How do I begin to get "ME" back?

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71 year old mother has been living with me now for 7 years. My marraige fell apart after she lived with us for about 2 years. She is a non-compliant patient, depressed, demanding, depressed, panic attacks. I'm always giving in to her needs and taking her for drives to calm her nerves. I'm losing myself and if I tried to break free for a little while, she tells me I'm selfish. I'm the least selfish person you can find becasue I'm always giving to others and neglecting myself. I'm at my wits end but she's my mother so I feel guilty. I'm 52 years old and you would think I could handle her better. Brother and sister cannot deal with her and tell me it's better me than them. I just need encouragement but my friends get tired of me trying to vent.

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Medication?
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There's a lovely place called Comfort Keepers that (in our area and I think they are nation wide) charges $20 an hour for 3 hour minimum to come sit with your mom or do whatever. It's a "Granny Babysitting Service". They will play games, read to them, take them for a ride, bathe them..whatever you need. That's one solution.
My mom in law is very needy also, and is 91 now with newly developed dementia. I've given up the last 7 years of my life also..and yes. My friends are tired of me venting also. I went to a therapist for a few weeks because I was beaten up so badly. Done. Can't handle it any more. I learned to say NO...which is a powerful word. My mother in law is currently in the hospital after bowel surgery, she is worse off than ever, coming home on Monday after a month. You know what? I'm dreading that day. I also prepared my husband that I'm not going to change diapers, stay at home by her side 24-7. I will leave if she doesn't. I've been her best friend, caregiver and constant companion for 7 long years. I have a son who has locked himself in his room since he was 10, because she's petty and mean to him.
If you could just step outside your situation for a while, you'll see how consuming this is. It's not good for you. Your mom is 71. You are 52. Do you really want to do this for the rest of your life? Start by hiring these baby sitter people, she can probably afford it. Even if it's one day a week. Tell her they are coming, don't ask her if they can. Try maintaining some humor. Then put your foot down. Turn a deaf ear. You aren't responsible for her feelings, but you are responsible for her care and health. But who cares for the Caregiver??? It's a tough world we are living in. Good luck!
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I agree with JB... Don't do this to yourself.. Find away time, local senior ctr? In home care? Independent living?
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What JB said.

And you get ME back by TAKING 'me' back and setting boundaries if your mom is still of sound mind and can understand them. You are by no means selfish.
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We certainly can get pulled in. Looking back through our days, we see almost every hour is spent doing for them or thinking about them. Even when we come on here to relax and talk, it is about them in a way. The biggest difference is the emphasis is on us when we are here.

I don't know any way to take back life except an hour at a time. It sounds to me like your mother has taken a heavy toll on your life. Did her living with you drive him away? It takes a saint to live with a depressed, anxious person for long. They can drive people around them crazy. Does your mother have any ailments besides depression and anxiety and a mean streak? She is mighty young to be living with her children. It would be nice if you could give her back her independence. She sounds like a good candidate for a senior apartment.

I think one of the most important words that caregivers of demanding parents can learn is "No." Your own plans and your own life should not be put in the backseat. Since your mother is still fairly young, you would never have a life if you don't put yourself first.

Is she being treated for her depression and anxiety? I'm surprised she wants to go on rides if she has panic attacks. Can she drive? Tell us a bit more and someone may have some more targeted ideas. From what you wrote, I think she would do fine living independently. And if she continues to live with you, she'll have to respect the limits of what you will do and the boundaries of what you will tolerate. Respect has to be two ways, but often it isn't when it comes to caring for a parent.
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A part time caregiver isn't an option? Just like parents w true children, they get babysitters on the weekend etc. Doesn't make you a bad person. It actually helps you care for her better. Some places have volunteers. Have you looked in anything w a church?
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