I've been helping to take care of mom with Alzheimer since I was age 23. I'm now 46. Mom is bedridden, unresponsive, oxygen, trache and feeding tube patient. Dad had a stroke last year and is very demanding and progressively becoming senile. I've spoke to family how heavy they are when I change their pampers. I weigh only 96 lbs and both parents are 100 lbs and 150 lbs. I tell family of my health issues (high risk of heart attack). I think my endometriosis is back. Go figure, I have to have the Painful Endo. I've had 2 major surgies on my endo - 4 and 5 yrs ago.
I was Googling last week Sunday trying to find what other caregivers are experiencing and how I can benefit from it. Of course, this was triggered when I attended my 1st group therapy of caregivers and actually liked it.
Since my dad's stroke and I now have 2 bedridden patients, I find myself becoming bitter,resentful and hateful towards my brother, his wife and 3 grown children just living right next door to us. Dad gave that land free to my brother. He built his house and a 2 story duplex building. You would think they would show gratitude and help me with them. Nope.
Also last year, I started to Google on how to commit suicide that wasn't painful. I analyzed each suggestions. This year, I found the perfect way to commit suicide. Then, the caregiver respite program contacted me (thru my father when he was caregiver). The recommended I attend group therapy and a one-to-one therapy. I was shocked when they asked me for "the plan." I only came upon "the plan" just this month. I truly think that although I've turned my back to God (not blaming him for these problems - that was Adam and Eve's fault), He has not turned his back with me. I'm mad at God because as a Creator of all things, I was born - and I grew up in a Very Dysfunctional family and still living in misery. Our childhood was so bad, my younger sisters & I have no memory of it. Therapist believes we were sexually abused. I told therapist upfront that I don't want to remember my childhood. If I do, I will walk out of my parents' lives. No if, ands or buts.
I'm so angry and resentful all the time. I'm getting migraine headaches all the time that I pop an Excedrin every day one or 2 pills. I'm so exhausted that I can barely stand and change their pampers and clean the trache at 830pm. I get up constantly through out the night to suction mom's trache or she chokes on the phlegm.
I used to say in despair and anger that I will be forever taking care of the parents. I said this to the therapist. He said it's not forever. Sooner or later, they will die. And I piped, "or me!" He just stared at me, and then said, "and you." At the end of the session, he tells me, "Karen, you will not commit suicide....If there's an emergency, please call 911 and ask them to take you to the hospital." I didn't respond. So he repeated, "If there's an emergency, please call 911..." So, I reluctantly agreed. This was last week Wednesday.
I woke up this morning not wanting to get up. Went to the restroom, and I thought that my life is a prison. And I started crying. I didn't even know I was crying for 10min until I heard my 3rd alarm clock go off. While changing mom's pampers, I was crying. We kids do not cry. Our parents hated when we cried. We were punished very severely when we cried as kids. So, for me, when I cry, it means I'm having one of my depressions and am almost rock-bottom. Rock-bottom is either angry at the world and I will become abusive to parents, or I withdraw and all thoughts turn to suicide.
I'm so scared when I hit rock bottom. Because you see - I now have a fool-proof suicide plan. It's detailed. This morning, I tried to remind myself that I love my grandniece and grand nephew. That I want to see them grow. And how happy and loved I feel when they see me and get all excited (both about 1 year old). It didn't work. So when I go home, I'm going to dig up their photos and display it prominently in my wallet. Maybe if I look at their pictures it might help??
I don't want to bother my therapist. His wife's father is dying and they all went off-island to be with him in his last days. Hence - my 30days to get those darned exercises right before he returns! And so, I thought of you all. I saw your advice to Lisa and it's almost just like the therapist's advice. Plus, you guys make me smile. I was planning to go back to Lisa's thread and print out the funnies. Then I can read it when I'm down.
I don't want pills to treat my depression. I get addicted to drugs easily and have a very difficult time getting off it. Have you ever heard of anyone becoming addicted to Tylenol? Nyquil? Night time Sudafed? That's me!
Any other advice? An article you found that helped you? A humorous book that helped you? Thanks.
