The simple answer is no. It's not possible.
I have a military background and consider that I can cope with stress quite well, having experienced long periods of seperation from family, the Falklands War and Iraq War. Caring for my wife who was recently diagnosed with MND however has made me experience levels of stress which I've not experienced before.
Whilst social services, OT's, Doctors etc. are all there (by appointment) and offer advice, provide equipment etc. They are not there when you're having a difficult day and things start to get on top of you. Most carers experience a feeling of lonliness and issolation, with no-one to turn to just at the time you need someone.
Oh Francis, I really do feel for you. We find out who our friends are when the going gets tough, don't we? I have one friend who loyally spends time with mum and me almost once a week every week - either here, at her place or out and about. She lost her husband 12 months ago. So it is a mutually beneficial relationship. Is there one person you know who you are prepared to take a punt on and invite round for lunch?
Frances Ockford said:
Thanks Jenny, sounds a good idea. Not really in a positive frame of mind at the moment though to be join a group. Seem to be very untrusting of people. Have been so badly hurt and let down in past 4 months . However sure will get over it.... I have been caring for my husband who had a stroke , he was 57 and that was 7 years ago ., he has mobility problems and brain damage .. Hard as we had to move to a bungalow , to accomodate him, and his needs. We are fairly Rural as well , but at the moment I still have my car and can drive, but hard with cost of petrol etc
It is difficult to get time to yourself, but if I can I try to listen to a relaxation tape, similar to Sams but the difference is rather than assist sleep it relaxes you for about 30 mins and then "brings you back" at the end, feeling much better.
There is a free one by Paul McKenna on his website, and that is quite relaxing too... they do not put you to sleep, you are aware of your surrondings and ready to move if necessary, but just nicely chilled.. I was sceptical at first but it has worked
The stress, the loneliness, the isolation, is beyond anything imaginable. I have been caring for 18 years - 18 years of fighting every day for some sort of service for my wife,
18 years of poverty as a full-time carer; while greed flourishes unchecked, corporations take over the running of the UK, the NHS is being destroyed, thousands are being forced of disability benefit .
The years pass, I keep fighting, I survive, I grow, held in the power and love of our marriage. But in a society and economy going very wrong, us carers are the ones left, most people walk away , trying to be strong enough to hold it all together- some days I don't how I get through - and you have to experience that place to know what I mean.
All that talk about "resilience" - why does it leave me feeling so patronised ?
I'd like to tell you about my experiences. on April 1st last year my husband went into hospital for an emergency colostomy operation. when he went in, he was only very mildly forgetful, nothing to noticable. he spent 16weeks in hospital, not once did the nurses make him get out of bed and get dressed and take responsibility for his colostomy. I tried but was told I was upsetting their patient.(my Hubby) as aresult of their negligence he noticablly became forgetful. I was told we would have to have cares come in three times a day to assist him to change his bag ( there was no consultation about them coming into my home just you will let them in) when he came home i told the woman from the care agency that he has to do as much for himself as possible, she agreed with me. she went away and everything was ok. when the so called carers came in they insisted on doing everthing for him, I tried to tell them they are here to assist him . they would not listen to me I was told to get out I cant tell them what to do, I wasnt wanted. my husband would not listen to me. he even became violent towards me. but noone would beleive me. He had a carer comming in 3times a day, apolice person and a pretennd police person, once a week, a comunity mental health nurse one a month, a social worker twice a month, all coming to see him. no one came to see me, i was told to get on with it. my hubby was becoming increasinly to mean to me and no one cared. one day he was taken into respite care because he had been so mean to me. His social worker took him to the bank to empty our joint account, leaving me with nothing, as a result i ended up taking an overdose. no one noticed how stressed i was or cared. he came home, was home for 4weeks was taken back into respite, and guess what they the social workers went with him to empty our joint account again. he left me with nothing. His social workers use his early onset atlzhiemas as an excuse to suit what ever perpose they want at that particular time. I should also say that I couldnt deal with his colostomy because when i was very young I was raped by a man I'd known my whole life, who also had a colostomy. they knew how I was feeling how I was struggling, and having nightmares every night. yet I was told I was attention seeking, and making it all up. No one gave me any help or support not even my husband. He is now in perminant care as I will not let his so called carers back into the house because I am sick of being told to get out of my own home. his social workers are trying everything they can to get me out of my home. I used to love and adore that man to bits now wellI dont know how I feel. I get no help or support have been left on my own for 5months now< I dont speek to a living soul from one day to the next. have been brought home by the police more times than enough. the doctor says I'm depressed supprise supprise. every night I look at my pills and think why dont i just take the lot, no one cares anyway. no family or friends, he wouldnt let me have any. This is the second time ive been a carer. the first time I was a child.
