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How to get back to me
Posted: Sunday, December 1, 2019 8:16 PM
Joined: 4/13/2019
Posts: 15

My father passed on September 1st, 5 years almost to the day, (Oct 30th), that I headed to Tx to check on him for a week and couldn’t come home to Oregon for 5 months. Since then my life revolved around my dad and taking care of him and his stuff. This was necessary since there was no one else to care for him and later sell his stuff to pay for his care. I was unable to work, although I tried to go back 3 times, only to have things come up for my dad that required me to quit. I am glad I was able to do this for him even though it was very hard. 
I miss my father terribly, although I am happy he is free from the terrible disease. I watched him go from a competent, strong man, to a semi coma state were he struggled to even drink liquids. I grieve for memories I shared with him, mostly from my childhood. I am having a hard time adjusting and getting back to a “normal” life. I am back to work, and that helps, however I feel like I’m really struggling emotionally. 

I still have to liquidate his estate which is 2200 miles away. I have done everything by myself as my step sisters and their family, refused to help with anything. They are on the opposite coast. It has been a financial burden for me as well as emotional. Adjusting is harder than I expected and I have developed some self destructive behaviors. Due to some very difficult aspects of dealing with his estate, and watch him decline, I developed PTSD. I avoid people and prefer to stay home. I work from home most of the time so I have little contact with the outside world. At this point I can’t afford counseling. I don’t have a support system as such. I used to be very extroverted.

I wonder when or if I will ever feel “normal” again. When does getting out of bed stop being so hard? When will I enjoy other people’s company again? When will I stop wanting to sleep all the time and when will I stop sabotaging myself? 

I am curious if others went through this kind of response and if so, how long before you became at least able to exist without chronically wanting to go back to bed and sleep? I know I’m depressed, I’ve dealt with it before, but I was able to function a lot better than this. I am 54, so I image age has an affect. I can’t yet afford medical treatment and don’t qualify for assistance. I’m still paying bills from last year due to the high deductibles. 

I hope someone can shared their grief experience and shed some light on the process in this situation after caring for someone with dementia. Thank you for listening. 

dutiful deb
Posted: Tuesday, December 3, 2019 12:52 AM
Joined: 1/1/2012
Posts: 1907


We're close to the same age and from the same state, and I can tell you, depression in this time of year is common enough, but to add losing a loved one to dementia, just compounds things! My mom passed away 18 months ago after about a decade of decline. I was her guardian, and handled everything for her.  

I feel like  I neglected myself while I was responsible for my mom. One day I realized that in the course of one year, I had only gotten my hair cut twice. I put on weight, and lost both the interest and the ability to do hobbies I once enjoyed. During Mom's last couple of years, I was also a full time student, earning my degree, and after she passed away I finished up the last requirement, which was college algebra. That was extremely challenging for me,  but I realize now that it kept me from falling apart, as I had something to focus my mind on. When that ended, I found myself at loose ends, even though I work full time and have plenty to keep myself occupied. But "occupied" and "challenged" are two different things, I guess. I got so used to having to scale walls and fight dragons for my mom, that when those things were gone, I didn't know how to cope. 

I also went through quite a period of time where I did not want to handle any more appointments, make any financial decisions, do any business calls, or anything that resembled what I did for my mom for so many years. Just having to go out of my way to make a hair appointment, make sure that block of time wasn't used up by work or some other task, and then actually get myself there, just seemed too monumental and I totally shut down at the thought of it.  Now that's better, and I can't wait to get some of these things done. It's like I needed a full year or more just to rest before I took on anything else. 

 I have not done everything at once, but I am focusing on getting myself back a little at a time. I'm not sure we really ever go back to the way we were before becoming caregivers, but I think a new normal is possible. I think we just need to give ourselves time, not rush into making any kind of change if we don't want or need to, and just do what we can handle.  

Posted: Wednesday, December 4, 2019 2:10 PM
Joined: 4/1/2014
Posts: 5213

I'm sorry you are hurting. I'm glad you came here because we understand and can relate. Perhaps in time being here with us will be enough to get you looking towards the future instead of backwards. You said you have had depression before- did anything help you at that time? Did you need medication or therapy or both? There are ways to get the support you need for free or on a sliding scale. Please check it out with your local public health entity.

I find activity to be the best things that help me. I force myself to call people, write thank yous, see people and slowly that helps to recover my happiness. I am married and it helps a lot to have my DH trying to cheer me up, but he sometimes doesn't understand my grief, so it isn't always helpful to have a spouse because their grief timeline may be different than yours.

I looked at lots of happy pictures of my mother and it helped me to see her in good health and to imagine how happy she must be now. Then I imagine how much my mom would want me to be happy now and to honor her-that is my intention. They always say you grieve for the ones you love, but we also must be happy because that is what our loved ones wishes for us-to be happy, not grieving. Good luck!

Posted: Wednesday, December 4, 2019 3:51 PM
Joined: 12/4/2011
Posts: 21020

I found it difficult to get back to "normal" but being closer to that I believe that my acknowledging my feelings enabled me to get past them.

I got very tired of others telling me what I should be doing etc. I needed to heal, my way which happened to  be retreating.  I let everything wash over me ...I did not function well but I think I came back faster than I would have if I had forced myself to "get with it".

Please continue to lean on us here. We are pretty darn strong.

Posted: Sunday, December 8, 2019 11:04 PM
Joined: 4/13/2019
Posts: 15

Thanks everyone for your kind posts. I think what Deb said might be most helpful. I think it’s going to take a year or more to get back on track. 

I’m trying to focus on work. I want to sleep all the time. I have no interest in being around people. I have insurance but MH is subject to deductible. My father left me in a bad financial situation, so I can’t afford therapy. I’m paying his bills as well as mine until I can sell his stuff and that’s complicated. Medication hasn’t helped in the past due to side affects that make it impossible to do my work. My kids live cross country and I can’t afford to travel to see them. 

Honestly I don’t want to get out of bed. I do for work, but I work from home most of the time and have flexibility in how much I work.  that’s a mixed blessing because I couldn’t hold down an 8-5 right now, but I can also blow off days by sulking in bed. 

I’m mentally exhausted from loosing him and watching him decline and also dealing with all the stress from the situation he left me in dealing with his estate. I’ve been through too much.  I don’t know if I can keep going on. I want to crawl under blankets and sleep myself to death.