Ask the doctor about something that will help her sleep. I wouldn't go back to the days when I had to sleep on the couch waiting for my mom to stumble by without her walker for a million dollars, even if it meant my mom could still walk on her own. Instead of fantasizing about your ideal escape find little ways to take the pressure off or you might blow (as I recently did). ((hugs))
I used to be a patient, kind, understanding and loving person inside and out. Now my exterior is a mask of patience and understanding. The love is still there, that is why it all hurts so much, but my understanding is gone and my compassion is worn almost right out. Inside me I feel a growing resentment. I resent the entire familiy for abandoning their (mother, grandmother in her time of illness and for leaving all of her care up to me. I now also resent my mother in law (who I care for). Its wrong, and I am ashamed of feeling this way, but it is the truth and the people who should be reading and absorbing all of the comments will never do so and these words will never resonate with the "free" people.
I plan my "escape" in my mind but know that finances and life situation will never allow me to make it reality. I have acted in my own life to ensure that I will never become such a burden to my two sons as I age. I NEVER EVER want to have a family member change my excrement filled diaper....I have had to do this over the years and it is difficult and humiliating for both parties on many levels.
Part of the depression is expecting family members to get involved and assist - you really do expect them to give a toss and it is quite startling when you finally realize they don't want any part in caring for "nana, grandma, mom". Secretly everyone is looking at you like "whew! better you than me!!"..
I run on autopilot every day- I don't go out, I work full time Monday to Friday with PSW support during the day while I work to make enough money to keep us fed. Then I am on duty from the moment I get home until I get to go to work for a rest the next day. Kiss a full night's sleep good bye. Haven't had more than 3 hours sleep in a row for well over 2 years. You sleep with one eye open - especially if you are dealing with any form of demential, senility, or cognitive stroke issues.
When things get to be too much I go out to the garage and cry, scream, yell - it gives temorary relief.
I salute all family care givers all over the globe. Its the hardest job anyone will ever have.
And if you think that no one understands what you are going through - the guilt, the anger, the resentment, the emotional roller coaster, the exhaustion, and the never ending stress - just know that me - a lonely lady in northern ontario UNDERSTANDS and loves you and thanks you and appreciates all that you do for your loved one.
Your Dad is still around, right? Is he still with you in your house? I hope he treats you better!!!
Just wanted you to know I read your story and my heart breaks for you. Post me anytime to vent, chat, bi*ch or laugh. I would say cry but you don't like to. Now me, I love a good cry!! And a good laugh and a good yell. Heck, I am all over the place!!!
Book and can I make a suggestion, ?--I so often think to myself -I cannot do it , I cannot accept this and instead of trying to accept it I just ask God to help me accept it and leave it at that. Just pray for that. And it helps. Sometimes, miraculously almost, I do accept the thing I vowed I could not and I know God helped me , other times I know I am still a work in progress. So I keep praying. So, maybe, just ask God to help you forgive your parents, don't force it just maybe, give it to Him. You may not be able to forgive your parents but God can and He lives in you.
Blessings and hugs , my friend!!!
A Psalm by Rev. Richmond Paul Izard
On the Tenth Day of the Second Month, 2010
1Great is the LORD who reins in the highest power.
For He sits upon the majestic mountain, where He maketh His place of rest.
2O how great and awesome is His throne, for it too is consecrated holy.
The wicked and the double-minded shall not enter therein.
3His works He has finished.
So, let the blameless enter boldly into His promises. Let us drink from the river that satisfies the thirst of our souls.
4Look and see how the breath of His nostril flows even down into the valley and gives life, enternal life, to even the Dead Sea.
5“Drink,” I say to thee (all who suffer).
Drink ye all who are afflicted, for Yah shall give thee rest.
6“O taste and see that the LORD our God is exceedingly good. For the water of His fountain is sweetened with powdered sugar, a soft and gentle love, divine and true.”
7O let us arise early, even at the break of day before the sparrow sings, at the rising of the sun, and come to the Master's table:
8Let us eat of the plate of Adonai, our Lord and Master.
For His portion is full, and His portion is ours for the taking.
Such is the promise and the gift of abundant life.
9O give thanks unto the Lord, for He giveth us to eat and drink.
Let us give thanks also as we dip into His cup, yet only he who is worthy may sup.
10He that endureth much suffering, such is he, for he or she bears His name, even the mark of the cross.
Let us likewise keep His command, which is that of love.
