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Cracked! Taken my first diazapam.... - Carers UK Forum

Cracked! Taken my first diazapam....

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Well, I've cracked. Realised that every time this evening that I went to the loo, I sat and howled my head off in despair. Then remembered I had some diazapam, and went upstairs to find them. Took one. Been trying desperately NOT to resort to them. But now I've cracked.

MIL's been with me a month. At least a week overdue. I'll be driving her north on Sunday. 800 mile rond trip. Horrendous. But the only way to get my life back (for a fortnight, at any rate)....

I am, I am sure of it, having a nervous breakdown now. I really can't call it anything else.

Since my husband died, these last five months since The Phonecall ('I can't cope on my own any more') have been the worst in my entire life (Although, ofcourse, it ISN'T 'my' life at all any more - it now belongs to my MIL. I've desperately tried to find accommodation for her near me, and there is nothing - there can be nothing, as she cannot live down here 'on her own' however close she is to me.....

All that's left to me (and thank God, thank GOD! I do actually have this still!) is to have her live with me as long as I can cope without screaming (which I so nearly did tonight), before driving her 400 miles back up north, to put her 'back in her box'.....she won't get out of her flat for a fortnight now....how unendurable is that? Yet I am forcing her to do it, to save my own sanity......

I can see no end to this, no end at all....it is absolutely and totally terrifying.

Terrifying....
Jenny - I'm so sorry to hear how you are feeling. I'm sure there will be many more experienced carers than me along soon with some good solid advice. In the meantime, has she got a social worker etc as surely there must be some help available. What about her son - I think you said he is grateful and it sounds like you have a good relationship but he really needs to help you out here. It is a massive responsibility when you are suddenly a carer - as I was - and il be honest I don't want the responsibility as I am unwell myself but it is my mother I care for so I muddle through but get pleasure from seeing her flourish even though I am getting more and more tired and depressed. But if it is was an inlaw - I don't know what I would do - I don't think I could do what you do to be honest with you. Hang on in there - sure you will get many more helpful replies than this but you cannot carry on like this - as my doctor told me today - you get one body, one life - look after you xxx
Thank you! I have, this time around, phoned the city social services or whatever they are (they all have weird names now - I think this one is called something like Inclusive Living - and got the numbers for the private agencies they recommend - so I don't get cowboys! - and I phoned them to ask if I could organise someone to take her shopping once a week or something like that - just to get her out of the flat....the irony is that it isn't actually ncessary for her to go shopping as I can order it all online and have it delivered - but the point is she doesn't get out of the flat if I am not there to take her out and about.....)

I know I have to tell myself - This is the deal, MIL. I have you here with me as long as I can stand it (a month is the most so far, and to be honest, I think that's a week too long as I know the stress levels really built up in this last week), and you'll have a lovely, lovely time at Hotel Jenny, with every meal cooked and lots of cuppas, and trips out shopping, and drives in the countryside and afternoon tea at nice little ye olde tea shoppes, etc etc, and we'll watch Emmer and Corrie and Lewis every (EVERY!) evening and never any of the arty or history programmes I actually like to watch.....and I'm nice as pie to you because I do not, quite genuinely, want to be horrid to you as I am fond of you, quite truly, and I want you to have a nice time.....but BUT when I really, really, really am at screaming point, then I'll drive you 400 miles, a day's trip, back to your flat, and fill up your fridge with food and then abandon you totally and escape back home another 400 miles south, another whole day's driving, and, for two, yes, just two lousy weeks, try and reclaim my own little life, the one I've handed over to you now for very possibly the next ten years.....

And it seems to me quite INSANE that I can't find somewhere near me so that I don't have to drive 400 miles each time, and I could instead have you nearby so I can pop in and out and take you out and about, and you can come over to me some evenings, etc etc etc....

But I really do think that even if I could afford, whether to buy or to rent, somewhere half decent (and the handful of places I've found she has hated, and to be honest, most of them were a bit grim), the few that I did find that were not grim she simply doesn't like, and I an see why - she just can't 'see' herself anywhere but in her own flat up north, or with me...and I can't see her anywhere else either. I've been looking since September and there just isn't anything....a nd sometimes I think I'll have to move up north myself and I don't want to, I njust don't want to, I don't see why I should give up my life to her at all, let alone have to move close to her to do it.... a nd there just seems absolutely NO solution to this situation, absolutely none.

And boy, do I feel stupid, urging other people not to end up like me, when I can't get out of the 'Caring Quicksand' myself.

