For those who don't know me, my husband and I live with my mom who is 91 and has Alzheimer's and a weak heart. I take medication for depression but it still gets a hold of me. We rarely get out together as my mom can't be alone. My brother and sister live far away...brother gives us breaks maybe once or twice a year. Sister doesn't lift a finger. I've been doing this for almost 5 years and making other arrangements is not an option for me. My husband says I'll feel better in the spring. I don't know... Guilt goes along with the depression. If I don't do anything I feel guilty, but I some days don't feel up to doing a thing.
I have been taking anti-depressants since 1986 (when I quit drinking) and anti-anxiety meds since the '90s. I see a Psychiatrist in order to keep getting my meds and used to seen a counselor but I can no longer afford to do so. All three of us kids have Health Care Power of Attorney for Mom. I have Durable Power of Attorney, but my brother handles the money now as I am not so good with money. I have asked him for more money for expenses but he has not done so. He's worried about Mom running out of money eventually. I can't really tell my mom that I need the money and that's why I'm going to work because she thinks money is not a problem and that is the way I want it. I tell her it's for my future. I don't want her to worry about it...she worries about so much as it is. Sometimes I think she lays in bed and thinks of things to worry about. I know that stress can contribute to strokes, so I don't want her to have anymore stress.
I know I should do some things for myself like read a book or take a nap if I want to or something but I always feel like I should be cleaning or hanging with Mom or something else. I wish someone could tell me how not to feel guilty. I have asked psych professionals and no one has really given me an answer.
Anyway, thank all of you so much for your support, sharing your stories and suggestions. Bless you all. I love this site!! I had no idea how many people would relate to my story.
I can understand how guilt plays a huge role in depression. But remember, your mother was able to live her life and she would want you to live yours. You are only given one chance on earth to live a happy productful life and it is your choice to either do it or stay miserable. Try a little harder to do things that please you. Even if it to take a bubble bath with candles glowing and peaceful music playing. You'd be surprised how such a little treat will make you feel like a queen.
Some tricks that I use personally is to stay goal focused, and not to dwell on anything that I cannot change. That type of self talk is a good way to sabotage your day. You know the old adage, misery loves company - it is true. Although we all have bad moments, don't fall into the trap of endlessly discussing why something is unfair, sad, crazy-making (endless list).
I have been a solo caregiver for seven years. I occasionally participate on this board because I've managed to deal with alot, and its hard work - depression makes it harder still. So when I comment, I am not painting a rosy picture, nor am I advising anyone to be in denial of their problems. I am, however suggesting that how you manage your expectations is likely to be more helpful than complaining about things you cannot change.
A person with Alzheimers is not in a position to know that you have issues - let alone work out stuff from the past. So when I say suck it up & let it go - you will feel better, I earned the right to say it because I have done it. If I feel helpless, then I figure out where I can regain a bit of control - either in researching a condition, resolving to laugh while cleaning up poop instead of crying, or realizing that my choice of being a caregiver for a family member means I probably won't be walking down the streets of Paris this year or meeting the man of my dreams. These dreams weren't stolen - I wasn't forced, they are a mature choice - the same ones we make when we show up for work rather than going to the movies, or doing our homework instead of playing video games. If old friends drop away, then so be it. Never hang on to anything, that does not nurture you or make you happy - that means self-image too.
Be kind to yourself, admit what you need for you to thrive may not be what someone else thinks you need. Realize that self-talk can hurt or help - your choice, choose wisely. Talk to a Dr. about meds if you need them - don't tell anyone else. Its not them that is feeling your pain. Realize that lifting your mood does not change your life - that is still up to you.
Do things that make you laugh. Dance to music you like every day. Eat healthy food and sleep - maybe the luxury for you would be hire a sitter and sleep for 8 hrs rather than being up every 2 to check on your loved one - that kills your mood.
Appreciate the fact that the real world is always better than online - go outside and get fresh air & sun every day for even a little bit.
In other words, practice a little every day in managing your reactions - not responses - to all of the crappy stressful stuff that you can't control. Takes work to get your sense of humour back, but it is worth it - so after you have had a good cry, have a good laugh if you can, its good for your heart and soul.
Last night my parent when I was putting my parent to bed I felt pretty beat up from the week which had been pretty challenging for us both. She said to me - never mind don't you know that when you wake up in the morning, the devil always says "oh crap! she's up!"
It made my day (night), I laughed and yes, today I am back to myself again. I think everyone on this board is so deserving of wishes come true, so I hope my reminder about laughter and hope helps ....
writing it helped me.
We are all different, thats true. We did Make a choice.
I chose to honor my promise to my mother, being as I am an only child. I promised her years ago that I would never let her be in a home if there were any way I could prevent it. That was my promise and now its my prison, but still I deal with it. I love my Mother and I sacrifice a little part of myself each and every day to make sure that she has what she needs, when she needs it. I put myself last in my family because my family means more to me than I mean to myself, ( even if I do complain sometimes). My Mother Often Apologizes for her condition and the fact that I have to take care of her. My Reply to her is "It is my Honor to do this for you",~Nutz
I think that, sometimes, we get depressed because we feel like no one is listening to us. Not only do we feel trapped, alone and hopeless, but when we ask for help all we get is "Why?" That's why a site like this is SO important. We can talk to each other, we can vent, we can scream, cry, whine, whatever we need to do to help ourselves cope. But I guess we need to think of it like a tide-let it come in, wash over us, then it leaves. It will come back, no doubt about it. And each time it comes it changes us a little. But it's up to us to make the change for the better. Choose to learn from it instead of letting it damage us. Something I've done in the past is called Free Association Writing. Basically, whatever comes into your head you write it down (or type or whatever). So if you're sitting there thinking, "I can't think of anything," you write I can't think of anything. You'll be amazed what comes out once you get going. Then, when you're wiped out, get rid of it. Delete it, trash it, burn it. Catharsis, anyone?