11Let our beard drip of the blood of His covenant. Grace be unto and of our Heavenly Father, the One who keepeth us, and therefore unto the Bridegroom and even the Spirit of Truth who prepareth for His bride.
12Eat child, My daughter, My bride, for mine is your portion. Partake of Me, and be even as I.
For I am the LORD that healeth thee and feedeth thee, even in the desert;
O how much more in the land of promise! Amen.
A Psalm by Watchman Richmond Paul
At the Time of the Harvest, On the Second Day of the Tenth Month
in the Year of Kingdom Worship and Grace
1Is our Lord's arm weary that He cannot defend us?
Is His heart sore vexed that He will not comfort us in the press?
2We are pressed to the rock:
Shall He not remember us in our distress
as we cry unto Him from the hollows of the valley?
3Shall not our reverberation put Him in remembrance of the vision He revealed to us
concerning these mysteries concealed before the first day of our planting?
4We must sing of that unspoken day, the unveiling of His precious promises.
Let our serenade be for the dance of the East Wind who blows upon
the secret garden which is His vineyard.
5Ah, blow Mighty Wind to bring forth realignment;
Eclipse thine acceptable time and acceptable day and acceptable year,
as foretold in the unrolling of Isaiah's scroll.
6Our lot is not in the valley of sorrows, nor in the turbulence of the sea;
7For endless turmoil shall not beset us.
8We shall be with Him in the cleft of the rock, in the hallows of the contour.
And our blood shall cleave to His garment by the fellowship of His suffering.
9For He has hallowed a place for us from whence flows the water and the wine.
10We bleed and are poured out.
But, the Lord God, preserveth our souls.
11The everlasting God, He is our fortress and our defense;
He maketh room for us in new skins.
12Thou, O Lord, are our comfort:
13The Lord of Alyosha preserves our life by defending our souls.
14The mighty one of Israel is our strong champion, the protector of our faith.
15He is the Holy One of Israel; the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
16Once we have called Him;
twice the cry echoes in the valley.
17A score and ten days shall our face be set to the temptation;
But we shall not be moved.
18For the Lord of the harvest, He shall keep us in His coming.
19We are poured out for the work before the frost.
Is not our Lord quickened with compassion?
Shall His hand not release the pressure at the appointed hour?
20Our afflictions are many; our sorrows run deep.
How great the press that brings forth the new wine and the oil!
A Psalm by Rev. Richmond Izard
On the Eleventh Day of the Third Month, 2010
1I shall lean on the Lord,
For He is my lumbar support.
Be it resolved therefore that if the Lord have my back, then no weapon formed against me can prosper.
2The Holy Spirit is my comfort and rabbi:
He maketh right my posture that I may sit on the thrown with dignity—that I might not crouch or cower, but instead rein with authority and assurance.
3When all things fail, the Lord my God is everlasting. When earthly systems colapse, yet in Him alone is my hope and trust.
4Therefore shall I lean on the Lord, and not unto mine own understanding, for His thoughts are higher than my thoughts, and He ordereth my ways in His will.
5Now that the harvest is nigh at hand, I must make it through the night.
6The Lord, The Ancient of Days,
He is my Blessed Hope,
He is my Rising Star, my Eternal Flame. Therefore do I carry His victorious torch. For the countenance of His face is my blessing.
7He is the hope and the promise of Jacob,
the blessing of the promise,
the hope and the freedom of the slave. For by His Word (the manifestation of His consciousness) is the captive made free.
8He is a rock in a weary land, a bed for the sojourner.
9O What shall I do in my distress but lean on His everlasting arms, and He shall surely give me rest:
What you gonna do child, when the enemy comes to attack?
When there appears to be no relief?
When you're bleeding out—weak and weary from the heavy load you bear?
10I have resolved within me and made up my mind that I shall lean on the Lord.
I place and still my hand on Jacob's well,
which has become a Fountain of Living Waters—that great well of redemption.
11And having done all to stand, I brace and anchor myself in Him. For He does keep me from falling, though His parables be a stumbling block for they who knoweth not the power and majesty of His name.
12His mighty hand is a strong tower, a safe city, my place of refuge and peace.
13His word faileth not,
from everlasting to everlasting.
