Everything feels so upside down. Today’s doctor’s visit with my mother didn’t go well. I’ve just about gone crazy, and I’m pretty sure that trend is going to continue until I do.
People will tell you not to worry and that things happen as they are meant to but when nearly your whole life is at risk, plus the literal life of someone else if you don’t risk your own situation (in my case, my little farm), it’s really hard to keep your sanity.
It’s really hard to keep your faith in a Creator that doesn’t seem to be paying attention and in a system that has proven over and over again it doesn’t give a single fuck.
It is becoming very clear to me just how emotionally draining caring for someone can be when you’re doing it on your own – and by that I mean not a finger of help from anyone else being lifted, including so called medical professionals.
Caregiver depression is a very real thing, made much more difficult by being invisible not only to those who know you but also by the one you are caring for. I truly don’t know how long I can continue on like this mentally…
Whatever it is you’re going through right now I want you to know you aren’t alone. And it might feel like you are. It might feel like a million things are piling up on you and you don’t know if it’ll get heavier or how much more you can bear.
And you might not know who to turn to or even where to start.
Because suddenly all of this just hit you at once.
It’s like you’re floating on the surface but below no one can see you are flustered and kicking for your life just to stay afloat.
You look fine.
You smile when you have to.
When someone asks, “how you are?” you say, “good.”
But part of you wishes you weren’t so good at faking it. Part of you wishes someone would call your bluff and say, “I know you’re lying, what’s wrong?”
We’ve been told the best thing to do is lie. So we lie to ourselves saying everything is fine. We lie to everyone else saying we can handle it. Whatever that it is.
Then it just becomes too much.
I’m here to tell you it’s okay if things aren’t going well right now. It’s okay if you’re hurting. It’s okay if you want to fall apart and scream at the top of your lungs because things outside your control are happening that you don’t understand. You’re trying to find clarity in moments of confusion. You are trying to put a band-aid on the pain you’re repressing hoping it heals, but you know you’re just covering it up. Then something else comes out of left field only to hurt you more.
You go to bed at night and you’re just laying there not sleeping, and you don’t want to play the pity card of “why me?” or “why did this happen?” How much worse can things get, only to watch it play out even more?
You’re trying to piece yourself back together but you’re cutting your fingers in the process, and honestly, you don’t even remember what it feels like to be whole or completely happy.
You hate that being happy is so hard to achieve right now.
But more than that you hate that no one sees it.
You’re holding back tears and putting on a brave face because it isn’t socially acceptable to start crying in the middle of a workday. Not when people need you. Not when people look up to you. Not when people are watching your every move like your life is a show for their entertainment.
Just when something starts to shift and there’s even a little bit of light, someone has to come and ruin your day. It’s a snide comment. It’s criticism. It’s one little thing or conversation that almost puts you over the edge.
Like everyone in the universe is out to get you. And it isn’t like you to be this negative or pessimistic. But everyone has those days that turn to weeks and sometimes months where nothing seems to work in their favor.
Despite being given every reason to be mean to others and treat them the way they have treated you, you don’t. You replace their unkindness with silence. You replace disrespect with being the bigger person. You replace someone going after you with keeping your head down and mouth shut.
And they judge you for the things you do and they judge you for the things you don’t.
It’s like they have a target on your back, watching your every move waiting for you to mess up. So every step you take is a little more cautious. How quick everyone is to judge you for the little things you do wrong and they forget what you did right.
I know what it’s like to feel that way.
I know what it’s like to not understand any of it.
And you just keep trying. Trying to make them happy as well as yourself only to learn whichever way you change, someone isn’t going to like it.
You want to trust people but every time you have, every time you’ve let your guard down, they’ve gotten close enough to hurt you. So you learn to expect the worst of people, while still trying your best and giving your best to those who don’t deserve it.
Caring deeply about others is both your greatest strength and weakness.
It’s that strength that everyone seems to rely on, even though you don’t know where it’s even coming from.
It’s the energy to never let people down and constantly say “yes” even though you’re tired.
It’s the light you shine in other’s lives and the compassion to look at someone and you can tell when they’re having a tough day because you know what faking it looks like. You ask them how they are doing, even though no one has asked you lately.
