What do I do when I feel burned out, depressed and somewhat suicidal?

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I have been a caretaker in my home for over 5 years. My mother is now at the stage where she needs constant care and can do almost nothing for herself. Even with a paid caretaker to help, I am feeling so overwhelmed that I cannot wait until I go to bed at night. I don't know how to go forward. There is no more energy in me to manage the care, the home care, the medicines and ALL the things that I am doing. My husband and daughter are wonderful people, but they truly don't understand what a bad state I'm in. Their feeling is "snap out of it" or "it's mind over matter..." I am in agony. I love my mother and promised that I wouldn't put her in a home. My father died here at 95 surrounded by the people he loved and who loved him. Now I am afraid that I will be the one who passes away before my mother. It's come to the point that there is nothing that comforts me; I am afraid of everything and I am functioning by sheer will alone. I truly feel that the only thing that keeps me from taking my own life is that there will be no one to take care of my mother. I worry about everything. Nothing seems to be easy. My therapist has prescribed medication and hopefully that will help. Dear God, I don't know what to do. I just want to sleep.

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Rachel, you are at a point where you need to think about a nursing home for your mom. Please read this article - you'll know you aren't alone: https://www.agingcare.com/articles/I-Promised-My-Parents-I-d-Never-Put-Them-In-a-Nursing-Home-133904.htm

You have honored the spirit of your promise to your mom by doing all you can do -and more. She would not want to know that her health is taking such toll on your mental and physical health.
When you made that promise, your mom didn't know all of this would play out over years. And her idea of a nursing home was likely old nursing homes (and yes there are still some bad ones),fom the 60s. Now, But most nursing homes are much more enlightened. You would still be part of the care team. She may even be happier with more of a social life, once she adjusts.
It's too bad, but not unusual that your family doesn't understand how hard this is. Few people who haven't done long-term caregiving do truly understand. They hate seeing you depressed, so they try to get you to "lighten up." Well, you can't. Get serious about help for your mom. You can visit her every day if you choose, feed her lunch and dinner if you want, but you must get out from under this 24/7 care. In-home care can be a wonderful boon, but there comes a time for many when that isn't enough. When your mother's time to die comes, you can all still be with her in her new home. Please, for yourself, start making this change in care. I know it's hard and you'll feel guilty, but it's unearned guilt. Just keep telling yourself that you need to outlive your mom. At this rate, you may not. You must - really must - take care of yourself, and that needs time for breaks and a life outside of caregiving.
Please keep checking back on the Forum for support from these wonderful people. Carol
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Rachel: I posted on your wall earlier. I don't know how everything in you life has happened, but I think it is because you are one of those people that everyone depends on. First of all, you need to tell your daughter that you can no longer take care of the grand kids. I know this will be heartbreaking for you, but you must do it.

Your husband and daughter need a wake up call. I doubt you would want your death to be what gives them a jolt. Please, you need to step back from all the family responsibilities and claim a life of your own. You mentioned in a different post that your husband and daughter don't think you are there for them. Are they there for you? I don't think so.

I think you have made your way though life doing for everyone else and they have all gotten very use to it and expect it now, rather than seeing that you want love too. You are a precious soul, loving and kind, but you don't see yourself as an individual in need of love and support. You only see that in others and you give and give until you are utterly empty.

You do have the power to control what comes into your life and manage what you can handle. Sometimes that means saying NO. I agree that it might be best to place you mom in a facility and be there for her in a different way. I would also suggest that you don't do more care for the Grand kids. Tell you husband you need a vacation, and while I'm sure that sounds out of the world, it isn't. You need to be someplace where there are no voices demanding your attention. Try to find a new way of defining yourself. You are a child of God and you deserve as much love and attention that you put out for others. If others won't give that to you, please try to give it to yourself. I wish I could be by your side and hold your hand. All I can do is send you this note and ask you to save yourself. Love and Hugs, Cattails.
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Thank you all for your love and understanding. Coming here still takes energy, buy I am coming, looking for support and grateful when it comes. Every minute of this day has been about my mother, the visiting nurse visit, the physical therapist, the bathing, the medicines, the phone calls. It's 3:35 PM and we are waiting for the occupational therapist. I should be happy to have this support but I just am counting the hours until we all can go to bed tonight. Also, our caregiver is taking her first days off Sunday and Monday and I'm worried about the new person. Nothing seems to be easy. Thank you all again. I need to re-read all your messages and really try to absorb them.
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My dear friends, I wrote that post on March 23rd. It's April 19th and the medication is starting to work. I don't feel as hopeless, tired maybe, but not hopeless. I swear it is the medication, but I have been able to say, "no," a few times and that is a big step for me. I still care for my mother and my grandchildren, too, but I am not as overwhelmed by guilt. I am doing the best I can and everyday I take a step forward. All is not perfect, but it is not desolate either. Thank you all for your love, for your wisdom and for your kindness. This is truly the place to be. LOVE
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I am in the same boat as you..I have cared for my father for 5 years..My name is kim..
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Rachel, my heart is breaking for you. Wish I could give you a hug; but please know I am sending one. What a wonderful daughter you are and have been; but you are at a breaking point. Glad you are seeing a therapist (I have too) and hopefully, medication will help you. Your husband and daughter do mean well; but as we caregivers know, you can't" snap out of it" and it is definitely not "mind over matter". Many of us have had to break promises about not having our loved ones live in a facility; due to unforeseen circumstances.