Blessed be the Lord of Hosts;
Jehovah Sabaoth is his name.
It is He who stabilizes me, for I am planted by a river that flows in each direction.
14O Give thanks unto the Lord, for He has rooted me firmly in good and fertile soil.
O rejoice all ye saints, for He is our eternal hope.
1. My older brother increased my monthly allowance so that I can hire a caregiver to babysit my parents.
2. My oldest brother has started paying for our power bill (even if each month we get a 72hour disconnection notice.
3. My 21 year old niece comes on Sunday mornings so that I can have some me-time.
4. My father has progressively become senile. He still has anger within. And he's now going thru the poopy stage. He also can't remember a lot of words now - he forgets the word "banana" or sees 2 elephants on the TV and asked if they were monkeys. He has gained a lot weight since last year.
5. In March 19th of this year, my mom passed away in her sleep. I want to thank all the posters here who read my words and warned me that mom was close to the end. It gave me time to alert my 4 siblings in the states so that 3 of them arrived back home to say their goodbyes to mom. She should have been buried 9 days after but because it was holy week - the priests do NO work this week. No baptisms. No weddings. No funerals. Mom was finally buried on 03April at the veteran's cemetary here on island.
6. The paid caregiver came today. She was shocked how father was not so angry as before. I have overheard him tell another caregiver that he's ready to go. She didn't understand but I did. We will see. Father is Very Afraid of Dying. We shall see....
I'm fine. Very tired all the time. I'm finally now going on YouTube to watch more of Teepa Snow's videos on dementia. Since father and I get angry a lot, I finally gave in to watching it as several people here on AC recommended it. They had watched it and swears that it helped them deal with the situation better. Just the 3 videos that I watched lastnight, I see that I have been doing a lot of no-no and that is why father is so rebellious and accusing me of treating him like a child. Because I am! I will re-watch those videos again.
Now, I have concluded this thread. The next time i will update this is when father ever meets his end. Or if I do....
I have contacted my siblings in the states if they can chip in so that I can hire a private caregiver for the weekend. I need $300 per person. Only 2 responded. I won't be able to do the weekends free.
But because I can see how exhausted I'm becoming, and I have absolutely no desire to commit vehicular homicide, I've been brainstorming like crazy. I've come up with a compromise. Instead of taking the weekends off, I will just try for only Saturdays off. I calculated IF the paid caregiver is willing, I will pay $10/hour from 8am-5pm on Saturdays. Total monthly cost is $320.00 - which my 2 siblings can cover.
Now I need to get the nerve to Network and ask for reference of someone who is willing to work on Saturdays, change my parents pampers by herself, feed mom by the G-tube and to suction. Do you think this is too much to ask for only $10/hour?
My mind or attitude in life is changing as I continue to surf this website and the different topics. I just spent 1 hour trying to accept the Majority's Opinion that it is best to Forgive your abusive parents for my own well-being. There's a an article on forgiving your abusive parents. Halfway through, I was quite resentful that I need to forgive them. I really don't know how you can keep forgiving the parent who is still abusing you. I would like to let you in on a little secret - okay a Big Secret Failing of Mine - I can't forgive. I "found God" at age 21. Although I have a bit of a problem with Him growing up, I needed to get to know Him. I found a wonderful religion who took me in and I was gungho learning about God. Then, I ran into a huge roadblock. I was beginning to have an idea that I was sexually abused as a child and blocked it out. Long story short - when you grow up abused, you take it in, believe it - you keep storing all the hurts and anger towards you. So, now, with God, we need to forgive others just as He forgives us. Oh, oh! I couldn't and still can't forgive the parents. So, I left the religion and I avoided God...no books, no TV shows, no articles on Him, no praying to Him.
For me - I think that #2 exercise from therapist will apply: If I can't forgive the parents, then I'm not worthy to pray to God. How can He forgive me, if I can't forgive them? How can He listen to me, if I can't follow His advice? Therefore, I have no right to approach God. Like I tell fellow believers when they say that if I pray to God, He will help me. I say, "I don't pray to Him because I'm not doing His will." Now, that is an All or Nothing thinking!