It’s keeping it together when someone else is falling apart even when you want to, you still manage to be the arms holding them.
It’s admirable to be like that.
And even though people don’t give you the credit you deserve or even utter the words “thank you,” you keep being exactly how you are and you don’t change.
As hard as it is to be someone like you, you realize how rare it is too.
So when the world gives you every reason to change – every reason to treat others the way they treat you, every reason to hurt others because maybe someone broke your heart – you don’t. I want to thank you for being that type of person.
It’s people like you we need most in the world. So whatever pain or confusion or difficult life situations you’re going through, I want you to know you’ve made it through everything leading up to this and there’s strength within you, you don’t even realize.
Don’t be afraid to fall apart if you have to.
Don’t be afraid to cry if you need that.
Don’t be afraid of any of this.
Because it will get better. Sometimes though, things get worse before they get better. But on the other end of that is something really great waiting for you.
Keep fighting for everything you know you deserve because you will get it.
Yesterday was the worst day. I don’t know why, but life always seems to implode (or explode) with everything at once. Yesterday I battled with my own body and began to battle again with my mind and my thoughts. I laid down in the afternoon to nap and I missed a phone call from my mom.
About two hours later I was awakened by a phone call from the hospital. We rushed up there and were told that she had been wandering again (not so much wandering as making more poor decisions, having it in her head that it was a good idea to walk 3 miles to a store, which she has attempted to do several times since the beginning of this year). She has so far not fallen on these little escapades but this time she made it about two or so miles before she did fall.
I believe that she passed out because she refuses to eat properly and she’s also very weak and feeble to begin with, so I am not surprised. I have begged her not to do this, making that very argument and explaining how dangerous it really is. In fact, the last time, a neighbor picked her up around the same place she fell yesterday and she was walking IN THE MIDDLE OF A TWO LANE ROAD with curves and fast traffic.
I also believe that she hit the pavement so hard that she had to have knocked herself out because she hit the pavement hard enough to bust her chin all the way across and knock all of her teeth out of line as well as broke two teeth. She has a major swollen bruise on her temple and severely bruised ribs as well as scrapes and contusions on her hands, arms and legs. Today she looks like she lost a fight with Mike Tyson.
I’m not sure how long she laid there before she called me because, again, I don’t feel like anybody could take a blow like that without being knocked out for at least a short period of time, but eventually she tried to call me and I was asleep. #guilt Three people passed by to offer help – she refused help so the first two just drove on without even calling an ambulance, while the third person refused to move her and called an ambulance but then left before the ambulance arrived.
There was at least a 40 minute time frame between the time that she fell and the time that an ambulance arrived which means that she laid on the side of the road (possibly in the road for a period of time) for that long miraculously not getting hit, robbed or otherwise hurt.
This is the final straw for me and I can no longer accept the fight that I have been fighting for so long to prevent her from living alone. I will no longer allow – regardless of the fight to come with her – her to live alone. I will be raising hell with the doctor and I will sue on my own if I have to for guardianship. I have had DHR on my mother‘s case for over a year and two months and still have had no appointment with a lawyer – nothing.
The state is a waste of time and the American medical system is a waste of time. The doctor at the ER understood my concern and tried to find a way to hold my mother for at least 72 hours whether it be a psych eval or a need to be monitored physically but because she answered three or four questions correctly like “what is your name,” “what year is it,” and, “who is the president?” and because her vitals were good and her test results were negative for any breaks or internal damage, she could not be held against her will.
Now, go back and read this story again and tell me why, just because she says “I’m OK,” she could not be held. What kind of decision making and what kind of serious ridiculous danger does a person need to put themselves in – she is clearly a danger to herself and needs to be evaluated – yet there is no ability to hold her? She needs to be given the proper care and I do not have the power to make that happen because I have no legal power when it comes to my mother.
She refuses to offer me any leniency or cooperate with me and I am done with being put in the position of a doctor telling me “you need to take care of your mom” and me knowing I need to do certain things to take care of my mom, but yet being pushed away and out of the picture by my mom and the doctors – it’s a total cluster fuck and I am about to lose my mind.
If I thought I was losing my mind a year ago, well I had no idea how bad it could really get – and I know it’s only going to get worse.
