What do you do when you’re at your wit’s end?

December 31, 2017

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Furious and frustrated caucasian woman steaming with rage

No one needs to tell you how incredibly frustrating caregiving can be.

So many of the most frustrating things in life — automated phone systems, insurance billing errors, incomprehensible tax requirements — happen in the middle of terrifying life-and-death situations.

I asked our community members how they keep from losing their minds when it feels like everything is going wrong at once. Here’s what they told me:


Walk away. If at all possible, drive around the block or go and get a coffee (if you can get your loved one to lay down for a rest). Pray. Turn on some gospel/hymn music and realize – and I am telling you this as I know – this is not forever. You are doing a wonderful ministry and you will be able to look back with pride and peace! Been there and will never regret what we did for my Mom. – Bobbi

Watch old news and laugh at how much of the same problems still exist..Try and ditch humanity for a bit (which is very difficult in Southern California)..look at the stars in the sky at night, cruise by any waterway, lake, ocean, listen to the radio in my car, sing, cry, rant, feel overloaded w/guilt, humiliation, feel sorry for myself and then pray for patience, strength, understanding that only comes from above. Then remember I have an important purpose other than my stupid self. – Jennifer

Swear..or shop!  Maybe pour a glass of wine and call my best friend to vent. I always pray, everyday…I walk out on the deck and see the beauty before me, take a breath and come back inside to reality. – Denise

Write in my journal. Read my Bible. Go for a drive and play REALLY loud metal (I’ve a preference for some Halestorm, Adelita’s Way, Five Finger Death Punch, etc). – Maria

Pray, talk to one of the people in my circle that support and encourage me, and then pray again. After that, I just push forward because truthfully my mom has dementia and 2 minutes later things are going to change. – Victoria

I make sure my patient is safe, and where I can still hear her, and I go to another room , I Pray, I count, then………
I tell God thank you for entrusting me with the job of caring for her. That she can still give me heck, that she was given another day, and that I’m thankful that His mercies are new every morning BECAUSE I NEED IT?
My time outs if ever last for about an hour (when permitted) but I come back with a smile and start again.
One day very soon it will be our turn.
And how will the seeds we planted now look then?
I hope for all our sakes they look like grace, mercy, compassion, and love.
Not bitterness, resentment, hate, anger.
You harvest what you plant amen?
Don’t expect corn when all you found to plant was bean! – Corrina

Scream, rant, play some Borderlands2 & Prequel to get the murderous rage out safely. All the while, letting myself rage eat, and get tired so when I’m awake, my mind can assault the situation with better reasons than I had before the z’s. – Brieya

Myself I just become very silent. I’m very aware of how hard it is to “take back the spoken word.” And I’m aware that if I say what I really want to say that will start WW3 and like a lot of mothers I’ve always been the peace maker in our family. But I would hope those that know me well realize that just because I say nothing doesn’t mean I’m not reassessing who they really are. – Maryann

I let myself have a good cry. Talk to God. And then I move forward. There’s no other option but to move forward. Like Dory said in finding Nemo, Just keep swimming. ? – Dana

Get drunk, listen to really sad music and cry for everything I couldn’t help/stop/ease, then a little bit for me too. The next day I pull on my big boy pants and put one foot in front of the other, because people have needs. – Brandon

Well I’m gonna be the one to admit I blow up hard sometimes. Then I apologize…pray, listen to music, sleep, just try to do anything that I can from home. – April

I cry and be angry and bitter ….I cant understand why how can it be this way I hurt deep inside everyday to watch my husband 68 progressed a lot last 3 yr ..I am scared I can see him fading I have fear of death …no where is help. – Marion

Have a complete meltdown. And then pray for strength and courage and apologize for my selfish behavior and put my big girl panties on and move forward. – Cyndee

Curse everyone in my path out because they’re probably the ones causing me the most angst. Learning to meditate so I won’t do that. Take a drive to the beach and watch the waves. – Deidra

I go outside. Smoke a cigarette. Cry, maybe scream a bit. Talk to myself. Take a deep breath and go back in. I don’t have any other options. – Donna

Pray, cry, pray and cry some more. Then I have a nice cup of tea and take a deep breath and go on. No other choice. – Bernadette

Sometimes I completely freak out. I am ashamed to say it but it happens. Mostly I try to just play my drums. It is so therapeutic. All the while praying through it. – William

I step back, sit down, BREATHE, have a cup o’ coffee, and think about others who have it worse than me, then move forward. – Dan

Things i shouldn’t, I’m afraid. Cry, yell, hit things. Then I apologize. But I see others do the same sort of things too. The frustration just really gets to you. – Carrie

Pray to God that he will help me find the answer and give me the strength to do what i have to do to care for my beautiful Mom.. 

