those who read your post many good ideas in which to implement if they so choose. Like you, my mom always loved gardening throughout her life as well as subscribing to gardening magazines as an outlet for the daily stresses of life.

I also agree having "cuckoo" in her screenname just produces a disparaging thought against herself even if it's in the subconscious. We somehow need to become our own best allies in order to move forward productively. We get beat up enough through caregiving that we needn't do it to ourselves.
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NobodyGetsIt, your comments to Martz06 about the need for exercise are so appropriate and insightful.      Even just walking and even just around the house is stimulating; outside is better b/c we have to make little decisions, where to go, cars to watch out for, or little (but hopefully not big!) critters if we're in more rural areas.

I've repeatedly suggested this and still feel that it's one of the best resources for people with limited movement, inability to get out and walk, or even stand and walk. It's the dance regimen adapted by  Mark Morris ballet dancers for people with Parkinson's Disease.

I've seen the video on development of that movement, get their e-mails and updates on the Dance for PD program.    Benefit can still be gained for those who aren't that mobile, even just by sitting and moving.  

https://danceforparkinsons.org/

The videos on the site change; right now there's one showing a blend of standing (if you can) or sitting, and stretching the upper body.
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I was exactly where you're at now in 2000 when I found my biological family after hiring an ex cop to steal my birth records: literally at the brink of a nervous breakdown. Couldn't eat, sleep, function, couldn't stop crying, had something called a super sensitive startle reflex where any noise had me jumping out of my skin, panic attacks, etc. The doctor put me on Paxil and it was like a light switch was flipped.......I went from non-functional to back to normal, pretty much, within a week. I had to increase from 20 mgs to 30 (or maybe 40, I can't remember?) mgs but the higher dose did the trick.

Go to the doctor NOW! Tell him or her exactly what's going on and get on some meds. You can't be Superwoman; your body is telling you that, like mine did. Listen to what it's telling you, ok?

GOOD LUCK!
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Yes, I had a mental breakdown 6 years ago. It scared the bejesus out of me and is why I now have very strong boundaries in place. I had never had an anxiety attack before, but I sure had them then. I had to go off work for 16 weeks and after 2 tries found a medication that worked to keep the anxiety at bay.

I also have IBS and although I work very hard to keep it under control, when I am stressed it flares up too.

I have mentioned in various posts being triggered by what may appear to others to be inconsequential things, but when a person has lived through trauma, it can be a simple thing that brings it all back.

As I said I now have very firm boundaries in place. I also have regular check ins with my therapist to keep me on an even keel.

My parents divorced 30+ years ago. I have gone no contact with both of them at various times in order to protect myself from their NP behaviours.

Madison, you are allowed to hang up on your Mum if she makes cruel comments. There is no law on the books that we have to continue to listen to their abuse. When she is cruel, you can restrict contact until you are ready to deal with her again

You also are allowed to block her phone number and tell the MC that you are not taking her calls for the next period of time. If there is an emergency they will have to handle it.
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I understand. A few weeks after moving my dad to AL, I ended up in the ER. I was a physical and mental mess. Thankfully, the ER doctor completely understood. She prescribed a short-term medication and strongly encouraged me to take some time off from everything. I was in a very scary state. The ER doctor explained that what I was experiencing was a form of PTSD. I followed up with another doctor and I am on a long-term medication. I am working hard to protect myself from extreme stress. My dad passed away, but my mother is aging and has dementia. She is still fairly high functioning and is married (my parents divorced). After going through so much with my dad, I know I must do things differently regarding her future care and the care of my in-laws.
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Tothill Oct 15, 2020
Sunny, sending you a virtual hug. I will hold you close as long as you need it.
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This sounds like I wrote it. My mother thinks I was born to look after her, it is my duty. No one else's just mine. She is kind and sweet to my brothers who do nothing for her and never visit. But to me she is hateful and demanding. She can and does ruin my whole week with only one sarcastic comment. She makes me ill. I contacted Help the Aged I cried and poured my heart out. They told me to WALK AWAY AND DON'T LOOK BACK! I feel elated. They were trained advisors. They didn't know how I had suffered such mental abuse for so long. They told me to inform my mother and her carers of my decision. I am going to tomorrow. I am going to get my life back. I am going to live again, free of anxiety, of feeling worthless. I have constant UTI's. I want to be well again and my mother can live with her spifefulness and hate and project it onto someone else. I have had it for 52 years. Best wishes to you and look after yourself first.
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NeedHelpWithMom Oct 15, 2020
Good for you! I was in the same position as you and for my own well being I had to stop caring for my mom too. I haven’t looked back.
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Yes, I had a horrible time a couple months ago keeping myself together with my brother's heart failure and continued near death diagnosis, being told my mom had to go to memory care, my nephew's death, and my grandson just up and leaving home suddenly, all at the same time while I was trying to teach. I felt my head actually spinning. One day I just stayed in bed ALL DAY. My husband told everyone I was not available. They had to go on without me, and they did. Of course I had to get up and now face it all for months to come. I talked the assisted living facility into keeping my mom through covid restrictions, I make decisions for my brother, I grieve for my nephew, make sure my grandson is okay, and teach my classes. And I have recurring UTI's. It is all still going on, but Im okay. My mom taught me to be strong, but there are limits. Sometimes I melt.
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You guys are wonderful!!!

