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I had to leave my career when I became disabled with fibromyalgia and depression. It is hard to take care of the responsibilities in my life. For almost three years my sisters and I have done everything we can to care for our mother, but the drama continues and so does the drain. She's moved into two independent living facilities and complains all the time. In her depressed state she calls us almost daily to tell us how she wants to die and we should just shoot her. This overwhelming, and I find myself completely withdrawing so that I can try to deal with my own issues. She's been Baker Acted as well as changed mediciations. She hates therapy. It is unbearable for her as well as the rest of the family who are also distancing themselves. What to do?

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I am so sorry you had to leave your career due to disability and then deal with a mentally ill mother. Only you know what you can really deal with, but I suggest you seek out a local support group or therapist if possible. I also suggest that you and your sisters understand that your mother is mentally ill, and there is nothing any of you can do to change that or her depression/happiness status. You will have to accept the fact that you are doing a great job, but you can only do so much. As long as she has a safe place to live, you cannot worry yourself with the "what if's". If she calls you or your sisters to say she wants to die, you are going to have to set some borders and tell her she needs to get therapy so she can talk to someone else about her problems as you don't want to hear it and definitely won't participate in shooting her. If she continues, I'd politely discontinue the telephone call. It's so sad, and if she does something drastic after you hang up - it's NOT your fault. But it's not good for you to continue listening to it. And it's okay to withdraw if that's what you need to do too. And it's okay to screen your phone calls via caller ID. If you're not up to handling it today - don't answer the phone. It doesn't make you a bad person at all. If you get to a point where you can talk to her again - you call her instead when you're ready. I wish there was more I could offer. I'm sure you will get some more advice from some of these wonderful people on here. Good luck!!!
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vw9729 is so right, Ayla2013. Answering your phone to your mom's ongoing angst is the same as taking poison everyday. I've been there and done that. One of the best days of my life was when I took charge. It didn't make my mother any happier or unhappier. It is what it is with her. BUT, it gave me time to heal between times having to deal with her. With distancing, I had time to think and to plan my actions toward her in my best interests and in hers. Set strict behavioral boundaries. Don't let her cross them. It is hard to do at first but give it time and you will see positive outcomes for you, maybe for her, too, but if not, too bad for her. You cannot make it any worse by taking care of yourself so why not take care of yourself?
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When your body and mind are falling apart! You don't let go, you just step back and accept what you can physically and mentally do. You are going to feel guilty no matter what decision you make, but you have to accept the fact that you are made of flesh and blood. Don't think of taking care of yourself as letting go of your loved one, but when you take care of yourself, you are taking care of your loved one. Does that make sense. What do they say, when a plane is ready to go down, who do you give the oxygen to first? If you die, then what happens to your loved one. My Mom just passed away June 2. It was just me and my mom. No brothers and sisters. I had a severely disabled child and high school teenager. Oh yes, let me not forget the hubby, heaven forbid. My therapist said my mom and I were a braid twined tightly. I had to learn to step back and know that I was doing the best I could with who I was, and the situation I had in front of me. I went to the nursing home everyday, feeling guilty because I should've had her at home. In the end, mom passed away peacefully. My daughter passed away in my home and my son is going off to college in 2 weeks. From all this my blood pressure went through the roof, and I gained more weight then I care to mention. I am seeing a therapist who is helping me make peace with the acceptance that I did the best I could with the tools that I had. My dear friend, listen to me! Take care of yourself and make peace that you are good person who is doing the best you can. Let these words sink into your soul and accept that you are a human being who doesn't run on eveready batteries. Whatever decisions you make will be for the better of you loved one. Safety, cleanliness and love is what you can offer.
Its been two months since mom passed away. I am walking and off my blood pressure meds. These last 20 years seem like a lifetime, but I did the best I could. You will do the same. Blessings and lots of hugs sending your way:)
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I wonder if people who tend to have depression also tend to be accepting of the "family caregiver" role because they think they or their life is not "important" enough not to give up to take on the caregiver role? They feel "guilty" and depressed and therefore unworthy -- perhaps being caregiver helps them to feel more "worthy"? I think maybe these things may have helped lead to my role as "family caregiver" -- this is a new insight from seeing the same pattern in so many on this site.
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I am so in awe of those who have offered such supportive advice. Thanks to all and Maybelle it sounds like our story is the same one. I hated having to retire early and did not get to enjoy it due to my ill health and now with Mother I just get so frustrated and feel so inadequate of helping her. She demands more energy that I have in a week and I cannot keep up with her and my husband cannot either.

