How do you keep getting up!

Hi Guys & Gals.

I’m hoping for a bit of advice and practical actions to help me get out of this slump I’m in.

I’ve (26/m) been caring for my mother (71) for the last 5/6 years due to various ailments and health issues (lymophodemia, previous blood clots, heart failure etc) but it just seems to be getting harder and harder.

The last year or so she seems to be getting worse, sometimes we will have weeks we’re she is almost better to then be knocked back down by an UTI or swelling or a cold/flu. She’s currently again out for the count with a UTI but is now on antibiotics.

I can afford to work full time due to not being far from home but in between work and my caring opportunities I have no time for myself, I feel like I’ve been thrust into this & all the responsibilities it entails without never really getting a choice. I feel like between work and home I’m loosing out on my life, I can’t settle into a steady relationship as I’m always having to be aware that I could be needed at home, I rarely venture out to social occasions as again I’m constantly worried that I will be needed, how do I keep my head up & positive. Where as before I could make and power through I now just feel less and less I love my mum but sometimes I couldn’t care less and that upsets me more.

We do have a nurse that comes in the morning and an afternoon sit in three times a week. I have a brother but he unfortunately likes the other end of the country. How do you stay positive when every day it’s the same old rubbish.

I’m sorry for ranting and making this into a whole pity party but I just need some advice on how to pick myself back up.

Thanks R x

Hello and welcome!

If I was staying at home I would be insane. I find that work gives me some relief. Have you asked for a needs assessment or not yet? My husband and I divide his care between us, he does the messy stuff while I take care of paperwork and appointments!

You insist that mum MUST have more help to enable you to care and work.
When did mum last have Needs Assessment from Social Services, and you, a Carers Assessment?

Mum needs SOMEONE but it doesn’t have to be you!

Hi Ryan,

You’re the same age as me and I’m in a similar situation to you. The answer to your question is ‘I keep getting up because the alternative is more permanent than the current situation’.
Practical Solutions:

  • Insist on outside help for Mum (doesn’t have to be every day and doesn’t even have to be to help with personal tasks at first, so she gets used to it). I found having a carer do an ‘evening sit’ massively beneficial to give me a couple of evenings ‘off’ every week. That way, you know Mum is being monitored and you have a few hours to focus on yourself.
  • Do you have any other (useful!) relatives, who would be willing to help out? Even just taking over the food shopping or taking Mum to appointments (things like that) would be a massive chunk of ‘work’ off your list. If you don’t ask, people tend not to offer.
  • Write down a list of everything you do for Mum (include housework/shopping/attending medical appointments/anything she can’t do independently or without being monitored). Then apply for a needs assessment, where you can start down the road of getting social care involved to help with all these issues.

Emotional Support/Help Advice:

  • Find someone to talk to about how all of this is making you feel. Personally, I ‘rant’ at my partner most days, but I also regularly see a therapist so I can talk about ‘everything’ that is bothering me, without feeling judged. You could apply for counselling, talk to a friend, a relative…anyone. Keeping it in is the worst thing you can do.
  • Write out a ‘daily schedule’ of the things you do each day (including the amount of hours spent at work). Then find the ‘gaps’ where you don’t regularly do anything. These are your ‘you’ times. It could be 5 minutes to just lie on your bed, close your eyes and unwind. It could be half an hour for a bath. If longer, you’ve got time to read/go for a drive or walk. You have to take advantage of these moments and spend them doing something that you and only you want to do- it’ll save your sanity.

If you’ve really had enough and don’t want to do any of this anymore (we all know the feeling on this forum), you do have the option to just leave the situation. It’s doubtful your Mum would understand your reasoning if she’s never been in a carer situation before, but sometimes in life you have to do things for yourself and your own health (believe me, your health will suffer if you keep pushing yourself to do what you should do all the time, without taking the time for yourself). I have a good friend at work who was looking after his father during a battle with cancer… as soon as he passed away, my friend thought he’d get his life back. Then his Mum suddenly became frail and he’s been looking after her for 7 years, as well as working full-time. My friend has one hobby (golf) on a sunday morning. The rest of the time, he does nothing for himself. He regularly says to me ‘I think I’m going to die before my Mum does’ because he is so exhausted. Please don’t end up like this- you are important, too.