Not my mum losing touch but me losing touch with my mum.
I seem to be doing the basics. dressings,medicenes,taking out for the wheelchair daily outing etc etc.
I am doing it with some sort of loss of feeling!
Kriss is right I think. Are you getting signals like 'This is Snuffy taking her Mum out for a walk, oh, isn't it a nice day... This is Snuffy opening the cupboard and taking out the tablets to give to her mother....?' Are you operating in third person, as if you were standing next to yourself and watching yourself 'performing'?
If so, then you are experiencing panic attacks, brought on by excessive stress. IT WILL PASS.... It is the body's way of removing you from the here and now to a slightly more remote point. Quite a lot of us have had these attacks and they are pretty scarey. Don't think that you are going bonkers - you aren't!
Get some sleep if you can, or a cup of tea with sugar. Eat some chocolate [have a Scotch]. And sit down. Anything to unwind. Just don't panic too much right now. Do some deep breathing to help you calm down and listen to some of your favourite music. It will help.
When the body experiences overload, it shuts down systems that are not critical.
In your case, the critical things are helping Mum and making sure she is okay. From your body's point of view, in an overload condition, shutting down the emotional responses enables it to give more energy to the physical aspects of caring; it also means that it gives your emotions a rest for a short while - there can be emotional overload as well.
Emotional overload leads to running amok - or at the other end of the scale to a temporary numbness - which is what you have.
After a short period, things should return to what they were.
There is also the situation after ages of caring for someone, that things do become very routine and almost automatic. The challenge is to inject elements of difference, so you don't have a monotonous time of it - and that will also help Mum as well.
Make sure you keep yourself well, and things will improve!
Snuffy I know exactly how you're feeling. Am just trying to take it one day as it comes and the support from the guys on this site will keep us both afloat.
You're not alone, or different or ill. You're just tired, loving, caring, special and coping.
Thinking of you
"panic attacks" have been mentioned. Twice now I have experienced "panic attacks" while driving.
Have been driving for 50+ years (that gives my age away!) and have no points on my licence. Recently I was driving my son to an agricultural show ( Bristol to Exeter)
About 1/2 way down I felt "strange" and stopped telling my son I wanted a drink of water. Started again and 2mins later had to stop. After starting once more had to stop and new I could not go on.
Phoned home and had someone driving down to meet me half way. Once I was back into my own "territory" I was relaxed with my driving.
I found that when I was caring for Jan at home, my world reduced in size considerably and I only really felt comfortable within my changed world.
Once, when I needed to drive to Bath for a business meeting [this was at a time when I could still leave Jan on her own, but only just], I drove past Basingstoke on my right on the M3, diverted to the A303 and took the Newbury Bypass A34 exit to get to the M4, then stuck my foot down to get there fast as possible, so I could return.
Imagine my surprise when Basingstoke sails by on the left ten minutes later! Admittedly the A34 junction is a complicated one, but I had done it lots of times before. I think my body was saying - get back to Jan!
For the moment, you need to explore what is your current comfort zone, as panic attacks can be alarming. I get stress migraines and my fear is being stranded somewhere in the car, being unable to drive on. Fortunately I have these blockbuster pills that sort the thing out in 20 mins or so.
I too have problems driving in England, especially on motorways. I've been used to the madness of driving in Indonesia for years and that doesn't help here much either.... There are road rules over there, but they aren't immediately apparent! It's a free for all system, with 4 people on a motorbike either side of the car overtaking when you want to turn right, ignoring red lights, etc. It is pretty horrific for tourists, but I'm used to it. All of this takes place at about 30mph, so you do have plenty of time to avert disasters.
I find that if I can drive in my local area in the UK on 'automatic pilot', then I'm fine. Anything further afield, which involves unknown roads and roundabouts gives me the jitters and I feel very nervous about contemplating such trips. I've never had an accident [or caused one, so far as I'm aware] and I feel that I'm a careful and considerate road user, but I do find the SPEED of traffic here a bit daunting these days.
Being nervous about a trip tends to bring on panic attacks and migranes. I find it much easier not to go at all, but then that does really limit one's scope.
I think I know that feeling. A sense of not being in control, a sort of despair at the endless monotony and, when I think about it, the guilt for feeling so. Could it be you're exhausted - emotionally and physically. Does the mind reach a state where some built-in mechanism shuts down in order to keep something in reserve? Wish I knew. But perhaps you should keep talking about it.
Do you remember when, prior to the monochromatic hairdressing emporia now festooning our high streets, a hairdresser was the one in the corner shop with the hair like an explosion in a mattress factory sending forth her glamorous clients? Anyway I do. I used to be paid to organise people and events and now I couldn't organise the brewery knees up. These I call my 'hairdresser' moments. A crisis of confidence is what most sensible people would call it.
