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upcoming birthday, but i’m having nightmares

lushr

Registered User
Sep 25, 2020
129
0
so i haven’t seen mum since christmas day. my mental health still isn’t good.
but her birthday is coming up, and i’m giving anxiety nightmares about her acting out with her alzheimer’s and scaring me, threatening others, frustrating me and just being unmanageable...
i think the nightmares are because i’m feeling i should visit the nursing home and see her.

in my head it’s a massive dread to see her. logically i think “ just go, get it done, it’ll all be over” but i know in reality that each visit haunts me. plus there’ll be seeing her new room and dealing with any thing lost or broken or unresolved... and i’ll be right back in the middle of this nursing home world that i can’t manage, i can barely manage my own world, my own head.
 

jennifer1967

Registered User
Mar 15, 2020
3,768
0
Southampton
so i haven’t seen mum since christmas day. my mental health still isn’t good.
but her birthday is coming up, and i’m giving anxiety nightmares about her acting out with her alzheimer’s and scaring me, threatening others, frustrating me and just being unmanageable...
i think the nightmares are because i’m feeling i should visit the nursing home and see her.

in my head it’s a massive dread to see her. logically i think “ just go, get it done, it’ll all be over” but i know in reality that each visit haunts me. plus there’ll be seeing her new room and dealing with any thing lost or broken or unresolved... and i’ll be right back in the middle of this nursing home world that i can’t manage, i can barely manage my own world, my own head.
could you not send her a birthday card and present rather than visit your mum. i dont know if thats doable to help with the anxiety
 

lemonbalm

Registered User
May 21, 2018
1,415
0
@lushr it really doesn’t sound as though you are ready to visit. Your mum will probably pick up on your anxiety and it will do neither of you any good at all. Much better all round to send a nice card and gift, as @jennifer1967 suggests.
 

lushr

Registered User
Sep 25, 2020
129
0
heh wow, @jennifer1967 thats genius! thank you for the unquestioning support and you too @lemonbalm as i neglect my mother in her greatest hour of need.

i have to go there and pick up mail and give her cards from her family from her birthday. even if it’s just fifteen minutes.... i can’t keep running from mum, i have to face her i think. the nightmares won’t end otherwise.

physically it will ruin me, i really need to rest. but ... at least in the short term i feel the only way out is through.

but now if i checked out, i gave you two to think of, to make me feel better about it!

but i’m maybe going to avoid dealing with her nursing home room or missing stuff from moving rooms, or how the staff are coping. i think it’s just way too much. just... a small visit from me for her. i wonder if she still likes black forest cake... i wonder if i brought a cake and sparklers if the nurses would have a fit?

there’s always valium for the nightmares....

by the way @lemonbalm every time i see your name i am calmed and think of lemongrass and lemon tarts and all the nice lemony things in the world.
 

jennifer1967

Registered User
Mar 15, 2020
3,768
0
Southampton
heh wow, @jennifer1967 thats genius! thank you for the unquestioning support and you too @lemonbalm as i neglect my mother in her greatest hour of need.

i have to go there and pick up mail and give her cards from her family from her birthday. even if it’s just fifteen minutes.... i can’t keep running from mum, i have to face her i think. the nightmares won’t end otherwise.

physically it will ruin me, i really need to rest. but ... at least in the short term i feel the only way out is through.

but now if i checked out, i gave you two to think of, to make me feel better about it!

but i’m maybe going to avoid dealing with her nursing home room or missing stuff from moving rooms, or how the staff are coping. i think it’s just way too much. just... a small visit from me for her. i wonder if she still likes black forest cake... i wonder if i brought a cake and sparklers if the nurses would have a fit?

there’s always valium for the nightmares....

by the way @lemonbalm every time i see your name i am calmed and think of lemongrass and lemon tarts and all the nice lemony things in the world.
just do what you can do and leave the rest. dont judge yourself either
 

lemonbalm

Registered User
May 21, 2018
1,415
0
heh wow, @jennifer1967 thats genius! thank you for the unquestioning support and you too @lemonbalm as i neglect my mother in her greatest hour of need.