Fyi after I typed my second response, I developed a fever and then got sicker than I ever have in my entire life. No cough and got tested for covid. Even if it’s negative I’ll have my suspicions because this illness has been above and beyond anything I’ve ever had. On a slow mend now which means my goal today is a shower! BF has been taking care of me, lovely man.

I love surfing and cardio kickboxing and hiking, and go bananas if I don’t get outside. Getting back to playing trombone, fiddling with ukelele, and I do large scale chalk art and started making pastel paintings and taking online classes. Big crazy mutt and big cat at home too. Plenty of lovely things to do ( though chalk art was cancelled due to covid or smoke outside ) I want to have the peace of mind to do these things again!

What’s surprised me is, my mom is in a retirement community w/graduated care, I thought I had good boundaries, and certainly get/got enough exercise. I have a second simple phone with a number mom will never have, I keep the other one on silent most of the time. Maybe it’s the sheer length of time - years - of this constant grinding mom stress ...the tasks...the calls...being the ‘only one’...just the never ending ness of this high maintenance woman ...then throw in some wildfire drama and a medical emergency and voila! I’m cooked.

Thank you everyone for your wise words. My mom has some great qualities ( truly! ) but she is so relentless she eats people alive. If she was an absolute narcissist it’d be easier for me to deal with in some ways because I’d have no problem stepping waaaaay away. ( Have one in my family and I just totally avoid her )

Maybe I needed to hear from others it’s okay to step back further, not ‘be there’ for her every day and that doesn’t make me a terrible person. That’s the kind of thing I don’t hear from other family members or her care team.

I’m sorry you guys have gone through the same/similar experience, but thank you so much for sharing your stories. It makes me feel less alone in this reaction. Speaking of, the ‘cuckoo’ stands for something I was asked to write as a play some years ago, so it’s not a bad word :)

Excuse the long reply but your responses have been really dear! Plus rambling ...I am a bit loopy right now. Do not get covid or whatever this beast illness is!

Lastly I’ve sent a Hail Mary to the geriatric care manager and will take a hit to my savings, but she is helping co-ordinate the move. Still a lot to do but clearly I have to get well and that means stepping back from mom. Bless you all!
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Kmjfree Oct 15, 2020
Definitely take a step back and get better and then maybe let that become the new normal. Hope you feel better soon!
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Nobody gets it is so right ‘we somehow have to learn to become our best allies’ !!! Perfect !
it takes our heart a long while to catch up with our brain !!!
best luck
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Yes. Lifelong go-to for mentally ill mom. The stress of dealing with her last few years developed and left my immune system permanently compromised in the form of psoriasis. Stress kills. Do whatever you can to save yourself.
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Jamison Oct 16, 2020
I, too, have compromised immune system now with severe eczema and depression. Crap health insurance means $7k out of pocket before I am covered and it took me 5 doctors to finally find a holistic homeopathic MD that could help. Big Pharma meds were thousands every month which I could not afford. I just sat in the Dr. office and cried after they walked out knowing I could do nothing. My husband had 3 strokes last year, + Lewy body Dementia and my world stopped to take care of him. No more soap business. No more income no friends and finally no food. His kids wouldn't help, but the community did and brought us food. We had to sell the house and move 250 miles away to get out from under it all but we rebounded big time and are near his son who is somewhat helpful. my stress has not subsided yet and the eczema needs watching now forever. This was not the life I wanted at 62, but I will stay by my husbands side as long as possible. Now I have to take extra care of me, too. It is not JUST the mental anguish when your body turns against you! #bekindtoyourself
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I love you. It will be ok. The mental issues that come with this stuff is so hard. Focus on you and cut that off. Start with one day that is deal with mom day and give your Attention then. Just like a job.
if you can do more then one day great but start with one day. Also get a burner phone just for your mom and her care and her issues. Only check it on the designated mom day. We are only human and we do know what is just too much.
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Yes I have had panic attacks in the past due to my mother. I had to cut off all contact but there was a long history of abuse.