I know that I'm going to fight with depression for the rest of the time I'm doing this-and after the doc's visit yesterday it seems like I'll be doing this for the next decade-but I will find new ways to fight it, deal with it, or whatever, because I have to. And as F.O.G. buster has already said, we shouldn't be afraid to talk about depression anymore. And as Cat has said, we shouldn't get into that endless cycle of being depressed about things that we can't change. Now, if I can only convince myself of this, that would be great. Oh well, I'm a work in progress :)
Very often I read statements like "I promised Mom I would not put her in an assisted living, nursing home unless I absolutely have to. " What criteria brings one to the point of "absolutely have to"? "Aboslutely have to" is rather general which would be a good thing to define as concretely as possible and discuss that with our loved one.
Unless this gets defined and communicated, I could easily see where "absolutely have to" might be once my own health fails; my money runs out because I quit my job; my friends get tired of hearing me complain while making myself a martyr; my spouse get worn out with feeling like they are single and leave with the children who no longer feel they have a parent; and so on and so forth.
I don't think there is a blanket answer that fits all, but I do think this phrase needs to be defined by each of within the context of our individual situations.
Your comments are a good wakeup call for everyone. Not healthy for anyone involved being a martyr or living with one.
watch good movies , which i should be cleanin my bdrm but heck i dont feel like cleanin ...
i think it may just land ya in mental state hospital if ya did ,
when i took pa to the dr , his dr ask me if i needed anything cuz i was on the edge and tears was fallin down onmy cheek , i told that dr im fine i dont need anything , took pa home and told him its nap time .
woke up felt better and go at it again and again haha ...
I discovered 5 years ago that there was more to my own depression than just bi-polar II, etc. My sister in law read an article in her husband's Men's Health magazine and suggested that I see an endocrinologist which I got my Psych to refer me to. Well, turns out that my testosterone level was totally lower than the Dead Sea, my pituitary gland was no longer telling my body to make that hormone, and I had osteoporosis. Interstingly, my the various regular doctors over the 5 or so years previous to that would only say 'oh you are a little low, let's give you this patch for 6 months.' Then I learned that the mental health people have known for years about testosterone and male depression, but went the pill rout because the method of getting testosterone to me was in the dark ages. That never changed until the pharmacy industry developed a super efficient pump bottle for women's estrogen treatment's.
While I'm taking my hormones every day, well most of the time at least, I still need my wellbutrin and lamictal to help me otherwise. I tried going a while without the wellbutrin but it did not work. I also learned 5 years ago that I had sleep apnea. Well, that itself causes depression and in men contributes to a poor level of testosterone production. Oh, one surprising bit of information that I learned from one doctor is that older men are not the highest consumers of viagra or cialis. Younger men are getting their doctors to give it to them for extra energy in their sex life. Well, I went from writing about depression to sex. ha, ha, :)
27 is a bit young for a low score. However, according to another article in Men's Health, today's 20-30 something male has much less testosterone level than the same age group of a generation ago. BTW, my sister in law buys me a new subscription to Men's Health as my Christmas present ever year! Don't I have a wonderful sister in law! And she lives just a few doors down from and has to deal with her borderline 'mommy dearest' whitch, queen mother type as a ovarian cancer survivor since 2001 and frankly has no business having to do all she does for her mother plus deal with a needy disabled and somewhat confused husband.
Here are my three favorite articles on testosterone.
I'm sure the article from Men's Health on Testosterone can be found online.
Thinking about how to approach this, you could ask if he has had a bone density test done. Given how low many people's vitamin D level often is, this really might not be a bad idea. A poor result from that test would likely mean testosterone gets looked into as well as the vitamin D level. BTW, my endocrinologist tells me that we only need 15 minutes a day in the direct sun on the tops of our arms to make the vitamin D we need. However, the suntan lotion people have scared us out of the sun.
The bigger question for your son's situation is does his psychiatrist know about current testosterone treatments and your son's testosterone level? I had to point this out to my psych when I asked him for a referal to the endocrinologist. So, when I told him last year my depression was worse than usual the first thing he asked about was my testosterone level and ordered lab work for it. My medicine for that was adjusted some, but it's not had much impact on anything else. It is probably a good idea to test for and often is part of the bood work in a man's annual physical. However, given the nature of bipolar lifting his testosterone level to normal range if low most likely will not really help the bipolar.
One more humorous note about testosterone and sex. This is a controled substance that comes with wise instructions about washing it off your hands after putting it on your upper arms and shoulders. If I fail to do so and shake hands with one of my teenage boys, he just might get a hormonal jolt of energy. If I fail to keep my shirt on for four-six hours after putting it on and my wife rubs my upper arms and shoulders, I'm in danger of her ripping my clothes off. Well on that note, I'm going to bed.
Please be more graceful with yourself. At 60 years old, with grown children who have children, you have every right to go and visit them 'guilt free'. Grace to you Greysfully! :)
I made the mistake years ago at the Biltmore House in NC by just tasting some of their wine. Wow was I really mellow that night given it was also mixed with wellbutrin, my anti-depressant. I'm sure glad that I didn't actually drink a whole glass of wine.
You are human like the rest of us and you might need a counselor or pastor to help you get past this guilt which I feel like you are putting on yourself. I hope you are happy that you are going to have a life. Your mom and dad had a life when they had you and now you are in the parent of the parent mode and can have a life too.
I am totally OK with it. I understand exactly where you are coming from.