Friday, July 19, 2013

Feeling the Stress

I'm not gonna lie.  I'm feeling the stress.  Quite a bit.  And once I started spelling it all out in my head, it made sense.

I've been helping my mom for almost a year now.  She's really struggling with her mental health.  It's been quite a battle of ups and downs.  And I'm trying to balance helping her with taking care of myself while navigating the dangerous waters of my parents' dysfunctional marriage.  And trying to keep my brothers informed.  They've asked what they can do to help.  Boy, I wish there was something.  My dad feels helpless and doesn't know what to do.  And when he does come up with an idea, she doesn't want to have anything to do with him. 

In the last month or so I've picked her up or dropped her off at multiple locations around the county (she doesn't have her license anymore).  I've taken her to get her prescriptions filled, to shop, and out for lunch.  I've accompanied her to the neurologist, the therapist, and the psychiatrist.  I've taken her for blood tests, an EEG, and an MRI. 

And now the therapist wants me to help my mom become compliant on her meds, which she isn't and never has been.  My mom has PTSD from multiple traumatic episodes in her past.  She has spent years fighting to have control of her life.  Me taking over her meds would be her losing control again and she's just not willing to go there.  I can understand that.  But I also understand that not taking her meds according to schedule is making it so much harder for her to feel better or for anyone to help her feel better.

She says she's willing to try.  When it's time to fill her prescription again she'll let me help her set up a system.  That's the best she could do.  Until then she's promised to try to take them the way she's supposed to.  And she's trying to track it all on paper like the therapist wants.  If she doesn't become compliant she will not be able to get her driver's license again.  And her psychiatrist might drop her.  But she still isn't convinced that taking her meds according to schedule is the right way for her.  She's sure that she's right about using them as needed and we're wrong and she'd be fine if the psychiatrist would just give her more meds.  She's only trying to get on schedule to keep us happy, not because she believes in it.  It's control she's clinging to with both hands, tight fists.

I'll keep taking her to appointments.  And doing what I can to help while trying to keep myself emotionally stable.

On top of this, three weeks ago my husband lost his job.  We've been married twenty-three years and he's been laid off eleven times.  Because of my health I am not able to work.  That was our only income.  He's interviewing and applying and trying.  And I'm doing all I can to be supportive and helpful.  I'm trying to manage what little money we have left.  I'm looking for alternate sources of income.  I'm trying to stay on top of all the medical bills from my daughter's brain surgery and hospitalization and my emergency room visit and stress test and my husband's MRI and my daughter's MRI and all my therapy and all the other miscellaneous medical bills we have outstanding.  I'm trying to keep food in the house. 

But my biggest job has been to keep my husband from slipping into a depression.  His self-definition has taken a major hit.  He's questioning his value.  Every job rejection slams him down again.  So I try to spend time with him.  I try to help him see healthy choices.  I try to keep him involved and active with something other than computer games and movies and sleep.  We've had a few deep, dark days, but are mostly keeping his head above water.  It requires constantly treading water.

And no one leaves my house.

School is out.  My oldest daughter quit her job for the summer (before my husband lost his job).  My second daughter lost her job when my husband did (company went out of business).  My third daughter is out of state for the summer (so I guess she left the house, but that's a little too far gone for too long).  My son doesn't have a job and my other daughter doesn't have a job (they are sixteen and fourteen).  Rarely does anyone go anywhere or do anything other than watch tv and play video games.  It feels like my whole household is sinking into a depression.  I love my kids.  And I want them to be happy.  I want them to have a break.

But I am a homebody.  Partly because it's exhausting for me when I leave (I have chronic fatigue) and partly just because I love to be home.  And I used to get six hours a day to myself in my home.  But now I don't seem to get any time with the house to myself.  And my mental health is taking a hit because of it.  It's wearing me down.  I am really feeling what it means to be in the "sandwich generation."  Taking care of my parents and my kids.  Lots and lots of others needing me.  Not enough time to just be me without worrying that someone is about to knock on my door and need something.

And I recently stopped going to therapy because my therapist and I were no longer connecting well.
And I have become heat-intolerant the last year or so and we are in the middle of a heat wave.
And next week is my daughter's birthday and I have no money for it.
And I have no energy to complete any of the thousands of things that need to be done around the house.
And I have no energy to make anyone else do them either.
And the car didn't pass inspection.
And the faucet in the bathroom is leaking.
And the toilet keeps running.
And I am just not enough.

Things will get better.  But right now I'm feeling the stress.


Heather Jo Anderson said...