I am an only child and so is my mother. I am currently her POA and while I don’t physically take care of her, I manage her finances and pay her bills, etc. I too chose to step in and place her in a facility. She has dementia and it’s getting worse. The phone calls I was getting from her were accusatory and very abusive so I blocked her telephone number. I let her facility know that as well. I am seeing a therapist and started medication on the advice of my therapist. Both therapy and medication have helped.

Bottom line it’s me or her - and I won’t be a punching bag. I know she’s safe, clean, fed, and has medical care. I can manage her finances and speak with her providers to make sure she has what she needs. I don’t need to or want to be hands on. You don’t need to “stay strong for your mother.” You need to take care of yourself. You are doing a good job managing the logistics part of this. And I don’t understand why your finances are taking a hit? Didn’t you mention this in one of your responses? Unless you can afford it - you will need to have a nest egg of your own.

Please take care of yourself and recognize your limitations. Keep us posted and my best wishes!
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Anche71 Oct 16, 2020
"You have to stay stonger for... "
I hate when I am told this!
And what about myself?
And who will stay strong for me?
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Seems you have a moment of being overwhelmed. Yes, that kind of stress opens you up for opportunistic infections, accidents, mental health issues, and even major organ problems - heart atttacks! So, you need to do whatever leads to health for yourself FIRST, and then help others. Do the basics - healthy diet, rest (physical and mental), plenty of water (no alcohol, please), moderate, FUN exercise; and having a loving and supportive network of friends and family that you interact with regularly. Then, realize that your mom's dilemma can only be helped when you are ok. Enlist other resources to help her as are available in your area.
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Caring for my wife 24/7, every moment, interrupted sleep 4 times average in the night. since 2013.
I was declared remarkably healthy in 2017. I am emotionally secure.
Never been sick, never used alcohol, drugs, tobacco. Never sought elicit relationships, No STDs. Eat fresh foods, no packaged.

2018. Nearly died 3 times. 3 ambulance rides. Spent most of the year in hospitals, Had 3 pic-lines. with a constant tree of IVs.
No physical reason for the body shutdown, typical of alcoholism.
It will be documented in the medical journals.