Hello depression, extreme and uncontrollable anxiety and overwhelm. Welcome back.
It is 6:19AM. I opened my eyes to a faint light beginning to creep through filmy windows and as I began to awaken, I awakened to a realization that I have lost all faith in the what we call “the American healthcare system.” It is willful blindness to believe in it.
There are great people who work for it – people who care and give their all to make sure the sick are well attended and made comfortable. But they work for the system – a system that doesn’t allow them to follow their heart, only the money trail. A system that doesn’t allow them to make decisions based on their gut but forces their hand to do what the rules say is allowed and not what is right.
Now it is 7:06AM, and the light is bright enough to make the film on the windows seem to disappear. The film over my eyes, however, has not, and will not. That said, I am too tired and too weak to fight today.
The pain in both my heart and my uterus hold me down. I don’t mind being here. It’s the place I’ve spent the most time and it’s gotten pretty comfortable. So now, as my eyes grow heavy again, I bid my faith and my life as I know it a bittersweet goodbye.
Over a year ago, I did something I never thought I’d have to do. Because doctors were not helping me with my mother (who has dementia and is getting worse), I contacted adult protective services on my own to beg for help. The state came through, albeit an extremely slow process. They sent a wonderful man by the name of Mr. Hardin out to my mom’s home to evaluate things and he immediately agreed, upon meeting my mom and seeing the state of what I was dealing with (alone, as an only child), that I needed and deserved help in dealing with her.
That day back in January of 2018, I started a process of trying to get guardianship of my mother. Not something fun. Not a responsibility any human being really “wants” to have, but one that I knew in my heart was necessary. Now, we have reached a point where I need conservatorship, as well. And this is posing a problem at a number of levels. Alas, the doctors have all finally come through and given the state the information, documentation, and support that was needed to start a court case and here we are.
Except, today I found out that there is a thing called a “conservatorship bond,” and it’s something I have to not only pay for myself (which is hilarious because the reason for filing for legal guardianship and conservatorship for my mom is mostly financial – or the lack of finances, rather, for being able to put her into a better living situation with round the clock care or even in home care) but also something I have to qualify for based on my credit history. My credit history is not perfect, I’m not ashamed to say, because of student loans (which I have recently managed to get out of default, but still…). This could easily put a cramp in things, depending on the judge who hears the case.
I am anxious, I am stressed, I am worried, I am just almost at a loss. I have fought for so long to be able to legally care for my mother in the ways in which she needs care but refuses to allow me to care for her on my own, and in ways that a simple POA will not effect. And here I am, at risk of not being able to receive the legal help I need because of student loans and credit history and my disabilities due to mental illness (major depression, PTSD, extreme anxiety, etc.).
I just want to be able to take care of my mother and the law says, “you may not be competent.” Well, I’ve been competent enough for the last three years since my dad died to do so. And nothing has changed about that, except I am stronger and have learned so much about taking care of someone with her issues and illnesses. I don’t know what to do anymore.
I just want it to be over.
Hopefully within the next month I will FINALLY hear from a state appointed lawyer. Hopefully by the end of the year, I will be given my day in court with my mother to plead for the ability to care for her properly, make decisions she can’t, and make sure her bills are being paid (which they are not, at least not regularly, now).
If anyone reads this and has been in this situation or has any words of wisdom, I’d really appreciate reading them. I’m slowly coming to an end with my ability to see any positives about any of this, except keeping my mother alive…
Session tonight was…emotional. It was one of those tearful, snotty, sobbing sessions – one of those ones that I go into wishing I could slide down a razor blade into a bucket of alcohol instead because that would hurt less, but at the end of it am left calmer and numb and call my mother back on the phone and say, “hey, I love you. Despite all you do to make me hate you, I love you, and that’s why I have done the things I have done.”
I’m trying very hard to accept and continue to be myself, and appropriately deal with my mother, even while many people in my life are dumping their opinions and unwanted advice on me like seven dust on a yard full of fleas.
I believe that…
No one has the right to tell you how long your grieving should last or how fast or when you need to move on, not even your own mind. Follow your heart.
No one has the right to judge or hurt or ignore you – especially when they call you “friend.” Don’t believe them when they call themselves your friend. Friends don’t do those things – not on purpose.
