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When you just can't win, and you still have to face being a caregiver (whether physical or mental) it takes a toll on you spiritually and mentally... Almost to the point of being paralyzed. Do any of you feel this way? How have you coped and or climbed out of this stuation? Is it possible to go back to the life we once lived and be happy again? How do we somewhat forget or deal with all the thoughts and memories running through our heads? How do we find the person we used to be before trying to be the 'good' guy/caregiver after time has slipped by and family (including the one you care for) has wreaked havoc on you? (Excluding counseling... Been there, done that). Any success stories would be appreciated, especially concerning self worth and dispelling bad memories.

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Outside of counseling one on one - acoa 12 step - helps reframe your life and how to embrace mindfulness, gratefulness and advocate for yourself. How to change yourself and get through crisis while living during the difficulties.
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I am only recently the sole caregiver of my parent....prior to that it was both parents and long-distance. Once it was just me and Mom, I did have those feelings of being paralyzed, and I hadn't even been doing the caregiving for long...I would wake up tired and barely have the energy to do anything on some days. I knew I needed help, and went to my doctor and asked for meds...honestly I have no idea if the meds are helping or not, but I think they are.
Additionally, I recognized MY LIMITATIONS and moved my Mom into Memory Care, where she is safe and they have activities designed just for her issues. I can go home and get a break. I can watch a tv show she doesn't like, I can have a glass of wine without feeling guilty (she's sober 6 years now). I can have my friends over to play rockband (yes, I know, kind of frivolous for a 45 year old, but I love playing that game).
I still manage everything about Mom's life....her finances, her trips to the gym, doctors etc. I visit anywhere between 2 to 5 days a week depending on what else is going on, and I make sure she's as content as I possibly can.
I am purposely making plans for myself...lunch with friends, a monthly massage...
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I wish I did have an encouraging story that might help. I think I have it much better than most caretakers. I'll share what I have seen.

I'm not a hands on caregiver, (my loved one is in Memory Care), but I still am responsible for her welfare, finances, necessities, etc as her DPOA and HCPOA. She appointed me years ago and at the time, I never imagined something like this would happen. It's almost unreal, since she was only 62 when this hit. In just a couple of years and she has severe dementia.

I feel like I'm a mother of a child in daycare, who is very accident prone. At any moment, there may be an ER visit, fractures, etc., so, I'm always waiting for the call.

I plan my week with her needs in mind. I have to always think about her interests, do my research, oversee medical care, confer with Memory Care facility, check her physically, inspect her belongings, etc. I haven't gone too far away but once, and then, I was anxious. I doubt that I will leave the state, while she is still living. I do devote time to doing things for myself, like gardening, spending time with friends, my job, my own family events and activities, my own health, concerts, music, scrapebooking, etc.

I do try to make things better for my peace of mind. I try to take all of the joy that I can when I see her laugh or smile. I try to find things that make her happy, even if it's for a brief moment. Those things carry me over and make the burden a little lighter.

Somehow, in this universe, there is positive energy that comes from my efforts and I believe that it all will be good, multiply, and come back to me two fold. Blessed is he who believes. I'm not a particularly religious person, but I do feel that caretaking can make you deeply spiritual. I think it causes us to think more intently about our purpose in life and in the afterlife. That brings me solace and hope. I know that one day her soul will be free and I will have these life's lessons forever.
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Heart2Heart, yes, good word "paralyzing" regarding caregiving. It's so exhausting as we were thrown into a job that hardly any of us were trained to do prior.... nor is it a job that many of us would have seek as a career.

I am still looking under a lot of rocks for my self-confidence. It's out there, but where?

My life has gotten easier now that my Dad is in Assisted Living, and Mom had passed this past December, but the worry is still there big time as I don't know what my Dad's future will bring... will he need a higher level of care next month, 6 months from now, a year from now? Can he stay where he is or will I have to move him? I don't want him to spend his final year living in a refrigerator box size room.

What I found I need is someone to laugh with.... someone who understands what I am going through.... someone that realizes that no two people are 100% the same, we all have our breaking points at different levels. Some of us have family help... and some of us, like me, an only child with no children... no one to pass on the baton while running this crazy exhausting race. My brain won't slow down.

I have just started counseling and found a therapist my own age [senior citizen] who's been there done that with an aging parent. I really like her, so I hope this works, along with finding some meds to calm me down [oh how I hate taking meds].
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NO!... And, NO to medication!
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If your counseling was "been there, done that" then you may not have been seeing the right person for you. I highly suggest going back in order to get out of the paralysis.

Have you considered medication? You might find a psychiatrist to evaluate you for depression.
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