I 'know' in my head I HAVE to crack this - I just have to. I cannot cannot cannot keep going like this, I'm cracking into pieces, and somehow I have to end this insane ludicrous situation, and find a 'new normal' that actually works for both of us.

And yes, she has a son, still, in the USA, but what on earth can he do? He hasn't any spare cash to throw at the situation either! And even if he did have spare cash, and we could pool all our resources and find her a 'nice' place near me (becuase it's venously expensive round me - just today we looked at a one bed 'place' in a sheltered accommodation block that was nearly a QUARTER OF A MILLION POUNDS! And her flat in Glasgow is worth less than half that....), it really isn't the money - it's the 'not seeing her anywhere else on her own'.... I just can't see it, I can't see it, I try and visualise her somewhere else, near me, and I can't do it.....

Oh lordy, I'm freaking out, and I know I am succumbing to my own insane frustration at the situation. It's just so LUDICROUS that I can't sort it! I wrack my brains (been wrackingthem nonstop for five months now!) to try and find a way out of this prison, and I can't find it....

And I think what hits me most is the utter sense of unreality about this....that it's actually happenhing. That in the space of a single phone call in September I went from having 'my own life' to NOT having a life, to simply not having a life at all....I've had two fortnight breaks, one before Xmas, and one after, and that is all the time I've had to myself since the end of September when I went haring up to Glasgow to 'rescue' her....I can't believe my life is over, I just can't belive it, and I won't accept it, I'm fighting it and fighting it and fighting it and it's just no use - it's over over over. I'm her prisoner. And to free myself means abandoning her, and despite everyting I've said here about her, that seems just SO cruel to her.....

*****

Huge sigh of 'calm down dear'! - ....OK, OK, time to draw breath and Don't Panic! On Sunday I drive her north, and on Tuesday I come south again, and I just have to hang on until that blissful moment when I wave good bye and head out of Glasgow ON MY OWN! And I'll get my two weeks respite break, and then when I go and get her again, yes, I'll be firm next time around, and make it only three weeks with me, before heading back north again. I can do that, I'm sure I can do that....

But I still, still, still just can't believe my life has been hijacked. I just can't believe it. It's like when my husband was diagnosed terminal - we couldn't believe it - we just couldn't believe it. And I feel so, so angry that having gone through all that nightmare , now, five years down the line, I'm in the middle of another one. I feel so, so angry that having endured all that, now, SOD IT, it's happening all over again, and my life has to be sacrificed to an 89 year old woman I don't love, but don't want to hurt.....

I don't want to do it, I don't want to sacrifice my life for her, which could take another ten years for all I know! - but I'm all she has. That's the brute of it. I'm all she has....and I can't hurt her.

But there HAS to be a way to solve this - there just HAS to be! I can't give in, and I won't give in. As I keep preaching here endlessly, my life has value too, and I won't give it up. I won't! (Even though I have, already....)(that's the terrifyng bit, I already have given up my life to her....)
Jenny, you have got to go and see your GP, you are making yourself very ill. That is the first thing.
Secondly, I think you are going to have to organise care from a distance as I am going to have to. My mum wants to come and live with me as she has the start of dementia, but a weekend of her staying with me was enough to convince me that it was never going to work out (and I love my mum very much).
Start off by organizing someone to do her shopping and, if you feel well enough, bring her to stay with you, but for a shorter time. See if you can find a befriending service so that she has someone to talk to. Organize a cleaner for her. As she declines social services will meed to be involved.
While she is with you organise some boundaries. Perhaps have a separate room for you to escape to. Get a second TV so that you can watch what you want to - corrrie etc every night would drive me loopy too! Go out in the evenings/during the day - she will be fine for a few hours, you really dont have to make it hotel granny where she is waited on hand and foot. Get her helping out with the chores that she is able to do.
I think that you need to face the fact that eventually she may well need to go into a home. My mum is begging me to promise her that I will not put her into a home, but I have not made any such promise to her as I know that it may well come to that.

But first GO AND SEE YOUR GP!!

xx
Crocus - THANK YOU!

I'll answer properly in a while, as I'm having a 'calming breakfast in bed' right now (my way of creating that 'separation' you so wisely recommend - I do it every day, and leave MIL to watch daytime TV for an hour over her own breakfast)(hand prepared by her very own personal chef!!!!), while I gird my 'strength for the day'....

But, just for starters, THANK YOU!

