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Will I be able to recover from all the hard times?

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by SarahL, Feb 8, 2015.

  1. SarahL

    SarahL Registered User

    Dec 1, 2012
    229
    Hello, I am having a day where I feel confused and lost. Mum went into the care home 8 weeks ago and I'm struggling with all the changes and worrying about what's ahead. I feel guilty but pleased to be free from all the abuse, but I don't know how to process it. There are so many memories of bad times and desperation that I want to recover from but feel like I'm changed forever. I thought I was strong but now I feel I could crumble. Am also worried that my sisters are not understanding all the stresses and traumas I went through (see previous post about POA and them wanting to move things forward). I think this must be grief/depression, I just don't know. Any input on healing would be really well received, although I know all our situations are unique. I just feel so alone.
     
  2. Lilac Blossom

    Lilac Blossom Registered User

    Oct 6, 2014
    520
    Scotland
    Dear Sarah, I look after hubby at home but can see that it won't be long before this will not be possible.

    Many others have already experienced what you are dealing with and will be replying more helpfully than I can. xx
     
  3. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    10,531
    Female
    South coast
    (((hugs)))) Sarah
    Mum went into a CH 6m ago and I dont think Ive been so ill as I have done during these months. I think the stress wore me down and I got really run down. Also I think that my body knew it was "safe" to be ill :rolleyes:
    And, of course, you arnt stopping doing things for her, just doing different things - like POA (or, in my case, CoP), visiting, taking in things that she might like and attaching name tags to everything.
    8 weeks is too short a time to get over it - it will get better. Try and do something regular for yourself - swimming, gym, art classes, gardening or whatever to help lift your mood. If it continues then you may find counseling helps - it did me.
     
  4. angelface

    angelface Registered User

    Oct 8, 2011
    1,086
    london
    I think counselling would help, it did for me.

    One pf the other things I do at the end of the day is to list to myself all the good things that occurred during the day. Some days they are hard to find, but even very small things will do.

    I find it helps to balance out all the miserable things going on, if you can find the cheerful things.
     
  5. angelface

    angelface Registered User

    Oct 8, 2011
    1,086
    london
    The other answer to your question about being changed for ever, is that you will be. It may take years to come to terms with what has happned.

    Yes, you will feel different, but being different is part of life, and is not wrong.
     
  6. BeckyJan

    BeckyJan Registered User

    Nov 28, 2005
    18,972
    Derbyshire
    I believe our experiences with dementia, however dreadful they are, do make us stronger people (ok you may not feel strong just now, but...)).

    You are now more understanding of folk who don't quite meet the general view of what is normal - that makes us all very special. Think on those sort of things and I believe you will realise what amazing strengths you and hopefully, in turn, you will less confused and depressed.

    At a similar level of care, when my husband was in late stage I found a counsellor. not that I needed counselling, but she gave me 8 sessions of relaxation. That really did help me come to terms and then I followed up with a meditation group and still do that.

    If you are feeling truly depressed then I suggest you ask your GP if he can recommend any relaxation classes/therapists - it may well help.
     
  7. SarahL

    SarahL Registered User

    Dec 1, 2012
    229
    Thank you, I think it's only just registering now how hard it has all been plus feeling so sad Mum will not have the life she should have had, if the disease had not taken hold so early. I think she would be mortified if she knew how she had treated me, bless her. I may see if I can get some counselling.
     
  8. It's taking me a long time to come to deal with the aftermath of looking after Dad before he went into the nursing home, and given that there are still things to do for him, and given that, in my case, there are other issues going back a long way that I'm trying to come to terms with, it's being a long process, but it's different for each of us, it just overlaps.

    I'm minded of something someone said to me at a difficult point in my life. It was along the lines of "it'll take at least six months". I nearly had a total breakdown at that point, thinking I couldn't cope with six months of what had to be done.

    Had she instead said something like "it may not take long, but there's no need to set yourself time limits or feel guilty if you don't get through it as fast as you'd like", I think that would have worked better for me.

    So that's my advice - try not to panic that it may take a long time but don't feel you've got to get through this stage instantly. If it takes a while, let that be because you're being kind enough to yourself to allow yourself as long as you want or need.
     
  9. Dustycat

    Dustycat Registered User

    Jul 14, 2014
    220
    North East
    I know how you feel. I have had both parents with dementia and I'm an only child. Mum died last year and Dad has recently gone into care. The last 2 years have been horrendous. I feel scarred for life. I am thinking about counselling if only to let it all out to someone. Hang in there. Xx
     
  10. DianeW

    DianeW Registered User

    Sep 10, 2013
    503
    Lytham St Annes
    #10 DianeW, Feb 8, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2015
    I felt very similar when my uncle who I had looked after for fifteen years eventually went into a care home.....after falling at home. I had increasingly over those years taken on his care, worked full time, had my husband and daughter to consider and did all his cooking, shopping cleaning, care arrangements, bills etc etc etc......

    I felt so lost, at a lose end, would absentmindedly drive to his on my way home, instead of going to my own home.

    I had my life back, sadly he was only there for ten weeks before he died....but his last weeks were as happy as we could make them.

    I miss him so much, even now my first thought at being invited out is no can't because of Fred, then I realise I can.

    It was such hard work, but very rewarding too, and I am proud that I did it all for him, willingly and with love.

    Time helps.
     