i have to go there and pick up mail and give her cards from her family from her birthday. even if it’s just fifteen minutes.... i can’t keep running from mum, i have to face her i think. the nightmares won’t end otherwise.

physically it will ruin me, i really need to rest. but ... at least in the short term i feel the only way out is through.

but now if i checked out, i gave you two to think of, to make me feel better about it!

but i’m maybe going to avoid dealing with her nursing home room or missing stuff from moving rooms, or how the staff are coping. i think it’s just way too much. just... a small visit from me for her. i wonder if she still likes black forest cake... i wonder if i brought a cake and sparklers if the nurses would have a fit?

there’s always valium for the nightmares....

by the way @lemonbalm every time i see your name i am calmed and think of lemongrass and lemon tarts and all the nice lemony things in the world.

Have you asked the staff whether they think a visit is a good idea? They may have some advice for you on whether to go, what time would be better and so on. Best ask them not to tell your mum that you are visiting, just in case. If you decide you really can't face it on the day, you can leave everything with the staff for your mum. If you decide that visiting will be a good thing, then good luck. Come back and tell us how it went - or didn't. We'll be here either way.

Nice to see that you find my name calming, by the way. I'd like to think I'm one of those nice lemony things in the world.
 

lushr

Registered User
Sep 25, 2020
129
0
@lemonbalm you are one of those nice lemony things! you are always a balm for me. i deeply appreciate your input.

she does know i’m coming hopefully and the staff don’t know me. Now she is in the memory unit, i don’t know the staff very well. my experience of the other staff is that i apologise for mums behaviour and they don’t seem to see me or my needs, just my mums and their own... the finance and management staff are better. but i think the expectation is that family visit and unless they see mum physically attack me they will judge that everything is just fine and i should just put up with whatever she says or does. they have trapped me in there for ages entertaining the group...

they’re really nice staff but they don’t know mum like i do.
they don’t know that all the horrible fights we had as a teen are echoed in her manipulative words to me now, they don’t know she was depressed for decades and held the family to ransom at her whims...
to them this is the dementia and they see the innocent and vulnerable childlike behaviour as a symptom when it’s actually been used as emotional blackmail my whole life.
these behaviours don’t engender sympathy in me, they make me recoil and harden.
because no ones feelings mattered in our house except hers.
and any feelings or disagreements we had, i was labelled a selfish bitch and a bully.
mum would scream about me to dad telling him lies and manipulating him against me, two to one.
so you know, it’s all pretty raw.

but i’ve been told my whole life i had great parents and i was lucky.
and mum made me promise over and over that i would look after her in old age even though she left her parents in her twenties.
and i told her over and over in getting her to the nursing home that i would always be there and she would always have me, but she just kept declining really rapidly and kept becoming more needy and childlike and all the above....

on top of all the other jobs in life, and managing her bills etc, it just became too much. i ran away.

@jennifer1967 thank you. i will try, maybe one day i will stop judging myself.
 

lemonbalm

Registered User
May 21, 2018
1,415
0
A lot of deep scars there @lushr . If you go ahead with your visit, you can be truly proud of yourself. If you decide you can't face it on the day, you can still be truly proud of yourself. You have come through all that, risen above it, and you are still there for your mum, just in a different way.

I hope you visit and that it goes so much better than you fear. If you don't, well you can always go another time when you feel ready.
 

Rosettastone57

Registered User
Oct 27, 2016
1,505
0
Hi @lushr , I can empathize with your situation. My mother in law was like this . My husband and his sister were emotionally abused growing up by their mother and both vowed they would never under any circumstances provide hands on care for her . Their father died very young and my mother in law was always a controlling unpleasant individual. That's not to say she didn't get the care she needed from professionals. My husband refused to visit his mother when she was in care more than once a month. He found it all too difficult, dealing with her screaming, making accusations. We used to send postcards from the app Touchnote with updates from the family. She was always telling him she was in a living hell ,she was being ignored by staff. Well the care home had a Facebook page and there she was in one of the uploaded photos, smiling, taking part in the activities . After that we just ignored the complaints. Don't beat yourself up over not visiting. Not everyone has a loving relationship with family.
 