Image Jenny
PS - I'm also going to revisit that thread I asked months ago, about converting the garage into a Granny-Garage (!). There were some really excellent and very detailed responses from you all, for which many many thanks, and I must re-read them. A builder (working on the house next door) has just quoted me a ballpark figure of about £10k - no idea if that's reasonable or not (living in a very expensive area here - so expensive that no way could I buy my own house any more! - so all the 'trades' may reflect that in their pricing!!!!). £10k for the garage conversion compares with a quote of £25k for a one room extension behind the garage, eating into the garden, but not sacrificing the garage. (Sorry, I'll start a new thread, I think - or lift back up the old one I originally asked!)
Jenny - glad you Are feeling a bit calmer. Agree completely with crocus you must go GP or you will go downhill. Maybe your GP could set the ball rolling for other agencies to step in and ease the pressure.
We thought long and hard about garage conversion - we decided against it as I don't think my mother would have realised it was her space and we needed ours. When she stayed with us we made a bedsit in the bungalow but she still would come into our lounge and turn tv over, comment on what we ate drank and everything else!! But she is slightly brain damaged and as I have said I have always been bottom of her pile. It sounds like a good idea for you though. Even better would be sheltered accommodation or something like that- isn't there anything in your area? I know you said mil doesn't like the thought of it but maybe when she realises how you feel she will be more compliant ?
Dear WW

Yes, the thought that a Granny Garage might just not be enough of her own place does worry me. I have a side passage between my back door and the garage - ie, my kitchen opens off to one side of the side passage, and the garage opens to the other, and then there is a 'real' back door at the far end of the side passage (and at the opposite end is the garden door), so the garage is in a way 'separate' from the main section of the house.

What I do like about the GG idea though is that I can 'see' her there - I know this sounds weird, this not 'seeing' her anywhere else, but its looming larger and larger in my mind. For five months now I've gone through every damn possibility re her rehousing, and time after time I get 'stuck' because I just can't visualise her there on a daily basis....I know it's irrational (not to say 'deliberate' because I'm well aware that somewhere inside me is a deep, deep despair that is whispering to me 'Give up, give up, give up, you can't win, you know you can't, you know what is going to happen, you know she's going to move in permanently and take over, you know it, you know it'....and that 'not seeing' her anywhere else is part of that hideous whisper)(I feel like a Stepford Daughter-in-Law sometimes, slowly having my brain reprogrammed to be a docile, defeated zombie who has been completely turned into a perma-carer......doomed to spend the next ten years of my precious, precious life making cups of tea and refilling hot water bottles and waiting hand and foot and living the same life as a 90 year old woman.....)(I see women like me, the late middle aged women, in the supermarkets, ushering around sad, helpless, ancient, shuffling old women at zero miles an hour, and they see me too,doing the same thing, and we don't look at each other, we don't meet each other's eyes, because if we did, we'd see the same desperate, despairing, hopeless plea written on our retinas - Help me, help me, help me!!!! But there is no help, there is no help, there is no help....only their death will release us from our chains....) (I know that's a CRUEL, VICIOUS, VILE way of looking at it, but it's true, for all that.....)(at least for me....)

****

Right, pause and leaving the self-pity and horror aside for just a moment - back to practicalities.....

A Granny Garage does seem to tick a good few boxes though - because it would enable me to have her here (even if it's just as we're doing now, the cox-and-boxing between me and her own flat), but in her own space more. If she could regard the GG as she does her flat and basically get herself up (which she does here) and get herself her own breakfast (which she does not do when she's here, but does do when she's in her own flat)(though if I'm there, on a turnaround, she sometimes just makes herself a tea, and waits for me to make the toast for her), and even her own lunch, and I would be able to 'look in', and choose when to take her out shopping/driving, and then I could maybe compromise and have dinner with her sometimes, or even her come across to me, or we could assign days, or every other day, or whatever, and I could get carers in as well for her, to let me off the hook completely, especially if I wanted to get away completely for a few days (oh, and they could come in and do 'hygiene' stuff too - she no longer showers), and even if I'm with her for her dinner, she eats very early, so I could pop in with food, and watch Emmerdale, and then say goodnight and come back to 'my house' again and have my own (very quiet - oh, blissfully quiet!) evening on my own (and watch my own programmes, too!)(I don't actually mind the soaps and police dramas, just that I don't watch them myself, and do watch documentaries etc - or rather, I don't when she's here....). The GG would have a patio door into the garden, too, so she could get out in the summer, which she does quite like to do.

So maybe, maybe, maybe it would be £10k well spent! (Though I can see it, sod's law - we'll get it converted, spend the money, and then she'll peg out straightaway and I'll want my garage back and it wil lbe too late!)

