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My husband with Alz and Cancer triggers anxiety in me almost every time we interact. He's just a very "in-your-face" personality type, combined with the Alzheimer's and personality disorders pre-existing, so no one in our home gets any space or rest from his intrusion. Two of my three young adult children that were living at home moved out this year. (For peace and one is still in college.) I hate the thought of going anywhere with him, because his behavior is so embarrassing, so I make excuses as often as possible. But anyway, the anxiety is really becoming an issue, not only his behavior, but also my worries about possible financial problems in the future if I run out of money and cannot afford care for progressing Alzheimer's. I really do not want to take pills for anxiety, so I stay on top of exercise, nutrition, hobbies and sleep for myself. But it is still the worst anxiety I've ever had.

I'm so sorry you're faced with such an anxiety inducing situation. I was married to a man with personality disorders for 22 years, and he was a very aggressive, in-your-face kind of person that caused me a lot of anxiety too. We never went out either because of all the embarrassment he'd cause me. I've had people come up to me and say "Wow, he won't allow you to have a good time, will he?" I wound up divorcing him to save my own sanity, and then he developed stage 4 colon cancer (he's still alive 3 years later).

Have you tried CBD oil? Without THC, the oil can help a lot with anxiety. With THC, it can really take the edge off of everything. I don't know if it's legal where you live or not........? In any event, at some point you'll need to do SOMETHING, so talk to your doctor if CBD oil is not an option. I had post-traumatic stress disorder in 2000 and finally went to the doctor when the anxiety symptoms became too much for me to handle. He prescribed Paxil which changed my life. It was like a switch being turned OFF inside of me, allowing me to relax and calm down. I was able to get off of it at a later time and never had another need for a prescription, thank God.
Best of luck and here's a big hug!!
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TerriLou Jan 10, 2019
The CBD in peppermint lozengers sounds like that would be tolerable. I think we have some new stores going up here soon. I will definitely check on that. I did get a Durable POA right away after the Alzheimer’s diagnosis, but the Elder Lawyer sounds like it may be a good idea. It can’t hurt to find out what more I can do to prepare. Like I replied to another, I certainly hope he goes by heart attack or the cancer, because that Alzheimer’s is a long alow ride through living hell. I’ve already been to hell and back a few times in my life! I’m tired. I just want peace. Thank you foe the ideas!
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Terri--

I really respect your choice to not take pills for anxiety--and for a lot of people, they can work through the stresses of life and deal with anxiety unmedicated.

I can't. Tried for years and years to tough it out--and finally a complete shutdown landed me in the hospital---and I was examined head to toe b/c of the chest pains, nonstop crying, hysteria---and the very first thing they did was give me 2 Xanax and within an hour I was FINE. Holy Cow. I was calm, I had an appetite, I was ME. It was amazing.

So--20+ years later--I have been on something for anxiety and depression. At first I was VERY ashamed and didn't talk about it. Now, I find it's far more common than not.

I am now giving CBD oil a shot. It's hard to tell if it works or not. I have a VERY stressful DH and he is great guy, but VERY intense and hard to live with. (By no means is he cruel)--he is just a lone wolf who does what he wants on his terms--it's been a ride being married to him. I joke with him that I medicate for anxiety because of him--and it's really true. He's put me through a lot and doesn't think that what he does affects me--as what I do doesn't affect him!

If my DH was EVER abusive to me-I would leave. I am so sorry that your DH has ALZ, you think about leaving him and the guilt slides in, doesn't it?

Sick or not---you need to feel safe. Think of your options. Plan ahead to have him placed in a NH if you think he's getting worse and you can't cope with him.

Don't just dismiss taking something for anxiety as being "bad"---unrelenting stress is worse than taking an antianxiety drug. My DH had 2 heart attacks last summer--either one should have killed him--but didn't. I was 24/7 caring for him for several months and one day realized I needed to have my hair cut--went into the salon and my hairdresser pulled my hair back from my face and said "Look at this" pure white hair. Stress had done that.

Talk therapy is good also, if you can afford it. I have to pay out of pocket--so I can only go once a month or so. But I make the time for it.

Good luck with this--and come back. We're always here!
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lealonnie1 Jan 10, 2019
After reading your response, i think its important to address the stigma associated with drugs used to treat depression, anxiety and or mood disorders. For some odd reason, people associate these medications with shame and embarrassment, as if such issues are not medically valid! But hey if you have diabetes by all means feel free to take insulin! No shame involved there! Heart trouble? By all means take the prescribed medication, no problem whatsoever. But having a mental disorder carries a stigma. That has to end in order for us to feel allowed to ask for help. There is no shame involved. The suicide rate would be much lower if this stigma was banished. My older brother was sent to a mental hospital back in the 60s and given shock treatments to deal with his schizophrenia. Needless to say, the poor soul is even worse off now that he was then. Good for YOU for taking the help..... I was the same way after asking for help with my anxiety from the doctor. My whole life changed for the better.
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TerriLou, I had thought the same thing about taking pills for anxiety. I refused to do it. Even after crashing and burning twice from physical and mental exhaustion I still refused pills. Nope, nada, never.

