Hello. Struggling right now.

Tell us a bit about yourself here.
Hi everyone,

I today decided to Google "carers forum" and this came up first! I think I got to the point in the early hours of this morning (Thursday) when I realised whatever I am doing to try and cope is not working and that I need to reach out and try to get whatever extra support I can get my hands on. I hope to give support back as well.

Supporting people and caring for people has been part of my life for a long time. It's been my occupation ever since I left school really. Carer. Support worker. Counsellor. I'm currently half way through a mental health nursing degree.

I live (literally) over the road from mum and dad. They both (and one parent especially) are dependent on me. One of them has complex mental health difficulties. The fact mental health is my "field" seems to make things more complicated for me, and add's to my feelings of shame and guilt at times, at my inability to deal with their needs at times. There is a lot of 'beating myself up' as my friends and family tell me I am the complete opposite of how I perceive myself as a carer. I view myself as selfish at times, inpatient, intolerant, harsh and with high expectations of them, especially one of them. Others tell me I am caring, committed, consistent and do more for them than anyone would, or could. They tell me that my mum and dad are almost blessed to have me living over the road.

Last night their neighbour rang my buzzer in the early hours of the morning. One parent had fallen over in the bathroom and an ambulance had been called. I haven't been sleeping well lately and it was the first time I had got to sleep before midnight without overusing sleep aids in a while. I really resented being woken up, didn't want to be over the road waiting for an ambulance, didn't want to be sleep deprived for the shift the next day (I'm on placement in a hospital ward as part of my nursing course). It was like the straw that broke the camels back. Once I get back to my flat in the evening after being over there to help with dinner, It's kind of like my "protected time".

Anyway, my whole attitude at this time, and the feelings of guilt and shame about how unhelpful I was led me to this point. I am not really coping very well.

The neighbour seems to understand. A couple of very long texts were swapped with me disclosing I am struggling. I've got onto Adult Social care today to try and get the ball rolling on a pendant/alarm system that one parent has been reluctant to accept previously. I know I need to deal with the alarm issues sensitively, as one parent really wants this system in place, the other is resistant.

Up shot of it all. If I don't cope better I won't be much good to them anyway, or myself. We all lose.

I'm going to have a good look around here, and try to contribute as well.

Even before this meltdown I've been passionate about how hard it must be for many carers out there. I've seen the policies about recognising the value and role of carers, and I've seen in reality these policies and good practice guidelines been virtually ignored by care coordinators and people that should know better.

When I qualify as a registered mental health nurse, I'll only need to be "slightly good" at carer recognition and support and that will mean being better than 99% of the professionals I've been around that are involved with my parents care.
Firstly your not alone and many of us will relate to what you say. The Carers Helpline should be able to supply you with loads of advise and they are great at letting you chat. They all at some stage of their lives have gone through or going through what your going through now in some format.

Don't blame yourself too much when you feel your getting to brash. Just take a few minutes and have cuppa or chat with a friend over the phone as that can help.

There may be a carers ambassador in or near your area that might help you find other resources. If you have not registered as a carer with your GP and the Carer Centre for your area then I recommend you do. The Carer centre can quite often help in so many ways. One way is tele-care which can allow you do other things while looking after your mum and dad. I know quite often Social work would be the base of contact to get equipment like this but the Carers advise line and Carer Centre in your area can direct you to the best person to contact The carers help line number is 0808 808 7777.

As a carer I use the tele-care services and recently contact them for more help via Carers Scotland who advised me just who to talk too. As a ambassador for carers UK and Scotland I high recommend the helpline as they are great at getting you to the right place or person at the right time. I also recommend your register with your GP as a carer as that can improve your life and how quickly you can be seen etc but it will also allow you with the family member permission to chat to the GP and for the GP to chat to you about the family member you care for, (with that family member permission unless ability does not allow this).

The carer Centre can help get you a carers assessment which is about your needs as a carer to ensure your wellbeing and also they have access to loads of information which could help and they are great just to chat too when you feel like you need someone to chat. That also one of the reason the Carers Helpline is good as they great a letting people just talk when need be. Carers Helpline number again is 0808 808 7777.

Most of all please know your not alone and we all help each other in forum when we can.

Gorden
Local Ambassador
Carers UK & Scotland
Thanks for this Gorden. Appreciated.
Hello Alex
I think every carer recognises that feeling of resentment and guilt for feeling resentment :? Its because we care - if we didnt then it wouldnt matter to us. I should imagine that sleep deprivation is a big factor too, Im hoping that you are feeling better this morning. Im sure your friends and family are right - that your parents are pretty blessed with having you as a son (its just occurred to me that Alex could be a female name too!).
I agree with gordon, I think you need some more help, but it can be difficult as pretty frequently elderly people are resistant to outside help (I think they see it as an admission of failure of themselves to cope) You could put it to them as what would happen if there was a problem while you were at work?
Hi Alex, welcome to the forum.

One thing you'll find as you explore the forum is that a lot of carers, whatever their situation experience similiar feelings at some point. This was a revelation to me, when like you, I felt I was struggling.

S has autism and related learning disability and I juggle teaching children with special needs and caring. I too tend to judge myself. I reason, that I should be as calm, patient, pro-active, available and empathic with S all the time, just as I am with the children at school. I feel it's unfair if I'm not and fell guilty. However, at school I have a team of teaching assistants supporting me, my "shifts" with the children come to an end, I'm not emotionally involved and unless something school related is playing on my mind - my teaching doesn't deprive me of sleep, plus I'm human! So I have to reconcile the two.

Trust what others say, your parents are lucky. I hope you manage to secure some more help and get the alarm pendant sorted too.

