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New here... Advice? - Carers UK Forum

New here... Advice?

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hi, and welcome to the forum.

I would say that what you describe in itself is 'normal' - ie, it is perfectly 'reasonable' for any newly-adult child, facing the uncertainties and problems of the world, to be worried about the world, and, more personally, to fear the death of their parents. It's entirely 'reasonable' after all, not to want our parents to die.

However, it does sound like the LEVEL of fear and anxiety and worry you are experiencing is 'beyond normal', and from the way you describe your parents, and your upbringing, it's actually quite understandable that you should have such heightened levels of anxiety.

The issue really is, to my mind, how you learn to manage those 'natural but heightened by experience/situation' fears, so they do not, as they are already starting to do, dominate your life, and lower your enjoyment of life. We can't enjoy the good things we have if we are constantly terrified they are going to be taken from us. (Most anxiety is about 'loss' in some respects, if you think about it - even if that is expressed as 'loss of control', ie, fear of things 'beyond our control', in your case, your parents' dath.

At 22, with a father of 70, that's a big gap, and your father must have been near 50 when you were born (not much younger than your mum now ,by the way), and so, in a way, he is your grandfather's generation (mine was in his 50s too, when I was born, so having an older father....and a mother with significant health needs too actually! ....is not unknown to me.)(My father was pretty tough, and lasted into his 80s!)

I would say it's a question of you getting some counselling for what are 'rational' feelings of fear of losing your parents - ie, given your mum's chronic illhealth (but see below in a moment) all your life, and your dad's 'grandfather' generation - which have become 'overheightened'. So, a question of learning to 'manage down' your fears by techniques such as CBT that a counsellor can teach you.

But also to take a practical view as well. First off, your dad. At 70 he should be retiring (!) (does he keep working because he enjoys it, because he needs the money for you all, or, perhaps, because it allows him to 'escape' his wife???), and even if he isn't, he should definitely be having a thorough medical check up. There are all sorts of general health check ups for oldies, including blood pressure (most important!), screenings for the commonest cancers such as lung/bowel/prostate (these are all routine on the NHS, and hopefully he's been doing this for some time)(lung screens probably depend on whether he's been/is a smoker). After that it's a question of lifestyle -is he overweight, how fit is he (how far can he walk/run, can he still do 'heavy lifting' etc etc), and how much he drinks.

He should be having health checks both for HIS sake, and for his wife's, and yours/your siblings. Hopefully, he should live a good further 20 years, if not longer (as in twenty years time, we may be routinely be living into our 100s!). There is no reason he should not live long enough to see his grandchildren by you well into secondary school, or even uni! Or even see his great grandchildren.

OK, that's your dad. Now, your mum. What is actually wrong with her? One of the 'upsides' of having a chronic physical illness/condition is that you are already 'in the system' so to speak, so she should be having her overall health monitored anyway, eg, bp etc etc. However, if her illness is mental health, that may not be happening, so I would say it's important to distinguish, which is why I ask what it is that actually is 'ill' about her.

With all of this into consideration, my bottom line is this - YOU, at 22, have ALL your life ahead of you, and YOU are the important person now - not your mum, not your dad. YOU. You should, as your dad is telling you (but not, at the moment, making it possible?) should be out in the world, having a job, having a life, getting more qualifications if you want (did you get to uni/college at all?). You should NOT, bottom line, be looking after your ailing mum!

Even if your dad can't do that yet full time, your mum should have professional carers coming in, for at least a good proportion of the time, whether or not she wants it! YOU should be free all day to have a full time job, even if you still live at home, and are there for your mum in the evenigs/overnight (though getting a good night's sleep). But you should also be having 'nights off' when you can go out with your mates - and free enough to have a girlfriend/boyfriend etc.

It's good you have siblings, and maybe it's time ofr a family conference with them, without your mum a nd dad being involved for the moment, to plan out what you want to change about your life, and how to make that happen.

