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Got another call from the nursing home last night. Mom tried to get out of bed and fell out (luckily they have gym mats next to her bed). After 9 years of this Parkinson's with dementia, husband with 7 surgeries in the last 3 years, my young life dealing with my father's decline and death, and my autistic daughter, I'm on auto pilot. I feel nothing, and I think the nursing staff thinks I don't care. Don't like how or what I've become. Has anyone ever felt the same way and if so, any suggestions on how to come out of this?

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Don't worry about what the nursing staff think. I mean, honestly, you've got enough on your plate without that haven't you? And, besides, I'd give them more credit for experience - if they don't understand how stressful it is to support a loved one with Parkinson's and dementia then I don't know who would.

I had episodes of feeling detached from reality, most marked during my three hours off every Monday when a professional caregiver came for respite breaks and I was supposed to go out and do something constructive (yeah, right). Auto pilot, numb, freefall - yes, I can relate to that sort of sensation. No idea what I was doing or what I was meant to be doing, almost to the point of its being quite dangerous now I think back to it.

I am guessing that one reason that we feel like this is that there *is* nothing we can do about the illness and frailties and disabilities our loved ones are facing. We are helpless. All we can do is be there and care about it. Just as shell-shock is the result of being kept under fire without possibility of escape, all we can do is take in what's happening without being able to change it. Our options are: a) suck it up or b) turn our backs. And b) is not a real option for people who've already got as far down the road as you have.

What you can do for your own mental health? I've heard mindfulness as a therapy warmly recommended by respectable sources, would that appeal to you?

And for the immediate issue, that of how a normal person reacts when they get a call in the night saying that mother has fallen out of bed, no harm done... Well, what are you supposed to say? Apart from "thank you for letting me know, please give her my love." Were they expecting you to hurtle round there and kiss her better or something?
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I wouldn't classify it as numbness, but I think that being overwhelmed and almost stunned might describe it. Sometimes it's more than our minds can process and accept. And there's also the feeling that life is out of control, and that's a frightening and unsettling experience.
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I would frame it another way. I think your "numbness" is your brain's way of protecting you so that you can keep going. Otherwise, with all of your responsibilities and you have a LOT, you'd totally crack up.

Do you have some girlfriends you can spend some time with? I always found that restorative for me. Or some purely physical activity that you have to think about, to get your mind engaged fully in something else? Those were two things that helped me stay sane.
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Sounds like compassion fatigue, otherwise known as burnout. My cure came when mom went into the nursing home, but I'm not sure I will ever feel "normal" again.
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It sounds like you have really been through it. If it's how you cope, then, I'd stick with it. It's not the staff's place to judge you.

Did they take her to the ER? I know that if anything at all happens to my LO in MC, they send her to the ER. Of course, they call me and I meet them there.(For some reason this always happens between midnight and 3:00 a.m.) The last couple of times, there was really nothing wrong with her, but, they tell me they have their rules. So, I get it. We have a lot on our shoulders. I suspect that you do care, but, are perhaps suffering from compassionate fatigue.
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First of all, do not worry what the staff thinks of you. After feeling stunned and shocked at what suddenly kept happening with my previously competent and well mom, the staff should have been more worried about what I thought of them! It is normal to shut down some, or go into stunned mode when constantly bombarded with negative news about your loved one. The staff should not be judging you but rather doing their job caring for your loved one.
If you have someone you can talk to that might be helpful. I also kept a journal and would compartmentalize my days and write to let it all out that way. You can also come on here to vent after a rough day as there are threads on here for that. Don't forget to be kind to yourself when you can, even little things like a good cup of coffee, watching birds, the sunrise, flowers, etc. can add up and help if you do them a little each day.
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"Me Time!"

You are in drastic need of some quality "Me Time!"

And remember, crying is therapeutic. Sometimes just crying helps.

Katie 22 really said it very well. Don't worry about what anyone else might think - they are not walking in your shoes.
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I totally get it. Three long years of craziness from my mom, multiple falls, hospitaizations, brief nursing home stints where all she did was scream and cry to go home. And of course as the "good daughter" left by the other FIVE siblings to deal with it all. Yeah I became numb to it all and searched for an escape. I over heard mom tell a nursing home roommate one time that yes, I was sweet but "so cold." Yeah, numb is a survival technique. Even when she was in hospice slowly dying for five days I felt little but the agony of getting through it. Six months later I miss the mom I had before the hell started but I don't see how I could have done anything different. My mom did not raise me though, not sure if that makes a difference. Blessings through this hard time, it does end and you get your life back. Eventually.
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We numb out to protect ourselves sometimes and then, without warning, the dam breaks and it all comes rushing back. All we can do is put one foot in front of the other and remember that "This, too, shall pass.
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Oh, do I identify with a lot of what has been said here. I just came from a horrible visit with my mother - she seems to have gone into a depressive mode, everything was negative, the staff were all mean to her and she said one of them hit her. This is the first time I have heard this kind of thing. I don't know what to believe. She didn't have any marks on her that I could see and it is not unreasonable to think that this is her Bi-polar illness talking as she then proceeded to tell me how mean my visiting brothers and sisters were. She has been there 6 months and I've never seen her so negative about the staff. She says "I want to come home" and my mind goes to scenarios "I'll sell my house, I'll bring her home and go live with her and my dad and take care of them both". This mental scenario plays out at least once a week. And I feel a sense of relief until I imagine what that would be like, and I'm filled with anxiety as I realize that I am between a rock and a hard place with nowhere to go. And then I have a crazy-making conversation with a nurse whom I've had a run-in before and I leave utterly devastated. 95% of the staff at this facility are kind and loving and helpful, but this one? not so much. And I drive home thinking "Who do I talk to" and wonder when it will be over. When I'm dead? That was an hour ago, and since then I've made myself a good dinner and Facetimed with my daughter and prayed. I'm sane now, but it was sketchy for a while there. I remember what I have read on here that we did not cause this situation, the mental and phsyical decline of parents to the point where we cannot care for them.
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