lushr

Registered User
Sep 25, 2020
129
0
Hi @lushr , I can empathize with your situation. My mother in law was like this . My husband and his sister were emotionally abused growing up by their mother and both vowed they would never under any circumstances provide hands on care for her . Their father died very young and my mother in law was always a controlling unpleasant individual. That's not to say she didn't get the care she needed from professionals. My husband refused to visit his mother when she was in care more than once a month. He found it all too difficult, dealing with her screaming, making accusations. We used to send postcards from the app Touchnote with updates from the family. She was always telling him she was in a living hell ,she was being ignored by staff. Well the care home had a Facebook page and there she was in one of the uploaded photos, smiling, taking part in the activities . After that we just ignored the complaints. Don't beat yourself up over not visiting. Not everyone has a loving relationship with family.
thanks for sharing your story @Rosettastone57 i wish i could say my mum was abusinge, but everyone thought she was lovely and kind and how lucky i was.

i mean i wasn’t hit, she didn’t drink, i wasn’t kicked out of the house. they always “said the right things” even though they didn’t mean it (which is now proven by mums alzheimer’s where she just says what she always pretended she didn’t think). it’s all just really mundane stuff.

mum screamed at me constantly from infancy to age about 8 because of her depression, she took it out on me, like having things left on the floor of my bedroom meant i was a bad child.

then when a friends mum told her to stop, she started getting therapy and learnt new techniques to manipulate us, telling us how we never listen to her feelings, and we expect everything from her and give nothing back. (very needy angry behaviour all centred around her and no one else.)

which then segued into my teens with trying to control our feelings, new more manipulative ways to “beat us” in arguments... how dare i come home and not answer her cheery “how are you?“ with a Tv version of happiness and tell her everything about my life. i was hurting her, and she could only be happy if i was happy, so she had to control us and make us feel what she needed us to feel. i couldn’t put it into words at the time other than utter resentment,

it wasn’t til i was 21 i had the vocabulary to talk to her and have rational two sided conversations... dad never had the ability. we were at her mercy.

she always played the victim. it was always us that were bad and how she was such a good person and didn’t deserve any of this.

there are amazing sides to her, how she taught me to be strong and intelligent and analyse the media and think for myself.

but all of that person is gone. she has no recollection of that person, or my growing up, she forgets who her husband was and then when she remembers it’s back to how much it hurt HER when he died, never mind me losing my dad.

i used to love confiding with mum and chatting and she had a generous spirit in a lot of ways... she sort of WAS the good person she thought of herself as...

but underneath, there was always this bad stuff and now, that’s all that’s left. the fake ness, the self-centredness, the neediness and the unreasonable demands.... i don’t exist as a person anymore. and i find that really hard.

i know it’s part of the disease, it’s like kids before they hit 4 years old have no concept of other people having feelings... that’s what my mum is like. ita the dementia, i get that... it’s just that... she’s always had a lot of these traits and pretended she was perfect, and so... it presses so many buttons for me.

sorry i know you guys aren’t my therapists...
 

Rosettastone57

Registered User
Oct 27, 2016
1,505
0
thanks for sharing your story @Rosettastone57 i wish i could say my mum was abusinge, but everyone thought she was lovely and kind and how lucky i was.

i mean i wasn’t hit, she didn’t drink, i wasn’t kicked out of the house. they always “said the right things” even though they didn’t mean it (which is now proven by mums alzheimer’s where she just says what she always pretended she didn’t think). it’s all just really mundane stuff.

mum screamed at me constantly from infancy to age about 8 because of her depression, she took it out on me, like having things left on the floor of my bedroom meant i was a bad child.

then when a friends mum told her to stop, she started getting therapy and learnt new techniques to manipulate us, telling us how we never listen to her feelings, and we expect everything from her and give nothing back. (very needy angry behaviour all centred around her and no one else.)