On another subject, I may be improving mentally, but physically I'm still so exhausted. I swear that 2 nights ago, while cleaning mom's trache, I mentally blacked out. This morning, some time at 3 or 4 am, I got up to suction her. As I stood up, my vision was turning all black (had this before - means I'm about to faint.) I fought against the darkness and wobbled and roughly banged against the hospital table to suction her. Because I feared I might lose conscious on the next suction duty, I wobbled and banged against bed/wall to get the phone off the charger. I got to dad's hospital bed, and put the phone near his pillow. He woke up and I told him that the phone is here if he needs it.
I may be mentally becoming lighter, but my body is reaching it's limit in exhaustion. Family won't help until I collapse. Then they will chip in to assist parents.
Until then, I will continue to care for them and hope if I do collapse - please...let me die from it. I may have overcame my suicidal plans but I still have not given up my wish for death. To Sleep Forever is my #1 wish for years now. Wouldn't it be nice to finally find peace? P.S..when I wish this, I always send a short thought to God, "Please don't resurrect me!"..
Your therapist can explain what he means by All or Nothing thinking, but usually that refers to thinking that one extreme must be true or the other extreme must be true, and not considering anything in-between. Since most things in life fall between two extremes this All or Nothing approach misses out on a lot!
Here is all-or-nothing thinking: My husband has dementia and other disabilities. We can't take the kind of vacations we used to love. So we'll sit home and feel sorry for ourselves. Here is look-at-the-options-inbetween thinking: We can't have the same kind of vacations we used to take, but with help we can still enjoy more limited travelling. This is my own situation. Before dementia the two of us went on a wonderful cruise to Tahiti. Next week the two of us plus a daughter to help are going on a short cruise around Lake Michigan. We can't have it "all" but I refuse to settle for "nothing."
A real common example is people trying some self-improvement activity, like a weight-loss plan. The all-or-nothing approach is, "I really blew it eating that donut this morning, so I might as well not even try staying on the plan today." A more moderate view is, "Well, it looks like I'm not making 100% of my goals today, but I'll get back on track and I can at least make 50%."
Other all-or-nothing statements
My brother isn't a saint so he must be a devil.
I'm either perfect or I'm worthless.
I either take care of my parent or I take care of me.
I either accept all of my religious training 100% or I am a hopeless heretic.
If I can't get into my first choice of colleges I'm not going to college at all.
I can't handle the expert slopes anymore so I am going to give up skiing.
I don't have time/energy to clean the entire house today, so I won't even get started.
I can't get to the gym today so I'm not going to exercise at all.
I don't know what the particular all-or-nothing spots are in your life, but I'm glad that your therapist thinks you are doing well.
And if you can't do all of your therapy homework every week, take satisfaction in what you can do. It isn't all or nothing! :)
As you become more aware of how you can make mental choices about your situation, changes in your own attitude, the Catosprophic Thinking will become more clear to you.... and it will start to make your brain feel "heavy" when you are thinking that way....awareness changes everything.... you are doing great !!!! Keep moving forward.... hugs across the miles to you...
1. Expectations - no more "should" statements. Challenge all "should".
= Example: My Family Should be Helping Me. Jeanne helped me on this. I'm still working on it. I mentioned this to my sis on Jeanne's advise. She went ballistic. Sorry, Jeanne, she called you selfish and that our parents raised us kids for 18 years. Now it's our turn to take care of them. I said that I agree but like Jeanne said- if they don't want to do anything, that is their decision. I had to stop her tirade because I told her that I need to accept this as truth in order to not be so bitter and angry.
2. All or Nothing Thinking - I still don't understand this from the therapist. But he did say that I'm doing good in this area. :)
3. Catastrophic Thinking. Yeah, I'm working on this. But I no longer believe I'm stuck watching them Forever. But, then again, during our therapy, he had to constantly re-direct my thinking. I would stop, and say, "Oh! I did it again! And I didn't even catch it!" So, if I'm doing Catastrophic Thinking, and am Not aware I'm doing it, how can I correct this thinking??? :) Thanks All! Hugs from me!
Jeanne, I'm really trying to change my view of the family not helping me. Once I acknowledge that they have their own life and have no intention to intervene on my behalf, then I can move on and find other sources of help. Once I can do this, I can work on forgiving God for "making me be born." (When I was in elementary age, I used to pray to God all the time, "Why did you make me be born?" I still repeat those words as an adult.) One day, I will no longer avoid All movies, books, conversations about God.
