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overwhelmed and lonely

elmdallastx
Posts: 6
Joined: Apr 2011

I feel really lonely. My siblings aren't helping out at all. I take my dad to his oncologist, run errands and take care of his insurance claims. I am doing all the translating because he doesn't speak English. I am making sure he is clean, and his meals at the hospital are right.

I am missing a lot of work and fear that I may lose my job. I am worried about my own health and need to get a check up but I don't have time. I can't get sick. I can't lose my job because I need my insurance. I am at my wits end.

I am tired and angry and resentful and feel that everyone expects me to continue doing everything I was doing before my dad sick.

Sometimes, I want to hurt myself. I used to cut myself and lately that's all I want to do. No one asks me how I am doing or does anything nice for me. No one tries to cheer me up.

I know I am not alone, but I feel betrayed by my family and my friends.

I take care of myself and eat right and try and exercise and do things for myself but sometimes all I want is to talk to someone who sees my perspective and understands how I feel. Who understands how I carry so much of the burden.

mswijiknyc's picture
mswijiknyc
Posts: 421
Joined: Oct 2010

been there hun, and got the T-shirt to prove it too. I used to cut myself too, and I realized that physical pain is so much easier to deal with than emotional pain. Physical pain goes away, emotional pain you gotta deal with.

I will say you stopped at the right place. Every one here has been where you are, even for a little while. When Pat was actively going to appointments, I was happy and felt blessed I was fired from my job and got unemployment. I was getting paid to do for Pat! I didn't have anyone to really help me with anything, maybe a ride somewhere that was all. It sucks big to feel so alone and so very very very TIRED.

You may need to forcefully tell your sibs that you need help NOW. Don't give them any options, just say, "Dad needs __________ and you are going to help with that. I have another commitment." If they balk, tell them that's fine, but they should not be surprised if they no longer receive updates about Dad as you are too busy to call them if they are too busy for you. Busting chops is hard at first, but the payoff is great. Also, see if maybe some friends of yours can help out, or friends of the family. Sometime people want to help but aren't sure how.

Lastly, if you ever feel that you're wanting to do more than cutting, GO SEE A DOC PRONTO. Cutting isn't the best way to deal, and you could probably use the doc visit anyhow. If you need something, message me through CSN and I will do what I can. CSN Chat is always available too whenever you need an ear. A lot of awesome people here that can help. You AREN'T alone - reach out

Hugs and Loves,
April

DrMary's picture
DrMary
Posts: 527
Joined: Nov 2010

Your feelings of inadequacy come through loud and clear - are you by any chance a middle child?

It sounds like you are afraid to demand that others step up - everyone seems to be expecting things out of you and you feel inadequate telling them you can't do it all.

Remember - you can do it all, because you are. You are doing it much better than any of them could. However, it is not fair that you do it all. Think about it that way - you are not telling them to step up because you are failing (you're not) - you are telling them to step up because that is the fair and right thing to do.

To be fair to the rest - sometimes people don't know what to do. You are in the position now to tell them what to do. Stop thinking of yourself as Atlas holding up your father's world and start thinking of yourself as the coordinator of his care. You don't have to do it all, you just need to make sure someone is doing it. April's right - just call folks up and let them know you need them to take a particular duty on a particular day.

You are so much more than adequate - please remember that!

elmdallastx
Posts: 6
Joined: Apr 2011

I am not sure how to accept this response. It's almost like a backhanded compliment. I don't feel inadequate at all.

I think my relationship with my siblings is more complex than just them not stepping it up. There's a lot hatred and spite between us, but I thought that could be put aside for my dad's sake.

I try and do what is right and fair and that's why I am helping my dad. He was abusive and an alcoholic most of my life and it hurt more than anything, but I can put it aside and do what's right because I have forgiven him.

I do realize that I need to tell them what to do whether they like it or not. They may not do it but it will put them on the spot and maybe they will realize what it all entails.

Thanks for the advice, I guess.

Pennymac02's picture
Pennymac02
Posts: 336
Joined: Aug 2010

The pain inside isn't really going to ease up with causing pain outside. It's going to complicate your life even more and rob you of whatever self esteem you have left. I agree with April, you have to "demand with expectation" that your brothers/sisters step it up. They may see you running around getting everything done and are so relieved that they aren't even thinking of the spot that this has put you in. Have you told them how overwhelmed you are?