Melly1
Alex_1504 wrote:Hi everyone,

I today decided to Google "carers forum" and this came up first! I think I got to the point in the early hours of this morning (Thursday) when I realised whatever I am doing to try and cope is not working and that I need to reach out and try to get whatever extra support I can get my hands on. I hope to give support back as well.

Supporting people and caring for people has been part of my life for a long time. It's been my occupation ever since I left school really. Carer. Support worker. Counsellor. I'm currently half way through a mental health nursing degree.

I live (literally) over the road from mum and dad. They both (and one parent especially) are dependent on me. One of them has complex mental health difficulties. The fact mental health is my "field" seems to make things more complicated for me, and add's to my feelings of shame and guilt at times, at my inability to deal with their needs at times. There is a lot of 'beating myself up' as my friends and family tell me I am the complete opposite of how I perceive myself as a carer. I view myself as selfish at times, inpatient, intolerant, harsh and with high expectations of them, especially one of them. Others tell me I am caring, committed, consistent and do more for them than anyone would, or could. They tell me that my mum and dad are almost blessed to have me living over the road.

Last night their neighbour rang my buzzer in the early hours of the morning. One parent had fallen over in the bathroom and an ambulance had been called. I haven't been sleeping well lately and it was the first time I had got to sleep before midnight without overusing sleep aids in a while. I really resented being woken up, didn't want to be over the road waiting for an ambulance, didn't want to be sleep deprived for the shift the next day (I'm on placement in a hospital ward as part of my nursing course). It was like the straw that broke the camels back. Once I get back to my flat in the evening after being over there to help with dinner, It's kind of like my "protected time".

Anyway, my whole attitude at this time, and the feelings of guilt and shame about how unhelpful I was led me to this point. I am not really coping very well.

The neighbour seems to understand. A couple of very long texts were swapped with me disclosing I am struggling. I've got onto Adult Social care today to try and get the ball rolling on a pendant/alarm system that one parent has been reluctant to accept previously. I know I need to deal with the alarm issues sensitively, as one parent really wants this system in place, the other is resistant.

Up shot of it all. If I don't cope better I won't be much good to them anyway, or myself. We all lose.

I'm going to have a good look around here, and try to contribute as well.

Even before this meltdown I've been passionate about how hard it must be for many carers out there. I've seen the policies about recognising the value and role of carers, and I've seen in reality these policies and good practice guidelines been virtually ignored by care coordinators and people that should know better.

When I qualify as a registered mental health nurse, I'll only need to be "slightly good" at carer recognition and support and that will mean being better than 99% of the professionals I've been around that are involved with my parents care.
Hello Alex & welcome to the forum.

Just like all carers you've nothing to be ashamed about because I doubt there's a carer on the planet who doesn't wish things could be different at some time or other.

Your post does, however, raise a very interesting point about the huge void between the academic study of caring & the practical realities of caring.

It's like the parenting professionals, who've never had children, who then go around spouting what they learned at university to some single Mum struggling to bring up 4 children.
Thank you everyone for your replies. You all make some really good points. Just reading the replies on here so far has really helped. I knew there would be other people in similar situations experiencing similar roller-coasters of emotions. I've never actively sought out other carers. It reminds me what Ruby Wax wrote in her book about depression in that 'half the cure is knowing you are not alone'
Welcome to the boards Alex.

I'm sorry that you're struggling at the moment, but glad that you're seeking help. It does sound like you're doing a great job in a very difficult and stressful situation. We tend to be our own worst critics, so I would imagine that your friends' and family's views on your caring to be more accurate than your own doubts about yourself. I can relate to those feelings about being selfish etc though. I think often as carers we are so used to putting someone else first, that when we occasionally (and very sensibly) put ourselves first it feels wrong, but that's because normal self-preservation and care is unusual to us, not because it's wrong. I hope that makes sense.

As Gorden said, getting a carer's assessment is a good idea!

Jenna
Thanks for that Jenna.

I also wanted to come back to some of the replies

Gorden - Your's being the first reply ever for me on here, will mean I'll always remember it. You reminding me I am not alone meant a lot

Crocus - I am an Alexander and a boy, and yes Alex could be either a son or a daughter! :D
What you said about the whole resentment-->guilt-->more resentment sums it up well

Melly1 - I think we do a fantastic job (unfortunately) of judging ourselves. We almost become skilled at it, in all the wrong ways!

CaravanJ - I know what you mean, or I think I do. There is probably only so much training can address in terms of the issues faced by carers, especially the psychological impact on carers. It's just one of those things you probably (but perhaps not always), have to have 'lived' experience of really to truly understand the perspective of a carer.

Jenkins - I think you are right about the 'selfish' issue. When we put ourselves first generally it's probably acceptable (or at least some of the time), but when we put ourselves first in relation to the person we are caring for, even if we do this just a fraction of the time, we get hit with that massive guilt trip.
Hi Alex,
I'm afraid I was resentful at times, it's only natural when we are doing are very best when we are tired, physically and mentally, and then even more is demanded of us. It's a sign that our caring role may be about to change. The most difficult thing for me, and mum, was to accept that however much she wanted to end her days in the home she had loved for fifty years, it was not going to be possible. After an emergency admission to hospital, her care needs were simply too high. Try to think what your mum and dad need, both individually, and jointly. Short and longer term. It is so difficult supporting proud parents who find it difficult to admit that they can no longer do things, that they need help. Even more difficult to accept that "strangers" coming into the home are the only alternative left to residential care. Sometimes, it is easier for them to accept a "cleaner" than a "carer". I do hope that you manage to reach some sort of compromise. If you haven't done so already, this would be a good time to start talking about Power of Attorney, both financial and Health and Welfare, so that in the event of an admission to hospital, you have some sort of legal status. (Many apologies if this is all covered already.)