I know that this may be upsetting to ask, but have you as a caregiver, ever contemplated suicide?

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I ask this because I have. I think daily about escape from this prison of servitude that has systematically removed me from the joys of aging and of being a happy participant in and a planner of, birthdays and holidays-which were always my favorite things, and now bring sadness and dread because I no longer have the resources or the energy to do, as well as the daily pain-pain of watching this man drift away in ways that, in themselves are equally tragic to both of us and have no positive resolutions. Yesterday was a good day. I am grateful for it. But that was wiped away at sunrise as he woke with confusion and all that goes with it. The physical pain that my own health issues bring to me daily that I struggle to deal with in order to give care, is often overwhelming. The pain I know he feels somewhere in his confused mind is so sad. Please know that I have, and will again, call a hotline. This has been a very positive experience. I have sought and will continue to seek, counseling. I have people who love me and who I love. I know that ending my own life would cause them tremendous pain, yet this all seems just like a terminal illness. I am not "crying out for help". I sometimes refer to this life experience as "a long day's journey into night", to refer to the play. But some days and in the dark of an interminable sleepless night, I just want to be gone. I am hoping to start an honest dialogue with caregivers and professionals.

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DeeAnna --- I understand what you're saying about the suitability of this forum for this discussion. At the same time, I think She1934 is touching on something really important about caregiving and caregivers, and the various responses suggest that this is a good place to get this out in the open. These people, we, understand what She is saying. I would like to discuss it.
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Reply to realtime
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She1934, I am terribly sorry you are having these thoughts. I think Garden Artist has good insight into how you feel. Even though I am a clinical psychologist and was aware of my psychological situation, my feelings often reached some very low places. I felt totally trapped. I was bitter towards family members who got to have their lives while I was missing everything because of being trapped with my mother. I had three grandchildren, two of them I barely knew. There were other issues with my situation and I finally made the decision to move away from the entire mess and get my life back. I know that I was harshly judged for moving away, but it was the best I could do for myself. I was fortunate that I had that option, not everyone does.

Reach out to here online. Find a counselor, minister, or friend to talk to about your situation. Try to work out some respite time for yourself. Take care of yourself. I think this is an appropriate topic for this forum. Caregiving can be a dark journey.
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"This all seems just like a terminal illness." I think I can relate to that. For my husband, it was literally a terminal illness. And for me it was the death of well-established loving relationship. Now that I'm more than 5 years past that literal death I realize that aspects of that relationship still live on in me. That is a pleasant reality.

"I just want to be gone." I can relate to that, too. I've never contemplated suicide, but more than once I engaged in magical thinking of suddenly just being somewhere else entirely, where I had no responsibility for sick people. I chose to be a caregiver. I knew I could make a different choice at any time. I didn't feel "trapped." But some days, just some days, my fantasy was reading murder mysteries on the beach. Just "poof" and there I would be, without having to make arrangements or planning.

I'm so glad you keep the hotline number handy, and that you are open to counseling.

Come here and tell us about it when you are feeling especially hopeless or overwhelmed. We can hear it all without being judgmental. (But if you are feeling suicidal, call the hotline first!)
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I am so deeply appreciative of every response here-even the one about this not being an appropriate forum. I think I brought this up in light of the celebrity suicides of the past few days. These people had so much and yet one was debilitated by Lewy Body and we don't know much about the second. But I believe we must address the issue. I believe that we can, as caregivers, truly help each other. We are not, for the most part, "professionals", but we are living with this reality. Sometimes we are sitting with a loved one thinking "wow! I finally have a handle on this!" "I've read the books, gone to the support group, talked to a counselor, appreciated the relationship we shared for many years, have at least some family support-I've got this!" Then all h*ll breaks loose and the magic mirror shatters. It's a bit like a sane person who has been locked in an asylum with no doors but with unbreakable windows that taunt you with what life can be as happy people pass by. There are rare moments, glimpses of what was, but will never be again. That is a reality of many, I believe.
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Maybe a stupid thought. But I’m living by it. I may be on the titanic, But I’ll be sure I’m on one of the life boats. This is hard. This is crazy hard. This has no end in sight . This will pass. I’m not sure if this will make me a better person. I really doubt that. But one day, I’ll have my life back on my terms. A week ago, I took my mother to the hairdresser, I had to make a call, I stepped outside for about a minute and a half. She couldn’t handle not seeing me . The salon has all glass windows. She was getting her hair rinsed. The hairdresser said she wanted me to move the chair , so she could see you. I was really upset over this. Like what the heck ? I can’t be out of sight for under 2 minutes. There’s a song from creed. Hold me now I’m 6 feet from the edge. So I tell my friend I’ve had since we were 13 , over 40 years ,, I feel that way. I told my husband, I told another friend. All offered extreme support. Not that I was suicidal, I just felt pushed beyond any coping mechanism I had internally. So I reached out and got support. We all have horrific days. We all have ok days. We also all have the immense burden of being on call 24/7. It takes a toll. But for me. No I won’t ever killl me. I love me. I’ve done a lot of really nice things for people and animals my whole life. All I can say is there will be better days. I think this is a great place for people to discuss the realities of feeling overwhelmed.
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I'm so sorry to read of your challenges. I think that it's not unusual for caregivers to become very frustrated, to want to give up, or leave and escape. While I don't know of any who have actually considered suicide, I know that the frustration can seem insurmountable.

