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I'm very angry after caring for husband for 6 years who has cognitive decline & hearing difficulties. I’m angry at everyone that doesn’t do the right thing (while driving behind slow drivers, people who don’t realize I’m having psychological pain from constant worry about husband etc).

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I may or may not say things that help you, but I do want to say how much I appreciate your post. My hearing-impaired husband is in early stages of cognitive decline — mild to moderate at this point. So I understand the dependence, the irritation of having to repeat things and/or shout - even in public places. And this despite him wearing a set of expensive hearing aids. So, yes, I get it! And I get the anger! And I send you my prayers and support.

Here is what I have done to cope so far. (1) I too had a meltdown during my annual physical and my lovely and understanding doctor prescribed an anti-depressant (Wellbutrin works well for me; not for everyone). It does take the edge off and brings my coping skills back to the surface where they are more readily available. (2) I am being very open with our grown children and with a couple of good friends about just how difficult it actually is. Just talking about it with them helps them know how important their emotional support is, and when they can give practical support as well, it’s a great bonus. (3) I have gone back to part time work doing something I absolutely love doing. What I earn pretty much cancels out what I pay for someone to stay with him as well as for some alternative treatments that are not paid for by insurance. The time away and the positive reinforcement of being out in the world is re-energizing. (4) I keep reminding myself that I’m not mad at him; I’m mad at this damnable disease. He is a sweetheart and does not deserve anger, but when stress is high and respite is low, I’m much more likely to adopt an angry or sarcastic or condescending tone of voice for which I am immediately ashamed - which, of course, then fuels my anger at myself and the rest of the world. So when I do catch myself before I do that and switch to a kind and loving tone of voice (whether I feel like it or not), I find it calms me as well as him. And when I shout, that loud angry voice just fans the flames of all the things I’m so sick and tired of with the disease. And I’m still in early stages, so who knows how long these approaches will keep working? I’m working on finding a support group, but at this point, he does not want to do that, as he is still in denial about many of his limitations.

One more thing - years ago when I was furious with the ex-husband I had just divorced, I found physically throwing or kicking or stomping things WAS very helpful as a cathartic. But instead of people, drivers, and dogs, I did things like getting a case of empty bottles, finding a metal dumpster (preferably one that would recycle the soon-to-be-broken glass), and throwing the bottles, one at a time, violently against the back wall of the dumpster. The sound of the shattering glass was somehow oddly soothing. (Weird, huh?). I also built thick walls of pillow that I would kick as hard as I could. Once I even hurled eggs into the bathtub, then washed the mess down the drain. Physical release of the anger in ways that don’t hurt someone else (or make a mess for me to later clean up, which would only make me more angry) has been very useful for me, especially in the early stages of realizing how angry I was — once it’s out of my body, I cope better. So maybe yoga, yes, but also maybe boxing or karate or kick-boxing - something where you can punch and kick and yell and be angry in a setting where anger is just part of the deal.

Okay, hope you have found something that encourages and supports you. And thank you all for not reporting me as some psycho. I really am quite harmless — but it is in large part because I accept the anger and have learned ways to keep it from hurting others. If I just shame myself for it, it makes it worse, not better. Hugs and best wishes, and please share the things that work for you as you go along. I may run out of available beer bottles and need some alternate strategies!
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Eloise46 Nov 25, 2018
I can totally relate. My husband is also in the early stages. We are both 72 and have been very active with traveling and our grandchildren. Now I feel angry and sad and irritable. These answers have been helpful.
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Six years caregiving for husband without a break and now swearing immoderately at other road users? - and who can blame you.

Be kind to yourself. Who can stand that much stress for that long and not have it burst out one way or another?

I'm so glad you've found AgingCare! If it works as well for you as it did for me, it's the first step to feeling immensely better and so much less alone.

One tiny bit at a time: what respite do you ever get, what support do you have, what activities do you enjoy that relieve stress and might burn up some anger?
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Jakies Nov 16, 2018
I go to arthritis pool exercise 3x week—just started! I overeat sweets esp chocolate to make me calm down—cannot concentrate on any diet for myself—my support are my kids; 2 of whom I see often—one cleans bathrooms & kitchen & vaccuums once/week & the other just started taking Hubby out 1x/wk to meet his old friends for coffee & I’m ‘free’ for @ 1 1/2 hrs—I have 2 good friends I complain to & I say a lot of serenity prayers!! I have a cute dog that I take for walks & car rides but sometimes he adds stress to my day by wanting my attention constantly, “sit with me, pat me, don’t read or use your iPad; just pay attention to me”.
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I am finding caregiver fatigue is so difficult to deal with I also find myself being ANGRY at anyone for NO good reason I guess we just need a break I am going to try to hire outside help for my Auntie so at least 1x or 2x per week I get a break from bathing,her setting her hair, or putting on the pajamas ,the special socks the foot care, or even meal prep, it just seems as if it never ends my whole life revolves around the care of other people and it seems as if I'm never makeing her happy I understand shes in pain so that makes her crabby its just hard to always be the punching bag when I feel as if I have put my heart and soul into doing the utter most that I possably can to keep her comfortable and happy & its almost impossable at this point...so I find myself displaying displaced agression in other areas of my life... So I really got No answer except that I do understand I REALLY HONESTLY DO understand!!!!
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dlpandjep Nov 28, 2018
God love you!  Just reading your post made my blood pressure rise.  I struggle with the same emotions - and lately, I feel like I've lost myself.  This isn't the way life is supposed to be.  It's maddening!  And yes. I UNDERSTAND TOO!!!!
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Jakies, I so relate. I too have a litany of growing health issues and pain to contend with along with my increasing care manager demands.

