Has anyone else had a nervous breakdown regarding their elder parents' situation? - AgingCare.com

Has anyone else had a nervous breakdown regarding their elder parents' situation?

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My parents are still in the house I was raised in and have a dog. Dad is 95 and Mom 87. He has dementia and a catheter but otherwise pretty good and there's an aide there every day (we pay extra). She suffers from depression, anxiety and has a victim/helplessness personality. Four of us siblings - the closest geographically is me (45 minutes). My Mom calls us almost daily crying about something my Dad has done. Shes got some dementia I'm sure. She complains but says no when we suggest things. At this point, I think they have to go into a facility and it cant happen soon enough. Me - I suffer from depression and anxiety and have ulcerative colitis and am falling apart worrying constantly and not knowing what to do. As soon as I open my eyes in the morning, the dread and worrying starts. My brother is the oldest and owns an architectural firm and works 13 hour days. Hes been in denial (or doesn't care) for most of these years when we would bring up the parents getting older, etc. Middle sister is on disability for mental health issues/unreliable transportation and is of limited help. Twin sister takes most of the calls and is stronger than I but it's stressing all of us out. Every day I wonder if I should commit myself again. Last time was 2009 for depression. I don't know how to get through this. Its going to get a lot worse before its better.

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You seem very in tune with yourself.
Maybe a stay in a center would be just the ticket--a tune up of sorts.
During those "stays" I know they have family time for you to meet with a therapist to discuss things in a non-threatening way. Likely your sibs DO care, and care a LOT, but act it our differently.
I internalize, which is bad. Sis acts, swiftly and decisively and doesn't look back. 2 brothers ignore and play Dr. No Shot--but we have had meetings and talked back ad forth. Finding we were all getting snippets of the truth about Mother's care, but none of us had he whole picture.

It is NOT worth your mental well being to try to make your parents "happy". I cannot make my mother happy. Impossible. Also, it's not my job. Walking away from that w/o guilt has been such a blessing. And I didn't do it on my own--lots of therapy.

Take care of YOU!!!!

And come back--you'll get a lot of support here.
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I think I was in the midst of a nervous breakdown all through caring for my Mom but didn't let it come to fruition till after she died. I've had moments.............but to be honest I have not come to terms with her death and am attending grief counseling which hasn't helped. I would never try to dissaude someone from going to grief counsel but I have not been thrilled with it thus far.

It sounds to me like mentally removing yourself from your situation for a while would do you good especially since it sounds like your siblings have you covered. You are lucky in that respect. Take advantage of it and get well.
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Yes, people do have breakdowns, and if not complete ones requiring hospitalization, certainly severe enough to make daily functioning difficult at best. I sometimes think that it's the inner struggle between wanting the worry and exhaustion from trying to care for your parents to end and knowing that means the loss of your parents that can drive you slowly insane. You want to leave no stone unturned in caring for them at the same time you are getting older and may need care yourself. And it seems that in every family, some siblings pitch in and others don't or can't which adds another layer to the emotional burden. There are many, many of us out there. But if you need to take care of yourself in order to keep going, then that's what you have to do. There is no shame in that. But you have to keep going - for yourself because when they have passed your biggest comfort will be that you know that you did what you knew was right and that you came out on the other end of one of the most difficult situations life has to offer. You're not alone, and I admire you.
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There comes a time in life when the "person" we once knew is just simply not there any longer.....they have changed and the change is NOT good. Remember, they have lived their lives and you are, most likely, much younger. You owe it to yourself to take care of YOU first and foremost. No matter what the reasons are, physically or mentally, they cannot be allowed to abuse the caretaker and cause problems. Of course, the caretaker must also treat them with respect. However, when the day comes that YOU are being very negatively affected, you have only one choice: you must put them somewhere where they are cared for and you have the peace you so deserve. There is NO other choice. Be a martyr and destroy yourself or take care of you and have a chance for a life - while you still have it.
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Not yet.
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"She needs more than I can provide"....is an excellent way of expressing how you are feeling and what is going on. I am keeping that in my back pocket for when I need it. I also have friends with aging parents. We are all in some type of "situation" with them. I will share that statement with them as well. It's the simplest way of stating the truth.
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I can totally relate to your situation and where you are. I've had to turn to meds for my situation to get through. I've had two sick parents at one time and I don't know that the word stress can even be used. My father passed in August, which was some relief to my situation. I haven't even mourned him....there is no time. My sibling, I don't know where he is...denial, thinking it's my problem? It just doesn't matter to me any longer. My mother who has end stage renal disease just quit dialysis and is talking out of her head. She is working on her third week without it and to be honest, I really don't know what her time frame is, however yelling in the hallway of my condo for a drink of water in the middle of the night, or some of the conversations she is having are coming to a close. I'm married and this isn't fair to my husband, who mind you has helped me in a lot of ways, to include monetarily. I'm working on getting her into care as soon as possible. The only asset they had was their house and I'm working on getting a home equity line on that so I can set things in motion to get it sold. I called the credit union on Friday afternoon and started the paperwork online Friday evening. Probably be able to get everything going in a matter of two weeks. Knowing what I know now, as their POA I would have done this much sooner. My mother was the pigheaded one in all of this, in more than one way.....open to no suggestions whatsoever. She paid for it with her health. I've done nothing but answer the call for both of them, however it's coming to a close. My anxiety is taking a huge toll on me so I have the wheels turning for that. She needs more than I can provide at this point. After I get all of that closed, I'm going to head to therapy. I'm angry on so many accounts and I need to find my way back to the light. You need to work on the care....I know speaking for myself, I'm feeling a little lighter knowing we are going to the next step.
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You have options. My sister and I are "on call" for our parents, too. But we give each other "time off"...she takes the calls some days, I take them others. We also split up responsibility...I take care of all of her finances and go visit a couple of times a week, my sister lives closer and takes care of all the "little stuff" (out of shampoo, can't find the remote control, etc) and checks in three to four times a week. You can also call hospice for your mom....all it takes is a doctor saying there is a 51% chance she only has (3? 6? can't remember) months to live. In addition, Medicare will pay for counseling for HER if you feel that will help. Be kind to yourself, but also remember there are things you cannot change...and just as she took care of you when you were too young to, you are helping her when she is too old to. My mantra, when I think I can't take another second, is to take a deep breath and remind myself "this, too, shall pass".
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Weezay, would it help if you didn't answer the phone? You're not required to answer the phone each time your mother calls. It might make you feel guilty not to answer the phone, but your mother sounds like she's calling her children too much.
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Weezay, I am 57, and dealing with this currently, Adrenaline Fatigue OR, CAREGIVERS STRESS!!!

Adrenaline, Cortisol, and Norepinephrine, my 3 Stress hormones are All out of Whack, after going through these last 6 months of my FIL's life, ending in him passing away in our home after 7 weeks on Hospice of Lung Cancer.

After having him in our home for 13 years, my husband and I had finally reached Severe Caregivers Burnout, and on May 15th 2017, placed him into Assisted living near our home. Unfortunately, that only lasted 9 weeks before he fell and my husband found him on the floor of his apartment (July 27th), after him laying there for 16 hours. It was found that he had Pneumonia, Sepsis, and ultimately a CT scan proved he had a Golf ball sized mass in his Left Lung, which had metastasized to his diaphram and his rib bones. It was decided that he would return to our home (August 3rd), On Hospice, with a probability that he would only last about 3 weeks, and he lasted 7 weeks (September 20th), so a pretty good guesstimate.

In the time between us moving him out (mid July), and him being hospitalized for Pneumonia, I had a severe Stress reaction, landing me in hospital with chest wall pain and anxiety. After a battery of tests, including ruling out a hot gallbladder, heart and lungs disorders, I was diagnosed with Costochondritis and stress, which they did nothing about except "Time will heal", and eventually over the next 4 weeks, my symptoms slowly resolved.

Fast forward to him passing away in our home after those frantic 7 weeks of Excellent Hospice Care, it was still a whole lot of work for my husband and I, and 1 week after he passed on, All of those Same symptoms began surfacing again for me, but this time I jumped on it, not wishing to do another stint in hospital myself, plus, we were about to leave on a much needed vacation (October 6th).

My Dr did another EKG, more labs, and a Chest film, all negative except for a high WBC count (as before), and high Sed Rate, and a high CRP level, both related to my autoimmune issues with Arthritis and Fibromyalgia. My Dr Rx'd Buspirone, and anti-anxiety medication, and a Beta-blocker, but unfortunately the Buspar caused me more side effects than I was willing to tolerate, including dizziness, and a feeling of being completely Stoned, which is definitely not my cup of tea!, Lol!

In follow up with my Dr today, I will continue with the beta-blocker, and I'm going to consult with a Cardiologist to completely rule out any issues with my heart, as my chest continues to hurt, and my heart pounds in times of even the mildest issues of stress, its like my "fight and flight" hormones are completely out of whack, and I just cannot tolerate the constant feelings of an Anxiety Attack at any given moment, and for no apparent reason.

So Yes, the Emotional and physical Stress of caring for your LO for So Long, Constantly being on guard for the next shoe to drop, or waiting for them to die, and not knowing the manner of how they are going to die, and in your home, is probably the most stressful time of my life ever, and we have raised 4 great kids, and seen our 4 parents to the grave through very difficult illnesses and circumstances.

The older we get, the harder it becomes, and sometimes our Elders don't realize just how hard it is, and do not conceptualize that we too are getting older, and aren't 35 years olds anymore, heck, our own kids are 37, 37, 35, and 33! We have our own health issues too! But our parents are Old, and set in their ways, afraid of their own demise, and we are the ones who are going to help them, by God! Or at least, those of us on this website are the "chosen ones", as my husband's 2 siblings were of no help whatsoever to their parents, in the past 33 years that I've been a part of his life!

Please Please, be sure to take care of you, I know it's hard to find the time, but it's So important to do so! I know that now that we no longer have a parent to stress over, it's my time to get my own health concerns in order, and it sounds like you need to work on you too! Take Care!
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