Monday, October 14, 2013

Am I Mentally Ill?


I am hanging in there with the challenge from The Nester's. Follow all of my posts about Practicing Patience here.

Do you know some of the signs and symptoms of major mental illness?

  • sadness
  • anxiety
  • guilt
  • mood swings
  • self-criticism
  • self-blaming
  • crying spells
  • chronic fatigue
  • lack of energy
  • sleeping too much or too little

And all of these are also the symptoms that a full-time caregiver has. And they are all normal. Why wouldn't I be sad? I am watching the man whom I have loved for more than 30 years waste away before my eyes. And THAT causes me anxiety. I feel guilty because I am IMPATIENT with him. I criticize myself and blame myself all the time. And let's not even get started talking about the crying spells. I NEVER take a shower without crying. Cause that is a good place to cry; where I am uninterrupted. Where no one wants to know 'what is wrong?' I am tired all the time. I have no energy or any desire to do the things that I used to do. I can't clean house like I used to. Although, I do think that because of Richard's illness I cook more than I ever have. And if I am NOT sleeping, I am thinking about sleeping. I nap when I can and as often as I can. When he sleeps (which isn't much) I sleep.

So, no, I am not mentally ill. Yet anyway. But I am a caregiver. And I am practicing patience!


  1. I want to give you a hug, now, Paula!!!

    1. And I would give one right back to you....Life is just hard sometimes, isn't it?

  2. I find that a little scary if those are symptoms of a mental illness. They all sound like me...

    I send you many happy thoughts!!!

    1. Kind of makes me want to believe we are all a bit mentally ill :)

  3. I suffered many of the same feelings you describe as my uncle died slowly, painfully, of Parkinson's. The disease made him selfish, demanding, helpless and obscured the magic that inspired me to love him so. Then I felt terrible guilt in my frustration, because during his lifetime he had brought me so much. My best friend -- a very wise man -- told me that THIS is why professional healthcare workers are so important. They are trained to handle the difficult behavior and even abuse disease can cause those we love (and who love us) to toss in our direction. They also didn't know the patient "when." They are only concerned with the patient before them They weren't around when my uncle was a downhill skier, a marathon runner and a gifted mimic, so the toll the disease took didn't weigh on them at all.

    You can't expect yourself to perform your functions with that same objectivity. You are dooming yourself to disappointment. You love him and you are doing the best you can, frustrations and all. I am confident your husband is better for it. I hope in your quiet moments you can take comfort in that.

    1. You couldn't be more right, Gal. This disease robs us of the person that you once knew and loved. I am a 'professional healthcare worker' I am an RN. But it is so different that when I was taking care of patients at the hospital. Then I got to go home after 8 hours. And now I have him to care for 24/7. We do have Hospice come but that really does not take the full burden off those of us who live with him. They come and then they go. I do not want to think that I am dooming myself to disappointment. Rather I would like to think that I am in some small way giving back to him for the years that he took care of me. Thanks for your insight!

  4. I am sure you often feel like you are losing your mind. I'm thinking about ya.


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