25 years ago I began having panic and anxiety attacks when I was pregnant. I have had problems off and on since then but never really KNEW or FOUND OUT HOW TO STOP THEM. IT WAS MORE LIKE USE Xanax UNTIL THEY STOPPED. I have done deep breathing, walking up and down the street and its 1 am, praying,also done all the imaging stuff and I am finding nothing that really works.

i am caring for Mom basically alone even though my older sister lives with us. Her and my younger sister work and I am on disability so I am the one left at home to deal with all situations alone. Older sister stays at work past quitting time so she does not have to deal with Mom or anything else. She has started trying to come home a bit earlier this past week but it may be too little and too late. I have felt pretty much like I was being treated as a slave for some time but I was living with it, I had no choice. Now the panic and anxiety attacks have begun again and it is based on being stuck in this house all the time and shouldering the care giving alone.

I see a therapist in my home once a week. I am so fearful of this becoming worse and me not being able to care for Mom at all as I will wind up being the crazy person who cannot handle stress again.. I worked hard to get past this and with it starting again, I just want it to stop!! I just do not know how to control it.

I had been trying to leave the house each weekend to see that life really exists outside these four walls but older sister had a fit that I ways always leaving with my younger sister and demanded that it stop, it is jealousy. She actually told me I had to ask her permission before I left the house! I told her to basically F Off! The last 3 weekends I have sat at home all weekend long and she has NEVER LEFT THE HOUSE THE ENTIRE WEEKEND, NEVER EVER LEFT!. I personally don't give a crap what she says any longer, she leaves this house every single day. Yes she is going to work, but she is out of this house and dealing with kids and other teachers and staff, so she has some resemblance of a life...I STOPPED HAVING A LIFE IN 1997 WHEN i BECAME ILL, SO MY YOUNGER SISTER AND HER DAUGHTER ARE MY ONLY FRIENDS. Just running to have my blood drawn at the lab this morning was like I had been set free.

If I could just get my mother to agree to leave the house to go to a park, or the store, just anyplace to get out of here I think it would help but she flat out refuses. I think she feels very uncomfortable leaving her normal surroundings so she is like an immovable bull in a 95 pound body. The only place she has been willing to go in the past has been the cemetery where her family is buried. At this point I am willing to go there if it means being outside and away from here.

I think obviously the thing I have to do is find someone who can stay with her so I can leave the house. How do I go about finding a company or agency that is reputable that I can trust and it doesn't cost $25 an hour.

I really need any input that you may have on dealing with the panic and anxiety, overcoming it hopefully permanently and I would greatly appreciate your input on finding someone to stay with Mom or giving advice on what else i can/should do.

I need a solution as my sister is trying to break me, because she wants me to have to give up POA over my mother. I cannot do that, she was using Mom's money to pay her bills with no intention of ever paying it back. HELP!!!!!

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Holycow, it sounds like you are living a nightmare with sisters and mother around you. I would be panicking, too. I'm sure your body is trying to tell you to turn attention to yourself and what you need.

I have panic disorder that rears its ugly head every 10-20 years. I have to deal with it, because it will turn into agoraphobia if I don't. It can be so hard to deal with. Despite the panic that was crippling at times, I was able to work as a teacher until I took early retirement to do other things I wanted to do. (Taking care of parents was NOT on that list!)

Something that helped me dealing with the panic was knowing the attacks are self-limiting. You won't die or go crazy. You won't have a heart attack or stroke. They will crest, then go away. There are two natural things that really help me -- water and good food. I'm more likely to panic when my sugar is low. I also learned a lot about self soothing. Everyone does this different. It sounds like your self soothing would mean getting away for a while and maybe having a bite to eat or just sitting by a river. I always find peace in watching water flow away from me, so I face downstream. It is like the water carries my concerns away with it.