Re Sheltered accommodation - I have to say, the places I've viewed, irrespective of whether they were a bit old (but affordable) or brand new (and hardly affordable without putting all my savings into it as well!), have been uniformly depressing. They just are. I wouldn't want to be there myself -so I can see why she doesn't. I know now I couldn't put her in one. But 'ordinary' flats round here are very expensive, and even the further out affordable ones are just so 'distant', not geographically, but mentally - I'm back to the 'not seeing' her there again....

Sometime I've realised is a real problem for me is that for five months now this has been totally preoccupying me, not just the everyday caring, but the desperate mind searching and Internet trawling for somewhere, anywhere, to 'put' her - I have to 'put' her somewhere to get her away from me, to get her out of my life (ie, so she is not utterly dominating my life, taking it over, controlling everything I do just about!). She's like a heavy, heavy parcel I can't put down - remember what it was like wiith babies? You could never 'put them down' anywhere, they were tied to you, all the time, all the time, all the time.....

Yes, I get up to my bedroom to tap away at my laptop like now, leaving her in the living room watching daytime telly (she's stopped reading completely now, used to read sagas a lot, and doesn't even look through magazines any more, she is closing down mentally, I can see....)(her vision is absolutely great, though, so it's not that, it's her mind, not her eyes), and yes, I can meet friends for coffee (though I always, always, always feel that endless 'pressure' to go home again, or think, oh, Granny wants her lunch now, I've got to go - it's the being 'on duty' the whole, whole, whole time she's here....). But as others have said, when you are a carer you lose control of your own day, your own life, nothing can be 'spontaneous' any more, all has to be planned and set up, and then you have to 'sell' it to the caree and feel guilty about it.....

So, yes, what I've found a problem in the last five months is that I repeatedly think up a solution (eg, sheltered accommodation) and get really gung-ho and positive and upbeat about it, and trawl the Internet, and phone estate agents and go and see places, and run the money numbers, etc etc, and then, slowly, slowly, slowly reality kicks in and I realise that no, that won't work either....and I sink back down into my slough of self-pity and despair and desperation.....

So now, of course, I look at the idea of the Granny garage and I know that while today it may seem that 'YES, FINALLY, that's what I'll do!' by tomorrow it too will be sinking away into 'no, won't work, won't work, won't work'.....and I also know that the reason I do that is the 'Stepford DIL' demon again, which is paired with the other demon on my other shoulder, telling me that the only solution is for her to die....and leave me to get my damn life back!

****

Right, well, to anyone who's ploughed through this endless rambling message this far, I can tell you that getting all that venom out of me has really, really helped! I do think, for myself, that one of THE most invaluable things about this forum is that I can simply 'let rip' as I'm doing in this 'Cracked' thread, and get all this ugly, nasty stuff out of me.

And I also know, with what is left of my 'real' self (the pre-Granny-carer me, whom I fear will never come back), that between those twin demons on my shoulders - the Stepford Carer demon and the 'She has to die' demon - is, I know, some kind of middle ground where I give her SOME of my life, but not all of it.....

PS - I tell you, this is really testing my religious faith, because either God doesn't exist after all and this nightmare I'm going through of having my life stolen from me is just the 'sh*t that happens' without reason or purpose, or if God does exist, then I'm SUPPOSED to be doing through this nightmare, because, presumably,I've got to atone for past sins (the main one of which, I should think, is basically being pretty damn selfish with my life and not doing much, other than charity donations and sitting on a couple of 'cancer thingies' at my local hospital, to help anyone worse off than me ). And the real punishment, vile though this is to say, is that all my caring now has to go towards someone I don't want to care for, and who I (personally) think has reached the end of their life anyway so it's just a collosal waste of my time! (I mean, if God does exist, then of course the best thing that could happen to my MIL is for her to be 'taken up' and get to heaven to see the husband she hasn't seen for 30 years and the son she hasn't seen for 5....not to drag out her ever-weakening life out here on earth - unless SHE'S being punished as well for HER past sins!!!)(I don't think she's done anything particularly horrible in her life - she wasn't the kindest or cuddliest of mothers, but then she had a crap mother herself, and didn't really know how to be very patient or affectionate with my husband, and anyway he was a 'difficult' child as he was probably an undiagnosed mild Aspie....)(and I KNOW she was devastated when he died....)(and if she DID need any 'punishment' then being a widow for 30 years and watching her adult son die in front of her eyes is surely, dear God, punishment enough for a whole SACK of sins!)

PPS - soz, I sound ready for the funny farm! Anyway, time to make Granny's lunch. Plus get on with something more useful than insanely rambling and venting away here like a loony! That will bring me back down to earth Image
Check your PMs.
Despite that last post, I'm not really nuts (I hope!) Image