Total recovery in 2019 of a condition that is a typically chronic.
Another for the medical journals.
Why am I better?
Medicaid, I am loving our much berated Congress. I have 3 shifts of attendant care 24/7. I can now be a spouse to my wife instead of the creature who feeds her and manhandles her to toilet. I am once again remarkable healthy.
I am 69 and feel like I am 40.
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TopGirl17 Oct 16, 2020
First, I'm so happy you are feeling good again. I was caring for an 82 year old aunt who my sister and I got on Medicaid which we thought would be the best thing however they only gave us 6 hours per day of help no matter what we did. I got hired by an agency to get paid myself for those 6 hours a day since I lived far enough away I figured I'd just as well be with her all the time. Our 2nd caregiver didn't do well and I fired her. She caused more issues than it was worth and my Aunt started needing someone with her all the time. You are so fortunate to have been able to get 24/7 care. I originally tried to do care from Friday eve to Mon am when this other lady was supposed to get there. She was late frequently and I would get my Aunt up and cleaned up most of those Mondays before the CG got there. I ended up being with my Aunt 2 weeks straight. If I left to shop or go home for extra clothes she freaked out. She called me and said she'd been alone all day even after only 2 hours. She was in tears other days I was gone awhile. I tried to go to the gym but she got to where she needed someone all the time. She pushed her med alert button at 4 a.m. one morning to get someone to change her cause she was wet. (I was right there 6 feet away trying to sleep). She thought she could afford 24 hour care but she couldn't. I was waking with a migraine every single day. I was so stressed and depressed. She had no children of her own and I just happened to have been close plus I am a senior caregiver by trade. She was the hardest person I every had to take care of in 5 years, including 1 1/2 years of caring for my mother in my home after a stroke. I believe if I hadn't already been on anti anxiety meds and antidepressants I would have done way worse mentally and physically. I am an avid exerciser and take a cocktail of vitamins every day. I still felt so drained caring for her. My sister and I had planned on moving her to a nursing home but did our best to keep her in her home. I gave up and we started looking for a Medicaid covered bed. We got very lucky and a bed was available within 2 days. I felt so guilty taking her but I had basically given up my life to give her one in her home. Now she sometimes calls my sister saying she knows we left her there to die. My anxiety is still there only because I care so much. She is getting all the care she needs. If Medicaid had covered her 24/7 she could still be in her own home. You were really fortunate to get her care covered. Now we are in process of selling her house which is more stress. I did all the physical care of my aunt while my sister did the phone and paperwork business. Taking care of yourself as a caregiver is so, so important. It's also very therapeutic to journal. Not a lot of people are willing to listen to us complain or discuss what days and nights are like caring for someone so putting it on paper or the computer or phone helps. This Aging Care sight has been extremely helpful for me through everything with my mother, my aunt and clients in the past and current ones. I encourage everyone to share. I actually am a very devout Christian so I pray and listen to the Christian radio and read devotionals and the bible. For me it's very peaceful and fills my soul. Bless all of you who are caregivers and may the Lord help heal your minds and bodies. Take care of yourself. Love to all.
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Every ones body reacts differently so you are going to have a lot of answers. But the over riding one is to take care of yourself. No one (except you) can say what is "too much". I was running back and forth to my moms condo constantly shen she stopped driving. Then she had a mild stroke and realized she could not stay alone anymore. I moved her to assisted living and nearly all of her needs are met. I go see her once a week, as cover has limited visits. There are still days when I am so wiped out I can barely move. I think your reaction is absolutely normal. And in a sense we are "broke" but we need to learn how to put the pieces back together. Sending a hug and a wish for your respite.
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Reply to dazednconfused
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I do hope and pray you will believe me that the most important thing you can do for yourself right now is to begin taking sublinfual methyl B12 every morning. then start to consistantlyeat a lot of magnesium rich foods every day; a handful of delicious nuts or a big helping of spinach for examples. Next, if you are taking a statin and or a diuretic , try to find anescellent doctor and also do a lot of research to see ifyou coul d discontinue them.These substances cause severe malnutrition by interfering with the way your body processes nutrients. Malnutrition cause feelings of stress, anxiety, and even depression.You sound very troubled and i hope you will believe me that the best self care is good nutrition along with no bad so called meds. You should not allow your mil nor anyone to lay any false guilt trips on you. If she is in a really good facility, then then you have really done all you can.Look for a really trustworthy doctor to advise you about self care.
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Reply to BobbieSena
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I know h ok w you feel and I am just beginning. We both need answers on how to take care of our self
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Reply to carolm2
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Yes, lots of people have this happen.
The Military calls it PTSD or PTSS (last S for symptoms or syndrome rather than calling it a disorder)
It is treatable.
There is therapy and possibly medication.
Therapy will help you learn how to deal with the stress and medication can be a bridge to help.
There are Social Workers or Geriatric Care Managers that can help be a "go between" you and your mom.
One of the other things therapy can help do is help you figure out the "triggers" that your mom obviously knows so that she can get you.
You need a break, a vacation. Tell the management at the facility where your mom is that you are going on vacation you can be reached in an emergency but unless it is an emergency please do not call. Tell them you will be gone for 10 days.
Tell your mom you are going out of town for work or to help a friend move and that you will not be able to be contacted.
You need this time away. I know it will be difficult when I was caring for my Husband and I took a vacation I can't tell you how much I worried but all was fine and I spent a few sleepless nights for naught.
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Reply to Grandma1954
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Wow I relate to so many comments here and so grateful for you all.
My narcisistic father is now immobile and in a care home. I’m POA. I’ve managed to keep a healthy distance from him and manage his critical phone calls for yeas, however now as I’m dealing with his home and property etc, have had regular phone calls and visits with him for 6 months.
Thats when all kinds of illnesses began in my body. Digestive, fevers, now terrible aching teeth. Already have had one tooth extracted and trying to save the rest.
Every conversation with him is confusing. He added my mentally unwell brother as POA with me and of course it has added huge drama. I’m sure he did this on purpose. Because he is so controlling and now has loss of mobility he is extra drama filled and demanding.
Two nights ago I had such an awful fever I almost went to hospital, however managed to calm myself and body down. I’ve just decided to revoke my POA’s. This leaves my father with my mentally ill brother and in a big pickle.
Its all his own creation and Im not going to keep getting sicker. I’m going to free myself at last from his abuse. No more enabling his unkind cruel behaviour.
Thank you for all your feelings, thoughts and advice.
So appreciated.
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Reply to Turehu
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cherokeegrrl54 Oct 16, 2020
Im sure glad to hear you are taking steps to end your abuse and take good care of you!!! You go grrl!!!
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I know how you feel. I am taking care of my husband 24/7 without any help. Now, I have to deal with: cleaning out the home he lived in for 3 yrs. by himself and turned into a hoarders den, empty 3 storage sheds that he rented and full of more stuff, an RV that is stored on base and needs an inspection sticker, but it is deader than road kill, loaded with stuff, trying to move out of my present home and moving into a senior living apt. The problem is, I can't get away to do anything, because he can't be left alone. I too have all these mysterious health problems and feel like running away.
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Reply to chill47
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NeedHelpWithMom Oct 16, 2020
You have a lot of company! Lots of people want to run away.