Connect back with the therapist that helped you with the cutting in the past. Post to this board or PM me anytime. Talk to you HR department at work about FMLA--if you're the caregiver for your dad than you are entitled to 90 days of unpaid leave every 12 months for family medical leave. You job stays secure and so does your insurance.

Believe me, those of us here understand how you feel and know what kind of burden you're carrying, we've carried it too. You can "talk" to us anytime.
Penny

ketziah35
Posts: 1138
Joined: Jun 2010

You are not alone. Your feelings of loneliness are normal for a caregiver, but you can,t solve anything by hurting yourself. Have you considered going to see a counselor? Everyone needs someone to talk to when dealing with a crisis. Please feel free to post. You will find support here.

UKLady's picture
UKLady
Posts: 85
Joined: Jan 2011

I was going to respond to you on the thread about Steve and hospice- but this is likely the best place- from your chosen *nickname* you do not live very far from me- There are two wonderful support groups-one in Allen and one in DT Dallas. we have all been where you are. You are likely thinking- I don't have time-that's what I thought.And if you read my space you will see I am alone.No help except negativity from family. The members here helped me hugely- but physically going for an hour on a Monday to a group-has saved mine and others sanity and will give you huge amounts of emotional and practical support and show you where to get things done locally which will allow you to look after yourself more. You would not believe the things I have thrown into the group for airing and so do others- the great thing is-you don't have to explain-everyone knows where you are. It is more than possible that your father and my husband Steve have attended the same hospitals even-Steve still attends hospital appointments in Dallas so you are not nearly as alone as it feels right now. PM me if you would like- if you can hold on to one thing- you found this site for a reason..........We have all felt this at some point or other-and you are among good people here!

so welcome, hang in and breathe

Lyndsey

Alicia 51's picture
Alicia 51
Posts: 8
Joined: Feb 2011

I read your post and just felt like it was exactly how I've been feeling. My husband, Jerry was diagnosed on Dec. 22, 2010 with a brain tumor and had a 12 hour surgery to remove it on Dec. 29th. They got all the tumor!!!! However, he had to have 33 Radiation Treatments because it was cancer. He had his last treatment on March 31st and now begins the recovery period. We know it will be a long road for him and I'm so glad that he is doing as well as possible, but when he receives phone calls or visits it's always about how he is doing. Excuse me, but this has all effected me too...I am the caregiver!!!!!! No one seems to understand how I feel or even what's going on with me. Maybe I'm on my pity pot today, but sometimes I just can't help it. I'm an only child and both my parents are deceased. His family have been great, but they are going through the same thing and it's hard to share with them while they are struggling too. Once again with them it's all about him!!!! I just don't seem to have anyone to share all my feelings with.....

mswijiknyc's picture
mswijiknyc
Posts: 421
Joined: Oct 2010

there are more people than not that have little or no support, so those like you and me and elm must find it elsewhere. Thank God for this site as I would have lost my dam mind if it wasn't here!

Also helps if you have a bit of an attitude like me LOL rule number eleven!

elmdallastx
Posts: 6
Joined: Apr 2011

I think I wrote my entry when I was feeling bad and just needed to put it out there.

I am sorry you don't have family to help you feel better. It's wonderful that his family is supporting you though. I don't get much support except from my mom, who manages to be a ***** at the same time, excuse the language.

If you ever need to let it out I will be here. It's tough and you are doing well. You have honored your vows and remained a faithful wife. You are a good person and even though they may not say it to you but they are very lucky he married you.

Stay strong and give yourself a break, you deserve it.