In a book called Sabbath, which discusses cultural sabbath traditions, one line stuck in my mind to the effect that if you fail to take a ritual rest, illness will become your sabbath. I see from your earlier posts that has already proven itself true for you. Heed your lesson and do whatever it takes to get some free, unstructured, idle time and do with it as you wish, even if you just wish to sleep.

The mind-body connection is powerful and I notice that lots of the caregivers here and in my support group, including myself, now require medications to manage problems we didn't previously have or have conditions that have progressed under the constant stress. Cortisol, the hormone meant to sustain our fight/flight response, was never meant to be our body's chronic state of activation. Understanding this underlying situation can help you focus your efforts through any means to reduce it for some small interval of time.

You'll still have times of feeling angry because there will always be hardships, struggles, and things that feel unfair about life. You just try to find the counterweights wherever and whenever you can. Blessings.
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Jakies Dec 1, 2018
I’ll never forget the ‘Sabbath’. What a great thought & it’s so true! I am finding pieces of time just for me & I am on Wellbutrin which keeps me from screaming sometimes! Thankyou for your caring & insight
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Jackies, you need to talk to your doctor, or to a geriatric psychiatrist. It sounds as though you are fast approaching burnout.

Anger crying, irritability? They are all symptoms of depression. Have you considered getting and evaluation for that?
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Jakies Nov 17, 2018
I thought of trying online support group first but I am going to make an appt with a therapist
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What about that proper break, then.

What about planning a week away, with the budget to include a high quality live-in caregiver, supervised by the children on a rota, while you go away somewhere - beautiful and tranquil or hip'n'happening according to preference?

Is it do-able?
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Jakies Nov 18, 2018
No—
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Definitely follow through with the idea of seeing a therapist and consider antidepressants. This sounds like clinical depression to me (judging by my symptoms I got help for it. ) No surprise that depression has set in considering your emotional pain over your husband coupled with your physical pain. Treat this depression like the disease that it is. Good luck.
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I hate to suggest this... but this works. I went to my primary doc for my torn rotator, and while I was there I had a total meltdown! I didn’t plan on it, it just happened. I started to cry when I described taking care of dad- anger, frustration, constant worry, and she saw immediately how much stress I was under. She gave me 10 Xanax. Never before have I ever taken anything like it! I rarely take a Tylenol!
She said to take it when I feel myself unraveling. I have had it for 3 months and I’ve taken a half of one pill! It’s probably just mental- knowing that I have the pills in case I need them....
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GrannieAnnie Nov 25, 2018
Glad you are careful with that med. It is addictive.
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I understand and empathize completely. I’ve been an only caregiver for my husband for five years. He has FTD. You get very frustrated with what they do or don’t do. I’m already on antidepressants but the anger still surfaces regularly. Two things helped. First a would-be 14 day respite where I ended up visiting him daily. Each day for ten days his bags were packed to come home and he cried when I left. The experience made me realize that I missed him and that neither of us was ready for him to go anywhere else yet. Second, someone in this group pointed out that it’s not your loved one you get angry at, it’s the blankety-blank disease. Now when I’m so mad that I feel like throwing something, I yell that I hate the disease. My husband doesn’t understand and usually laughs but it’s a good way to vent and send your anger where it belongs. I would feel so guilty for getting angry at him and I realized it was irrational. I still get angry —which I think is perfectly normal— but now I direct it at the proper target. Best wishes to you.
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RainyDay51 Nov 25, 2018
Hi Rafaela. Just putting in my two cents about my experience with FTD. My husband had it and he ended up trying to commit suicide - - - this was so not HIM, the person I used to know. He ended up in a psychiatric hospital for 11 days and then had to go into a locked Memory Care unit. From there things went downhill for four months. All kinds of bad behaviors started (similar to that of a bad two year old) and sadly, since he also had aphasia, wasn't able to understand or communicate. Of course they had him on medication, which constantly had to be adjusted because his disease was moving so fast. It got to the point he couldn't even stay focused enough to get through a movie. It killed me to put him into the facility, but with FTD you never know when someone is going to snap. And when they do snap, it can easily be violent. Through all this I was greatly concerned, upset and the saddest I've ever been in my life. No one prepares us for these things. Three years ago he had some memory issues but I'd had no clue things would ever go the way they did. He passed away October of last year. We were married for 32 years and were each other's best friend until this awful disease took hold. I went every day to see him, both at the psych ward and memory care and there were times when I'd be leaving that I'd just sit in my car and cry. I'm trying to get on with my life but it is oh so hard. I work part time and also am in a support group. But still, I'd give anything on this earth to have him back - without the disease. Please be careful especially for yourself. What they say about FTD is true, and it is one of the worst types of dementia out there. The only relatively good news is that on average, people don't last 10 or 20 years with it, but more like 6.
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Intense rage, erupting in an instant, I never knew I could feel this angry.

I react with internal ferocity against rediculous annoyances, with the same intensity as if it's something major.

A stranger who I feel is being disrespectful of me, rudeness of shop assistants, drivers, lack of common courtesy, I will challenge instances verbally. It's as if I am constantly full to the brim with anger that I am being walked over by family, and anything else added , just blows the lid.

Adrenaline with nowhere to go.

At last I have accepted the warnings of people around me that I must make changes.

I have applied for Extra Care housing for my Dad with early-ish Dementia and a lifelong bad attitude to others needs. Probably a couple of months wait but you know what??
The anger has gone.
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jacobsonbob Nov 29, 2018
Once you can see some "light at the end of the tunnel", things start to fall back into perspective for a person. Hope has a way of lifting one's spirit.
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