To those I will try to remember : Alya, Lori, Coffeelover, ustefans and Chimonga what profound words of comfort you have offered and I see many of you are much further along this long hard road than I am. I will try and take heed to all the advice and am getting help for myself but don't know how much help I can be for mother with my own health problems. You all know what it is like to want to help in the worst way but are unable. I will have to work on my "boundaries" and find a "happy" medium for lack of a better word.. lol I pray my mother will soon give into the nursing home. I keep mentioning it and I noticed today she was much better but I cannot get her off the phone without sounding rude. She will repeat the same thing for an hour and I try to be "up" for her calls but it is not easy. Even when I tell her I need to go to pee or eat, she will not stop talking.

I just read a book where the lady was a hospice nurse and she would hang up on her mother when she started ranting but if I did that my mother would never talk to me again (and that might not be the worst thing??) But, I cannot allow her illness to suffocate me either. I am working on it and listening to these wonderful post of those who so understand.

Thanks again to each of you. I was on another where they were so complaining and cursing and I did not feel welcome their. I hope you understand. I compalined too but no let up. You have the answers here but it we don't take action, we cannot expect things to get better and I see it can be "tough love" but I will work the best I can to help myself so I can also help my mother. I just hate I am not well enough to do more. But, that is life and it is too short as it is. I love my mother , even if she is narcissistic and have learned how to do deal with everything until this dementia this year. I knew she was repeating herself but did not realize just how bad it was until it was the last few months since we moved her closer to my home, which is now only 5 minutes. But, the nursing home is next and I am reminding her and I noticed today she was not as bad. So, I know a little is her manipulating but there is no way to know the difference. I will just tolerate the best I can and then say that word "No" when all else fails. I will be here for her but do need to put restrictions on how much stress she causes before I lose it and say something I will regret. I have to be conscious of everything I say but I am telling her when she is able to listen the NH is next. That's the best I can do at the moment. And I know her doctor would sign her in. She was on no medication until the first of the year and now it is for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, memory loss, nerves and depression. It is now 5. I still believe doctors over medicate and the Atavin does not help her sleep as he told her it would. So, I think she needs something else.

All of her life she has gotten up at 8:00 am and had her coffee, made her bed and been dressed by 9:30 or 10:00 but the last few weeks she is still not dressed at noon. I wear lounging PJ's around the house but this is my bad habit. I have never known her to do this. So, I am seeing so many changes quickly. It is so hard for me to watch her get like this. She has always been so prim and proper and a strong woman. I guess all the warning signs are there for me to see and try to help the best I can.

Again, I cannot thank each of you enough for your posts and words of wisdom. I am getting pretty old myself and so much of the time lately, I feel like the child. So, this makes it harder for me to deal with her. But, I promise to work in it and am listening to those of you who have gone before me or are professionals in this elderly care field. I am not. I struggle to make each day work for me. Without this stress I did pretty well but not handling this responsibly thing so well. I never had a problem until I got so sick. but not am not able to cope with stress. But, I could not think of hurting mother and not going to see her or help her though this godforsaken illness.

Warm wishes and ((( HUGS)))

