Is it common to lose your identity while caregiving?

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Hi, my name is Jan. I have been caring for my mother since i was 11 when she became pregnant and sick. I am now 27 years old. She has had a grocery list of medical issues until ultimately going blind in 2006. I was 17 and fresh out of high school & i decided to help her and my 5 year old brother at the time. Fast forward to now.. My mother is blind, has end stage renal failure, received a quadruple bypass last year, has orthostatic hypotension & 2 benign brain tumors. Now my brother is 15 and can help out a little but i try to take most of the burden off of him. I am losing my mind. Never meant to put my life on pause this long. I now have a child of my own that is 1 & caring for my mother often takes time away from my beautiful toddler. I dont see an end. I have countless suicidal thoughts. I have no outside family support. I have become a recluse. I have no income. I have no identity. I hate to sound like im looking for pity but this felt good to vent & purge from my soul. Good day everyone!

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P.S. l completely forgot to share with you what I wanted to share with you when I read the question to your post. About losing your identity.

My dad lived with me. I completely lost my identity while caring for him. My friends and family all knew that I couldn't go off and leave him alone so any kind of invitation be it to a baptism or a wedding or just a party in general was always extended to me and my dad. It was like we were a couple. I appreciated that my friends and family invited my dad. He was a wonderful man and well loved by everyone but I had to drag him around with me if I wanted to socialize so it became very easy to just not socialize at all. How fun is a party if I'm engaged in an interesting conversation but having to keep one eye on my dad? And if I spy him trying to get up to get something I have to cut the person I'm talking to off to rush to my dad's side to tend to him. I would have to chart our course prior to any social event. Is it handicapped accessible? Are there stairs, etc. It just wasn't fun at all. I went mainly for my dad's sake and to try to keep one foot in my other life. But it was easier to just not go. So like you I isolated myself.

But I'm very concerned about your suicidal thoughts. A 15 year old kid is not a suitable support system. Have you considered assisted living for your mom? Or a nursing home if that would be more appropriate? You may be thinking, "Oh, I could never put mom in a nursing home." But it sounds like it's either her or you. Who are you going to care for? It sounds like caring for your mom, yourself, your brother and your child isn't working. Just taking care of a baby alone is challenging enough! You have too much on your plate and you need help ASAP. Maybe you can get your mom to her Dr. and tell the Dr. your situation. Stress the fact that you don't think you can keep going on like this. Be honest with the Dr.

Or you can take your mom to the ER if you're really desperate and tell them that you can't care for her anymore. Explain the entire situation to them because there's still your underage brother to consider.

Start talking to professionals and see if something can't be figured out.
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I agree about the hospice. Call a hospice provider (you can ask for a referral through your mom's Dr.) and have them come out to assess your mom. If she's approved for hospice that will lighten your load a little bit.

I think it's OK to enlist your brother's help with your daughter on rare occasions but let him be 15. What were you doing at 15? Caring for your mom. Try not to heap too much upon your brother. He's a kid.

I'm glad it felt good to vent! I hope you continue to do so. That's what this website is for.
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If your mother has end stage renal disease she would be eligible for hospice and medicare, even if she's not yet 65.

Does mom have a caseworker?

I'm so sorry for your troubles.
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Share the burden Jan. Ask aunts uncles cousins to give you a day off. Do not coddle your brother, it leads to bad behavior. Give him duties, like babysitting the toddler when mom has you tied up. Ask Hospice to help you too. They can send a visiting nurse and a bath aide for mom or even some respite for you.
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