I woke up this morning feeling much much better and it's all because of you. Thank you! My heart, mind and soul thanks you!
Have you notice that I say that my sister Babysits them. She just keeps an eye on them, feed them lunch,mom dinner, and the laundry. If parents pampers need changing, I will do it. Oldest sis had a nervous breakdown and never recovered. She talks to people that we don't see. She laughs to herself (but she's not watching TV or reading a book.) She is so weak, she can barely lift mom when we try to lift her higher on the bed. So, I limit her burden of of the parents. No one wanted to step up when dad had a stroke. And I can't quit my job. So I asked her for help. Everyone asked me, "You trust Julie to watch them?!" Well, you make do with what you have. Plus, I was desperate!
But realistically, cat, when push comes to shove, and I'm not here, they will tell the EMS to resuscitate mom.
All of us kids would like mom to die. I think she's suffering. She did have a cardiac arrest at the hospital. Since none of the family nor my dad brought the Do Not Resuscitate form, ER did it twice before she became stable. I was at work at the time. Nobody called me because they didn't want to bother me. I was soooo angry. I told favorite sis that by Not telling me but telling everyone else - it made me, the secondary caregiver - feel like I was Nothing! I told her I was so hurt and felt so betrayed.
I recently took mom to the hospital. I brought a copy of the DNR. When I returned home, I taped a see-through folder to the wall and put several copies of the DNR forms for future 911 calls. I'm not my dad. Since I'm now the caregiver, I have made it easily accessible and VISIBLE for the EMS to see - near mom's bed.
My mother-in-law had a doctor here in the US that was from the Philippines. The culture he came from was extremely strong with regards to the family responsibility to take care of mother. I'm thinking that it is the same in Guam. The family must take care of mom, but, on the other hand, once someone is assigned that task, namely the girls in the family, the rest of the children can go on with their lives.
Here's a question I have for you. It comes for a different way of looking at things and also because I am not sure I totally understand your mothers health situation.
You said your mom has been dealing with dementia for many years, since you were 23 years old. It has progressed and now she is non-responsive. She is hooked up to a feeding tube and has a trek which is hooked up to an oxygen machine. In the US, most family members would look at a situation like your mom's and think that it was unkind to keep her alive through feeding tubes and forced oxygen. Without this intervention, she would be allowed to pass away and find peace. We would say that she has no chance of recovery and that prolonging her life is probably not what she would want.
I'm not saying that everything we do in the US is right because we are a country of many nationalities and everyone is entitled to their opinion and beliefs. I think of you as my friend, so I am hoping we can talk about this terrible situation with your mom. I am curious what you think of your mom's condition, what you feel in your heart and what your family feels. Obviously, your father felt it was important to do everything possible to keep your mom alive. If you can, tell me how you feel.
I'm asking you a very difficult question. Just answer from the place that makes the most honest sense to you.
Keep those encouragement cards stacking up. You are a very wise and special young woman. Not the first or the last to be treated like a second class citizen. Don't you ever take POA for your mom or your dad. Let one of the brothers do it. As Lisa would say, snicker snicker, snort snort.
One step at a time.
Love you Karen, Cattails.
So, men own land and women marry men who own land. And how were you supposed to marry when your life has consisted of working and taking care of Mother? Even within your own culture, Father has not treated you fairly. You should have been busy looking for a husband, moving out, and living on your husband's land.
But it looks like you have figured out ways to get around the system. Father only listens to male opinions? Get a male relative to express your opinion! You are a smart lady. It would be a real shame to deprive the world of your potential.
Having POA would only give you another layer of responsibility -- another bar in your prison.
Life is not fair. But it can be good. You can't change your whole culture single-handedly. You can't make life be fair. But you can (and will) improve your own life. Don't give up.
I hope that your deck of encouragement cards gets so thick you'll have to divide it and keep some home and some in your purse!
My parents have Medicare. With several nursing programs, Medicare will only cover several weeks of visits and that's it. It's not a continuous thing. The nurse does a home-visit and check the patient's vital stats.
Now with regards to my family, I have told them straight my research on suicide. I recently told them that I'm having a depression and I have formulated a very detailed plan on committing suicide. Nothing. And this leads to my morning wake-up today.