which then segued into my teens with trying to control our feelings, new more manipulative ways to “beat us” in arguments... how dare i come home and not answer her cheery “how are you?“ with a Tv version of happiness and tell her everything about my life. i was hurting her, and she could only be happy if i was happy, so she had to control us and make us feel what she needed us to feel. i couldn’t put it into words at the time other than utter resentment,

it wasn’t til i was 21 i had the vocabulary to talk to her and have rational two sided conversations... dad never had the ability. we were at her mercy.

she always played the victim. it was always us that were bad and how she was such a good person and didn’t deserve any of this.

there are amazing sides to her, how she taught me to be strong and intelligent and analyse the media and think for myself.

but all of that person is gone. she has no recollection of that person, or my growing up, she forgets who her husband was and then when she remembers it’s back to how much it hurt HER when he died, never mind me losing my dad.

i used to love confiding with mum and chatting and she had a generous spirit in a lot of ways... she sort of WAS the good person she thought of herself as...

but underneath, there was always this bad stuff and now, that’s all that’s left. the fake ness, the self-centredness, the neediness and the unreasonable demands.... i don’t exist as a person anymore. and i find that really hard.

i know it’s part of the disease, it’s like kids before they hit 4 years old have no concept of other people having feelings... that’s what my mum is like. ita the dementia, i get that... it’s just that... she’s always had a lot of these traits and pretended she was perfect, and so... it presses so many buttons for me.

sorry i know you guys aren’t my therapists...
Yes @lushr , it all sounds very familiar I'm afraid. My husband and sister in law used to talk about putting on their invisible coat of armour against the spite from their mother. She passed away in 2018 and quite frankly, it was a relief all round. Don't visit if you are not ready.
 

lushr

Registered User
Sep 25, 2020
129
0
thanks @Rosettastone57 you have given me a lot to think about, and i love your nickname too, that’s my favourite piece in the whole british museum
 

lushr

Registered User
Sep 25, 2020
129
0
ok i made it to see her.
i was shocked at first, she was so calm, she almost seemed like her old self. the reasonable person i could talk to. i gave her the fashion book, and we looked through it.

she had difficulty with the right words sometimes, or sentences... but she didn’t get teary. she asked how her parents were, i said they’re all fine (they’re long dead) i tried to explain her brother had heart surgery but he was fine, but she didn’t get what i was saying. i tried to distract again with the book.

then after 15 minutes it became clear she had forgotten everything she’d seen, and every picture was new again, and she would repeat ask me things. which i find really frustrating. i had given her a donut as i couldnt find a cake and she kept offering me some but i didn’t want any.

it was really hot in there and we still had to wear masks. i was sweating running down my face. just from sitting at the dining table.

i left after about 30 minutes which i think annoyed the staff. but all her forgetting, asking repeadetly... i coulsnt keep her entertained for long, and she was frustrating me. and i was getting annoyed. and upset, and trying not to show it.

when i left i was so scared i was running, her alzheimer’s forgetting had triggered all the stresss and worry of when i had moved her and how angry i got and frustrated with her realising how much she had lost. and the new freaked out person she’d become. the whole thing came tumbling on me.

she was calm so her neediness was at a minimum, and she almost seemed reasonable, but it felt like walking a tightrope.

i felt so bad because she was so much better than i expected but it still was too hard for me. i just have nothing to say to her, i can’t tell her about my life, she doesn’t understand, i can’t keep up the distracting and pleasantness for long, because there isn’t really anything to say.

so it was ME that failed really this time. if i’d been stronger and better i could have stayed longer. walked the line. instead i ran away scared, not wanting something to go wrong, not wanting to snap at her, not wanting to hear her say something hurtful....

sorry i tried to find a ways to say the above shorter, but...
 

jennifer1967

Registered User
Mar 15, 2020
3,768
0
Southampton
ok i made it to see her.
i was shocked at first, she was so calm, she almost seemed like her old self. the reasonable person i could talk to. i gave her the fashion book, and we looked through it.

