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New Thanks for replying (all of you) it helped!
Scott, I think you hit on something. I know it helps to "soundboard" things for me, at least it always has, and I never substitute it for real therapy, I promise, Laura. Soundboarding always seems to bring up insights that somewhere, I just missed, and someone else points it out and directs me there.

And it worked this time too. :) Scott, you referred me back to my post about "watching over" mom and dad, and I think that hit it somewhat on the nail head. I think I saw all the things that went down with the funeral, and well, I see that in my future. I wasn't putting it in those terms until you directed me there though. But yes, I'm scared about losing mom and dad, and I'm scared about being too dependent on mom and dad, and also scared about not taking care of them enough. It's a huge job to put on someone of my emotional stability, even if my brother thinks I'm "adult enough and mature enough." I think maybe he and I should talk again about this and reduce my "watching over" role some.

So here I thought I was reacting to the funeral and everyone's grief and loss and now that Scott gave me that insight, I think it's really about my own future with mom and dad. I think I'm worrying in that direction more, when to help, when not to, when can I back off and take care of me and John more, etc.

My husband read my dupe post in HT this morning and told me that he thinks most of the problem is that we've been reacting to in-family crisises for so long lately, that we don't know how to just be "typical" with each other (family included). I think that's true, but I also think it could be a mind over matter thing with me. If I focus on what Laura says, what's the worst that can happen, well, I've seen the worst in one respect and lived it through someone else. If I can handle that, why should I be worried?

I'm not really having actual panic attacks, BTW, in fact, I've been braver lately than I have in some time panic-wise. But Imric, I think you're right, I am having a lot of stress and it's causing me undue anxiety and affecting my health. And Scott, I can't really do Yoga, but I have been neglecting my "relax" cues at my computer lately, so that also kicked me in the brain to remember to pay attention to them not just turn them off, and do the actual exercises when they cue me.

I had worked something out with mom before this family crisis hit, where I didn't have to call her around the same time every day and check in, and when the crisis kicked in, it went right back to the old check in routine. I think I'll start by telling her I'd like to do that again, (not have a set time to call and check in), that would be a start of not feeling so "should do this" in at least that area.

And part of me also believes if I could get enough sleep (get caught up) and just have a week or so with no more "family" urgencies to handle, I might actually come down from this "stress-induced" fog. It's sort of felt like I was in a speeding car driving relentlessly, and now someone just showed me how to shift gears and get into the slow lane. ;)

And now that I think it's probably about either losing mom or dad or them not being able to do the things they used to with me, or for me, I have a better focus to work on. Maybe I need to direct it that way, because they will not be here forever, and if I depend on certain things with them to make holidays great, then the holidays will be forever grim when they aren't able or aren't here to share them.

In the words of my husband last year, when Christmas was falling apart in New Mexico, "we have to make our own NEW traditions."

I do have one question though, when your parents become unable to do things like they used to, and you have to start caring for them more or doing things without them, is that a sort of grieving process too? I've read a lot about losing someone, but not much about how to cope when they aren't capable of being themselves anymore.

Beep, I agree with your post too, I need to find a release. I haven't really been talking about all this since the funeral because there hasn't been hardly any time to talk about it with family or John, or even barely to post anything, so I think bottling it up inside and pretending it wasn't hurting was counter-productive. Now at least it's out in the open, in my group, and my family will see it and John knows and promised me we would talk about some of this soon. He promised that we'll make time.

Thanks all, for being a sounding board and helping me get a better concept of why or what is causing these feelings, and I will definitely talk to my doctor and ask him about maybe putting me back on the anxiety reducer till I get over this hurdle. But I think knowing why and being able to target it directly is half of the leap. ;)

Sometimes all you need to get another kick-start is for your feelings to be acknowledged and validated, and I thank you for that.

