How do I cope with my caregiver responsibilities and deal with my own depression and social anxiety disorder?
I am the only caregiver for my mother who is 101. Up until September 23, 2015, I also cared for my 75 year old sister, who then died of pancreatic cancer. Hospice was a god-send during her last 3 months of life, and I'm grateful for their care and support. It was very painful to watch my sister die before my eyes, and it was a very trumatic experience for both my mom and I.
Since then, my mom has had a very difficult time coping with the loss of my sister. She hates going to bed at night because she said she feels all alone when everyone else is sleeping. I use an audio monitor to listen for her, and usually have to help her to the bedside commode twice a night or more when she calls me. And because she doesn't sleep, she makes incoherent noises that keep me awake off and on during the night. I am so tired most days that all I want to do is sleep.
Thankfully I do not have to work outside the home, as I am paid by the state through the IHSS (In-Home Supportitive Services) program to care for my mom. She has lived in my home for 6 years, as did my sister. My mom is blind in one eye and can only hear if you speak directly into her ear. Having a conversation with her is tiring, so that doesn't happen very often. She still has full use of her faculties, and I am grateful for that.
This responsibility is taking it's toll on my mental and emotional health to the point that I dread leaving the house to run errands, seeing or talking to friends, and have no energy to perform household chores. I have lost all interest in anything that used to give me pleasure, like reading, sewing, and listening to music. I feel now that my only reason for living is to take care of my mother. I feel selfish for wanting a vacation away with my husband for a few days. No other family members have time to help, or they live too far away, or they are too ill themselves to be able to assist. So now I feel like I am just waiting until my mother passes away so I can be selfish and get my life back.
If anyone has similar feelings or are coping with a similar situation, please share your experience and/or thoughts and ideas. I would greatly appreciate it!