Challenged

by Karen
(Montana)

I am the oldest of two siblings, and several years ago our parents made the choice to move close to my husband & I so that they could be a part of their grandson's life after years of being apart due to our military life-style.


The past 3 years have seen a decline in my mother's health and eventually her death 11 months ago.

During this time I entered a new phase of my life, taking advanced medical training for the EMS field; leaving an unfulfilled job and entering into a new and exciting career; our son's HS graduation time; and my husband taking on a new career challenge.

In order to work our chosen careers; he works out of town and is only home every other week; my son is happily embarking on his journey of life; I am continuing to the Paramedic level and almost completed, but this involves much training time away from home and working out of town 3 days/week.

One of the biggest challenges has been not only having been a major caregiver role for my mother but then being thrust into the caregiver aspect for my father who was close to being suicidal when Mom passed.

I deal with the frustration of not enough time to accomplish the demands of my studies and the time needed to take care of the situation with Dad. I handle the finances; dealt with her estate; stepped up to do the household chores for Dad while he was learning to cope, etc.

I am the one person that he comes to for everything. My brother lives 8 hours away and is actually as helpful as he can be from that distance. I look at myself today and realize I'm stressed to the max; I'm burnt out and actually, last week, considered quitting my training (and I'm only 3 months from finishing!);

I've gained 60 lbs. and I have lost all drive and motivation. I've spent the last 3 of my 4 days off sitting in a dark room watching movies. I did no homework; only called Dad one time; am 'short' with my husband on the phone and just didn't want to be an active part of the world anymore.

I know I need to find some sort of support but I don't know where to turn or even how to begin. Any ideas or advice from those of you out there who have been through this and survived? Or those going through it also and surviving better than me?

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Renewing
by: karen

I am working on renewing myself ;-)not an easy task but I think it's going to be an interesting journey.

Have spent time with my day planner & Dad's calendar & we're working on coordinating time....keeping things flexible but making sure he has my undivided attention several times a week also allows for my study time also.

I also scheduled a counselor appointment for myself; found my gym key and am dirtying my running shoes. Re-instituted "girls night" once/week and while we're playing board games, cards or just visiting I've learned that we're all struggling through some of the same things and are now learning to be open & share, not be silent & strong.

I thank you for Micheal Fox's thoughts....I'll remember that.

I also have been doing rounds with a local MD at a nursing home for geriatric clinical and things aren't so bad for Dad & I. My heart goes out to those there & they're families.....it's almost as if learning how to help them, I'm learning to help myself.

This forum & site and your comments have been so helpful, thank you all

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Breathe
by: Anonymous

Karen,
Thank you for writing back on this forum, I am always left wondering what happens to people here.

It sounds like you are renewing yourself! About the fear of sinking again: Michael J. Fox says he does not worry but his wife does. He says if he worries about what will happen then if 'it' does happen he's already lived it twice (or more) and he doesn't want to do that.

We all have our bad days and bad moments but 'this too shall pass' is what I say in my head and sometimes out loud to myself!

Good for you on the running! Please keep letting us know how it's going and when you graduate!!
m in santa rosa

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Boundaries....
by: Anonymous

Thank you, I like the idea of setting boundaries, I'll need to work on that. I have always been of the personality type that if it's broken, I want to fix it. I do have many things to learn, to heal and to continue in a positive way.

I have actually thought about counseling but am not quite sure where to find the proper counselor. This is a small community and I will not talk to the few we have here because I know them too well. I'll need to go out of town.

It was suggested I start with something like this forum to get some positive support and realize I'm not the only one dealing with life's challenges.

I appreciate you sharing your insights and ideas, with help of others I'll be able to make it through this.....

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Thank You!!!
by: Anonymous

I actually had several "good" days after discovering this site but when I read your post tonight, I actually cried tears of joy!! Just knowing that I'm not alone helps tremendously.

I will not quit! I will continue to drive on...and attempt to take one day at a time. I have taken time the last 2 days to go for a run outside and I have made several attempts at initiating contact with friends and actually "asking" for help.

I have received support with things I didn't realize I needed help with and I managed to complete 3 more homework assignments.

I also approached the conversation with Dad that I would be able to help with certain things but that I needed specific time periods to complete my training.

Seems to be good so far....now my underlying fear is that things seem to be going well and I'm afraid of crashing back down!

So I will continue to focus on positive thoughts, seek help and try to not look too far ahead at one time.

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You Can Do This!!
by: Anonymous

Dear Karen,
DO NOT QUIT! DO NOT QUIT! YOU Can do this!! You will look back and wonder, "How did I do that?" and like me you might even be surprised when you hear yourself saying, "Well, that wasn't that bad." But it WAS that bad....

First decide to eat better for you. No not "going on a diet" just eat better (less chips or whatever and more greens or something). Eating better is going to feed your brain so you are better able to not just cope but thrive in a stressful life.

Also, pull yourself up and go for a walk, just get moving so your brain can feel less overwhelmed.

If your dad made it through these few days of not hearing from you this seems like a good sign that he can get along with less of you while you do your studies etc.

Feeling guilt is part of this so just accept the feeling and move along.
This too shall pass but DO NOT QUIT! You can do it!!!
m in Santa Rosa CA

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Get some counseling!!!!
by: Anonymous

The most helpful thing I have found is that I finally got some counseling for myself on all my psychological past baggage.

Once I figured out how to lighten the mental load, not be so enmeshed, not get so easily angered, to accept the situation.

Get helpers, set boundaries, use every community or family resource you have...you can handle it. Learn to make a space for yourself INSIDE your head and heart, under all conditions.

Fall down, make mistakes but don't give up your spirit. Your depression comes from being overwhelmed. Take the time to help yourself. Let life come back into your mind, body, spirit. You are no help to anyone if you are under the water yourself. Do it for God, or for your highest aspirations.

And draw big boundaries.

Sounds like there are many issues waiting to be addressed here for you. Use this time as a gift: a time to grow strong in some way. Nothing comes to us for no reason. Take heart and use every resource.

Waste no more time in self pity. Give yourself credit and a lot of self love. Every day is a gift. Allow help to come into your situation.
I have confidence you will find yourself in a better mental place soon. You will be surprised how God will help you once you just ask.

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