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!

You guys are fantastic. It really helps to hear your stories ( I’m sorry we have so many! ) because ‘out here’ I get the usual, “ You need to stay strong for your mother!” What I’ve learned is even the best intentions and plans for self care can get mowed over and not be enough. I’ve needed to hear - and will probably continue to hear! - that it’s okay to step back further!

Fyi covid negative, though seriously I have my doubts. It’s been a beast with such random symptoms.

I’m on the mend, but very slowly. I just can’t handle what I used to and have to make further changes. A lot of that will involve not talking to my mother every day. THANK YOU GUYS for everything!!!

Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Madisoncuckoo7

friend was taking care of her dad, like you, not living with him, and trying to keep up everyday life, work, and worry. much travel necessary in her business. her body just ramped up and shut down, ended up in ER. health department came in, etc. where did you pick up ecoli? etc. normally she would just get up and move again like nothing...
If your body needs to rest,,,, let your body rest.

ya,, just stick one foot in front of the other.. and keep doing that... you might get used to that norm...
my dr. asked me one day...'WHAT CHANGED" he saw a change in me.. yuup.
got my mom and aunt in one facility.. now it's just a one stop drop. that took a lot of stress off me.... until the administrator separated them for some selfish reason.. oh, ya,,, the lady in the other room had to have her tv on 24/7.. and my mom couldn't complain... she couldnt talk... NOW I REMEMBER.
simplu put that bed was not as easy to rent out due to that alien who had to blast the tv on all night long.
well, it was less stressful with 2 people in the same faclitly-6-pack, board n care, etc...
hide your cell phone for a few days... or put her on text only... you do not need to accept every invitation you are given.
when she calls, just text her back, and apologize... yes apologize.. and tell her your phone was in another room, in the car, turned off, out of battery, under the couch cushion, muted,,, didn't see it... I was taking a walk, and left phone at home, :: you get it... You are control of your phone. do not pick it up every time it rings.. .mute it... If it important, they can leave a message.. .Just make sure you clear your voice mails every once in a while...
It is okay not to be 24/7 24 hours a day connected to a phone.. seriously.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to MAYDAY

The nursing home your mother is getting discharged from doesn't have memory care? How bad is her dementia? If it isn't advanced to the point where she can't comprehend anything hire a caregiver and make her understand that the caregiver is going to be the one helping her and if she causes trouble then she's on her own because you will not look for another one. I know how it is when the elderly LO isn't happy unless there's constant crisis and drama. Also how it is to be the only go-to family member because my sibling is completely useless and does nothing, yet has all the answers to everything. Trust me it will only get worse. One time I truly thought I was having a heart attack because I just couldn't take the constant state of crisis my mother must always be in. Don't do that to yourself. It's not worth it. The only way to make being a family caregiver work, is if the care is done on YOUR terms. Not the LO's. Sometimes even then it becomes too much for one person to handle.
Taking care of her is not worth your life, and it sounds to me like you're at the end of your rope here. It is obvious from what you've said that your mother pretty much sees herself as the center of your universe. Put it to her like this. Ask her what she thinks would become of her if you dropped dead. Who would take care of her then? Give her the ultimatum that either she learns to work with other caregivers or she will be going into a nursing home because you can't care for her anymore and let that be the end of it. Don't take all of her calls every time. You don't have to. Don't let her control you like you're a little kid. And most importantly of all, please don't let her put you on a guilt trip about it.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to BurntCaregiver

I like exercising to combat stress. It helps so much. It can be as simple as walking. I walked at the farmers market earlier today.

Being outside helps too. Nature is so soothing.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to NeedHelpWithMom

Well you have a lot of good support here and I can’t add anything much. Please try to remember the advice they give on airlines when they tell you to put your own oxygen mask on first before attending to a child. In other words, first thing in the AM ask yourself what you need, Hydration? Medication? Nourishing food? (Even boost for yourself) and always take 5 minutes to try to sort out your thoughts before jumping into action. I know-easier said than done! But you must come first if you are to be any good to loved ones.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to KathleenQ

Dear "Madisoncuckoo7,"

As I mentioned to "Martz06" on 10/13, our bodies were not made to have prolonged, high cortisol (a primary stress hormone) levels round the clock. As an only child and caregiver for my mom since my dad passed away in 2004 and especially when my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's at the age of 89, both my husband and I have suffered from PTSD from this situation alone and C-PTSD from other situations throughout life. After I moved my mom out of my childhood home since 1968 into an ALF, I was left to clear out her house that was filled with stuff by myself. My husband had to work but he did take off two weeks vacation time just to help go through my dad's office - it broke him too as he was very close to my dad. A couple of times a family friend came to help me go through clothing, tons of magazines and TV guides dated back to the 1960's. I only had a limited time too as I had to put the house on the market to have money to pay for her ALF rent. What I didn't finish by July, I had to rent the biggest storage unit available to put the rest of their stuff in - it's still there! The house sold on July 4th - the same day it went on the market.

A little over a month later, I started getting pain in my temples which I brushed off since it would come and go. A few weeks later, I had the pain all weekend and nothing I took helped. I called the doctor on Monday and he saw me that day, had me go downstairs to a lab to get bloodwork with a "rush" put on the results. He got them back while I was still there, had me go do a Vascular Surgeon in the same building and he also, sent me to get an MRI of the brain. By 6:00 p.m. the same day, I was scheduled for emergency surgery early the next morning to take out a piece of artery near the temple to have a biopsy done. I had two markers with elevated levels from the stress. He said I could die of a massive stroke or go permanently blind - I went into panic and shock mode - I was only 52 and who would take care of my mom? The diagnosis for someone my age was highly unusual and off to specialists I went.

