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.