But, it seems your mother needs the care of a facility - you have done so much and now at least consider a facility. You have to take care of yourself; and deserve it. You could visit your mother and oversee her care. My father passed away in a facility and I was with him; and it was very peaceful and he was well taken care of. Take how you are feeling as a sign to do something. Do you have a religious affilitation? My husband spoke with the priest from our church and he was so supportive of the nursing home option and he was even on the board of the nursing home and said he would help us.

You are completely exhausted and need a break. Sending much love to you and you are not alone in how you are feeling. Bless you and take care of yourself.
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PLEASE talk to your family & let them know you are at the end of your rope. Most people don't realize the other side of caregiving: juggling medical appointments, medication refills & changes, laundry, changing the sheets, filing the paperwork & much more. You need caregiving for yourself.
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I hate typing but here it goes..lol..my father had a stroke and has been diagnosed with alzthemiers. I am a single mom of 3 girls under the age of 12. My father is bedridden and unless i have funds to pay a sitter i am a prisoner of my own home. I love my father with all my heart and i wouldnt have it any other way but sometimes the depression hits. I totally understand your way of thinking when u feel so exhausted by the end of the day u just dont know what to do with yourself. I try to do outside yard activities while he sleeps just to get a breath of fresh air. My father hollars alot day and night and sometimes i want to just bang my head against a wall but i count to 10..tell myself im doing the right thing and it takes all my energy to keep going. Its nice to have someone that understands your battles everyday..i have done this for 5 yrs.
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RachelDevin, please seek help. You are strong and can get through anything. Caregiving is a difficult task but know that you have the support from caregivers like you on AgingCare.com. You can come to anyone here for anything. Please let us know if there is anything we can do for you.
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Rachel, I am so glad you are in therapy. I hope the new medication proves to be very helpful -- hang in there; sometimes it takes several weeks for some of those drugs to become effective.

I recently heard a talk about caring for dementia patients, by a very respected psychotherapist. She said some caregivers are clinically depressed, but almost all caregivers are sad. The treatment for depression is pills. The treatment for sadness is social interaction.

Please, please, arrange some kind of social life. Join a book club and go to every meeting. Join a bowling league during the time the hired caregiver is there. Meet a friend for lunch or for coffee once a week. Do SOMETHING for pleasure and make sure it involves other people. (And also take your pills.)

But wait. Even if you have a caregiver there, how are you going to run out to coffee when you are responsible for two young grandchildren? A visit from grandchildren can be very uplifting and joyous. But a full-time job to care for them, involving most days and a couple of evenings? Oh my! You are really, really overextended, aren't you?

There is no way that you are going to "snap out of this" or just put your mind over these serious matters and everything will be all right. It would be very convenient for your husband and daughter (and you!) if the world worked that way. But nope, ain't gonna happen.

And there is no way that taking a pill and going out for coffee with a friend is going to fix the fact that you have too much work to do! It is physically demanding, emotionally stressful, ongoing and constant work. Something has to give!

I wonder if you could just be a grandmother to those sweet little kids? See them frequently, spoil them a little, enjoy your time with them, but give up being their day-and-night care provider. (At least for now. Next year, who knows?) Then you can focus on what is best for Mother. If you were free to focus on just her care, either in your home or in a professional setting, perhaps it would not be so overwhelming. As Carol says, even if she is in long term care, you will probably want to spend a fair amount of time with her. How can you do that with your present responsibilities?

Hugs to you! Feeling overwhelmed is not pathological -- you truly do have overwhelming responsibilities. It is not you that needs to be "fixed" -- it is the crazy situation you are in. My sincere best wishes to you for finding some serenity and sense or accomplishment for all you have done and are doing.
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