Driving? I gave my partner down the banks only moments before I had read these posts, when he asked me to drive him some 20 minutes up the M62. "What was he thinking of, I didn't know where it was and even if I was with him on the way there I would be alone on the way back. What if I had a choice of two junctions?" Losing confidence fast. Previously, I'd have said 'tank's full, does it matter if I miss a turning and end up in Inverness?' I've also had moments behind 'baby on board' car stickers when I've wished my rear screen would hold 'Dementia carer on board fighting government support services for adequate help. Road rage: fancy some?'
After reading what Bruce had to say, I realise I am becoming too comfortable in a decreasing world, of my own making.
I can't bear to recall some of my dreams. Positively gruesome sometimes but I guess they all have to do with a feeling of helplessness.
Dear Snuffy if that hasn't worked, try booking a massage, I used to get like you and that worked a treat. Failing that, a lovely warm bath with loads of smellies and baby oil in and a little tipple! Taken of course, when someone else is in charge and you have quality time for yourself even if it is just for a little while.
Love She, XX
Thought of you a lot this morning, that feeling of being disconnected.
Had a horrible visit with Mum at the home last night and as a result couldn't sleep. The thought of it all haunted me all bloody night and today. When I arrived to visit her at about 8.00 last night her face and hands were covered in blood and, given the last experience involving sutures and A&E, I naturally went sick right down to the boots of my stomach. She looked so pathetic I just wanted to carry her out to the car and bring her home and love her and comfort her. Ah, it's a b..alright.
Fortunately, it looked worse than it really was: she had cracked, very dry lips and they had bled! Why I hadn't noticed the dryness earlier I don't know. She had a good kind team working with her last night, but they are still only three at night with a resident headcount of at least 20, I think. Have made tentative enquiries about other places but think, know, there will be some resistance on the domestic front. Will wait and see.
So I was awake for the whole of last night, trawling through the Forum, trying to write something but, believe it or not, couldn't find the words, trying to read, anything.
And this morning I had NO CHOICE but to do the dreaded run up the M62.! Don't know how I got back as there was not an ounce of concentration and went around the wall of death at Norman's 'uyton of remembered days, twice in a deluge of rain I could barely see and I'm not sure it would have made any difference.
There's probably some high falutin' psychological term for it, but when a bunch of people in dire straits discover each other, when they thought the problems were only theirs, some strange things happen.
Firstly, the new group kind of walk around each other, sizing the others up. They ask, and answer some questions.
When they find that there is a huge amount of common pain, then there is a sort of relief, and that comes out as humour. Interestingly, the humour is not black humour, but it is actually truly daft stuff.
It doesn't mean that the people are happy with their lot, or are happy in any sense at all. It means they have found an outlet for all the stress they experience. It helps them go on.
It takes different people [with different experiences] a different amount of time to reach the point when they can laugh.
It happened to me only in the last year, after 10 years of, well, not laughing at all.
What you say makes a lot of sense and I'm sure there is some deep psychological meaning to it all but I don't want to know the reason, do you, because I feel once I do know, it will go.
I believe we laugh WITH not AT because it's root lies in the shared experiences.
Some personally dangerous, stressful and bleakest of moments have provided me with some of the biggest and dirtiest of laughs: the expression 'gallows humour' springs to mind.
One of the most surreal experiences for me was visiting my favourite aunt in hospital following a mastectomy: all of the ladies were laughing their heads off while they considered how this was to affect their various futures as topless waitresses! They were laughing in the face of adversity - we know they wept in their private moments. Another: in the earlier stages of her dementia, my mum putting her handbag out for the milkman and taking the milkbottles to bed! I believe we laugh WITH not AT because it's root lies in the shared experiences.
Some people are wont to think this is flippancy and find humour in adversity irreverant - I know a few, I'll live with it.
Here I feel amongst friends, able to share a laugh, cry, rail at the fates. They don't even have to listen/read/respond, whatever....
Did someone mention Friends? Could someone lend me a tenner 'til the end of week because I've just been dancing in the kitchen again and I can't afford to pay the boyscout 'see 'humanism dancin and the merengue' or don't ask..........?
This desperate need to laugh in times of stress works on a collective social level as well as a personal one. Witness all those awful jokes about Biafra years ago, jokes about Vietnam and NASA and current jokes on the situation in Iraq.
Taken out of context, they are heartless and cruel comments. Looking at the wider picture, we have a huge personal need and a social need to deal with horrific situations through jokes. I think we'd all probably be totally unable to deal with life if we didn't do this.
I still haven't got to the stage where I'm anywhere near joking about the Bali bombing because I was TOO close to it, but I can understand the need to do so.