Hang in until he goes to sleep then get a glass of wine and a good mystery and read while snuggling with my cat. – Michele

Bury it; stuff that emotion and keep trudging forward. No other choice – I can’t leave, and sometimes I can’t even pray because I’m so, so overwhelmed. – Lisa

Cry, meditate, talk to the angels & cry some more. Then I usually self medicate with pizza & chocolate. Call a trusted friend, take a walk. By then I’m breathing easier & making a plan. – Doreen

I go in my room or bathroom..and start to cry out to God..and gives the dilent trestment for day..after which am back to normal..chsts again..i don’t have a choice..i made vows when i married the man..lol – Marva

I curse and say very nasty things…when no one is around…but I try very hard not to because if my pup is with me, I don’t want her to think I am mad at her. – Robin

Written by Cori Carl
As Director, Cori is an active member of the community and regularly creates resources for people providing care.

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33 Comments

  1. I know someone who calls her mother. Happily able to solve an issue that was giving her anxiety attack this a.m.

    Reply
  2. A good friend reminds me often about the principles of inertia. A stalled state of mind sometimes needs an external force to get it moving again. When I’m feeling trapped and resentful, I talk to someone I trust, someone who doesn’t let me whine or vent, until I can take a step back for some perspective.

    Reply
  3. Step outside, no matter the weather. There’s always something beautiful outdoor if you pause & notice. It helps bring back some peace like the reset button of life. Day/night/cold/warm/sun/moon/rain/snow/wind/sky/birds.

    Reply
  4. I cry and call on God to take me….then, i drink

    Reply
  5. I go to the barn to pray and then come back and start all over.

    Reply
  6. I send myself to my room. In order to contain me from other people

    Reply
  7. Y’all at the brothers and sisters they don’t live there

    Reply
  8. I walk away after making sure she’s safe. Pop in the Bluetooth and listen to Buddhist chants. It’s hard to be upset listening to such peaceful words.

    Reply
  9. Take a couple of steps back and breath. We are all human and wits end happens…

    Reply
  10. You cant. Give up.

    Reply
  11. I dont know what to do.but prayer.

    Reply
  12. When I can take a break from those who put me there. You have to when you can.

    Reply
    • I so need one but can’t afford. I’m in knots

      Reply
  13. I just bury my emotions, because that’s the healthy thing to do lol

    Reply
  14. I see in the article comments a lot of screaming and crying. I do that to but it’s generally in the middle of the night when alarms go off and in my tired mind I can’t figure out what has disconnected or what is wrong. This year this ventilator is being discontinued. I sure hope I get LOTS of training on the new one unlike what crap training I got on this one.

    Reply
  15. I was lucky, had ” respite” available , my mum’s friends and our neighbours.

    Reply
  16. Eat or drink excessively

    I’m trying to change that this year and find more healthier ways of coping

    Reply
    • I do some of that too but what I hate is spending money. When I get down I buy fabric to cheer me up, now the house is bursting at the seams almost. I can never use up all of this even if I lived 50 more years. I had a neighbor who took care of her parents for over 10 years and spent money too, but on all kinds of things. Now even after her parents died she won’t let people into her house, it has a hoarding type of look to it. Wonder how many can relate.

      Reply
    • Lots of prayer, lots of Ebson Salts soaks n i usually Smoke a bowl….cali
      13 yrs both Alzheimer parents.

      Reply
  17. Be mindful of your emotions 12-23-17 I lost my husband. I was his 24/7/365 caregiver for 3yrs ✝️ I’m not ok w/o him. I’d rather have him back & gladly be at my “wits end” again!

    Reply
    • So sorry for your loss Regina .. my hubby passed away Oct 3rd and I’m not ok either
      Bless you

      Reply
    • Sorry for your losses. I think it’s different when it’s a spouse. It’s hard to not feel resentment when you are caring for a parent and get to miss things with your husband your kids even grandkids or in laws. Not that I wish people dead but I do wish for my freedom. I wasn’t this imprisoned when I was raising 8 kids.

      Reply
    • I have a sister that cared for our father and she missed out on so much. When it’s a family loved one, it’s very difficult. As a spousal caregiver I was also very isolated from all things other than hospital & doctor appointments!

      Reply

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