I am Becoming an Abusive Caregiver
It's happening. I am becoming an abusive caregiver. What started as just fantasies of yelling at my mom, progressed into pretend yelling at her in my pillow at night, progressed into having silent conversations in the mirror shadowing to make it seem like I am talking to another person, progressed on to self-mutilation to myself, progressed onto actually yelling at my mom to hurry up and die.
I am not a very good caregiver. I had depression even before I was a caregiver. I never liked being around my mom for more than 1/2 hr even before she had dementia. When I have gone into a depression, my mom has invited me to stay with her (nice, yes...) but being around her exacerbates my low self esteem. But, well, where else to go? In the past, I would just sleep and do chores and wear the strongest ear plugs possible against my moms voice until the depression passed and I could work again.
Now, my mom is in dementia. I got depressed again last year, lost my job, and siblings thought it was a 'good idea' I stay with my mom --- to help each other out --- also I am so dysfunctional I still yearn for my mom to love me and I think if I do enough stuff for her, she finally will. Actually, one sister implored me not to caregive again ... as it increases my suicide attempts ... and hers. We both lost our fiancés for 'dropping everything' to care give.
Anyway, the longer and longer I care give, the less and less I actually do. No laundry, no cleaning out the fridge, no decluttering the hoarding. Nothing. I don't even bathe myself anymore and I've been wearing the same smelly clothes for 2 weeks.
My mom got encephalopathy last Friday at 3am. Before dialing 911, I waited a while pondering if I should call them or not .... if I didn't call then maybe she would die. I called them after all. I really dislike sleeping on hospital floors. I also mostly dislike seeing happy people in a similar way that a dumped person dislikes seeing couples in love. I keep my head down.
My mom got out of the hospital today. I cried the whole way to pick her up. I didn't 'live up' my 5 days of freedom. A lot of the time, I didn't know what to do with myself and so I just slept. One night, I slept with my ex-boyfriend just to feel the touch of a human. He was angry because my conversation skills have waned. I don't have much to say as I have no life and can't comment on my job or current events or anything. I don't listen very well anymore either. I tune out soliloquies, because I tune out my mother all day long so I don't feel compulsive urges to smack her or punch my thighs for hearing the same complaints on me or praises of my sister and her kids or of the same mutated stories of what she thinks the past was like.
I shouldn't be a caregiver. Caregivers get depressed over time and I was depressed and suicidal to start off. The voices of my sister to tell me to 'grow up' and 'mature' and stop being such a baby and care give are very strong. I am using my best efforts to brainwash myself into wanting to care give my mom. It has to be an act of love... the love isn't generating. I am very self-absorbed, I know. I am engaging in self-pity, I know. My psychiatrist says that if writing stuff like this on the Internet helps me avoid suicide or more self-mutilation then I should write it.
My issue with my mom is that she talks 'at me' not 'with me.' She never has, I am an object or tool to her... like a 'man about the house' to lift heavy things, hold her purse, and nod my head when she talks on and on. She treats me like she did my dad who is now her ex. It is sickening.
My mom cooks meals. That is nice, in a way. They are not anywhere close to what is supposed to be her diabetic diet, but I don't care anymore about making meals that she is just going to dump sugar and salt all over. The food is making me sick as I have hypoglycemia, but well I don't bathe anymore so why should I care. I stole breakfast from the hospital cafeteria today. Morals do slip when one is poor and unhappy. Protein! Eggs and sausage. Vegetables! It was heaven.
Tonight, my mom says she is going to leave town tomorrow. She is packing stuff up haphazardly. She has told me she's going to the moon several times, but this time she's packing. She says she's sick of medicines and hospitals and me, that I am a reminder of her illness and she can't stand my crying and unhappiness. That's believable. A depressed person is no fun to be around and not very tactful with the timing of "Did you take your night medicines, Mom?"
Frankly, she knows I ask that not because I 100% care about her health but because I don't want to go through the ordeal again of doing the ER thing because after using a variety of attempts 5 days ago to get her to take her night medicine... I gave up and went to sleep. See what a lousy caregiver I am?
