Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Pity party

I am in the midst of a major pity party and an extreme guilt trip.  My patience with my brother is wearing thin as we deal with one "crisis" after another.  He appears so helpless and has to ask us questions about everything.  His personal hygiene has become an issue of concern.  He is requiring so much attention that I feel completely suffocated.  And....I'm only dealing with the phone calls, my poor husband is the one dealing with Mike personally.  I worry constantly about Mike's finances and how I'm going to make his money last and how I'm going to maintain the house he lives in.  I feel so alone with every decision I make or don't make.  

Last night we were so exhausted by his constant phone calls we finally told him that if he can't meet his basic needs we may have to consider alternative living arrangements.  That of course sent him into a spin and now he's trying to "prove" he can take care of himself which of course he can't.  I just lost it on him this morning and I broke down crying.  I told him he isn't thinking about anyone but himself, what he wants, when he wants it and no regard for anyone else.  Yep......I was that harsh and  I'm not proud of it.  Now I'm just dying inside because the last thing I want to do is scare him or hurt him in anyway.  But I'm scared.

I sat here and wondered who died and left me in charge anyway?  It just happened.  He had a psychotic break that was absolutely horrific and I found myself smack dab in the middle of taking full responsibility for him.  No one else was going to do it and I couldn't sleep at night worrying about what would happen to him.  I certainly put his happiness and well being before my own.  Now here I am!

I'm absolutely terrified but convinced that he will out live me and I don't know what will happen to him.  I'm torn between moving him into my house which I know would be a disaster. He will literally consume us alive.  He's consuming us alive as it is.  Our lives literally revolve around taking care of Mike. Is it so wrong that I sometimes want to be selfish and say No More.........I deserve a little peace and a life of my own?  But every time I think like that I am consumed with guilt.  Mike didn't ask for this disease.  

Sometimes I get angry at our parents for not teaching him any daily living skills and then I think they just did what they knew to do.  They kept him safe and with them and coped with his illness.  Sometimes by taking the path of least resistance.  Giving in to his disease of Schizophrenia.

There are no easy answers.  I almost wish he was completely psychotic then placing him somewhere would not be so hard.  That sounds awful I know but since he is aware he is resistant and he is terrified of change.  I can't deal with him being scared.  It tears me apart.

So, here I am at work.  I can't concentrate on anything.  I feel so guilty and I'm going to worry about my brother all day!  What in t he world are we going to do when I have surgery?


Olga said...

There are certainly no easy answers for your situation and it is a dreadful shame that more services are not available to your brother. You can only do so much on your own. I t does seem as though taking him in your own home would be mistake of massive proportions, that eventually he will have to be in some kind of assisted living situation, if there even is such a thing. It is fortunate that he got you as a sister, but I hope you factor in what is possible for you. You have no reason to feel guilty, that is for sure.

oklhdan said...

Olga, I just don't know how to make such decisions for him. I am so scared. I guess I have to stop being so hard on myself and accept the fact that I can only do what I can. The problem with assisted living is Medicare nor Medicaid will pay for it. Bummer because assisted living might work for Mike.

Aunt Betsy said...

I understand. My 32 yr old daughter is bipolar and has fibromyalgia, as well as a couple of other physical problems. She can take care of herself more than Mike, I imagine, but still requires a LOT of help. It just gets totally exhausting for caregivers. If i could just get her to take her meds without me having to remind her again and again would be a good start. Having some experience in this type of caregiving I want to tell you do NOT feel guilty. You deserve a life too. The stress placed on you is not going to help your health in the long run. If Mike had to go to a home for the mentally ill ...if you could find one and if it were affordable ... might be the best thing all around. Yes, change is horrible for mentally ill people but he might adjust fair better than you expect. If at all possible I would suggest get him in a place where professionals can take care of him before your surgery so you can heal. It will be hard to do but would probably be best for all 3 of you. My medications hep me and I can take care of myself just fine but should my medications stop working to the point I could not take care of myself I would want my kids to find a place for me rather than them taking care of me and stressing their life and relationships. (and I have no desire to live in a nursing home or facility ... but I have no desire to burden them either) There is no easy answer.

Betty said...

You're right. Mike didn't ask for this disease, but neither did you. Sometimes, you just have to do what's best for you, and make the hard decisions you've been reluctant to make for far too long. I wish you luck.

kenju said...

Betty is right. Some hard decisions need to be made. It is one thing to assume care for someone who is partly capable, but when you have the kind of stresses you have, it only gets worse for all of you. I am so sorry and I wish you luck.

Aunt Betsy said...

I thought of one more thing that might help you make the decision a little easier. Four years ago I had to be admitted to a mental hospital. No one wants to go to a mental hospital but the truth is ... I hated to leave. They understood me there. The other patients understood. The staff was wonderfully kind and caring. I was "normal" there. It was not a bad experience at all. A facility where Mike could live and be taken care of most likely would give him the same feelings.