A big thing that has helped me is my motto in life: Feel the fear and do it anyway. I think I got the motto from the title of a book. I use this motto when I feel I can't face situations that make me anxious. The motto works so well with me. It reminds me that I succeeded in the past and can do it again, to just go ahead and do it.

I hope that you can figure out what your body is telling you that you need to do. I think working it through with a therapist is a wonderful suggestion. I wish they had a lot of free therapists around. Those people can be expensive unless insurance will cover it.
Helpful Answer (8)

Much of your story parallels mine. I have chronic pain and anxiety issues that had been pretty well managed until my mother had a stroke 1 year ago. I quit my job, moved her in with me and felt like my home was an enemy. My pain, stress, depression reached a peak after 5 months and it was BAD. After falling, my mom entered the hospital and then rehab (where she is still). By the SECOND DAY after mom's hospital admission my nausea, shakiness, brain fog / confusion, racing pulse and tendency to cry over everything DISAPPEARED. I was able to visit her daily without feeling angry, tired and stressed. Life was put back in perspective. I could enjoy her a bit more because I wasn't providing her direct care; some compassion returned.
I love my mother but I am not made to be a sole caretaker. Not everyone was born to be great at this. Mom is still in a rehab/skilled nursing facility and coming home is still up in the air BUT I have learned some things:
1) I have to have at least a little physical and emotional distance from mom in order to preserve my physical and mental health. I don't want it to be that way but well, it is. I simply can not “do it all” and stay well. And I’m going to stay well.
2) There ARE resources out there or you. Find your local Agency on Aging or senior citizen advocacy place or caregiver support group (a local hospital may know) or adult day program. Whether it’s private insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, there are funds that your mom qualifies for. My local Alzheimer’s group had a Respite Grant that helped me get in-home help so I could get OUT.
3) Continue to pursue any small or brief activity that allows you to clear your head, breathe deeply and re-center. Stick with counseling. Google “anxiety” and find simple steps to keep yours in check. YOU are in charge of your reactions to things that cause stress – they are not in charge of you. Fight it. Stick with your medicines, and doctor’s advice. Ask your doctor for herbal or over the counter items that may help with anxiety. I found it helpful to collect positive quotes, cute inspirational pictures and sayings, scripture and humorous postings – great for maintaining a hopeful attitude AND for encouraging my mother.
4) You can not do a thing for your mom if you are not healthy. Sometimes making a decision for skilled nursing or assisted living is best for you and your parent – and that distance will save your relationship.
I wish you and your family peace and well-being. In the end, family and health are the most important things. Without them intact, you can not care for mom in a way that serves her best.
Helpful Answer (8)

1. Pay the money to find helpers. Maybe medicaid can help? Mom found a company here called Bayada and she pays very little for companionship, house chores and personal help. If you have to pay to get helpers, start with one day a week and take OFF.
2. Do something for yourself every day: but don't indulge in bad food which could feed your physical problems.
3. The concept of carving out a place for yourself and having boundaries saved me from my own panic attacks. Make a place in your home, closed in, screened in, with plants, music, candles, whatever you need to have your very own sanctuary and let it be known its all YOURS. No one else allowed. It states boundary, it affirms the need for you to exist without anyone else, it is safe and reminds you to be in it. from that place, you can begin to build your peace, creativity, strength.

I used a corner of my bedroom: a few plants, photos of saints, candles, incense, music or silence. MY Chair, my space, my place for ahhhhhh.

Don't let your family bully you into anything. I'd threaten to leave the whole situation if after setting boundaries, seeing a counselor, and getting respite doesn't work for you.

I hope this helps. The mind set is very important. I don't get those panic attacks anymore. But I do cry when the tension builds up. Cry, pray, and act positively.
I am sure you'll find other ideas from this wonderful forum.
Helpful Answer (6)

Given the severe distress you are suffering, it may be time to ask yourself if you really want the current circumstances to continue.

You seem to be so intensely locked in conflict with these people that simply letting go and walking away doesn't appear to be an option to you. Perhaps this is something you might discuss with the therapist?