I wasn't always this lousy a caregiver. It only happens when I live with her. I live out of my car
out front if her apartment. It's the only way to keep her from relocating my medicines and stuff. I'm glad she has a handicap placard for me to drive her around so I can at least not have to walk far if I decide to brush my teeth. I used to care about hygiene and even makeup and technology and science, like back when I was at MIT.
My mom is in the bath right now. I should check if she's drowning. I'm going to try to stay awake until she falls asleep so I can move some furniture to barricade the doors for when she wants to leave to go on her trip. I kind of want to steal her purse right now so she has no ID or money to leave. But, she is a hoarder and will know it's missing.... despite her dementia she always notices if I touch anything. I do want to sleep tonight, so I don't want a big conflict over her purse or chasing her down the street at this hour. Decisions , Decisions....
I am working my darnedest to block the thought that suicide is my ticket out of caregiving. My mom brags her mother lived to 80 and grandmother to 98. My mom is 68. In 30 years, I'll be 63. Shall I end my life or spend it not living? I am lonely. Visions and dreams of a career or marriage or family of my own are gone. Yes, melodrama. I indulge.
Frankly, after caregiving my sister with Lyme disease for a year and now my mom for 3+ years, intensely in the last year... I am not sure I want to have kids anymore. What is it but more caregiving? My heart might be in it if it were my own kids, but what am I kidding, I don't even caregive myself anymore.
I dread my sister. I can't stand her bitching at me for being a lousy caregiver and getting pissed off if I don't inform her I am leaving for a while and getting pissed off if I do inform her. She is married and has kids and has Lyme Disease. According to my dysfunctional family's hierarchy of importance, that makes me 6th in line for resources... since I am too physically healthy for quality food or love or consideration or help for my measly low-importance mental illness.
I abandon my mom sometimes and go to Al-Anon meetings because it is free counseling. I don't go to caregiver support groups because the ladies there are all in their 50's and I am 33. At Al Anon there are younger people, sometimes even men. Sometimes on the street if I am crying, someone will talk to me. That is cool. The cab driver last night when I went to pick up my mom from the hospital (buses were over) talked to me. Then, He wanted sex. I said maybe if he got a permission slip from his wife, but really I said no. It was nice to have a conversation, though.
I also abandon my mom to go to the library. I get books and read them and pretend I have a life as a character in the book. Sadly, I am turning to romance novels. Maybe I have more in common with the 50 year old caregivers after all. I used to like technology and more interesting philosophy books but now I read trash, probably because I feel like trash.
Right now, I don't feel good because I can't detach and not create scenarios of disaster of my mom leaving on this 'trip' of hers tomorrow. Hard for me to live in the present, always has been, even before the caregiving.
When did I stop caring about my mom's health and well-being? When did I become so self-absorbed with my own pity-party of my own unhappiness? I used to actually want to help my mom and see her healthy and happy. Now all I do is fantasize about winning the lottery and putting her in a nice assisted living home. I also fantasize about some nice person buying me a lottery ticket so I could actually qualify for the lottery.
I could make maybe $ 100,000 - $ 120,000 per year. My last job was $105,000 salary. That is a lot. I lost my last job because I couldn't concentrate with the endless harassing phone calls from my sister to take an FMLA leave to caregive. Ya, right. Ask for that after only 2 months on the job. She really knows how to 'get me' with her 'moms dying. these are her last days alive.' I'm a sucker. I fall for it every time. My sister lives 5 blocks away from my mom. She sleeps well at night now because I am here now.
I read a lot about caregivers. I have to plan my escape. My siblings will not help me when my mom dies. I'll be not only bereft (I wish jubilant, but likely I'll be bereft), penniless and homeless without a friend... as I am estranged from all my friends now that I am so isolated. My sister knows my social security number. That's how she tracked me last time, by impersonating me on the phone to my bank to find out my last bank transaction. We're all hackers and crackers. She uses her powers for evil. I do too, I suppose. I dress as a nurse at the hospital to steal food more easily
I am sure I am blowing everything out of proportion. That s what my sister says. Take this all with a bucket of salt, unless you have hypertension like my mom. Benazepril!