I promise you, that, as you move out into the world, as you find your 'Significant Other' (in good time), and settle down with them, and, in time start your own family, you will move 'beyond childhood' (your still at the transition, emphasised by your caring role for your mum), and as that 'new life' becomes your main reality, accepting the mortality of your parents becomes far, far easier. it will ALWAYS be a sad and great loss, but it will, at that stage, be a 'natural' one. Your parents will leave this life, whenever that does happen in the future, knowing you are safety 'settled', with their grandchildren safe with you and your spouse. This is, you know, what life is all about......

I appreciate that at 22 it all seems very 'vague' but it can, and hopefully will happen.....and you will be much, much happier about it then. :)
Welcome to the forum, you've had a tough childhood. What is actually wrong with mum?
Sorry to say but talk of a spouse, yet alone grandchildren when one is caring for one's mother full time is a nonsense. What partner would accept that in their 20s?!

I have some awareness of situation as I was expected to drop everything and return home when my late father wanted to go abroad (albeit on extended holidays rather than work but it amounts to same thing in terms of effect) so that I could 'look after' my mum (even though that was last thing she wanted or indeed needed!). Eventually I simply refused. This time has now come for young gentleman I'd say. I feel, personally, his father is being rather selfish in not retiring (or at least ceasing working overseas) and returning to care for his wife. If not now, when?

In terms of mortality of one's parents again something I have experienced. My father was diagnosed with heart problems at 72 and I immediately asked for a transfer nearer to home as a result. In the end he continued for best part of ten years. During this time, with medication, his health was pretty good until last 6 months. After scare of his initial diagnosis I felt able to go abroad myself for 18 mnths. Now my mum is clearly declining and I do worry about what I will do with myself when time comes, my own marriage and indeed career (such as it was!) having failed. What I do know is that having a purpose in life is vital and time needs be spent wisely now in realising this. As I am doing, albeit fairly limited, it's something. I'd counsel the young gentleman to give thought to this and start develop a focus outwith his caring role as best way to 'futureproof' himself. Then, perhaps, inevitable mortality of his parents will not hold quite as much fear.

Am so sorry I can see that OP is in fact a young lady. Apologies for not noticing this before! :oops:
i related to so much you said,im 26 caring for gran,and have had almost crippling anxiety over her health,i know what thats like,but its like the previous poster said,to carry that anxiety is not normal,and there is no shame or stigma with reaching out for counciling or therapy,where you get taught mindfulness and cbt technics,i have good and bad days,my nan was very ill recently and i was climbin the walls thinking she was gonna die in the night,but shes cool now,and when it comes to the doctors shruggin there shoulders,not havin a clue ive been there too,and speculation doesnt do us any favors.we as human beings always tend to think the worst is going to happen,but is not always the case,my nan brought me up,so in a way my mum is 63,so to feel cheated of real time really struck me,but the lady b4 is right,u keep looking at where u were,ul never see where your going,go live a life,wish i could practice what im preachin rn,but at 22 there are sooooooo many options right now,dont have to be all or nothing maybe a part time or weekend thing or a trip when yr dads back 4 a month,god forbid but if anything happens,and it will to us all,u have to have somthing built.from what i read with yr family round u,yl have some support network around u,your world can only come crashing down if it is built only round your mum.im sorry i can only spout fortune cookie nonsense and not be pratical but with the thing about your mum having seizures,mabye try get a second opinion,maybye private consoltation if thats posible,that may help aliviate some anxietyi just did 4 my nan and made some progress with her.and please consider counciling or support groups,it is not a quick process,but it is really helpful.
You have two choices, either remain a slave for the rest of your life, or you make a stand. What would happen if you went away for two weeks holiday, or even get ill? Dad is useless, he's just burying his head in the sand. If he doesn't want strangers in the house, then he needs to stay home! Mum might not want carers either, but it's what she needs, it sounds like she is in complete denial about the extent of her very serious disabilities, just like my mum, who preferred to be housebound for 30 years rather than let "someone see me like this".
Surely your own life and dreams are worth fighting for?
Hey, this is not a good situation, as you are not being given the choice to sort out your needs.

Your mum is not helping by refusing outside help, which she obviously needs. Her needs are too much for any one person.

Your dad, is out socialising with his workmates a month at a time at the age of 70, which I find interesting. May I ask, is his work abroad, as he spends long periods away from home?