Hello fellow brave caregivers!
I am writing this topic to share/vent about my situation hoping that some people will relate or even share some tips.
It's going to be a long read, I'm sorry if it's too much.
(For context: my dad has never been around, my sister refuses to help)
I've been gradually taking care of my mom for the past 11 years. It started insidiously with paperwork, I remember just turning 15 and having to do all the paperwork to go to high-school...looking back on it, I realize that it is where it all began.
My mom has been an incredibly heavy smoker during her whole life, and I've seen her health slowly deteriorates because of it.
Of course, it started with lungs problems, which means that when she came to her 50s, she became unable to do anything without being awefully breathless. I soon had to start taking over stuff in the house, like cleaning, cooking, groceries (by foot, we've never own a car), and eventually all the paperwork (I'll come to it further down).
At a quite young age, I had to "give up" on "normal" teen life and take on adult responsibilities.
Regardless of her growing health issues, she continued smoking.
Eventually years go by, nevertheless, I manage to have quite a regular life. As I start working (as a special need caregiver), I discover volunteering, so as a "reward" to me, I allowed myself to go for a volunteering/gap year in the US (I am French), as a special needs caregiver, in hope of learning a job I could do properly back home. Leaving home was horribly difficult as my mom is an overprotective one and she was also starting to be dependent on me at that time.
While I was in the US, she had several strokes, she survived them and got several months to a rehabilitation center that allowed me to finish my year in the states as she was being taken care of.
So the year ends, I go back home, and this is when I become a full time family caregiver. My sister absolutely refuses to help because she claims she doesn't have time and it's on me to do that.
While being emotionally drained from this new situation, realizing that my mom would never be like she used to be, I managed to go through, and managed to help her, on every possible level. I had to do everything by myself (because she was too young to be taken care of by home nurses and all).
I don't want to give myself much credit, but after months of daily hard work, i managed to put her back on her feet, as much as possible, but in the meantime, my life was a complete desert.
I eventually decided to take a second chance for me to build something of my life ( as I was slowly but surely aging), I decided to go study in the US. This time around was actually easier and got to study for a year, but then, hell broke loose.
She happened to have another stroke right before the pandemic hit. So, being all alone, I had to go back home to take care of her, hence once again, being "forced" to cancel my life.
Then as we all know, the pandemic hit and here I was, stuck at home in france, without the possibility to go back to my studies anytime soon. At the same time, she also got diagnosed with COPD, and the addition of all her health problems at this point (diabetes, heart problems, lungs problems, obesity, asthma, strokes, ect...) made her housebound, and my dad died really quickly from cancer, and my situation is so bad I did not even have time to actually grieve him and it makes desperate.
As of right now, I'm all alone taking care of my mom with huge health problems, she can't even walk anymore, on top of that, we've been scammed by false home aids that took opportunity of the situation. Her health issues are such that she requires help day and night, so I end up helping her for about 20hrs a day.
I only have a 30min break a day when there's nurses coming to help me giving her showers. We can only afford to get this help and nothing else.
So now I'm 26, with nothing in my life, no wife, no kids, i don't have time to work and make money like a proper adult, my friends are literally an ocean away, plus this freaking pandemic.
My mental health has been through so much, I'm trying to be positive as much as I can, but i can't help being desperate and I'm so deeply depressed now I'm scared for my health. I'm running out of will, of patience, I'm questioning myself constantly, I can't even escape every now and then because we zre quarantined here and there is that fear that if she gets the virus, she obviously won't survive it. I feel hopeless. I now have anxiety attacks every now and then, i don't get any relieve, never. Im constantly working, doing something, I can't sleep properly as i have to also be aware during the night.
I feel like I've failed my life. That I will never be able to go back to my studies in the US and it's making me feel miserable. I feel so alone, i don't know anyone that have been through similar situations, that would help me so much to have some tips and tricks to keep my head out of the water.
I'm so depressed, i don't see any good outcome of this whole situation for neither of us. I'm such in bad shape mentally atm that I'm starting to have physical problems due to constant state of stress and anxiety.
I've burned out, and i feel like all thz resentment I've stored deep inside all these years for not being able to live my own life and being stopped everytime im actually starting to make something out of my miserable life, is coming out right now, all at once.
I'm so done of having it hard, and this is so bull*** because most of these problems are not even mines to being with !!
Again, I'm sorry for this whole novel, but i needed to vent, if anyone is reading this, thank you for your time. It feels nice to be heard, if any of you have some advice to go through all this, I'd gladly take them :)