At the end of my tether

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I'm going to explode.

Mum woke me up at 5.30 a.m. yesterday, convinced that it was much later and refused to go back to sleep. She started cleaning immediately and refused to stop until 6p.m. last night. We had the same conversation at least a dozen times, about our shower mat, which she is convinced is contaminated.

This morning community psychiatric nurses came early on to assess mum. She behaved herself all through their visit, told them she was fine, etc. I told them that she was up cleaning since 6.30 this morning using four different bottles of bleach on the bathroom, etc.. She refuses to stop until she is so exhausted that she can't stand up any more.

After the nurses left, my aunt phoned to see how mum was. Mum shouted at her on the phone and said that she was spying on her. She then went into the bathroom, which she had again cleaned earlier this morning, and started scrubbing it with bleach, despite it being obvious that she is knackered. She keeps asking me how to use various cleaning products, despite the fact that the house stinks of cleaning products, and has been scrubbed from top to bottom. I'm supposed to be working from home at the moment, but I am constantly being interrupted. I'm finding it impossible to cope, but there is no-one else to take care of her.

I've just snapped and started yelling at her. Now, for the very first time ever, she looks as if she is scared of me. I would never do anything to hurt her, but she is scared of me, and I feel so ashamed. Things are getting on top of me.
If its nearly lunch time can you sit down with her and have a cup of tea and a chat? just sort of act normal I know it sounds daft but just try to act normal as if nothing happend? I had a stand up shout at my dad some time back and felt a bit like you after, But we got over it very fast. Just one of those things as it where.
Jim, I have no experience with this sort of behaviour. What I would probably do is, when she's not looking, throw the bleach away. And any other cleaning stuff that's going to make your house smell "silly" clean. If she wants to keep cleaning, water and a cloth will do. It'll keep her busy which appears to what she wants to be.

As for waking you up with the dawn chorus, that would drive anybody potty. Image

Oh and throw the shower mat away...use a towel to step on.
Jim I am just about to go out but wanted to reply - sorry it is brief. I feel so sad for you being in this situation. You are obviously a very caring person who just reached your limit. I think your mum is probably feeling a bit bewildered rather than scared? If she is scared it's because she doesn't understand that you would never hurt her. She maybe doesn't understand what just happened - that you are at the end of your tether and that's why you shouted. Could you give her a hug and say "I'm sorry mum I just lost my temper for a moment. Sorry I shouted. I love you very much. Don't take any notice of me"

I'm sure other carers could give you better advice but just wanted to make contact and say how sorry I am.

Take good care. Cherish.
Really sorry Jim to here how bad things are. I know exactly how you feel and what you are going through. My Mum is passed the proper conversation stage but it doesn't stop her making up words 24/7. I have not had more than 3 hours sleep in any one night for a year now and like you I have no-one to take over from me.

All I can say is that your Mum will probably not remember you shouting at her so don't carry the extra guilt around with you, you are doing a fabulous job and should be very proud of yourself. It is only human nature to explode now and then, but I always try to walk away when I feel it coming on as really it is only you that it hurts.

There are no answers I'm sorry except to not care anymore, but you probably feel like I do and as hard as it gets you are not quite ready for that yet.

We are all with you all the way,
Bluebird xx
I would definitely get rid of the bleach and any other cleaning fluids which might interact, at the very least partially empty the bottles and top them up with water to dilute the bleach. I would suggest that you replace the bleach with something else entirely but your mother would notice the lack of smell and I would not buy any more bleach. Can you distract your mother with another activity which she gets pleasure from and could still do?

I am afraid that going to bed and getting up at odd hours is the norm in this household and all I can say is that you do get used to it eventually and learn to still function despite it, you could try going to bed earlier if this becomes a habit or keeping your mother up until later.

As for losing your temper, I expect that we have all done it at times and you have just been through a very stressful period and have not yet learned to adjust to the new situation, you will find that your tolerance levels increase over time. I would just say that you are terribly sorry, explain why it happened, i.e. you have been very worried about your mother and you are tired, etc. even if you do not think that she is taking it on board and try to carry on as normal in as much as you can, not that there is anything normal about caring but it does feel normal eventually.
I guess there's not many of us carers who could put their hand on their heart and say they've never shouted at their caree when they felt at the end of their tether. I know i have and i am usually a very even tempered sort of person. This is a new situation for you and it's probably very frightening. So the first thing i would say is forgive yourself for shouting this morning..you're only human.

If your mum needs care long term and things don't improve you will find ways to cope. It maybe that you will need support and help form others. In the meantime if you feel you are about to shout maybe you could try just walking into another room and counting to 10...usually works for me but i do realise it's sometimes easier said than done.

Can you get out the house for a break at all or are you with your mum 24/7? Can the CPN's give you any advice on how to deal with your mum's behaviour?

If the situation with your mum is long term you are going to need some sort of support and the more you can find out about any services that might be available the better. A good place to start might be to ring MIND or AGE CONCERN.

Have you spoken to your GP about how you are feeling? Maybe counselling (you could ask your GP about this) would give you a chance to work out how you are going to deal with this change in your life.

In the meantime maybe you could fill a few empty bleach bottles with a bit of harmless soapy water and if your mum wants to clean then let her and try to adjust your own attitude to it.

Again easier said than done i know...my husband suffers from delusions..one of the hardest ones to deal with and one of the funniest..in retrospect..not at the time..was when he thought my ex boss had taken out a contract on our cats. He kept shutting the cats in to keep them safe..driving both me and the cats up the wall!!These days when he has delusions as long as they are not hurting him or anything i try to just go with the flow..so to speak.

All i can say from years of caring is that you are stronger than you think and don't be afraid to ask for help, sometimes it will work out and sometimes it won't but it's worth asking for the times that it does
Take care Belle x
Sorry..great minds think alike Annie ...i started to write this post then the carers came to hoist my husband..didn't see yours Annie until i had posted..story of our lives' eh...being interupted when you're trying to do something Image
matt knows when im heading for a depressive state and makes a cuppa and gives me a fag and says abotu ten times-- come sit down for a bit, i dont listen and then he comes to the kitchen or bathroom and hugs me, then i cry and he will help me put things away and then make me go to bed with another cuppa, i think ig et so tiered i jsut do as im told after a bit as i dont remeber him telling me to stop it and sit down but apparantly he does.

Ive doen it today, my house stinks of bleach, im on a ban from bying it but found a bottle i had obviously stashed and i have used the whole bottle on everything, but i feel soooo much better than i did this morning even though i had to open all the windows as matt said the house smelt a bit too strong and was going to throw the bleach away until i proudly annonced i had used the whole bottle any way (he wernt impressed)
How very interesting... it must be a female thing. If I were depressed I think cleaning the house would be the lowest thing on my priority list! But I like the coping strategies, filling bleach bottles with water would be brilliant... unless you were accused of being a conspirator etc etc...

Ultimately we are probably on a hiding to nothing with caring for someone with severe dementia, if ever there was a good reason for opting for residential care and saving our own sanity, advanced dementia is probably it.