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This forum is my therapy. It's convenient - I can pop in anytime - and it does not cost a dime. I've gotten more from the good people on this forum than I imagine I would ever get from a therapist. Sometimes just the act of writing helps even if I decide to not post. And reading what others share both in terms of recommendations and their situations is beyond anything a therapist can offer in 45-minutes.
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Reply to NYDaughterInLaw
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I started seeing my current therapist about 2 weeks after I moved my dad to LTC. I had been leaning too much on my husband and my mom (who has not been married to my dad in almost 2 decades) with all my guilt, frustrations, and anxiety attacks surrounding my father. Then the caregiver burnout hit in a big way and I couldn't figure out what is wrong with me. My therapist helped me to understand that my burnout was a cumulative effect from caregiving for 4 kids with extra needs and disabilities for 10 years (17 years total actually being a mother..disabilities didn't come into play until 7 years in), my father for nearly 5 years, supporting my husband through military years and deployments for 14 years, and the death of my MIL just here recently. She had me see through outsider's perspective that everything I've done would wipe out any person. She's helping me set boundaries, which has had fantastic results, given me ways to deal with anxiety attacks, see that I'm not going to bounce back from all this in no time flat and I need time to recover while balancing the raising of my kids. She's my person I can get real with and there's zero judgments and she's paid to hear me ramble on and be frustrated! This forum has been very very helpful as well. I really should start the journal my therapist is always on me about. LOL Writing things out is truly cathartic.
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scotchtape2112 May 12, 2019
Well said, Miranova!
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For years I was encouraged to talk to a therapist. I was reluctant and didn’t think it would help. One day at work I found myself venting to a random co-worker. I saw the look on her face as I spoke but I couldn’t stop my emotions. After a few minutes she suggested I see someone. Later I realized what I must have seemed like. Still I didn’t want to go but I tried it! I started with one psychologist who helped me through so much of the abuse fallout. Then I found my current therapist. She is very aware of the cycle of abuse and codependency. Final answer: absolutely worth it!!! Even if you “don’t believe in therapy”. It’s worth it just to talk to someone. I have learned how to respond and how to protect myself with strong boundaries. I didn’t change my mom. I changed my reactions and myself. But it is VERY hard work. Therapy is hard work. But you’re doing something good for yourself. I think of it as an emotional spa day. 😊
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justanothername May 12, 2019
Thank you so much for this. I'm going to make that call tomorrow, thank you for sharing!
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I’ve been to a therapist/ counsellor three times in my life, but never about caregiving, so perhaps this won’t be relevant at all. None of my experiences were really helpful. I think perhaps I went in thinking ‘help’, and I should have been more specific in what I was looking for. ‘Help’ related to a situation with someone else (different each time, years apart), so there was a lot of explaining the situation. It would have been better if I had looked specifically about things I could do - you can only change yourself, not the other person. If possible, I would say talk your issues through first with a friend, to clarify what you are really looking for. Therapists here tend to follow the dogma that they get you to talk and you will see the answer for yourself. Wrong, at least for me. I wanted ideas and suggestions so I could look at things in a different way. One of the benefits of this site is actually that you get specific ideas from different points of view. You could put up another anonymous name, and spill your guts here for free! Therapists can also be interested in an ongoing ‘relationship’ as they get to know you, and it can get to be very bad value for money. Best wishes.
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Helen323 May 9, 2019
Thank you. I do find THIS site to be VERY helpful since it hits on so many levels of caregiving. My friends have also been a form of 'therapy' for me.
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Yes, I have. It was helpful for me. Sometimes it takes a professional to point out things that we do not want to necessarily see and the opposite as well, they are able to validate what we do feel is correct.

Best of luck to you. Hugs!
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Hi Helen, I did go to a therapist shortly after my mother died and I became my father's caregiver (with no help from my siblings). I feel that it did help me, she told me how to set boundaries, to enlist help from a caregiver agency, and to make time for myself. Sometimes I feel guilty if I am not able to do something for my father and I do feel that she helped me to see that I matter also and need to take care of myself as well. This was several years ago, but I have recently thought about going back to one. If you are on the fence about it, I would definitely recommend that you see one! Also, check references, and see how you feel with your first meeting, if you are not comfortable with one therapist, try another one. Good luck!
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Helen323 May 9, 2019
Thank you for your information. I went to a therapist years ago for another personal matter and felt it did nothing for me but very happy it helped you.
Finding the RIGHT one is key....
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Yes, my therapist was a lifesaver when I was caring for mom. It takes a little bit sometimes to find a good "fit" as far as therapists go, but once you find a good one, it does really help.

Mom passed in February, but I still see the same therapist, who has helped me with issues since mom's death as well as just being a non-biased person I can talk to when I get stressed about whatever it is I am feeling at the moment.
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ImageIMP May 13, 2019
Ironically, I first tried a therapist about 9 years ago - when Mom was in her late-80's - because we were so close but when she started declining I was terrified of losing her. That helped some...

About a year after Mom and I entered the Hell of injury, damaging rehab/skilled nursing facilities, surgeries, MRSA, depression (both of us), panic - I realized I needed an outlet for all of the emotions - anger, grief, fear, exhaustion, et al - and my friends just weren't capable, and eventually willing and happy about listening to me.

My therapist/counselor ended up being a friend I could talk to. I found our sessions mostly revolved around me being able to vent - just to let off some steam and pressure before I blew like Mom's pressure cooker! When it was appropriate, she interrupted me with pearls of wisdom and personal reflections/perspective because she'd gone through the same things with her own Mom.

So - it can absolutely be helpful, even a lifesaver, to find someone who will listen and provide feedback, even if it costs a few $$'s. It might even save a few friendships along the way, so I say go for it!
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Yes and I would further say that it is absolutely necessary. Caregiver burnout is real and debilitating. Especially if the person you are caring for is manipulative, uncooperative and hurtful. I would compare this to when you're on a plane and the flight attendant gives the instructions about the oxygen mask. They say you must place the mask and life jacket on yourself, first. Then, you can help the others. This can also be applied to life itself. A therapist can guide and teach you many coping techniques. Wish you the very best!
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Yes, this whole process thrusted me into therapy. No help from my family. My aunt who had no children but mothered all of us had no one but me or a nursing home. I refuse to put her there. She will never go to a nursing facility unless I cannot provide her the care she needs.
Therapy has helped and given me someone to speak to about the stress and how this situation has impacted my life.
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Reply to Clwalton2
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Yes. CBT therapist was what suited me best, they also help you set boundaries without feeling guilty etc. Highly recommended any caregiver see a therapist so their life isn't lost looking after a loved one.
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