Friday, July 21, 2017

Just shoot me...


I just read another caregiver's blog entry that was written a few years ago. In it, the author is discussing that she has heard several caregivers express that if they are ever diagnosed with Alzheimer's that they will tell their children to "just shoot me".  The author was upset by this sentiment because she* felt that it lessened the value of her mother's life -that Alzheimer's patients, somehow, don't have a purpose. I understand what she's saying, I just think that there is another side to it.

I have never said those words, but I understand the feeling behind the words. I have told my girls that it's okay to put me in a home and just walk away if they choose. It's not that my life won't be of value or have purpose, all lives have purpose. I don't have to be with them to have value. I want them to be able to live their lives without the evilness of this disease taking away so much that they've already given once. It means that they have the freedom to make choices that are good for their lives, with no guilt. If they choose to stick with me through it all, that's fine too. I just want them to know that I recognize the sacrifices they have made and the compassion and selflessness they've already freely given. They've paid their dues. It's their choice.

Whether we say "just shoot me" or "send me away", I think we're actually saying, "I love you and you deserve to live your life. I don't expect you to make me your burden."




*I am assuming the caregiver is a woman simply because 2/3 of all Alzheimer's caregivers are female.


Thursday, March 9, 2017

I Will...


It's been almost a year since I've been here (kind of) and almost 18 months since Mom found peace. I didn't think that I would need this blog anymore. I thought that the healing was going to be simple. I thought it would have progressed to the point of becoming just a scar that I notice now and then, not a gaping wound that doesn't seem to heal. I am here because I feel it's important to tell more of my journey through (and after) Alzheimer's.

I said "kind of" about not writing for almost a year.  I found a post that I wrote in November that I didn't publish. I just reread it and it broke my heart. I haven't progressed from that dark time. In fact, I have digressed. The wound has gotten deeper and angrier. 

 I have moved into such a dark place. I was placed on disability for 6 weeks because I am so severely depressed and anxious that I called out to work for 14 days straight due to panic attacks. No amount of bills that need to be paid (and there are a lot of those), the shame of failure, or the disappointment in myself could make me go.

I was released to return to work 4 days ago and only made it through the first day. I called in the next two. I HAVE to return to work tomorrow and am distraught and nauseated at the thought. 

I am receiving professional help in the way of therapy, medications, and classes to relieve stress and rebuild my self-esteem. I'm learning how to talk to myself without calling myself horrible names (a habit a learned while being isolated with Mom). I am researching and finding that many caregivers have a difficult time adjusting and moving on from the stress and trauma.

I know I will get through this. I KNOW I WILL GET THROUGH THIS!

P.S.
I published the post from November if you choose to read it. "It is so dark..."


It is so dark...

(Written November 12, 2016)

The bright screen in the middle of the dark night calls me once again.

I am consumed with dark thoughts and feelings of hopelessness. I want to blame Alzheimer's but this time I'm afraid the evil thief is only partially to blame. The rest falls to me.

I haven't told many people, but I found a job several months back. After almost a year of searching, applying and hearing nothing, any job is a blessing. I hate my job. I hate the hours. I hate what I do. I hate it. The first 3 months were Hell. I became physically ill each time I thought of clocking in for the day. I called in sick too much. For the first time in my life, I was a bad employee. When I was at work I tried and gave it my all. But, I hated going to work. And my body helped me find reasons not to go.

And six months into it, I still hate going to this job. Even as I work through it I am going further and further into debt. I am so very ashamed and so very unhappy. Today I thought about death. My death specifically. I am having some painful, but not life threatening, medical problems, but my mind goes to the fact that I could better financially provide for my family by dying then by showing up to a job that makes me so very unhappy.

I am not suicidal. I haven't considered ways to "do it". But, I am afraid that I could find my way there. I love my daughters more than anything in this world. I want to help them and be there for them but I can't do it if I can't pull myself up and out of this darkness.

I have no one to talk to who isn't involved and invested in my condition. No money to pay someone to listen to me. I sit here in the dark, alone, weeping silently while the rest of the house sleeps. I have become the burden I so very much don't want to be. And I can't stop it from happening.

I want my life back. I want my confidence. I want my laughter. I want my health- mental and physical- and I want to be able to pay my own bills and my own way. 57 years old and my daughter is supporting me. I want to be the example that my girls can be proud of. I am ashamed.

I miss me so much.