Alicia 51's picture
Alicia 51
Posts: 8
Joined: Feb 2011

Thank you so much for all your kind comments, guess I just really needed to hear it from someone. I'm so very glad I found this site because I do need to just get out how I feel because no one else around here wants to hear it. As for taking a break, well I can't do that because my husband is so sick these days.(Vomiting after 33 radiation treatments) I don't even leave the house these days. If we need anything from the store his mother goes to town for us. Look forward to talking with you more.....

madmom66
Posts: 2
Joined: Apr 2011

i am my son's primary care giving he is 5 months post bone marrow transplant and in remission from aml leukemia. my family is 2 hours away and small but try to help. my husband and his family never had the stomache for the realities of the illness. i spent most of six months living inpatient with my son with only 4 nights of relief from anyone else. when we came home for a brief period during chemo my friends and my family cleaned sanitized organized and decorated my home to help me and make it special. i didnt have to ask. you should tell your siblings to commit to a specific task. But, dont be surprised if they dont step up.
the bright side is God will put amazing people in your path, people who get it, and want to help and support you. it feels weird, and people like us (yes me, i even used to cut myself in college, and been on meds for 10 years) that aquaintances and strangers care more and are more sincere and dependable than family but, they are. most cancer hospitals have mental health for patients and families. MSKCC does and they helped my survive the hell. my best source of support was other caregivers and the housekeeping and food services staff. I had a powerful surrogate family; i still see them when we make our out patient visits.
you are doing it. cancer strips live down to the bare esstenials, love, humor, faith. Keep a journal, try extra hard to connect and enjoy your dad, live for the moments. this may not bode well for your job or your apartment and bills, but those things can be replaced. my husband calls me a robot, i cant type what i like to call him.

elmdallastx
Posts: 6
Joined: Apr 2011

I think today is much better. I took a break from going to the hospital and have focused on myself and my work today. I am thankful that people here understand me and I do not feel like I have imagined all this negativity, because my mom always downplays my frustration and makes me feel like I am a whiny child.

I am thankful for the wonderful nurses, techs, and doctors at Baylor who have taken care of my dad and have been friendly and caring, not just technical and medical.

Thank you for allowing me to vent my frustration and not making me feel like a whiny child.

I have not cut myself and feel that it may never get that bad, as long as I have people like you in my life.

I hope everyone's week starts off without a hitch. We can all use a good day.

Barbara53's picture
Barbara53
Posts: 659
Joined: Aug 2009

Yes, yes, you are doing the right thing by finding balance between the heaviest things in your life. I helped take care of my dad in the weeks before he died, and I would not trade a moment of that terrible time for anything.

Having good work to to helped a lot. When I could get in work mode and got some things done, it always made me feel better. Still does, now that I'm looking after my mother.

Should the right moment arise, ask your mother for a promotion from whiny daughter to top officer. I have a feeling she keeps setting things up the way they were when you were younger. My mother does it all the time! Sometimes when her anxiety level gets really high, she pushes every old button she can find. One day when she was crazed with it I said, look, we have to get along. She got quiet for a while, but she's been nicer ever since.

Good luck with this day.

Noellesmom
Posts: 1271
Joined: Aug 2010

You are focusing on yourself and your needs today, elm. All caregivers need and deserve those days.

I'm also glad you feel the pressure to cut yourself (which is a stress-reliever for those who do so) has eased some.

Do take the time today to make an appointment to see your doctor. The appointment may not happen today (hopefully, it will) but please make it, at the very least.

You are in a difficult position and you have empathy from many of us here.

Hugs, elm. Keep letting us hear from you!

here4lfe
Posts: 294
Joined: Jan 2010

Anonymous strangers are a good place to vent. Won't have to face 'em later -)
Forgive yourself for a bad day and move on.
You obviously love your dad, and I'm sure he knows and appreciates it.

Best

dearfoam's picture
dearfoam
Posts: 82
Joined: Apr 2011

Hi,

I'm new to all this, and am my dad's caregiver. My siblings live in another city with jobs, children, etc. I happen to live in the larger city with the research hospital and cancer center 15 minutes from my house, so I am bearing a similar burden (though currently out patient). I talked with our hospital's outpatient Geriatric and Palliative Care Office. They help all cancer patients deal with symptoms and side effects regardless of diagnosis, but also offer caregiver support including a therapist. Perhaps the hospital you are at has caregiver support as well.

Our local Senior Citizens office also has a program for caregiver support. It's based on the senior citizen's needs, but aims to offer respite and personal care to the senior to help the caregiver have a break. A social came for a home visit with us last week about it, and we expect to hear soon.

Just some ideas! Hang in there!

ketziah35
Posts: 1138
Joined: Jun 2010

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