No one has the right to tell you how to live your life or how to be who you are. Don’t listen to them. Don’t try to manage or live your life based on other people’s double standards.
No one has the right to make you cry. Don’t believe anyone who tells you that your tears are your own fault.
Just because you’re not dealing with things the way someone else is dealing with things is irrelevant – they’re not living YOUR life or YOUR situation or walking in YOUR shoes.
That said, sometimes we care about other people so much – the people who do these things to us – that we continue to try. We continue to take responsibility for them when we know or believe we have a responsibility to keep them safe – especially when they’re mentally ill or senile or sick…
Because while I DO believe in taking responsibility for our lives and in taking care of ourselves, I also believe in taking care of others – even those who have hurt us – when they need to be taken care of – especially when they are mentally ill.
If my husband, for example, had given up on me because of my depression and actions and words (or lack thereof) – and Lord knows how many bad episodes there have been throughout our relationship – if he’d walked away to take care of himself or because he decided not to “allow” it anymore, I’d be dead by now. I’d be dead two or three times over. And that’s the truth. But this post isn’t about my depression. It’s about my mother.
Whoever reads this gets to have their own opinion. That’s fine. But don’t comment to me about how no one has the power to make a person do or feel anything unless the person hurting allows it because that’s bullshit. That’s what my therapist and I have been talking about in session tonight – how that’s all I’ve been hearing for three days now from different people around me regarding my mother, and I’m sick of it.
People’s words – or even lack of them – can HURT. People DO cause tears and pain and it has nothing to do with what someone is allowing to “control” their emotions. That’s a copout and it’s blaming the person feeling the pain for feeling pain that they didn’t bring onto themselves.
Sometimes a person can’t “walk away.” Sometimes there is no choice but to allow it to continue to some extent, or even fully. Sometimes there is no other option but to bide your time and wait for your moment to “escape.”
So for those people who keep saying things to me like, “why do you “allow” it to continue this way,” or telling me how I am only responsible for myself, I have a question (or two or ten):
How many times did YOU choose to allow someone to continue hurting you (in ANY way) because you loved them, or because you FELT you had a responsibility to take care of them (whether you actually did or didn’t)?
How long did it take YOU to start blaming yourself instead of someone else for how they “made” you feel? I’m sure you probably ALWAYS blamed yourself for the actions or behaviors of others, right? I’m sure you NEVER, ever were hurt by their words or actions and only blamed yourself for “allowing” it. Pfft.
And then, how long did it take you to STOP blaming someone else? Or do you still say things like, “he is/was such an asshole,” or, “she is/was such a control freak,” or, “they were/are so ridiculous?”
You know what? He/she may have been or may still be those things. That’s the role some people play in the world. And they’re hurtful and they ARE to blame for the pain they cause. And you may not always be to blame for “allowing it to continue.” Every situation is different. Don’t judge mine.
From my therapist:
“Maybe a person’s situation doesn’t allow them to fully escape the person hurting them. Maybe a person judging, or telling you how to live your life and deal with your situations, even when you agree with a lot of their advice and wish that it COULD work for you, just doesn’t get it. Maybe they don’t or can’t grasp the full scope of your situation.
Or maybe, just maybe, other people just don’t have the heart or the character you have – not everyone is strong enough to endure mental illness or abuse and still love the person or care for the person who has or does hurt them (emotionally in this case), and not want them to hurt themselves, and want to protect them from dying or care for them while they are dying despite the pain they themselves might be feeling, or want to try to help them to help themselves.”
And so this all sums up where I currently am on the situation with my mother. Her idle threats don’t scare me. State laws don’t scare me (at this point). But I DO have a responsibility to take care of a woman who has no one but me and is literally going senile.
Not eating or taking care of herself.
Becoming a danger to herself and others.
Even if that care exists only in bringing in outside help and even if it means having to sometimes be exposed to her narcissistic and emotional abuse, I DO have and carry that responsibility.
She’s not my mother, but she used to be.
Sometimes she was.
Until session tonight I’d forgotten that sometimes she was normal.
Sometimes she helped me with school projects all night until they were finished (even if only because she wanted me to get an A for her).
