Nothing Left of Me

by Sally

I care for my mum 84 and dad 82, as well as my disabled son (27 with a brain injury after trying to hang himself.)

My older brother is an alcoholic, currently in hospital of a bruised liver following a fall, but he can do no wrong in my mums eyes, he has had his inheritance early, wasted it all on booze and is now eating what's left.

I feel as if every one is taking what they need of me and that there's nothing left of me for my other son 16 and husband.

Mum wont pay for help or ask social services, my son has had a social worker for 4 months, but we've never met her.

I feel abandoned and exhausted. I need a break, but no ones seems willing to help.
I feel like a ghost.

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Take Charge
by: Anonymous

I like the comments from "Your Not Alone" and you are not. I want to add that you need to bring in Social Services - yes, our parents say "No", but you need to tell them that it is not for them, it is for you, so you can better care for them.

My mom said no to hospice, but they came anyway and she really enjoyed just talking. So, you make it a gradual thing, they have so many resources. Believe me, I know what you are going through.

When I started my caretaking journey, my mother was 83 (now 86), she was not nice to me at all, my brother is living with us as well - he was an extreme alcoholic, then at the same time I discovered my 37 yr old son was schizophrenic - and I am standing back staring at all this - couldn't believe it!I left my brother completely alone, "he ends up where he ends up" I thought; he does not know how close I came to me calling the police a few times; instead I put in a few 911 calls to my other brothers for help.

He has now been clean and sober for a year and a half. Congratulations to him. Had to help my son; I survived and after a year he is doing very well and continues to do well two years later; my mother is an ongoing situation - I used a lot of psychology, mood stabilizers, and if needed be, I stayed out of her way - I have taken care of her, my son and my brother with the thought process of getting them to a place of independence and I will say they are all doing quite well.

When my mother started getting stronger after 5 hospitalizations in a 2 year period; I stopped making her bed, I let her make her own meals (not always, but for the most part), she's doing things around the house on her own.

With all my situations, I always put myself in a place where I can see an end. Now, my mother at this time - I recently found that she is hiding alcohol in her room... Really? I thought. Well, now I have a new situation.

I cannot bring this to my mom's attention, because her attitude is that she is old and she can do whatever she wants - telling her "no" will only make her do it more (we learn by experience). So what can I do? Being that I know she is drinking, I check her secret hiding place a few times a day, and take note of her behavior on a daily basis.

My mother drives (don't think she should), but okay, short distances. I will have her license pulled if she gets out-of-control. I am pretty close to doing that - my attitude is, if she wants to drink, have at it, but she's not driving.

So, I go behind the scenes and get things done - no warnings to any of the three that I have had to look after. Just do it.

My life is not going to be so totally interrupted by everyone else's bad behavior - have a plan in place and stay one step ahead - quietly. You are an angel - step out of the circle and take charge.

Too Much
by: Anonymous

After reading your post, I don't see how you do this! You are caregiving for so many and it sounds like too much for one person.
I am a caregiver to a Mother with a dementia related illness and I don't know how I could add another person to the mix and survive.

I have siblings too but unlike the other comment, mine won't help in the way of sitting with her (even when I specifically ask for that) but will help by paying for items she needs - occasionally. I hope you are able to find some help to take some of the load off your shoulders and find breaks to get away from it all - with your husband - and your child.

Praying for you

You're NOT Alone
by: Bonnie n CA

I can assure you you are not alone. We're all part of the same tribe - caregivers. Its not a fun place to be, certainly not one we would have chosen beforehand had we known how things would end up.

We pray for the end, hoping it will provide the relief we need, then feel guilty for knowing it means an end for someone else - namely the person we are caring for. I don't know where the answer lies for this.

What you CAN be proud of is your nurturing nature. Its obvious nobody else is going to step up and do what you're doing so, of course, you feel alone and helpless.

The only thing I've found that helps is to give MYSELF a break. Nobody else will do it for me because they all sit back in the wings doing their own thing without much thought of my needs.

I have learned to take off, get clear out of town, at LEAST once every other week. My mother is 94, I have siblings who (thank goodness) WILL help but they don't know what help I need unless I TELL them.

At first I felt selfish for needing more help and grew more and more bitter every day. Over the course of several months, tho, I finally figured out it's not a bad thing to ask for help. My sanity relies on it.

If you can't get it from your family, call the Mental Health Dept., Senior Citizen centers, church, Visiting Angels, your doctors, the police - ANYBODY - and tell them you need help caring for your parent/s. Even talk to your son's social worker. Of all people, she/he should be more than happy to help you figure out some source of relief.

After all, her job is to look out for your son and if she knows you're stressing out, she has to know it's not ideal for your son either.

My situation isn't any different than it ever was - I love my mother and nobody else could take her in, so I did. I've always been the one in our family to step up when nobody else would.

It's the humanitarian side of me I guess. I really don't LIKE being that way and had already started working my way out of that position the year before my mother needed help. But ... she was my MOTHER, I HAD to help. It wasn't long, however, before I ended up seeing I'd put myself in a bad position that couldn't be undone.

I just get out and away as often as I can. Sometimes when I'm driving to the store I'll even stop in a Rest Stop on the highway and just walk around, sit on the bench, look around. I don't mean to be funny, but sometimes handing out in a Rest Stop is like a vacation. Grab however minutes in the day you can JUST FOR YOU.

Just hang on, do your best and don't let the bitterness overcome your real sense of purpose, because the world needs more people like us.

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