Poor you xx
I have spent fifteen months caring for my mother after she had a major trauma accident and agree that caring for another does involve experiencing high levels of stress.
For the majority of my working life, I was involved in high stress projects, working at times for 80-90 hours a week. I developed all sort of strategies to deal with the stress, enabling me to keep calm and deal with most crises including accidents, severe weather etc.
I am now living with my caree and am not in my own home anymore which adds additional stress as I have very little space to call my own and am not near any of my friends.
Despite coping with 'high stress' work, caring for another is totally unlike working. I have still managed to hang on to some of my strategies but the most difficult thing is that I am unable to plan my day. As I put another first before myself then inevitably I forget/don't have time for something that could be important to my health/sanity/well being. Things happen, anxiety builds, I have to spend a lot of time coaxing Mum to do stuff and things that I would normally find easy becomes difficult.
At the moment, I rarely get a day off. I get very tired, at times irritable, and on bad days I feel isolated, bored and frustrated. I feel that my world has narrowed dramatically. I miss being able to choose what tv programmes to watch, what to have for lunch, putting my feet up in the evening, being able to choose what to do and when to do it.
We have had very little help from the state because we have more than £23k. However, I am lucky. We have been able to afford a carer for 4 hours in the morning, five days a week. She has worked with me to mobilise and enable my mother. We have three people who regularly visit which has made a tremendous difference. I do so little outside the home that I have very little new to say. I find it really important that others come in to share their lives with us. It shifts the focus away from what we are dealing with. We have a beautiful greyhound who cheers me up. Plus, and probably most importantly, my Mum is improving, so I can see that all this work is making a difference. I imagine that it would be so much harder doing this when there is very little hope of improvement for your caree.
Yet despite all the positives, I struggle. I forget things, I stumble about and feel clumsy. When I get very tired, emotionally and physically, I shiver. Those are the times I know that I just have to give up, wrap a duvet round me & rest, leaving Mum with a walkie talkie to call me if needed.
The sort of strategies I still use:
walk for 30 mins every day, listen to calming music on my headphones (my favourite is called "The Silence of Balance" by John Levine...but there is lots of free good stuff around) when I get some time to myself, eat as well as possible, eat fruit, food such as lettuce, tomatoes, nuts, drink lots of water, sit quietly for 10 minutes and simply say to myself "breath in, breathe out", before I go to bed I put cold wet socks on my feet (sounds horrible but it works!) then put dry socks on top. Apparently cold showers also help you to sleep but I haven't got the guts for that one! I burn aromatherapy oils & use them in baths. I pour boiling water into a bowl, put in some aromatherapy oil & stick my head over it. I go slowly, take care & don't push myself too hard. I sing silly songs when I am out walking the dog, I hop and skip, anything to cheer myself up. Luckily where I walk I don't see too many other people!
I hope that I will never take anything for granted and I now have massive respect for everyone who takes on caring for another. I reckon it is one of the toughest challenges you can attempt to cope with.
I am so sorry, you have had some truly terrible experiences.
It sounds like you really need to talk to someone who can advise you on how you are feeling.
I would urge you to call the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90
Carers UK also have an advise line on 0808 808 7777
I am very sorry that you feel patronised. That was not my intention at all.
The article raises interesting questions about the way people deal with stress differently. I was not attempting to label anyone as 'resilient' or otherwise.
This forum needs people like yourself who have been caring for so long. As you may have seen there are lots of people on this forum who are new to caring and are keen for advice. It would be great to have you and carers like yourself involved.
But they're not going to make my hubby take responsability for his bag and show me the same support as i showed him while he was in hospital. All i wanted was for him to kep his dignity, self respect, and his independance. He only wants to listen to his do gooders. what I say is of no importance at all to him, or his do gooders. His social workers are pushing him into devorcing me, so they can get me out of my home and use the money to pay for his care home. I'm in the way.
I have been a carer since I was 10 years old, I'm now 50 in a few months. i first cared for my gran, and great grandad, now my husband.my gran was so mean and spiteful to me she was always telling me no one wanted me. I had no rights. no one cared about me. now my husband is doing exactly the same. he comes out with the same hurtfull comments.
I have been caring for me disabled son for the past 11years , I am a single parent/carer , as a result I now suffer from depression and anxiety and panic attacks , so I think it comes with the demanding caring role , that we find our selves in.