It eventually got to a point where I needed "help" and my primary doctor did recommend some very low dosage pills for anxiety, and also recommended talk therapy. I gave both a try. Now I could kick my self, big time, for not doing this years earlier because anxiety can really do a major number on your all over health and well-being.

So sorry to read what you are going through with hubby. It isn't easy, and it isn't fair. For me, it was my very elderly parents. I also worried about the future and the possible cost of care. Then I realized we have the wonderful State program of Medicaid to help us during that time. So remembering that gave me some relief. And Medicaid works it out so that the spouse who is remaining at home can still live without feeling financial strapped.

I also found a talk-therapist who was around my age and who had been a caregiver [her parents] so she REALLY understood what I was going through. It was just a relief to be able to let-it-all-out to someone who was actually listening.
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TerriLou Jan 9, 2019
Right. I hate meds and believe they actually lead to the kinds of problems he has. I did start an online counseling where I can text, and they do a lot of reflective listening. And the finances are complicated, I’m just hoping I don’t have to drain our savings that were supposed to supplement out little pensions, and I can keep our house.
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Terry, maybe you should talk to Medicaid. Your husband is only going to get worse and maybe violent. Please if he ever hits you call the police and ask he be taken out of the home. You fear for your safety. They may have him evaluated and u can have him placed in a NH.

Medicaid will not leave you impoverished. You will not lose your home. Like freqflyer said, you will be left enough money to live. My friends mother kept her home and never seemed like there were money woes.
You can't continue this way.
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Mg6742 Jan 14, 2019
It troubles me that you would suggest /mention the topic of violence in such a way to an already anxious person.
Most caregivers are already aware of that possibility and don't need to be given the kind of advise you offered.
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I’m so sorry that you have to deal with all of that. You have so much on your plate. A lot of people couldn’t handle what you have.

You’re bound to have extreme anxiety. I deal with anxiety too. Then the guilt comes shortly after. So many mixed emotions to deal with. Actually, I know I am doing all I can and somehow feel a failure. At least that’s what I deal with and it drives me nuts.

I have to stop judging myself how my siblings judge me. They don’t help, then have the nerve to criticize.

Even without others criticizing us, we can be hard on ourselves. I wonder if it’s because we feel so helpless in our situation.
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TerriLou Jan 10, 2019
Yes, thank you and I understand! I also have my 93 year old father at home; he is healthy except for blind in one eye and limited sight in the other, and the one son left here is somewhat slow although has finally held a job for the last 1 1/2 yrs, 28 years old. And he has a girlfriend. Hope that works out. If not for visits from extended family to distract me, I would really hate my life. I did start an online counseling app, and it helps some. Some days are really bad; others tolerable. I just can’t take very much time with my husband! It’s sad. A counselor said I’m missing human connection. My daughter said the other day “I wonder if you will be lonely when they pass?” I told her, “it can’t be more lonely than being lonely IN a marriage.” :/
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Anxiety is a terrible thing. It’s real, not in our imagination. We’re not overreacting, just overwhelmed.

None of us should live with any stigma about any struggles in a stressful situation. Doesn’t matter if it’s depression or anxiety or a combination of issues. Just plain hard for caregivers, period. Personal choice as to how we individually choose to deal with things.

What works for some isn’t right solution for others. Can be tricky to figure it out. We have to be kind to ourselves, just as much as we try to be kind to others.