Sometimes she cooked meals instead of delegating that task to my father despite his working, too.
Part of her controlling behavior was keeping the house spotless and sanitary and that’s was, in some ways, good for me and my health and well being.
Sometimes she made me clothes, with her own hands, because they couldn’t afford to shop for them.
Sometimes she hugged me, and meant it, even if I never remember her ever telling me she was proud of me unless it was in front of someone else.
There were others, but I’m finally sleepy now and will save them for later…
Tonight, my therapist cracked open a whole new set of memories from my childhood with my mother that I had blocked in the process of trying to block the bad ones. And tonight she made it a point, in “forcing” me to share some of those better memories, to remind me that despite my mothers illnesses, she is human – just like despite my illnesses I am human. That’s the thing I have kept trying to get people to understand about my heart and why I struggle so with the whole situation since my Dad died.
There’s a song by Rascal Flatts called, “What Hurts the Most,” that comes to mind and while it is actually meant to be about a romantic relationship, it reminds me very much of my relationship with my mother throughout my life. There are these moments – or have been – of being so close…and what hurts the most is not knowing how it could have been to have had her as my mother consistently when every now and then there would be a little taste of her being kind, being motherly, not hurting me…and those are the parts my heart still carries that keep me in this place of caring…
Don’t. Judge. A. Heart. You. Don’t. Know.
Don’t. Judge. A. Life. You. Don’t. Know.
Don’t. Judge. A. Life. You’re. Not. Living.
We’ve been going to the dam pretty regularly lately, almost always on a Sunday, it seems. Obviously I spend a lot of time at my mom’s these days, what with being the only child and the primary caregiver for her. On Sundays, though, my mom rides the church bus to Sunday school and Sunday morning worship/preaching. She rides the church bus because of all the things I refuse to compromise on during this current journey of elderly care, my spiritual beliefs are the one thing I protect at all costs. If you know the history between my mother, religion, and I, that probably makes sense to you. If not, no worries. It doesn’t need to make sense to you. It’s just what it is… Hashtag CPTSD.
I find my church – and myself – in nature. Lately it’s been a difficult feat to get out in it, but I do try. It’s a wonderful opportunity for my son and I to chill and to talk, to explore and to have a good time…and, there’s almost always a good homeschool/unschool lesson involved. I don’t get to spend a whole lot of quality time with the boy these days, just me and him, so I treasure these dam Sundays and just being with him. We’re making new memories, and while we continue to build our relationship I’m continuing to rebuild me.
The boy is very into photography and cinematography – in fact, he’s the reason I’ve started trying a bit harder with film/editing lately. I always want to encourage his interests and passions, even though they seem to come and go for him. He’s interested in so many things, and is passionate about so many things… Alas, currently he is obsessed with camera gear and video creation, so I’ve handed down a GoPro Hero+ to him, along with our old point and shoot that we used to use for rugged outdoor adventures and camping (it’s an Olympus and I think “rugged” is a part of the model name, ha). We make that part of our Sunday adventures, and I get to teach him the few things I know about shooting, and have a fun time with him… I’ve grown very fond of Sundays again.
On this particular Sunday I wasn’t sure I would make it. Due to a couple of ongoing health issues I struggled to be present or to have very much fun, but at some point mid-morning I got on board and got in the truck with the man and the boy and before I knew it, there we were at the dam. Man went off on his own, as he tends to do, and the boy and I shuffled off in the other direction together for a shore walk and short shoot. After what seemed like a long time but probably wasn’t, the boy wandered back the other way and walked with the man while I continued on with my usual trespassing/searching for a good image/collapse and rest in peace and quiet and hide for a while shenanigans.
All in all, it was a good day. My mother got to see her precious savior in her favorite man made building, I got to enjoy mine in the original church. Everybody had a nice day, and once we arrived home I was able to happily collapse onto the couch and try to further mend my physical body whilst feeling my soul continue to heal as I played with the footage and images we captured and savored the much needed time to just relax with my little family (human and animal alike).
Here’s a little InstaClip from the outing:
I hope that whoever is reading this had a lovely Sunday (and weekend) doing whatever it is that brings you joy and healing, and I hope that you have a wonderful week ahead.