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I gained over 60 pounds, lost a good paying job, saw a psychiatrist and was on medication for years, and stopped sleeping.

I don’t feel uncomfortable referring to that period of my time as “losing my mind”.

I’m by no means a typically “nice” person, but I have the triple fatal flaws of intense empathy, terrified attention to responsibility, and a driven desire to make life BEST for anyone who comes under my wing.

When my father dropped dead with no warning, 3 weeks after my first child was born, concern for my mother drew me closer to her than I’d been since I was a small child. She remained in her own little house, I lived about 15 minutes away, and she ran the show, and I let her, even encouraged her.

She had a devastating left hemi hemorrhagic stroke at 85, insisted that she was going home after 2 days in the hospital, and with her neurologist’s permission, did so. She was then 85, and resumed her semi-independent life.

Finally, at 89, a fall broke her hip, and rendered her totally dependent.

I was lost. After she partly rehabbed, I couldn’t think of any path forward but bringing her home. My house was perfect. I KNEW she’d get better. She didn’t. It was instantly obvious that her “mild cognitive loss” was full blown dementia, coupled with terrible frustration, expressed as hostility, that she couldn’t “go home”.

Her care was overwhelming. She had to be watched 24/7, and I was the watcher.

She died in 2007. I still have PTSD. Ultimately we placed her in a WONDERFUL residential care site, and her last 5 years were very healthy and happy.

NO perfect solutions, NO hard and fast rules (“Thou SHALL NOT consider residential are because Mama changed YOUR diapers 57 years ago’), NO GUILT, NO regard for the input of useless relatives.

Those aren’t ALL the rules for safe BALANCED careSHARING, but they’re a start.

Helpful Answer (31)
Tashi5 Jun 2021
Brilliant reply- I laugh as I recognise and enjoy the familiarity of your
comments. Caregiving is so hard. Thank you! You know you did the right thing.
My heart goes out to you and I send you love & healing power
for the remains of PTSD.
I was certainly losing mine caring for my husband with dementia. I placed him in care 6 months ago and am slowly regaining my old self. Those moments when I recover an old feeling make me so happy. It’s so good to know my old optimistic self is still in there. Buried pretty deep, but recoverable.

That level of constant attention to another - especially one oblivious to your sacrifices on their behalf - is debilitating. I lost myself. During the height of the pandemic, I thought - if I get Covid and die, at least I won’t have to do this anymore. And that thought seemed rational to me, not a sign I was coming unglued. LOL.

When you stop the 24/7 caregiving, stop constantly living in that alternate universe of fun house mirrors, I think it’s not uncommon to have a bit of PTSD. I’m slowly learning to let go a bit. Now I manage his care, take him on outings, talk to him every day, but I stopped talking to him in the evenings when his delusions take over. I finally realized that talking him down only worked for him for 30 seconds, but upset me for the night. Letting go of the idea that I can somehow make him happy is the goal, but I’m not making as much progress on that as I would like.

I think caregiving can, indeed, make you crazy, but you can come back from it. They can’t.
Helpful Answer (17)

If you are a caretaker for anyone, no matter who or the relationship, etc. and it is destroying YOU, then YOU must put a stop to it at once even if it means placing them somewhere. No one should tolerate the problems that come from these people - their lives will be gone before they know it and they don't deserve that.
Helpful Answer (11)

No..ish. But I have heard of many that took much time to recover or say they were forever changed.

There are many who sadly no longer around to tell us.

Do you need help? It's OK to speak up.
Helpful Answer (10)

It certainly feels that way!  I often times don't like the person I've morphed into over the past 15 years of accelerating caregiving.  The effects/stress/fatigue bleed over into my work life and certainly relationships with my now adult children have suffered.  I often feel a bit paranoid about being judged but then only to find out, yes, guess what-I was right.  It is a lonely place often; other people can choose how involved they want to be, when to step away etc.  Not so much for us.  I'm trying to add more balance for myself now that my husband is in assisted living.  I start each day with listing at least 3 things I'm grateful for-it is a wonderful reminder that there is still good, beauty etc.  Take care of you SEIAfoa, because no one else will.
Helpful Answer (9)

Imho, especially since individuals are living longer, the caregivers of the elders often get ill before the elders.
Helpful Answer (7)

I think in general, caregiving can suck the life out of us, and only someone who has been there "gets" it. But I don't truly believe someone would "lose their mind". If that's the way you feel things are going you need to explore what options are available for you to share the burden, get some time off, or figure out a way to have others visit you to socialize even if living in the environment of the person you care for. All I can tell you is that I thought I was handling things just fine, one day at at time. But trying to be more of superwoman with everything under control, caught up with me last fall when I had a health emergency...meaning there was basically no one to play the role of caregiver for my parents while I was in the hospital recovering from an emergency surgery for a dissected aorta which I nearly died from. Do not let it get to that point. Keep your health and well-being on a front burner, check your BP. You matter too!
Helpful Answer (7)

If you are burnt out, you'll need to make some changes. Set boundaries. Hire help. Move your loved one into a facility.

Then, work on your own health, both mental and physical. Find your joy again.
Helpful Answer (6)
Beatty Jun 2021

Againx100. Great name.
Yes indeed x100 folk need this advice.
Hello, I think feeling like you are losing your mind is a common phrase for burnt out caregivers. I know this feeling and phrase well. You have done plenty to care for your parent. No matter what “others” say… please step back and focus on getting your own life back. This might mean placing your mom in a care facility. The Area Council on Aging can help. Or contact a nursing home facility and speak to someone in admissions. The thing is… the level of care will become more and more. Your mom’s safety and your sanity are priorities. If others think they can do a better job of caregiving…offer them to opportunity to takeover. Above all, you have to make a change. I wish you the very best of everything.
Helpful Answer (6)

There is frightening evidence, statistics that a fairly high % of caregivers die before the person they are caring for.
This could be for any number of reasons but it is still an eye opener.
If it is getting to be more than you can handle you need to find help.
Either bring in caregivers for a period of time daily or a few days a week.
Or if it is possible look for Day Care or if there are Senior Centers open with activities that would stimulate him and give you a break.
Or Placing him in a facility appropriate for his skill level. You do not mention details in your profile. Age, and other issues other than mobility that your brother has. If he is able somewhat to care for himself a Group Home might be an option.
Is your brother a Veteran? If so the VA can help, there are lots of programs that the VA has.
Caregiving is stressful, exhausting, and it WILL change your life.
There must be a balance.
Helpful Answer (6)
Cover66 Jun 2021
Well many caregivers worry and stress more about things then the person they’re caring for.
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