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I need advice and input from you all.
I am in GA instead of back in TN caring for my aunt & uncle where I'm supposed to be. Came down to visit, in a panic mode the whole trip. Now I cannot even drive back. It has been building up, this stress, anxiety & the whole 9 yards. Cousin is somewhat watching her parents while I am gone but hates it. She is pressuring me to come back & is willing to drive down with her daughter to get me & one of them can drive uncle's truck I borrowed to come here. I feel like I have had a mental meltdown. Again, I have felt the signs coming on. Even though things here with my sons are far less than ideal I cannot see myself going back to take care of them. Both have AZ/dementia. I have long had problems with depression & anxiety. I don't know what to do. I called a mental health place the other day but lack the energy to follow through. Just thinking about how to get my own truck down here which needs work, things out of storage unit there to here & no place to put them. I am in such a state I am no good to anyone.

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ff, I appreciate you asking about me. Although I am out of the situation in TN I have been in stress at son's residence. I have been having severe physical & emotional problems since a hysterectomy in August 2010. The fact I did not know I was getting one (thought surgery was to remove a large ovarian mass) and certainly was not informed of the devastating, life-long effects of this procedure has me outraged. I have been doing research on the subject but it is too late. It only confirms my belief that all the symptoms are a direct consequence of the procedure. The frustration in getting people, including doctors, to believe me is indescribable. Anyway, I am hoping my son can take me to get help with housing, medical care early this week. I hate it because I used to be a vital, healthy woman & totally supported myself. That is the plan. Things are stressful here at son's for various reasons. I have not been outside for almost 3 weeks. I do not mean to sound whiny. I am just at the end of my rope.
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1butterfly, just checking in to see how you are doing, and if any new plans are in the works.
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ff, in answer to your question I was asked by one of the cousins to help their parents out a few days a week, then it turned into 5. I had moved to TN to help my mother last year. She began doing what she has done to me my whole life...criticizing every little thing, throwing things up to me I did when I was 16 (40 years ago) & crap like that. It was obvious that was not working out & that my aunt & uncle needed full-time care. So cousins asked me to luve with their parents & still get paid. Sunnygirl, you are right. I do not need to be caretaking them with my condition. It isn't that I would do something to hurt them, though...that much I know. I also know it is hurting me. I have tried "plans" with cousins. They cannot agree with one another on anything & any suggestions I made always get the same response..."I'll look into that & get back with you." Aunt & uncle do need to either be in NH or have someone with them at all times.
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If you feel like you are going to have a mental breakdown, suffer from panic and anxiety, then care giving for dementia patients is a quite risky. I can't think of anything more stressful that I have every experienced. One hour of caring for dementia patients can test the patience and mental stability of anyone. I'd try to find another option. Good luck.
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Butterfly, just curious how you started out being the Caregiver for your Aunt and Uncle? Was it a right choice when you first started out? How many years have you been living there? Could the cousins hire another Caregiver to help you out, so that you aren't doing everything on your own?

Make a plan, call it Plan A, you would go back to your Aunt and Uncle if this, and this, and this were put into place. Such as another Caregiver, and two days off during the week. Cousins would have to agree in writing.

If that doesn't fly, write out Plan B, with a different list of what you would do for your Aunt and Uncle. Again the Cousins would have to agree in writing.

Then there is Plan C... as in cee ya... you are moving out of the area.
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It's good to help others. It's also begin with you. If your cousin can't understand what is going on in your life, it's not the end of the world. You have to do what is right for you. Then everything else later. I'm sorry to say this but maybe its time to put your aunt and uncle into a nursing home where they can receive the proper care. Having that kind of commentment is more than you can handle right now. You, your health, and your son is your responibity right now. Your cousin is going to have to take it for the team and pray for her and your aunt and uncle. It's not that you don't love them. I was always told charity begins at home and spread abroad. Home first and everything else later. God will take care of the rest.
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butterfly - ((((((hugs))))) I am so glad that your sons are finally appreciating that you need help. Your aunt and uncle are not your responsibility and a cousin with the attitude that you are lucky to have free housing in no asset. I think that a person with longstanding depression and anxiety problems is best not caregiving anyone but themselves.

Certainly repeat to your cousin that you cannot come back and stay. Sounds like you are an easy out for her - meaning she is putting the responsibility of her parents on your back and that is not right for any one. To give her the benefit of the doubt, maybe she thought this was a good arrangement for everyone. You do need to make it very clear that it does not work for you.