  11. SarahL

    SarahL Registered User

    Dec 1, 2012
    229
    Thank you so much. I think maybe it is about learning to live with what's happened rather than thinking I can get over it and hopefully the terrible memories will subside. At least I can see my Mum and have a giggle with her now plus know that she's safe. I am trying avoid sadness about her not ever going home again though. I imagine we all take our own time to come to terms with the experiences we have all had, and I take comfort from being with others who understand on here. I'm trying to keep strong. I just feel weak mentally but also physically, I think there is some physiological reaction/adjustment going on.
     
  12. irishmanc

    irishmanc Registered User

    Jan 14, 2015
    64
    Manchester
    It's a difficult adjustment for everyone who goes through it. I got Cognitive Behavioural Therapy which was just great at giving me the tools to cope with the negative thought patterns. You may not get over it but you can get through it (an important distinction, I've found).
     
  13. Saffie

    Saffie Registered User

    Mar 26, 2011
    22,497
    Female
    Near Southampton
    .
    Treasure this time, it will not last forever.
    You still have your mother, albeit not the mother you used to have and long to still have, but do all you can to make her time in the home as content as possible and you will cope with this change. It's a case of a different focus but you will still be 'caring' for her, just in a different way. Best wishes. x
     
  14. SarahL

    SarahL Registered User

    Dec 1, 2012
    229
    I think I will look into CBT, I havenever tried it before. Thanks Irishmanc.
     
  15. SarahL

    SarahL Registered User

    Dec 1, 2012
    229
    That is so good to know thank you Saffie. It is also a good way to see that I'm caring for her in a different way too. x
     
  16. LadyA

    LadyA Registered User

    Oct 19, 2009
    13,519
    Ireland
    Very wise thoughts given here. And I can echo what someone said about the body somehow knowing it's "safe" to get sick! My husband went into full time care in September last. I had surgery in November (long planned), and seem to have been sick with one thing or another since! I've had more antibiotics since William went into care than I've had in years, for various infections!

    All the advice I've been given has been along similar lines - take the time it needs, however long that is. Don't feel you "have to" do anything, but do try and push your boundaries a little bit - because without our realising, caring for someone with dementia full time shrinks our world so much, and we become so used to that shrunken world, that once we can stretch again, we find we don't really want to. We have come to feel safer in our shrunken world. But - like butterflies - we have to fight our way out of our cocoons, and flap our wings in the sun!

    We are indeed still caring for our loved ones, just in a different way. When William was going into care, a doctor said to me "You will need time to adjust to the change. You will no longer be his full time carer - but you will always be his advocate." We still care for them - but we don't have the grinding, over-whelmingness of it all, on our own. The Care Home has lifted the over-whelming part of the burden from you - and you can now carry on with hopefully some better quality time with your mum.
     
  17. SarahL

    SarahL Registered User

    Dec 1, 2012
    229
    Thank you Lady A. I hope you are adjusting as best as you can with your husband now being in care. Four months, since September, isn't long and it must have been terribly hard for you (and there is such a mixture of emotions). I find it interesting hearing about your physical health since (although sorry it's been constant and you've had an operation) and I definitely think the body knows it's 'safe' in this respect. How are you feeling now? I feel like I'm going mad and I keep having waves of grief. I am also finding it hard to think about the future regarding Mum's house, paperwork and decisions about her finances and I just do not feel ready to progress this aspect. I actually feel a little out of control. I am in the middle of a degree too which I don't want to give up, but it's hard to focus.

    I'm going to remember your words about the butterfly and hope to flap my wings again some day. And for you too. It makes me cry but is so positive and a wonderful analogy. I really do understand the meaning of the world shrinking through the experience of dealing with Alzheimer's/dementia too, it has made me feel so unsafe and fearful with people Mum knew 'falling away' (understandably) and with neighbours turning against me. The world seems a scary place right now. I think you're right that we need to take as much time as is needed, I am going to try not to put pressure on myself to recover and heal and to enjoy time with Mum while it lasts. With very best wishes, Sarah.
     
  18. Lindy50

    Lindy50 Registered User

    Dec 11, 2013
    5,302
    Cotswolds
    Such wonderful posts on here....thank you for starting the thread, SarahL :)

    A lot of what people have said has chimed with me more than I would ever have thought. In fact, over the last few months, I've been losing confidence, not really wanting to go out to nice places (I had to make myself meet with other TPers in London recently!), and not understanding what was happening to me. You are all right, my world has shrunk and as Lady A says, it's difficult to relax and flap my *butterfly* wings even when there's a bit of sun to be had :eek:

    I look after my mum at her home so my situation is different from many of the posters above. But I will take heed from what you say, and try never to lose sight of the good things we have :)

    Thanks everyone

    Lindy xx
     
  19. LadyA

    LadyA Registered User

    Oct 19, 2009
    13,519
    Ireland
    I'm getting to be fine now Sarah. It's actually around five months since William went into care, after several stays in respite - most of which were emergency stays because of his condition - during the months before he went in full time. It helps a lot that he actually improved, health wise, after going into a nursing home, because he would neither eat nor drink enough for me and would not allow personal care either. Now, he's happy and content and shows no aggression at all, so he's clean and cared for. My surgery was a planned op, and I'm over that now - but considering I haven't had so much as a cold in literally years, I can't believe how many vague bugs I've had since September! All part of adjusting! :)
     
  20. irishmanc

    irishmanc Registered User

    Jan 14, 2015
    64
    Manchester
    Hi again Sarah - as you are in the middle of studying, is there a sympathetic tutor in whom you could confide? Universities are usually very good at helping students who are going through difficult times and that might relieve the pressure a bit. I feel the same about making decisions about the family home and finances - I feel very overwhelmed by that. I am trying to focus on my parents for now and will figure out the house and other paperwork when needed.
     

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