These are the times when we need to draw on all the inner resources we have, to remember that these times will eventually end and we'll be facing a different kind of frustration, that of the grief of losing someone we love and possibly revisiting the care we've provided and found ourselves wanting when someone needed us the most.

I'm glad to read that you're getting counseling, and to see that you have adaptive methods, such as considering T.S. Eliot's play as a life experience I think that's a high level, intellectually adaptive choice), and one which also addresses the stresses and frustration of life (with drugs, as in the play - if I remember correctly).

I find that Shakespeare's plays, especially King Lear, offer insight as well, remembering that old age, caring and uncaring siblings, aren't solely an issue of contemporary life.

Difficult as it is, you have to carve out time for yourself, even if it's just 1/2 hour a day while your partner (?) is resting or sleeping. Down time is mandatory. House cleaning and that sort of stuff can wait; it's just not that important when stress and exhaustion are higher level concerns.

You might try to find a support group, phone, online, or otherwise. Posting here is also a good opportunity to reach out to others.

Many of us have gone through similar challenges with literally no life of our own. Now that I'm past that stage and into the post death stage, I look back and, while I won't say I'm glad that I endured so many challenges, I'm glad that I didn't let my father down when he needed me the most.

That's one way to interpret your current situation, that you've extending yourself at this time when someone you love needs you more than ever. In some ways, I can't think of a greater love.

Today is the second month anniversary since my father's passing; I'm trying to focus on traveling this fall after trust issues are under control, or visiting family that I haven't seen in a few years, of taking classes and restarting my stalled brain. I kept those in mind during the last challenging days, and they helped me get through.

But I won't deny that I'm still having a rough time, with flashbacks, and questioning of what more I could have done. I think that's not unusual.

Please continue sharing your frustrations here so that we can reach out to help you.
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Reply to GardenArtist
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She1934, oh there were times when I just didn't want to wake up in the mornings to make everything disappear. And here I wasn't even hands-on caregiving, but the stress of my very elderly parents not wanting to blow the dust off their wallets to hire professional caregivers, or to even think about downsizing into something more manageable.

I felt like I had two full-times jobs, one at work, and one just trying to logistically help my parents. Plus I was dealing with a very illness myself which was exhausting me. And to make matters worse, I was a senior myself... like who's going to pick me up when *I* fall?
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I'm so sorry for your pain. It sounds like you are really overwhelmed and need some help. I would talk to your local Area Agency on Aging and your social services department about assistance with your loved one, and for you. You don't have to do this alone.

In answer to your question, I've not reached the point of contemplating suicide but can relate to the feeling of not being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But there is one, I promise you. There is a solution, and suicide is not it - but there is help out there, and you are not alone. We are here for you too- so many of us on here going through the same type of thing. That what I love about this site, that people here understand and know how you feel.

Big hugs to you, stay in touch and come back to vent anytime.
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Reply to FrazzledMama
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yes. When I was taking care of my mother with Alzheimers I would imagine hanging myself. It took years for an opening at the home i wanted her to go to and I ended up calling the ambulance the last time she ran away. I had to save myself.... and i had to save her from my dark thoughts developing towards her :(
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Definitely, we can help one another. And the response you just posted helped me too, I read it and can relate for sure. It does feel like a literal asylum here sometimes dealing with a mom that struggles with paranoia and hearing voices. And you are so right, one day it's like, "Ok, I think I can make this work," and the next it's like, "Oh, Lord, how am I just gonna get through this day?"

It's grieving too, as you said, of what was, or maybe in some cases what never was, or the way things have gotten. So glad people like you and others share your stories and experiences, and I hope you'll keep coming here and let us know how you're doing. Your experience and journey can help us too.
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