Well... at least let me come over and fix your toilet. That will take away some of your stress. It's a simple job and then you won't have to constantly hear the toilet running. Get a comfort blessing. I'm praying for your family. I think the constant presence of others is also effecting my sanity. I used to get 5 hours a week with no one home and I've lost that. I didn't realize how important it was. It's probably why I'm not sleeping at night. I need the time to myself. Let me know what you need.

Dawnelle said...

Sounds like my "Broken Dryer" post a year or so ago. Tough times! And you may not be enough, but Heavenly Father is. And thank goodness for that!

But you have so many people who love and care about you. So let us help how we can---I'd love to help out with your daughter's birthday, if you'll let me. Call me when it's convenient...or I can call you, probably when it's not convenient. :)

Sheila Skillingstead said...

I came over to your site because you write so well. As an adult I try not to give advice to other adults. It can backfire in so many ways. I'm going to dare to give one tiny piece: If you can, take care of yourself, first. I know that sounds wrong, but if you don't take care of yourself, it is almost impossible to help others. I hope your life moves forward one step at a time out of your multistressful situations so you can feel better. Enjoy Sharefest if you can get on the computer with so many bodies at your home.

Monique said...

I was married to my beloved husband and we loved and cherished ourselves for good 2years and every thing was going on smoothly but april 5, 2013 we both had misunderstanding and he told me that the relationship is over and that he is fed up with me and I begged him because I love him so much but he refused me I was so down cast and I felt the world has come to an end for me but my friend told me about a spell caster that helped her sister out in getting her relationship back, a good job and favor in any of her endeavor but at first I was scared but I have to give this man a trial because I love my husband very much and I am not willing to loose him to any woman, so I ordered returning love spell from this great spell caster that made me a happy woman again to say it all my husband came back to me with much love and a caring heart...i am testifying to this great spell caster of Ishvara temple you are a great man in this world and you mean so much to me you are the best spell caster that i have ever hear off in all website contact this man via this email if you really need to get your problems solve

OneMommy said...

Sending a huge hug and tons of thoughts your way!

When no one leaves the house, it definitely can start to have an effect on everyone's moods. Even just getting outside for a little bit helps --

Praying your husband finds work again soon, and your kids, even just part time would get them out and feeling better about themselves.

Mandi Noel said...

I am so very sorry that you are going through such a difficult season in life. Sometimes it just feels like when it rains, it pours, doesn't it?

I haven't been through much of what you are going through, but I just wanted to take a minute to share something that struck me when I read one of your last lines- "I am not enough."

Don't worry about whether or not you feel like you are enough because God is always more than enough. Keep your chin up and keep looking to Him.

I'll be keeping you and your family in my prayers!

Mothering From Scratch said...

{Melinda} I am SO sorry, Robin. You have ALOT going on right now. I am praying for you and your family right now. I'm learning that I just can't control other people. That is so hard when you see people you love making poor and destructive choices. I am in the process of trying to let go of trying to control and allow God to work in their lives. It is SO hard. A step-by-step process. I'm praying for wisdom as you navigate things with your mom, so you'll know just what to do. <3

Pam said...

I'm so sorry you are going through so much misery. It does seem, sometimes, that the bad all comes at once, doesn't it? I have felt like that too. You are being such a giver, and that is good. Do take care of yourself, even if you have to go take a drive and get a coffee or a fun snack. (I do that sometimes!)Just a little breather.

Ana @MommysBundle said...

Sorry to hear such stresses. Know, that everyone has their own set of issues and struggles to overcome! Keep your head up and hope high!

Savvy WorkingGal said...

Miss Robin,
I am sorry you have to go through all of this. You have more than your fair share on your plate right now. I too hate to give you advice, but you need time for yourself. Pick a time on a nice day and tell everyone they need to get out of they house - they can all go for a walk. You need an hour for yourself. And can't one of them fix your faucet and toilet. Also can your brothers help with your mom's medication. Can they help take her to her appointments. What about someone from your church. You need a break hon. Reach out to your friends and let them take you for coffee.

Melissa G. said...

That sounds like a lot to deal with. I'm hoping you get through this difficult time and that your family can pull together to help you.

Christy@SweetandSavoring said...

Hugs to you, Robin. I'm afraid I can't offer any advice because I don't yet know what it's like to take care of one's parents, but I imagine that what you're going through, on top of everything with your husband and kids, is terribly difficult. Sending love and hoping things are looking up. Deep breaths, one moment at a time (sometimes 'one day at a time' is just too much, you know?).

Mom Wininger said...

Love you all!