And sometimes you need a virtual kick in your behind from someone like Boxley, Ashton Peter, or Conrad to tell you to get up off your behind and keep on plugging along. ;)

Anyway, thanks, you've all given me a lot to think about and a great deal of insight to contemplate. :)

Brenda



"When you take charge of your life, there is no longer need to ask permission of other people or society at large. When you ask permission, you give someone veto power over your life." -- By Geoffrey F. Abert
****************************

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind, don't matter - and those who matter, don't mind." -- By Dr. Seuss
***********************************

"Sometimes it takes a whole lot more strength to walk away than to stand there and fight." -- By the character of John Abbott: said on Young & Restless on 5/19/06
*********************************
Expand Edited by Nightowl Nov. 29, 2006, 10:15:11 AM EST
New Regarding care of elders: it's hard to generalize.
I do have one question though, when your parents become unable to do things like they used to, and you have to start caring for them more or doing things without them, is that a sort of grieving process too? I've read a lot about losing someone, but not much about how to cope when they aren't capable of being themselves anymore.


I don't think of that as [link|http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/grieving|grieving]. But it's hard to generalize. I think it's a very common part of getting old. In my case, it's painful to watch someone slowly lose their ability to do things for themselves and watch them slowly lose their mind.

It's frustrating to tell my MIL an answer to a question over and over and over and over and over again, but letting it get to me doesn't help anything. It's a part of several common brain diseases that we can't yet do much, if anything, about.

I think that caring for an older person is rather like caring for an infant, but in reverse. Rather than them learning more and becoming more independent each day, they forget more and become more dependent over time. If you can't accept that, then you're not the person who should be caring for them.

In my case, I think that it helped to grow up with an autistic brother. I learned long ago that you can't "will" someone to do something they're not capable of. Spending 5 minutes a day explaining to someone with Alzheimer's that they need to do something a certain way, or drink their water because they're dehydrated, or ..., when they're going to forget it a minute later doesn't help. It only increases your own frustration. You have to make it possible for them to live comfortably in the moment and forget about trying to get them to change - because they can't.

Anyway, I don't think it's productive to anticipate how you're going to react if you need to care for your parents more intensively. They'll annoy you and make you want to pull your hair out. It happens to everyone, I think. Just do what you can for them, but no more. Sacrificing your life or health for them doesn't do anyone any good (least of all them).

My $0.02.

Cheers,
Scott.
New Thanks for putting it in a different light
I don't think of that as [link|http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/grieving|grieving]. But it's hard to generalize. I think it's a very common part of getting old. In my case, it's painful to watch someone slowly lose their ability to do things for themselves and watch them slowly lose their mind.


I guess I called it grieving because I feel a profound sense of loss when mom or Dad aren't capable of certain things and I have to shepherd them through something or handle it for them. It's sort of like a coming to terms with the fact that this is happening, so I guess I sort of classified that as a grief process step. It's not worrying me all the time (24-7) but was brought out more sharply lately by the funeral we dealt with.

However, after I read everyone's responses in here this morning, I did go and talk to my mom today on a personal level about some of this. I found that she's just as scared about how mixed up and rattled and such she is getting. It was a huge relief to both be able to discuss the fears we shared in a rational manner, rather than a defensive one or a hostile one. Instead of being defensive about her odd behavior lately, she was contrite, and explained that she really didn't think she had been being very nice to me lately, but she was feeling bad (physically) and confused (mentally), which was a lot of why.

That alleviated the worry I had that I was the one constantly misfiring in the communication process, and opened up the table for discussion about what we could do to better handle the miscommunications and get things clarified more quickly in order to get on with whatever we were trying to do.

We also both agreed we'd been pulled back into the worrying place of "checking on one another" since the funeral, and released that rule again, putting it back to where we call when we want to, when it's convenient and such, instead of "checking in" by a certain time daily. So the pressure has lessened and the anxiety is being discussed on both sides. Death always brings one's mortality closer to the surface, and in this case it leapt up right out of the water!

I think that caring for an older person is rather like caring for an infant, but in reverse. Rather than them learning more and becoming more independent each day, they forget more and become more dependent over time. If you can't accept that, then you're not the person who should be caring for them.


