Sleeping my life away

New here, I have been in bed for two days. I know my depression is situational as I am ok out of the house. My 82 year old husband has Alzheimer's, his cancer has returned, he has a pacemaker, is deaf, one new hip etc. the future is not looking good. We have a 13 year age gap. The kids are gone and I had a lumpectomy for breast cancer 8 years ago, so fingers crossed on that...I have been a singer and teacher most of my life and am struggling to find the energy to keep this passion going. I have stopped teaching at home as my husband's constant confused presence makes it too stressful. I manage to get out for rehearsals and concerts but am not practising as I used to and my singing voice suffers. As I am someone who usually enjoys life so much, I am berating myself for letting this situation overcome me. people say I need more help but my husband gets a bit paranoid and can accuse them of things, also although very sociable when out, I love my own company and am very private. I have stopped taking meds apart from a sleeping pill as want to enjoy things like walking, art etc and not feel a bit switched off. I have a caravan in the country but worry about my husband now if I go to it. He used to play golf a lot. Now I am NEVER alone! I know it is up to me to get going, but I feel so fatigued, I climb back into bed to escape the thought of our endless medical appointments and the bleak future.

I was so happy, my life was like a bracelet of diamonds. Now it is a bracelet of rocks. No, when I go away for the day into our beautiful countryside, that is a diamond day. I studied art too as a young girl and want to paint, my life could soon be over and I will have no paintings to show this love! Everything changes but I must find some inner resources to get through this. Two things would help, more time alone and the on/off presence of a family member, but even another person in the house can feel too much, so I go round in circles....

5 Replies

  • Hi Holly, welcome to the community. You seem like an incredibly strong person to have survived what you are going through.

    Do you live in the UK? Are you getting the correct level of support for both yourself and your husband?

    What do you mean when you say your kids are gone?

    I think it is totally understandable that your current situation is getting on top of you. You have clearly been through a lot. I hope this doesn't come across as insulting or ignorant, so please forgive me if it does. Have you heard of Smule? It's an app on iPads and other tablets/phones that is like karaoke. You sing with other people. I am not a great vocalist by any stretch of the imagination, but music distracts me, and when I sing I am forced to concentrate. You could do that on a daily basis to keep your vocal chords in check. Plus it's nice when people comment and say they enjoy listening to you.

    I agree with those that you have spoken to about this, I think you do need help, and I also think there is nothing wrong with that. Although my circumstances are very different I refused to seek help for a very long time. I wonder know if I had had help before would I be in the situation I'm in now? Sharing my problems with specialists and strangers alike has been invaluable. It has also helped me to open up to my loved ones and figure out how to have conversations that I never thought I would be capable of.

    If you are in the UK, specifically England (based on my own knowledge in England) I know there is a wealth of support for you. I understand that your husband may be a bit paranoid-that can happen, but you need to think about how best to look after him and yourself. If you aren't well how are you supposed to help him?

    Did you stop taking meds on the advice of your GP? I used to take anti depressants that zoned me out, but the ones I'm on now don't do that. They frustrate me a bit as they seem to stop me from falling lower than a certain threshold, I can feel the lowness but I can't experience it. I don't even know if that makes sense. I'm trying to sy, in a very long winded way, that you might have other options.

    It sounds like you've struck on the solution, why don't you ask a family member to be around the house with your husband while you go out. Take a painting class once a week and have someone come and help.


  • Hello Holly. You seem like such a positive person who knows how to get the best out of life and enjoy such a variety of things. Your situation is without a doubt making that positivity hard and I can see why. Living with dementia is incredibly wearing never mind the other health problems. You mention getting away sometimes to get your much needed privacy and peace. I'd guess that is essential for you and allows you to charge mental, emotional and physical batteries. I don't know who keeps an eye on your husband whilst you are away but is it possible to increase that support ?

    Are you getting support from other services ? You don't sound like the kind of person that would be unaware of what you could be entitled to but have you spoken to your GP about the difficulties you face and how it is having a very negative effect on your mood ? You should be entitled to respite care even for as long as a week but certainly on a regular basis. It will depend on the services available where you are.

    There are support groups for carers. I know you said you need private time but a carers group could point you to the help that is around.

    I think it's very important that your own health, physical and mental doesn't suffer in this rather miserable situation so that you can retain the joys in life you have. Many people don't have the ability to take pleasure in the things that feed the ' soul' like music and art. Try to enjoy a bit of those pleasures every day even for a short while.

    There are others here that will be able to offer better advice and the best I can do is to say welcome to this forum. You sound such an interesting and strong person. Just try not to let those characteristics become swamped. I hope you will keep posting.

    Best of luck


  • Don't worry, you are being very useful and noble in caring for your husband which my core values say is absolutely the right thing to do.Inevitably this will restrict you temporarily but the nature of your husbands illness means it will not last for ever.

    In the meantime take every opportunity you can to pursue your interests and try to arrange a carer occasionally to give you some temporary respite from continual caring. If you search hard with your thinking cap on you'll probably find ways to get a lot of satisfaction from caring for your husband.

    Assuming you are only 69 you will have many years ,given reasonable luck to enjoy your own passions.


  • I know this may sound cruel at first but maybe it would be better if you could put your husband into a good home with like people.At the moment it is as if 2 people are losing out on life.You need to be able to have the life that makes you happy & keeps you going.Visit him as often as you feel up to it,but please keep yourself happy!!!

  • Thank you, I don't feel my husband has reached the stage when he should go into a home and as his cancer has returned in several places, I want him to enjoy pottering around the garden which he loves for as long as possible. However, I do know there may be a time when this might change.

    For myself, I have been on day trips in the nice weather and they have cheered me up. It's so strange to reach a point in life when your own home is the place you desperately want to escape from!

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