I woke up this morning but it wasn't as bad as yesterday. I still didn't want to get up but did. As I sat up, I thought, "Nobody cares. Boss will be back from vacation on Friday, this is a good day to do IT." Fortunately, I read Jeanne's and cat's comments yesterday. Because I recalled your words of encouragement to me. And said, they cared. And the therapist did say that he will help me to say No. And remembered Cat's words - A step at a time. So, I'm going to take it one step at a time.
In the weekend I went and purchased some index cards. It will be my encouragement cards. For every encouragement/advice from you and therapist will be written down. I feel down or sad, I will reach in my purse and pull it out. Sometimes, with depression, the emotions overwhelms you and you just CAN'T see any way out because your drowning with the NOW.
Do you know what's my favorite saying? Go with the flow. If life knocks you down, you just have to get up so that it can knock you down again. (For me, it means life will ALWAYS be a struggle and you just have to get up and not lie down & give up.)
By the way, Jeanne, you are somewhat right about my brother. I will always believe that he should have stepped up to the plate and do his part. On Guam, our culture, the oldest boy takes over. Hence, the free land. Like my father told me, the house/land we're living on, will go to my other 2 brothers. You (meaning me) will marry a man with land. My brother is currently using our front yard to park all their cars, and our corner plot to park their broken cars. So, when my parents die, dear brother of next door will fight for this house/land. The Chamorro custom is that the land goes to the boys. Girls marry the men with land. Another reason why my dad will not give me POA. It would have to be a male. As a female, I know Nothing. "Don't talk like you know anything. You don't." I tell him mom needs to go to the hospital, he won't listen. I have to sneakily call my 16 yr old nephew to "drop by and just look at grandma. Then say, Grandpa, grandma doesn't look good. I think you should take her to the hospital." Guess what, we call 911 and mom goes to the hospital. Well... what can I say?
Sometimes, a family has to hear that a caregiver is totally desperate in order to be willing to step in. Because they see their elder(s) being cared for, it seems like a "done" item on the to do list. They don't see beyond it. It's not their fault -- it's just how people are. TELLING them you are cracking and need help -- you, not the parents, but you -- to continue is maybe going to feel like a hard thing to do, but could also be so liberating. I know you read Lisa's thread -- remember how it turned out everyone knew how hateful that woman was, and wanted to help? You may find more help than you predicted. I bet you do.
It's great you are getting counseling. And it's great that you had a crying jag -- being a little freaked by it made you reach out to get help. And already the advice you've gotten above is stellar.
I always think of crying like weather -- a storm passes through, the air gets clearer, and the next weather system moves in. It could be stormy for a while, but that's okay. It WILL clear.
Hang in there.
One thing is that you live in Guam. I was doing some research on line and it seems like Medicaid is available for those who live in Guam. There may be some restrictions, but it needs to be checked into. Do a google search for Medicaid in Guam and see what you can find. I found that Guam Memorial Hospital does have a skilled nursing home facility and that they do take Medicaid. There are also several in home care groups that will provide in home care and accept Medicaid.
Do your parents receive Social Security? If they could qualify for Medicaid, it would be helpful in paying the cost of in home care or nursing home costs.
The other thing I wanted to mention: You said that your sister takes care of your parents during the day, while you are at work. Are you close to her? Does she understand how you feel?
Also, the group that has offered you counseling may be connected to your local Area on Aging office and should also be able to tell you if more services, at no cost to you, are available to help with your parents care.
I'm going to call you Karen in the future. Take care.
Love and Hugs, Cattails
You are a wonderful person and there is much happiness awaiting you. I believe that completely. You are deserving and worthwhile. Sometimes you have to make changes to find that happiness.
I don't want to overwhelm you, but I am wondering about placing your mom in a nursing home. There are a few elephants in the room here that haven't been mentioned so let's bring them up. It doesn't mean you have to do anything tomorrow, but let's talk about it.
You need to have your own life and guard your health. Is it possible for you to live on your own elsewhere? The care of your parents is too much for you on a full time, live in basis. It is not fair that you have this on your shoulders.