I agree, and I don't feel capable of being the person to care for them on a day to day basis. I can help, I can drive them places, I can assist with many things, but to have the complete care of them scares the bejeebers out of me. And I think that's what one of my cousins was trying to tell me at the wake, that I had to step up and accept a higher responsibility to my parents because my dad was now the official elder, or head of the family. I wasn't sure what he meant, but I think I get it now. I'm afraid he means I am expected to take my mom or dad in if necessary and care for them like his dad and Aunt took in Jeffie. But I can't do that. I feel ashamed to admit it, but there's no way I could take that sort of stance with my parents, and care for them in my home. We activate one another too much, we're the wrong combination. My brother, my sister, could maybe do it, but me, no way.

In my case, I think that it helped to grow up with an autistic brother. I learned long ago that you can't "will" someone to do something they're not capable of. Spending 5 minutes a day explaining to someone with Alzheimer's that they need to do something a certain way, or drink their water because they're dehydrated, or ..., when they're going to forget it a minute later doesn't help. It only increases your own frustration. You have to make it possible for them to live comfortably in the moment and forget about trying to get them to change - because they can't.


I agree. I'm having to accept the fact that mom "doesn't remember" saying things, or then tells me, "I told you this" and I don't remember hearing it, so I doubt that. I think I need to choose what's important to clarify and what isn't. Instead, until we talked, I've just been reacting to what she says or does. Reacting instead of acting.

Anyway, I don't think it's productive to anticipate how you're going to react if you need to care for your parents more intensively. They'll annoy you and make you want to pull your hair out. It happens to everyone, I think. Just do what you can for them, but no more. Sacrificing your life or health for them doesn't do anyone any good (least of all them).


I agree with that sentiment also, but I think it was very productive, (at least today it was), to go and discuss with mom about her odd behavior (one minute this is important and must be done, next minute she doesn't care about it, as an example), with her. Putting it in front of both of us made us have to examine our actions and reactions, and helped her admit, sorry, I can't keep things straight right now.

Maybe it's permanent, maybe it's due to all the complexity surrounding the family during this loss, but if I embrace the behavior rather than try and change it, if I accept it will most likely be the case, I think I can handle it better than I have been. And it helps to know that she is as confused as I am in some respects, about what she's remembering now or what is important now and isn't.

Thanks Scott, you've really widened a crack for me to put my foot in with the issue, and I did take some major steps to get my foot in that door, and with some measure of success. :)

Brenda



"When you take charge of your life, there is no longer need to ask permission of other people or society at large. When you ask permission, you give someone veto power over your life." -- By Geoffrey F. Abert
****************************

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind, don't matter - and those who matter, don't mind." -- By Dr. Seuss
***********************************

"Sometimes it takes a whole lot more strength to walk away than to stand there and fight." -- By the character of John Abbott: said on Young & Restless on 5/19/06
*********************************
     I don't know what's wrong with me, and I'm scared. - (Nightowl) - (16)
         There is no normal. - (imric)
         We're listening. - (Another Scott) - (3)
             Thanks for replying (all of you) it helped! - (Nightowl) - (2)
                 Regarding care of elders: it's hard to generalize. - (Another Scott) - (1)
                     Thanks for putting it in a different light - (Nightowl)
         What Imric said - (bepatient)
         Okay. - (bionerd) - (1)
             What Laura said. Do it. NOW! -NT - (jbrabeck)
         get some help - (boxley) - (1)
             Right on cue. ;) - (Nightowl)
         Brenda, do you journal? - (static) - (5)
             Re: Brenda, do you journal? - (Nightowl) - (4)
                 No is such a positive word - (dmcarls) - (3)
                     also short, sweet, and to the point. -NT - (jbrabeck)
                     Thanks! - (Nightowl) - (1)
                         Re: Thanks! - (Ashton)

This just in, kid: the mere fact that it's written down and believed in by millions of simpletons does not make something true.
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