I find I second guess myself due to being overwhelmed and I get frustrated. I think we are all seeking peace in our lives. Not perfection, but peace. There isn’t a perfect world.
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TerriLou Jan 13, 2019
Yes, finding peace is absolutely my top priority. Wishing you deep peace and many blessings.
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You should seen an Elder Care Lawyer to make sure you are protected and if possible begin Medicare application process for him.
A few questions for you..
1. Is he a Veteran? If so there may be help the VA can provide. And depending on when he served and where he may qualify for A LOT of help or just a little. But any help is better than none!
2. You need to find a Support group for yourself. This site is great but you need real people. The people in your support group will become your new friends because old friends tend to drop by the wayside as you travel down this path.
3. Do you have a Therapist you can talk to? You should and if they write you a prescription for an anti anxiety medication take the RX and get it filled you don't have to take them but just knowing they are there can help. And it is not a forever for as long as you live medication. Think of them as an Aspirin that you might take if you get a headache, you don't take them every day..same thing with anti anxiety medications. (some people may have to take them daily some not it depends on the situation)
4. Have you looked into Adult Day Care for him? A few days a week would be good for him and you to have some time and space.
5. Have you thought about when and if you will place your Husband in a Memory Care Facility?
I guess my last question is several in one.. Is he still getting treatment for the cancer? Is it still active? Have you thought about Hospice? With Hospice you will get someone that will come in a few times a week to help bathe, dress him. You will get a nurse that will come every week to check on him, a Social Worker that will be assigned to you. You will have the ability to request a Volunteer that will come in and sit with him while you run errands or just drive around screaming to vent that frustration! And you will get all the equipment you need as well as supplies.
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TerriLou Jan 13, 2019
He is not a vet, but my Dad is so that is a good reminder! He has Medicare A and B and insurance coverage with my job. No support group yet, because I live in a remote area, but I can get out still as he is not quite yet in danger being left alone. He has a friend that picks him up about five times a week, so when I am home from work, that is a huge respite! I read, play my harp, and crochet and cook and clean when home to keep myself busy and occupied. What I am currently working on is getting out for more human connection as that is lacking. My online counselor pointed this out and is absolutely correct. I actually texted four people last Friday to find someone to get out to dinner with, I was not discouraged by one being busy, one not answering, I just kept asking and met someone for dinner. I intend to continue doing that. My hair dresser is going to hook me up to what she calls a “black cafe’ “ so named, because these ladies with similar problems get together and can safely speak their minds about their darkest fears and greatest wishes. Just honesty and friendship. When the time comes when he cannot care for himself anymore, I have to work as quickly as possible to get him placed, because I must work; there’s no way we can make it without. So, It’s that transition period that really scares me, and the possibility of his fighting it like he did when I took his car keys. He is moderate stage now, diagnosed 5/4/18. So I’m in that mindset of “my life before 5/4/18” and “my life after 5/4/18.” (My new scary life.) Thank you for all your ideas.
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I just recently had the same discomfort in my chest and trouble breathing. As a caretaker and someone who also works full time I found myself especially overloaded over the holiday season. I had also been doing some heavy lifting moving furniture alone.
I mentioned the chest issues to my dr and they had me do an ekg and stress test which fortunately were ok. Turns out the combination of chronic stress and the heavy lifting caused “tietze syndrome “.
I was more than relieved.
I have restarted my daily meditation practice and have also started researching in home care assistance for 2 days a week for 4 hours each to give me some relief. “Insight timer” is my favorite free meditation app that I use whenever possible from my phone. Sometimes a quick 1-3 minute meditation with deep breathing is all it takes to refresh and re-center. Exercise is also the best option -if possible -but we all know that is not always an option due to not having anyone to watch your loved one or because you are to exhausted.
I try to remember one good moment with my loved one replaces 5 bad days. Practicing gratitude for all I do have each day helps me get by. Hang in there — you are not alone -
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TerriLou Jan 13, 2019
Thank you so much, it brings tears to my eyes to know I’m not alone. You sound like you’re handling everything as well as anyone. I’m going to try that app. I love meditation and yoga. I do promise myself more self care this year.
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I think for your mental and physical health it may be time to consider placing him into a memory care unit. I know this sounds like you are deserting him, but it’s not. You are making a decision to provide care for him in a way that is best for you and him. That is love!
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My mother passed away last June after 3.5 years of progressive dementia. The last 1.5 years was stage 4. The things you are doing to take care of yourself is fantastic! But e everyone needs a break. See if you have a circle of family or friends that might relieve you for a few hours or a few days. Like the designated driver idea. Make plans s to go to dinner or a movie with friends and one person rotates each time to stay with your husband. Not sharing with those that care about you and asking for support is a prime reason for bur out. Get past any embarrassment or shame. Those who love you will understand and want to help. I also hired a day nurse once in awhile so I could get out and do something I enjoyed. With a doctor's assigning this as needed care I was able to have Medicare pay for some of the costs. Not to sound u caring but when a doctor determines he is within 6 months of passing connect with hospice services. They were fantastic and a life saver for me. They continue their support even if he doesn't pass within 6 months. Hang in there. You are not alone. I know it is heartbreaking to go through but you will come out on the other side. Stay connected with the community of people who are or have experienced your journey. Sending you and your husband light and love.
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TerriLou Jan 13, 2019
Thank you so much. To clarify, I do still and must work fulltime. So, I can leave the house for work and swimming, shopping and some outings. But my fear is so great approaching that time when I cannot leave them alone (my father and husband), because I must work, so I’ll have to really work quickly to set some arrangements up, and see what we can afford. I daily pray that they go quickly when their time comes, and not the very long drawn out decline I watched with my Mom. So sad. Thanks, deep peace and blessings to you and yours.
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