Sunny:)
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I can relate with this. My father has congestive heart failure, enlarged heart, two bad valves, clogged arteries and vascular ulcerations. I was terminated from my job because of an injury to my rotator cuff and spine from my job. I had rotator cuff surgery but my spine was not operationable so I have to deal with that pain and I've been taking care of my father who literally refuses to go into assisted living. He wants to die at home and I can't persuade him otherwise. So I was going over their everyday almost and attending to his wounds, getting his groceries, refilling his medications, cleaning his house, driving him to Doctors appointments and still trying to rebuild my life after this injury. My stress was through the roof. I was just diagnosed with colon cancer. I called my siblings and told them I wasn't able to take care of Dad any more. My health is a priority now and I just can't wait on my father anymore. Well now they are finally stepping up and helping. My Dad had pretty much driven everybody away because of his behavior except me but he was too much for me to care for. It took cancer to get my siblings to help with my father and once I'm clear of cancer I hope to be anyways. I am definitely not going in to that pit of hell again. Since my siblings pitched into help my blood pressure dropped and I don't have so many headaches but I still have the cancer. I have to take care of me now before I need a care provider.
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Im going through the exact same thing. Except no one helps me at all with my gramma who cant walk, but she can do a bunch more for herself then she admits to unless a physical therapist or health care provider is in the room then all the sudden she becomes super woman. But they leave and its back to letting me kill my back, my nerves and my soul by making me lift into her chair in and out of bed 20 times a day to the commode, wont do a thing to make it easier for me at all. its like she is doing things to hurt me because she is so unhappy and depressed. She is 87 and very very good at making me feel like heck for the wreck ive become over the past 18 months since i started here. she tries and gets up on her own and falls at least once a day. i cant keep up with her when im helping her she is impatient and wont listen to reason. My SSDI final appeal hearing is the 15th of next month which just so happens to be her birthday If they do grant me my case im going to place her in a good safe nursing home and im outta here. I know im playing with fire by risking my back and my mental state is so bad anyhow but this has really made me much worse fast. I don't feel guilty at all. I know Ive done all i can here....you have to. look out for yourself because when we get to this stage there probably wont be anyone stepping up for us this way right? I know there wont be for me....take care hun...you are far from alone. hugs
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Reading all of these comments and questions has brought me to tears, because I am in the same boat... I just wish I could reach out and hug all of you. Wouldn't it be nice if we could all have a giant house together and help each other out every day? Years ago I was diagnosed with Complex PTSD, some of it as a direct result of my mother and her mental illness (when we were little she forced us to watch while she cut her wrist, then said "Now look what you made me do?!"). Years of violence from men later. And here I am, the good daughter, spending every minute of every day trying to help her feel better. She has fallen many times over the past 11 years, and I always picked her up. Now I am supposed to have back surgery, but I can't because no one will take care of mom for me. Yes, this is painful and yes, I deserve more. If I put mom in a nursing home, I will lose a roof over my head. You know what, though? It's time to draw that BOUNDARY. Time to let go. Time for us to be FIRST. It is NOT selfish to want freedom and happiness. I send you hugs and prayers and please know we, of all people, know what it's like. It is good for me to say this because I should listen to my own words as well. :-)
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You sound like me. I also had to leave a career due to fibromyalgia and depression. My husband has bipolar disorder and Parkinson's disease. He is in an assisted living facility and calls several times a day to tell me how miserable he is, etc. I finally had a complete breakdown, got into counseling and a support group, and gradually realized that I don't have to answer the phone every time he calls, nor do I have to visit him every time he wants me to. It isn't easy, but with support asnd reinforcement, I have been able to set boundaries. I urge you to call your local your local behavioral health facility and find out what programs are available for you. Also, contact NAMI.org, an organization for people who have loved ones with mental issues. They have offices in every state.
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Alya, another person here with some of the same issues. I had to retire much earlier than I wanted because of PTSD/depression/anxiety - I gained 100 lbs but am almost now down that much. Soon after that I became primary caregiver to my dad when he was on home hospice. Thank goodness for psychiatrists, therapy, medication, family, and groups! Two years later I find myself caregiver once again. This time with my mom who has early dementia and can no longer be trusted to drive or cook. When I started to feel myself going downhill I immediately called to see a therapist again. She gave me some excellent community resources which seems to have stopped my downward spiral. Calling them was very therapeutic. My sister and I are still waiting for a diagnoses and a referral to a social worker to get some of the support but we see there is hope, we won't be alone. I was able to find a caregivers support group, too. I even called Adult Protective Services to find out what my responsibilities are. They also gave me some excellent advice and support information.

We really need to make sure we are taking care of ourselves or we will be useless to everyone. Since I am unable to travel, due to taking care of my mom, I used that travel money to buy myself an expensive present for being such a good person. I can also suggest gentle yoga. There was a person with fibromyalgia in my class and the instructor was excellent with making modifications to everyone's abilities and limitations. As others have said, you are not alone and take care of yourself!
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