We all do our best to help our parents, but there comes a time when it's more than we can handle. Things change, the circumstance become more and more difficult. There is no shame in saying, "The time has come when I can no longer do this with out jeopardizing my physical and emotional health." You don't need the approval from others to make this statement or to move forward in making the necessary changes.
Personally, I am at that point right now in the care of my father and will be taking steps to place him in a nursing home. My situation is different than yours, but my point is that it is up to me to say when. I don't feel happy with the idea of my dad being in a nursing home, but I know that I need to have a life too.
My guess is there is a lot of family pressure to keep your parents at home. Nevertheless, it's not your job to take on the responsibility of their desires. Your responsibility is to your own well being.
Please do call 911 if you are feeling hopeless and thinking of taking your own life. As Jeanne said, post here while you wait for them to arrive. You have a future. It will be much happier than your past.
A step at a time. We will be here for you.
Love and Hugs, Cattails
You feel like you are in a prison because you are in a prison. So congratulate yourself on being perceptive. You are not delusional. You are not just feeling sorry for yourself and exaggerating. Your situation really is excessively tough. Your situation is worthy of a ten-minute cry now and then!
But the good news is that you can change your situation. You don't have to remain in prison the rest of your life or even the rest of your parents' lives. You do have options. After taking care of your mother for 23 years that is no doubt hard to believe, but it is true.
That your mother has Alzheimer's is NOT YOUR FAULT. That your father had a stroke is NOT YOUR FAULT. That your parents abused you and you had such an awful childhood you can't stand to remember it is NOT YOUR FAULT. You did nothing to deserve this prison that you are in! That may be a small comfort, but it is good starting point for change. Accept and believe that this is not your fault and you do not deserve the life you are living.
You love those little babies that love you. Watching them grow up and making sure they have loving nurturing is a great reason not to kill yourself. Carry their pictures. And let them remind you of all the other reasons you don't even know about yet. Perhaps your current life does not seem worth living. But once you begin to make changes in your current life, what lies ahead? There may be some really great things out there for you, things you haven't experienced yet, and things that are definitely worth the pain of sticking it out and making some changes. Hang in there, Karen my friend! I am so glad that your are seeing a therapist. I'm so glad you found a support group, locally and online. These things won't make it easy, but they can help make it possible.
There are lots and lots of issues here, and over the next weeks and months we can discuss them and you can get lots of input from lots of people who have enough experience to empathize with you and enough distance to be objective. Come here often and feel the love!
Let me start with a couple issues in your thread -- not the most important, maybe, just a few details.
1. Give up all those bitter feelings toward your brother. They are perfectly understandable, but I think they are misplaced, and they aren't helping your migranes any. If it was very unfair for him to get the financial reward of the land and you to get the prison you are in, blame the party who did the unfair thing. Who gave him the land? That is who to blame for that injustice. Brother has options about how to live his life and how to relate to his parents. Try not to resent that he chose options that kept him out of the prison you are in. He, too, was raised in a highly dysfunctional family. That it was dysfunctional was not his fault. It is perfectly understandable that you feel bitterness and rage. I'm just suggesting that your brother and his family are probably not the most suitable targets for those feelings.
2. The other small issue I'll comment on for now is about taking antidepressants. If your therapist thinks that there may be something to help you approach the tough work of changing your situation in a more stable frame of mind, at least consider it carefully. And as for addiction, so what? What if you did take such a medication the rest of your life? I am going to take insulin the rest of my life. I wish that weren't true, but it is the current reality so I deal with it. After a head injury my husband's psychiatrist put him on an antidepressant, and said that is his brain may never return to the right chemical balance on its own and he might need to take something for the rest of his life. That was almost 20 years ago. Hubby still takes a drug to help his brain to function as it should, and will for the rest of his life, just as I'll take insulin. If you need it, be glad it is available. There are no gold stars for toughing it out on your own. Most people do get off of antidepressants after a while, especially if their life situation improves. But in worst case scenario, what would be the big deal if you continue to need them? Whether a drug would be right for you or not I sure can't say. But if professionals who know your health history and your current situation urge you to try a drug, I'd say listen to them closely. It sure is a better alternative than suicide!
Dear Karen, you don't deserve the prison you are in. Like Lisa, you can make changes in your life to get the chance at happiness you deserve. It will be a tough journey and it may take a long time. Take us with you! We care!