she had difficulty with the right words sometimes, or sentences... but she didn’t get teary. she asked how her parents were, i said they’re all fine (they’re long dead) i tried to explain her brother had heart surgery but he was fine, but she didn’t get what i was saying. i tried to distract again with the book.

then after 15 minutes it became clear she had forgotten everything she’d seen, and every picture was new again, and she would repeat ask me things. which i find really frustrating. i had given her a donut as i couldnt find a cake and she kept offering me some but i didn’t want any.

it was really hot in there and we still had to wear masks. i was sweating running down my face. just from sitting at the dining table.

i left after about 30 minutes which i think annoyed the staff. but all her forgetting, asking repeadetly... i coulsnt keep her entertained for long, and she was frustrating me. and i was getting annoyed. and upset, and trying not to show it.

when i left i was so scared i was running, her alzheimer’s forgetting had triggered all the stresss and worry of when i had moved her and how angry i got and frustrated with her realising how much she had lost. and the new freaked out person she’d become. the whole thing came tumbling on me.

she was calm so her neediness was at a minimum, and she almost seemed reasonable, but it felt like walking a tightrope.

i felt so bad because she was so much better than i expected but it still was too hard for me. i just have nothing to say to her, i can’t tell her about my life, she doesn’t understand, i can’t keep up the distracting and pleasantness for long, because there isn’t really anything to say.

so it was ME that failed really this time. if i’d been stronger and better i could have stayed longer. walked the line. instead i ran away scared, not wanting something to go wrong, not wanting to snap at her, not wanting to hear her say something hurtful....

sorry i tried to find a ways to say the above shorter, but...
i dont think you have failed at all @lushr, you went when you thought you wouldnt be able to, you brought a book that your mum was so interested in that she wanted to repeat the experience. you distracted her a few times. 30 mins is a long time when conversation is more limited and you didnt snap or or say anything hurtful. i would say thats a pretty good visit and you were very strong to visit and talk to your mum. when its settled, maybe look back and think i did it and this may make you stronger for a future visit or dealing with life in general. youve taken the first steps. take it bit by bit
 

Sarasa

Volunteer Host
Apr 13, 2018
2,922
0
Don't be hard on yourself @lushr, I think you did brilliantly.
I went to see my mother on Thursday and I think I saw mum for ten minutes. I'm deaf and I can't understand anything mum says anymore as it doesn't make any sort of sense. My mum has very limited eyesight so can't see photos. Music works, but I didn't have any on my phone. Next time I'll be more prepared.
I doubt the carers thought anything of you only being there thirty minutes, mum's home only allows visits of thirty minutes anyway. My visit did enable me to see how mum was, and to chat to her favourite carer about how she is. I hope you can look at the visit as an opportunity to check your mum was OK, which sounds like she was, and just be pleased she is doing as fine as she can.
 
Last edited:

lemonbalm

Registered User
May 21, 2018
1,415
0
I am going to say well done too @lushr. I would class that as a good visit. You should be proud of yourself. Visiting someone with dementia is extremely difficult stuff. You did it. It didn’t go badly. Have a hug 🤗 and do something nice for yourself.
 

lushr

Registered User
Sep 25, 2020
129
0
hmmm ok,... thank you all for being so nice....

i guess i feel guilty for making out she’s so bad and then the visit being ok...
but i guess.... you can’t win, if the visit is bad you punish yourself too...
take the win, she had a good day and she’s not permanently miserable....
also she wasn’t hiding in her room sleeping.

i kind of feel like i made everything up and forgot everything nice about her....
but that’s not true. she does have bad days and hit people and say she wants to die.
and she does get manipulative... i just didn’t wait around long enough for anything to go wrong
and she seems to know i care
and they’ve found a way to calm her down.

it’s a lot to process.
trying to process what a whole person was,
what the relationship has been
and then what the illness has done on top of that.
my mind just isn’t big enough to perceive all of it equally.

thank you all so much for your words i simply can’t be objective. i’m trying, but i think that’s why the support here is so important
 

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