Over the next few minutes I will share with you how my experience as a caregiver has effected me. I am going to share this with you in a way that makes it easier for me. I ask that if you notice yourself thinking “I don’t believe her”, “She is really controlling” “its her fault her son is ill” “ with a mother like that what do you expect” ,“her story is nothing like mine” or “OMG I feel so sorry for her” Notice them and let them go. At least for now. How many of you are also Caregivers? AKA friends and family. By a show of hands? Okay some of what I share may be familiar, some may not. I am a mother of 3 now young adults, step mother of 3 young adults and grandmother of two. I am single. I am in a caregiver relationship with my middle child.
A couple of weeks ago. Its 9:15 in the evening a couple of weeks. I am sitting on the couch enjoying a little TV. I receive a text from my 24 year old son “I am coming home with a kitten tell you about it when I get back” The kitten that was almost run down by a mower. He found a blanket and bought it cat milk and cuddled with it most of the night. Fed it with an eyedropper and then delivered it to the Humane Society. Although sad, he assured me it was “the right thing to do” In the last month. He has found a homeless woman a place to stay, helped out friends, given money to those less fortunate on the street and parted with cigarettes. This is my son on a good day. On a not so great day, I might be in the presence of some of the following characters --
An illness depicted as a monster in drawing by Toby Allen. that to date there is no blood test for and now just able to see in some brain scans. Most often this shows up as nonsensical sentences or ideas. Or challenges with executive function or processing new information.
This may show up as panic attacks or aggressive behaviour, pacing increased agitation Or this could fuel
He consider everyone to be an enemy including me. or
He could say life is pointless, I would be better off without him. Or
He could be desperate for money to get high or for alcohol because this monster gives him some relief from the rest. This was the first recognized by others and perhaps the most difficult because it gives him some relief. For me they all take him away
Sometimes its hard for me to remember that This is my son.
The things that contribute to my feeling alone. Many deaths the process of grief with out end. Losing hope Loss of friends family and work Loss of meaning – as a mom raise my children to be independent and able to survive without me. Shame, guilt and blame - family legacy Self stigma- everyone sees that its my fault he is like this Excluded from the treatment or assessment team- feeling helpless Privacy issues
Unpredictable behaviour Challenging situations Facing aggressive or irrational behaviours Risk of suicide or overdose or arrest etc Facing Challenging decisions Not being believed Results in trying to control ----
One day a few years ago, I am standing in my kitchen having a heated debate with my son over money. I am his trustee for his ODSP (at his request except when he his highly agitated) He is frustrated and gives me a solid verbal poke at one of my buttons. He uses the C word. I go from 0 to almost explode and excuse myself before it gets really bad. Don’t need to provide a feeding frenzy for his monsters. It takes me a day or so to come up with the word as an acronym.. Caring Understanding, Nurturing, darn Tit and it was time for him to get off. I thought it was funny and the he would appreciate it. So I let him know you when you called me a C the other day I know what you really meant to tell me was that I am a Caring Understanding Nurturing Tit and it is time you got off it. With out a moment of pause he responded no that is not what it means. It means Can’t Understand Normal Thinking.
Failing to find what my son needs to help him deal with his monsters Failing to have people see him, not the monsters Watching him suffer Feeling helpless Losing hope Out of balance with the rest of life Waiting for the next crisis Afraid to turn off your phone or take a vacation Finances Police involvement No end in sight More knowledgeable, letting go, Serenetity prayer and really learning to see His monsters I manage my reactions to much better Hoping to change are family legacy for my grand daughter so she might have the opportunity for a more compassionate view of Her monsters should she inherit any.
Effects (of a mental illness) on Caregivers
Effects on CaregiversEffects on Caregivers
Catherine CoreyCatherine Corey
My storyMy story
3 major effects3 major effects
Family support groupsFamily support groups
Peer supportPeer support
One More ThingOne More Thing
From Rollercoaster to RecoveryFrom Rollercoaster to Recovery
FAC and the AMHNCFAC and the AMHNC
New SkillsNew Skills
De-escalation techniquesDe-escalation techniques
Mental health first aidMental health first aid
Motivational InterviewingMotivational Interviewing