Are you under a doctor's care for your anxiety and depression? That seems like one of the first things you need, and then support to get disability, find housing, what ever other support you can get. I am so glad that you are recognising that you cannot do this anymore, and looking after yourself. Caring for 2 demented people is a huge job for anyone, and an impossible job for someone with your issues. Well done!!!
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I do have a little saved up. Ideally, in an un-ideal situation, I would like them to come get the truck or sons drive me to TN in it. Then I could get personal things & my truck & hope it makes it back down here. Paused in typing this when sons came home briefly for lunch & we talked. Seems like they are now trying to understand the crisis I am having mentally. Finally. They are in the process of finishing up a job & can't help me getting to TN for a week or so. Guess I need to repeat to cousin & make it very clear to her that I cannot come back to stay. Maybe she will volunteer to come get the truck.
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It is a problem having anxiety and not having your own place. I started thinking about what I would do in this situation. Having the uncle's truck is also a consideration. I might be tempted to take my cousin's offer to come get me. At least that way the truck would be returned and I would be with my own things. Then I would work on recovery. I don't know the specific circumstances, but don't know how good it would be at the son's place. And I don't know if you have any of your own money, butterfly. I hope there is a simple way to work yourself through this.
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You all are so understanding. No one else is listening. Even my sons. They don't want me here..."it's too crowded", "no privacy", etc. And I understand that. But I'm hoping my disability hearing will be in a couple of months & could move on from there. Yes my cousins use the no place to live thing & how fortunate I am to have a roof over my head in TN although they don't come right out & say so to my face. I cannot get my sons to commit to helping me get stuff from TN. Storage rental is paid up for this month & I have enough saved to finance what it would take for trip there & back & a month to store here. I keep thinking about all the times I took sons in when I was barely making it myself. Guess that doesn't count now that I need them to help me. Yes, I know that I need to get up from here & go to an agency or something.
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*IF* YOU Don't Have A Home To Call Your Own, GO, To Social Services...ASK For Help. SAY Homeless....NEED Help...If, you are at risk for loosing your things in storage, SAY SO...NEED Help ASAP...( link Georgia Dept Of Social Services:

http://dhs.georgia.gov/

Look, Fix Your Stuff FIRST. THEY seem to figure, if ya don't have a Home, Are LUCKY To Be Allowed To Care For THEM...The NoWhereElse To Go Attitude...

STAND, In Dept Of SS. SAY, I Do NOT Have A Place To GO...*IF* You owe money on your storage unit before they'll give you your things, try a church...Heck, I'd even say a Loan Shark...lol...ASK For A Motel Room if ya have to....Pile Your Stuff In There..........THEN, ASK For Help Finding A Job. Permanent Housing. Talking to Social Services about Them Doesn't Do YOU ANY Good....The Worry The Problem blahblahblah... YOU SAY Help, For YOU...Focus...Make The Calls
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JessieBelle, regarding the water, one time I went to an urgent care office as I was feeling terrible, kept feeling faint, and the doctor kept having me drink water while I was there... oh my gosh, I never knew that dehydration could cause a variety of issues, and apparently feeling panicky was one of them.
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Butterfly, do what your heart tells you to do.

Sounds like you are totally burnt out from caring for your aunt and uncle who BOTH have Alzheimer's/dementia. From what I have read on these forums it's hard enough caring just for one person with memory issues, I couldn't imagine caring for two.

Could your sons help you get your truck and help you get your things out of storage and placed in storage in GA until you get your own place.... could you stay with one of your sons short-term until the dust settles and you can get back on your feet?

Maybe you can get disability payments for awhile. Or you go to work for a caregiving agency since you have a lot of experience, and get paid for your work with their clients which would be easier than dealing with cousins who didn't want the responsibility of caring for their own parents or for putting their parents into a continuing care facility.


I know there is a lot to think about. Eventually you will work it out. Keep coming back here to the forum to see if you can get new ideas and *ah ha* moments that will help :)
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It sounds like you need to concentrate on yourself for a while. There are medications and therapies that can help a lot, but they will take a while. You will have to make yourself go to a good clinic that has people who can help. It isn't easy to make yourself go. That is the nature of panic. It makes us want to find a hole to hide in. But if we give into it completely, we just end up agoraphobic. The problem won't resolve itself.

I have reoccurring panic disorder. Fortunately I haven't had a major bout of it in over 25 years (knock wood). What helped me get better when I was having a bout of it were antidepressants and Xanax. I never got addicted to the Xanax and it certainly did help me hold my life together as I got better. Doctors can be so stingy with the Xanax now, which is a shame. It is the drug of choice for panic disorder. Used correctly, it does not become a problem.

I also made myself get out every day doing normal things. I would make myself drive -- not long trips, just things around town. I would go for walks, even when I had fog all in my head. And I would eat well. My panic was worse when I had gone for a while without eating. And I learned that water is a great medicine. When anxiety would grow, I would drink a little. Somehow the swallowing of the liquid calmed me. I don't know why. I still have a bottle of water with me when I go somewhere. It is like a little security blanket.

I wouldn't go back to TN to take care of your aunt & uncle right now. The last thing you need is the responsibilities and confinement that comes with dementia care. I do wish you could get to a place that you feel is home so you can work on your recovery.

An important thing to remember is that panic is self limiting. You may feel like you're going to die or have a heart attack, but you won't. Even a full-blown attack crests, then goes back down.

One of the things I hated most about panic disorder was the brain fog and visual distortion. The medications and making myself do things in spite of it helped with that. You do have to take the time for recovery. If your cousin does not understand, then she is expecting way too much from you.

Big hugs from Alabama.
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