Even if people could run away, things are so different now.
With Covid in the air, people can’t even travel the way they once did without fear.

Lots of anxiety in the world today.

Best wishes to you.
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Imho, I know your stress. I had to move in with my late mother 7 states away from my own to care for her. She could not continue to live alone in her own home (her demands for that, even though we'd tried to amend it). We tried reverse mortgage (not a great option) but that didn't work, nursing home living (they were kicking her out, claiming she was too well to stay there - they were very much wrong as she then had a stroke and did not live). We had 2 days after they were kicking her out (we did not yet know she was going to have a stroke) and found an AL, but my sole sibling who was there for a short duration (3 days) told me that I had to pack up some of her items for the AL. I was EXHAUSTED. No can do! I then had to clean out her home and market it for sale. People came back to her house after she passed and I was not even able to make a pot of coffee - did not compute, much too DONE.
You must seek respite through Visiting Angels, a church, or any means possible. Prayers sent.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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NobodyGetsIt Oct 17, 2020
Hi "Llamalover47,"

Even though I know your story well, it still boggles my mind what all you endured in during those times especially, when I read it in a response to an OP's question.

God bless you once again for everything you went through as well as the life you sacrificed - that being yours and your own family's!
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I can relate to feeling overwhelmed and panicked by every little thing, my mind being unable to form sentences, and my body being exhausted. I’m just getting through an episode and working to prevent backsliding.

My counselor has helped me recognize what I need to do each day to stay healthy. For example sleep x hours, drink water and eat, pray, clear space/clean something, be creative, be in nature, and move my body. A big factor for me is sleep. What you are experiencing is normal, but not healthy. I hope you can make changes to avoid burn out.
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Reply to JuliaRose
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I am beginning to wonder if it's happening to me, actually. I had glandular fever/mono in my twenties and have been prone to throat infections when run-down ever since (now 57). My mother (86), a narcissist to whom I have never been close, came to live in AL (not very A!) three years ago and now there is the pandemic. Initially my stress levels went right down, as we were not allowed into her building for seven months and had to find other, less hands-on, ways of supporting her (her increasing demands for us to do chores/errands, etc. plus erratic behaviour had been getting us down and coming between me and my husband, who is more sympathetic to her and also a conflict-avoider).

We are also trying to support our son and wife who are having trouble with their young baby, and my husband has a stressful voluntary leadership role that he feels he can't give up. I've had depression before and don't want to get it again, but it is so hard to stay positive at present.

I stopped sleeping well in August when it was humid and went down with one of my worst throat infections for years in September, which lasted three weeks. Now I have a head cold and what seems like a UTI. I feel as though I'm falling apart, and despite trying medication, natural remedies, rest, gentle exercise, etc., I don't seem to be able to get on top of things. Now, despite rising COVID cases and deaths again, the normally ultra-risk-averse people who run my mum's building say we can go in again, which I have been dreading.
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Reply to helenb63
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