New to this board, feeling alone and desperate

Discussion in 'Caregivers' started by momsangelvoice, Jan 2, 2004.

  1. momsangelvoice

    momsangelvoice New Member

    Hi. First time here. Just discovered this board today. I've been feeling really alone and desperate and I was looking to see if there are any support boards for caregivers and I found Pro Health. Let me explain a little about my situation.

    I'm currently caring for my 42 year old husband, and my 14 year old daughter. There are also 3 other children (all school age) in the house.

    About 4 months ago my husband had quadruple bypass surgery. Since then I've been taking care of most of his needs. Oh, he also found out about a month ago that he's diabetic. I'm in charge of medicines, meals, doctor's visits and pretty much everything else. His mood since the surgery has changed and he's become irritable and somewhat paranoid. Last week he had chest pain and was taken to the hospital. This time we found out that he has another blocked artery where the walls are so thin they may bust at any time. He's not supposed to lift anything over 10 pounds, drive, or get stressed out. Tuesday he'll be going in for balloon surgery which may turn in to open heart again. Since coming home he's been angry. Today he was up on a ladder taking down Christmas lights and raking the yard. He's carried charcoal, and driven up to the corner. I keep reminding him that he's not supposed to do this, but he yells and tells me he's not a baby, and then heads out and does whatever. I'm lost as to what to do now.

    And then, there's my 14 year old daughter who's been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder and is a self mutilator. She's been hospitalized 3 times. She has a psychiatrist, but he only sees her about every couple of months because my insurance will only pay for 6 visits a year. I've been setting her medication out each morning and evening and keep the rest of it locked up. She's been kicked out of school for missing days. The struggle with her is making sure she takes her medicine. Sometimes she'll say she's taken it and actually hasn't and then she gets depressed and starts feeling like the medicine doesn't work. My frustration with her as with my husband is that they won't do anything to help themselves. These are not people who are bedridden, or feable. They just don't want to do anything for themselves. Lately my daughter has been using her cutting and sometimes suicide threats as a manipulation.

    I'm glad I found this site and I'm hoping there might be someone out there who understands what I'm going through. I love my family, but lately I find myself fantasizing about getting in my car and driving until the gas card runs out. I just want away. My other 3 kids aren't sick or anything, but they don't seem to recognize the stress that I'm under. I know they're only kids... but you would think that a 12 year old and 16 year old would know how to microwave a meal for themselves once in awhile. I'm just getting so desperate.

    Thanks for listening (reading). Anything you can offer is welcome.
  2. igiveup

    igiveup New Member

    Just a word to say , poor you ,, your so young to have these burdening problems ,,, I find this group in being very slow in sending emails or posts ,,, my husband has short term memory loss , thats my problem ,, I am older then you are , but problems with health and in need of support is not measured by age ,,,, I so hope you find support ,,, If I can be of any help you can email me at in the subject put your mom angel voice then when it goes to junk mail I'll not deleat it ,,,, Pris
    [This Message was Edited on 01/07/2004]
  3. paintergal

    paintergal New Member

    I'm an adult woman who grew up in a dysfunctional household. My mom was bipolar and I know how frustrating it is living with a family member who has that disorder. It's such an unpredictable situation from day to day, sometimes minute to minute.

    If I were in your situation here's what I would do. First of all, it sounds as if your husband is having a hard time coming to terms with his condition. Some people would call it denial. I bet he was someone who always took care of things and probably kept busy and hated to sit around. Well, now he's forced to take it easy for a while (or maybe from now on) and losing that freedom is like saying goodbye to an old friend - part of his identity. It may be easier for him to do what he wants than to come to terms with this new realization. I don't think you can change that about him. Only he can do that himself. And nagging him will only make it worse. It's frustrating, I know especially when you love someone so much and they keep doing things that can shorten their lives. Sometimes, I think they may unconsciously be doing this on purpose just to cut short the pain they're going through. Your daughter who's bipolar is not getting the attention she so desperately needs now with all the time and energy you're spending on your husband. So, here's what I would do:
    I would have a meeting with all the kids - at once. I wouldn't suggest inviting your husband to this get together. This would be a heart-to-heart meeting. Let your kids know that you understand that they all are going through a difficult time right now with Dad's health problems. Explain to them that you are being pulled in many directions - physically and emotionally - and it's getting to the point where you need their help to lend a hand. Think of all the things you need done around the house you do now and make a mental list. Then think of all the additional stuff you do to help your husband. Ask - don't demand - if each one of your kids can help you out with a few things. Explain how you feel and how hard this is on you. Be honest. I bet they will surprise you and actually say they would be glad to help you and contribute to the family. When they see their dad doing something he shouldn't, maybe they could approach him and ask if they could join in doing the chore. Ask your 14 year old if she could help with the laundry, or other chore you do. Make her feel like she is special to you and that you need her. My Mom with bipolar was always happiest when she was doing something nice for someone. Maybe that's what your daughter needs, too to help her feel better about herself. See it that helps. And if they do agree to do these things and then later start to get lazy again, just start the chore yourself and then ask that kid if he/she can lend you a hand. Don't be negative or berate them for not initiating the task. Be nice. You know the old saying, "You can catch more flies..."

    As far as your husband, I'm afraid there is really nothing you can do to change him if he is just bent on destroying himself. What you might want to try is talking with him alone, too and telling him how much you love him and that you'd like to have him around for as long as possible. My Aunt Elaine lost my Uncle Marty last year and it was a similar situation. Marty had quintuple bypass surgery and he needed to slow down after that. But he kept on doin' what he always did, ate the way he always ate, didn't change a thing. Well, he spent one autumn day cleaning out the vegetable garden for winter and he just keeled over and died from a heart attack. All Aunt Elaine ever did was nag him about what he shouldn't do and he just did it anyway. I wonder if she would have sat him down and quietly talked to him honestly about her feelings, maybe he wouldn't have been so stubborn. So, I hope this helps a little. If it's one thing I have learned in life it's being honest about my feelings and trying to understand how others are feeling, too. Listen to him. Try to get him to open up and then see what happens.

    Most importantly, don't be one of those victims who complain and do nothing to help their situation. The way I see it, sometimes we just make our own problems because we're just to pig-headed to admit our own faults. Good luck, L.