Two wanted me on steroids - I could not handle them at all! I was up all hours of the night, my husband had to sleep downstairs so he could go to work each day and then I developed panic attacks. The added stress caused me to develop something I never heard of "Burning Mouth Syndrome" - it was like my whole insides were on fire - from the stomach up to my chest, esophagus, throat, mouth, lips and inside my nostrils - I couldn't get any relief. Because I thought it was my acid reflux, I went and had a scope down the throat and the surgeon was shocked based on my symptoms because he found nothing. He expected to see "something!"

I was desperate and asked isn't there anything else you can do for me? I was offered something that was somewhat experimental for this diagnosis - a low dose of a cancer drug. I was willing to try it and immediately switched to a new specialist. I'm still on it. We've seen the levels improve for awhile and then go up again. He knows the severe stress I'm under with my mom and doesn't want to take the risk of taking me off the medication so I've been on it for the last five years.

With all that my mom was going through, I never, ever was able to "process" what was happening to me. I just had to handle all the things my mom needed. It was a very scary time for both my husband and I. And as you can see from all the responses you've received thus far, everybody experiences different things and in varying degrees.

Lesson is - ALWAYS listen to your body because it's the one thing that will tell you something isn't right and then you need to act on it as soon as possible. Don't ignore any of the signals or warnings - they're built in for a reason!
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to NobodyGetsIt

TryingMyBest, your suggestion of just being yourself as a caregiver w/o making comparisons is excellent advice.     It's an especially appropriate consideration when others begin sharing their own experiences and advice on how they feel caregiving should be handled.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to GardenArtist

Madison, I am hugging you in my heart. Yes, about 20 years ago I had a break down and basically lost 6 months of my life.. Without going into my diagnosis I absolutely have to manage my mental health or suffer the consequences.

Six years ago my Dad got sepsis and went downhill quickly, Mom followed right behind. They went from fully functional, working full time, to dependent within months and it just got worse as time went on. I was never a full time caregiver but I supported and helped them in the ways I was able. Our family dynamics are enmeshed and highly dysfunctional. I won't go into all that either, but trying to be helpful AND stay healthy has been trying and difficult.

One thing I will suggest is not to compare yourself to anyone else. I find comparing to be the kiss of death. If I'm not careful I will compare myself to people who are energetic, high achievers and who pride themselves on self sacrifice. I tend to absorb judgement and I can quickly judge myself for my limits, which is so toxic. These are things I need to work on every day. Do what you need to, to stay healthy, the heck with anyone else.

Dad passed last year and Mom is declining rapidly. I won't sugar coat, no matter what I do, the stress of dealing can be overwhelming. Over the past 6 years I have felt emotional numbness creep in, sometimes I feel like I am barely keeping my head above water, but I am functioning pretty well and that's a win for me. I set my boundaries, take my meds, and see a therapist when I find myself loosing my battle of self care. I hope when Mom goes I will be able to work on healing.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to Tryingmybest
NobodyGetsIt Oct 17, 2020
Dear "Tryingmybest,"

Echoing what "GardenArtist" said in response to your comments, you are wise not to compare yourself to others. There is no point in doing it and nothing good comes from it. It just harms yourself while the person you are comparing yourself to has no idea that you feel that way about them or towards them. We are all unique with different temperaments, personalities and capabilities. It's best to just know yourself and do what you are able to do. The old saying goes "what works for one, may not work for another." There's no harm in trying something that is out of our comfort zone in order to stretch ourselves because we may find that we can do something we never thought we were capable of. But if it doesn't work out, then we need to put it behind us, say to ourselves "at least I tried" and move forward until we find what does work for us. We need to try and remember too that the possibilities can be endless and not give up to easily. That's why I've be one to say on the forum that we may take bits and pieces away from multiple people's ideas.

I agree with your statement - "do what you need to, to stay healthy, the heck with anyone else." There is only one "you" but don't think you need to feel alone in this - the majority of us have probably experienced the "emotional numbness" you mentioned. It's only natural when one is overwhelmed and a lot of us have felt the keeping our heads above the water feeling as well. That doesn't mean we're bad - we're human beings with a whole range of feelings that we can have over any given time and with the circumstances at hand.

Just know you matter and take baby steps when needed!
Maddison, how are you feeling? Did your test for covid come back negative?

I hope that you are on the full mend and that you can find a way that works for you to stay out of the daily grind with your mom. MC will hopefully keep her from pulling on you so much.

You have great activities that you do. We were in a small town in Utah and they were having a chalk art contest for the kids of the community, it was amazing and the talent was mind blowing. I had never even heard of it before that but, what a great activity for all.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Isthisrealyreal

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.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to helenb63

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.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to JuliaRose

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.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Llamalover47
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!
See 2 more replies
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.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to chill47
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.
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.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Turehu
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!!!
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.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Grandma1954

I know h ok w you feel and I am just beginning. We both need answers on how to take care of our self
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to carolm2

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.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to BobbieSena

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.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to dazednconfused

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.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to EllerySir
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.
See 1 more reply
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.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Taarna

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!
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Mepowers
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?
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.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to lostand

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.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to M209M209
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
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
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Helenn

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!
Helpful Answer (12)
Reply to Madisoncuckoo7
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!
See 3 more replies
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.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to ArtistDaughter

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.
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to Tireddaughter52
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.
See 2 more replies
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.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to Sunnydayze
Tothill Oct 15, 2020
Sunny, sending you a virtual hug. I will hold you close as long as you need it.
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.
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to Tothill

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?

Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to lealonnie1

Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter