Am I wrong to depend on a chemical to help me cope? Isn't there a better way to deal with the exhaustion of caregiving?

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My resilience has faded over the last 5 years of caregiving. So, in 2016 I put mother into assisted living, & now am decreasing visits. Lately, I cry almost every morning😢, & have had angry outbursts. The Dr is pushing lexapro, but I'm afraid of chemicals that alter the brain. I wish I had the motivation to just get a simple job. (The coffee shop I worked at last year closed down). Is 61 too old to work in fast food? Please help me get unstuck. I love you all for caring enough to answer.💞

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Tiger, I have diabetes. Do you think it is wrong for me to depend on chemicals to keep me going?
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partsmom Oct 14, 2018
Are you talking about diabetes drugs, or something else? I have been diabetic for about 20 years, and at first of course they gave me Metformin and insulin. I was also about 225#, and the first thing was to lose about 40#, no sweets or cheeseburgers and no dinner leftovers from my large appetite menfolk. The big thing at that time was thermogenic supplements. This got me down to 185#. I also did cinnamon capsules (found out it takes 3-4 per meal to make a difference) and chromium supplements. Then I had a paperwork issue with Kaiser and had no insurance for nearly a year so couldn't refill the meds, and had to really work on alternates. I took off another 40# by fasting, and have been working on developing a routine of supplements, as I never refilled the metformin or insulin. At this point I am on no prescription meds, eat very light--mostly eggs, chicken, fish, cheese and yogurt, occasional flour tortillas, have to be careful of fruits and veggies because they have bad intestinal results. H1C within acceptable range for the last 10 years. Will share my supplement list if interested.
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I totally understand your concerns. I too resisted going on anti-depressants for two years. I am also almost 62. I had to do something because I was a mess emotionally. It is the best decision I made. Normal again. Give your brain time to heal. I joke now about drugs are good. I've always hated drugs but they saved my job and my family. It is only for a season not the rest of my life.
Blessings.🙏
Just a note it took 3 different kinds to get the right one to work with my body.
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Tiger55 Oct 13, 2018
That really helped me, thank you. I've never had a lot of patience, but lately it seems like everything little thing bothers me. (I think it's partly aging, & partly due to being alone so long). Due to all of you here, I'm believing for a good outcome, but just have to chill-out along the way, lol. 😣☺😀. God bless you all.💞✌
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Real exhaustion takes a lot time to get over. Mine was house burning down, very nasty legal case, 10 years of stress. And you don’t bounce back quickly after a long difficult time. A real holiday (or even a move) helps. A change of scene forces you to think of other things. My own take on chemicals is that if it helps, take it in the short term. Just don’t get hooked, particularly on sleeping drugs or strong pain killers.

Lots of people have found that a short hours volunteering ‘job’ is a good way to get back into the workforce. Look for one with good company – not in aged care! And read BuzzyBees old site for a few minutes in the morning, it just has to make you smile. Best wishes.
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dlpandjep Oct 10, 2018
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Tiger, do you feel guilty because you aren’t going to visit so much? Don’t. It’s ok. I did the same thing. Didn’t seem to matter to my mom.

I have taken most about every anti-depressant out there. I can say with all honesty that none of them really made much difference. I didn’t feel like I was “on” anything. Don’t think if you take it that means you’re an addict. Try it. If it makes you feel better, great.

I am 65. In another life I was a preschool teacher. Now, I am a full time caregiver for my bedridden husband. We need some extra cash and I’ve begun looking for a part time job as a preschool aide. Will I be able to handle it AND caregiving? Who knows. They want two full days a week. Less than that wouldn’t be worth it. I’m being selfish. But I need to get out of this house or lose my mind. Right now, husband and I are fighting over his Congestive Heart Failure. He wants sausage, popcorn, lunchmeat, etc. I’m tired of arguing. I know I need to get out. You do too. You need something to divert your thoughts. Maybe not a fast food job, though. Too frantic. A hostess at someplace like Bob Evans? Take your time and pick out something you’ll really enjoy doing. And come back to let us know what you found.
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dlpandjep Oct 10, 2018
Selfish? We ALL know better. This could be so good for you Ahmijoy. You won't know unless you try. Hugs to you, dear lady. 💚
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I read your question and it took my breath. I said those very words to myself last night.

You lack motivation, because you're depressed. I hate that word, but truth is I've learned oh so much about it. Mine is situational depression and I expect yours is too. There are some drugs that will help, but finding the right one can take time. I've met people who say anti-depressants have changed their lives. I met a young woman who told me she couldn't leave her home and she became a recluse - until she started taking one. I personally took Lexapro for several months and then weaned myself off of it. Like you, I fear the long term effects and would rather not take anything - but I have to admit, it helped me for a while. Be aware that once you've taken an SSRI for any length of time, you have to withdraw gradually.

You are not too old to go back to work! Actually, it would probably be the best thing for you. You are taking steps to get your life back and I admire your strength. You've given SO much of yourself - I am in awe that you have been through so much and yet you're thinking of the future! Bless you! You can do this. Start by getting out more. Go shopping. Join a fitness center. Just get out! Then move on to finding work that you will enjoy and go for it. Good luck to you precious one. I just know you'll be OK. 💙
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MargaretMcKen Oct 11, 2018
The jokes thread is well worth a look. Take it in small doses to string out the benefit. This is the site:
https://www.agingcare.com/discussions/caregiver-jokes-152323.htm?orderBy=recent&page=22
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There are times when prescribed drugs have helped me through a very difficult time. I am holistic. I meditate. I jog. I generally eat healthy. Done in moderation and awareness, prescribed drugs are another way of taking care of yourself. Or myself. I am grateful to have them when I feel a need. You can try and if they do not help you, you can stop. Do exercise, do meditate, do support your well-being, do ask for support. Do set limits and boundaries. These behaviors, along with a prescribed drug, can be a very holistic way to live. It feels that way to me. I suffered enough.
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Tiger55 Oct 15, 2018
Yeah, I've lost touch with all my good habits since I left work last year. It's not like me to "let myself go", either. All my life I've been the worker, caregiver, & nutrition-exercise advocate for my family. I don't know what came over me, except that suddenly I wanted to run away from everything. I'm overwhelmed by the sense of responsibility regarding my mother's medical problems, cuz she acts like I'm supposed to save her somehow. The feeling that I've failed her is always there, & she used to call saying: "are you just leaving me here to die?", or she would call me for pain pills or malox, (as if she's not surrounded by nurses where she lives). Then I wrote a note to the head nurse asking what is going on with mother's mental state, & nobody ever called me back. This is just too much.
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I don’t think that trying out medication is a bad idea at all!! I was on Xanax and an anti depressant for quite a while through my Mom’s ordeal. I was her sole heir and POA/ medical POA for about five years as well . I started volunteering for a while first then my confidence went up and I went back to work.
i also would cry every time I visited her, and had the anger/ outbursts as well.
My Mom died about six weeks ago, and while I do miss her, it has been a relief!
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Tiger55 Oct 13, 2018
So true, bless your heart.💞
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Any anti-depressant, and I've been on lexapro for years, is a life-saver. We were not meant to work as hard at our age as care-giveing requires. PLEASE go for it! It just replaces chemicals that were naturally in the brain and have deteriorated with what we've been going through.

No, 61 is not too old to work in fast food, but I don't think that will cheer you up. :)
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Tiger55 Oct 13, 2018
That does make sense, about the need to replenish our brain chemistry. Life does seem to take a lot out of us, over the years. And yes, I laughed about the fast food thing☺,lol. Thanks.
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I'm very sad that those who are so opposed to anti-depressants think a person can just get up and go.
When you are in this state, it is not that easy. If herbs, friends, and other holistic helps work that is great but sometimes the anti-depressant will help get you balanced so you can do all the healthy route.
Yes, there can be serious side affects but so can there be if she does nothing. Been there.
It is easy to say, get out and set boundaries, but she's past that.
She shows definate signs of depression. Where is our compassion?
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joanne27 Oct 15, 2018
I agree!! Been there too!! Well said!!
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Another thumbs up vote for an antidepressant. I couple that with a visit to a counselor as needed. Sometimes once a month...lately every two weeks.
Lots of employers are desperate for good help and would love to have a motivated, dependable, mature person on board.

Go for it. Time to take better care of you.
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Tiger55 Oct 13, 2018
Thanks, thats very encouraging☺. I usually lack patience, but I am going to take time to feel better, then find a job, cuz I do love to work😀.
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