My anxiety about my husband's memory loss is pretty bad
I try to support my husband. I don't react negatively to repeated questions. But, I can hear my tone. I'm not arguing. But, he sees my face. There's so much! How do I make him know that I still think he's a wonderful man…a great husband? Fortunately (I think it's fortunate, anyway), he seems supremely confident in spite of realizing that his memory is impaired. And, he doesn't hold a grudge, so there's that. He loves it when I forget something. (grins!) I'm so worried about our future. How will I be able to manage him if it gets bad? We can't afford a memory care facility. The kids live far away, so there is intermittent help there if any. So, my question for the group is this. How to handle the anxiety. I'm making mistakes at work. I never could sleep well, so sleep is a problem now, too. I exercise, and that helps a bit. I reach out to friends. They're supportive. I'm not religious. And, my husband's memory loss is not the only major stressor in my life at the moment. My youngest brother has been diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver and heart failure. He doesn't believe that he should stop drinking.
Finally, forgive me for being a crybaby or maybe posting this in the wrong spot. I know many of you have problems much worse than mine. I admire you all for your fortitude and grit. I just needed to vent.
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Hello. I hear all of that loud and clear. Like you, I have plenty of stressors on top of the challenge of a spouse in decline. Like you, I am not a religious person, and like you I get much less sleep than I need. My situation got to the point where I had to leave work, and come home full-time. This in no way means I can afford that choice, so we are together on that as well.
How to deal with it? I try to keep all interactions positive, no matter how I feel at the moment. I don't generally let myself freak out, but it happens. I wonder how I will survive, what to do when things get worse, as they absolutely will. I have tried talking to a therapist, and that does help. More than anything, what has helped me is to just accept my fate. Realize that we missed our life goals, we didn't make enough money, we don't have community to help us, and our family is both too small and too distant to help. Yes, things are tough, and they will get tougher. Knowing that helps, and having no false hopes helps too. There are a thousand good things we can do, and we will do them, but the feeling you have is genuine. This really is happening, and there is no good end for us. Knowing you are not alone is pretty thin soup, but it's what I can offer you now. It's not just you. There are a LOT of us doing this same thing. We get you.
Your "reactivity" to this new challenging time in you life is familiar. I was there too, it's pretty normal reaction to the new stressors in your life. I found mindfulness meditation was a game changer for me. It helps calm the waters and acknowledge, but let go, of the reactivity you are experiencing. Your are right to understand your tone affects your husband, the meditation will help you take a moment to breathe, reflect and choose how you respond to him. An additional option would be a support group where you would get support, some are available thru the Alzheimer's Association both in person and on line.
Good morning, @meitsjustme I echo @robertsbrown post that "there are a LOT of us doing the same thing and we get you"! For me, caregiving was all too often an incredibly isolating time of life. I found the caregiving community on Connect to be a wonderful connection for me to help break those feelings of isolation.
Not only can we share experiences and questions but we learn we are not the only ones going through many of our experiences, which I found very comforting and helpful. I also learned caregiving is rarely black-and-white, but most often huge shades of gray.
Please feel free to ask any questions you might have.
Strength, Courage, & Peace
I hear you. Fortunately years ago my hubby took long term insurance. However how long will this go on, am I going to have to put him in a home. That’s my last resort. He would never want this. He will be 80 in August but he is active. It’s his memory that is terrible. Diagnosed 2 years ago with MCI. I just retired in June from teaching so I’m home and more available for him. I have days or moments when I’m screaming inside how much more can I take. Then I think if those worse off. People who have this at very early ages. I’ve been blessed we traveled and married 30 years. We had a good run. I’ve gone back to church and this helps me alot. I’ve joined this group. I grieved for him. Who he has become is not who I married. I just wish that knot in my stomach would subside. I’d like to live and enjoy life. We do go out but it’s always a worry. I mostly try to think about people who have it worse to get me through this. Gif bless us all. I’m here if you need to vent.
What Scott and so many others here have said:
So many of us caregivers are going through the same or very similiar situations… the stress / worry about the future; families that are geographically / situationally distant.. and / or with they're own sets of issues… illnesses, pending divorce, financial struggles, etc; getting poor sleep; the huge chunks of time needed for the caregiving; having very little respite time; negative thoughts about over-the-top occasions when we've lost patience or "our cool"; concerned with how long we're gonna last… and THEN what happens to our spouse?; dealing with all the unexpected occurrences of everyday… I can go on with the list, but that'd be like preaching to the chorus, right?
It helps me to think about all the folks that have gone before us that somehow got through it all. Admire them all!
I'm learning to: slow down a bit… most things aren't an emergncy; to keep on thinking / re-thinking and planning how to improve the situation; continue exercising; making short-term goals, and accomplishing one or two things at a time; enjoying a lunch out now and then with my loved one; watching favorite TV shows; spending some time doing crosswords together on the patio; cuddling at night in bed; staying in bed longer in the mornng some days; playing some music from our times past; and consciously trying to be more positive about it all. Wanna get back to going to church, but she's been resisting… so far. Will keep trying.
Everyone: Please hang in there… be tough, but gentle! We CAN do this.
All the best!
Thanks for taking the time to write that reply. Acceptance is my goal right now. It comes in spurts, though. When I think I've reached real acceptance, I see there's still a ton more to go. Every time my husband displays another sign, I have to accept it all over again. I'll get better at it.
I love your idea about positive interactions regardless of how we as caregivers feel. That's a great plan and I'm trying it already. It seems to help him. Finally, it really does help to know I'm not alone and that my feelings aren't weird or wrong in some way. Thank you.
Where does someone start to learn about mindful meditation? Can it be learned from a book?
Thanks for writing, And you're right about the folks who have it so much worse than we do. I think about then a lot.
Thank you. It helps to know I'm not alone.
I've found the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction approach developed by Jon Kabat Zinn most helpful for my practice. Here is a link to an article in Psychology Today that explains the approach: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/crisis-knocks/201003/mindfulness-based-stress-reduction-what-it-is-how-it-helps. There is a book available on Amazon that would help you get started: "A Mindfulness Stress Reduction Workbook" by Stahl and Goldstein. When I first got started with mindfulness meditation in 2017 I found, via Goggle search, that there was a workshop offered in my community. It changed everything in my caregiving, all for the better. So you might check that out.
It is also important to realize that every time your husband shows a new sign that you are also dealing with loss. An excellent resource to help process this is "Ambiguous Loss, Learning to Live with Unresolved Grief by Pauline Boss.