Do you have somewhere else you could go, some safer place from which to start a new life? Are you willing to admit you were wrong to take this on? (This is a tough one.) Can you possibly endure it for other family members to appear to *win* this fight?

Hopefully you aren't waiting/hoping/trusting that the others will change. From what you say, apparently THIS IS IT.

You're in a tough situation. But while they are not going to change, YOU can. And you should in order to get yourself into a more supportive environment. Living with toxic people is harmful not only to our mental health, but also physically. Remember that you are the only one in this mix that you have the power to control.

Good luck and God bless.
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Over helping capable people is something women and caregivers have done since the dawn of time. To us, it is an expression of love through service, but is driven by self esteem issues and poor boundaries. It is not too late to correct your children and your boyfriend. Make them be responsible for the things they truly can and should learn to do for themselves. In real life, they will be expected to manage their own affairs. Do them a favor by stopping enabling behavior NOW. Find a counselor who can help you develop your own boundaries so that YOU can be healthy and whole...reclaim your self respect and make your own choices. Others in your life will be angry at first, but that is their issue. Be assertive. Once they see you are serious and consistent, your relationships will change...anyone who leaves needs to leave, I.e. The boyfriend and grown son/sloth. Take your life back!
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I am afraid to even say this because I may jinx it......Mom fell apart last night screaming, yelling, telling me to shut up and get out of her was a major meltdown. Older sister, did not go to work today, but stayed home, called the doctor about Mom's meds after asking me if it was okay and she stayed with Mom so I could go to the bank, and grocery store. I was suppose to have a doctor appointment that was cancelled by them, but younger sister called to say she would be over to stay with Mom so I could go! I do not know what got into them other than my panic and anxiety beginning and maybe they are worried about who is going to care for Mom if I can't??? All I know is it is a step in the right direction and I am thankful. Now if it will just continue.
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HolyCow, We have a caregiver that we use sometimes that only charges $10.00 an hour. My mom goes to a day program and one of the staff there told me about her. She is great with mom! If there is a day program in your area I would suggest that you call them to ask if any of the staff do extra caregiving jobs. Staff at mom's program do, but the policy is that they cannot do extra work for participants of the program. This same woman will also do overnights for either $10.00 or $25.00 depending on whether she can sleep or not because of wandering, bathroom trips or whatever. The hours she is available is somewhat limited though because she has a full time job, recently divorced and just does it for extra money. I'm sure if you do some calling around you can find someone. Maybe even call senior centers there may be people there that want to make some extra money. What about churches?
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You guys gave great advice to both me and to HolyCow.
It is so hard, when you have your firstborn and you think omg they are the second coming of Christ! Then, by doing everything for them they become entitled, and they turn into the AntiChrist!
Just because I will always love my son unconditionally, doesn't mean other people will.
The best thing I can do now is DELEGATE chores and teach SELF SUFFICIENCY! Please keep this board alive for both me and HolyCow, because as far as her sister, I think she needs more rah-rah support, and God knows I do as well.
Helpful Answer (5)

Also, try Rescue Remedy, a Bach Flower preparation you can get at the health store. Wow, really helps and does not interfere with your meds.
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Nikki99, you need to learn how to say no. Mom wants to go out and it is not convenient for you, say 'no, today's not a good day,' and walk away. The entire household is using you as a doormat, walking all over you. You are not doing your son any favors by kowtowing to him. Leave his clean clothes in the laundry room and tell him to go get them. If he doesn't, do NOT take them to him. Do not clean his room for him. He will NEVER do it as long as you are willing to do it for him. I know, I raised 3 sons. If he wants to live in a pigsty room, let him; just close the door and walk away. Eventually he will gross himself out. You cannot be everything for everyone, so stop trying. Stand up for yourself while you still can! You will feel better about yourself, your daughter and your BF will be proud of you, and your son will learn how to take care of himself. You go, girl!
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