#my grandma has alzheimer’s so she can’t really make stuff for us anymore
I really just need to vent about family stuff. There will be mentions of social distancing and corona, fyi.
Disclaimer: I’m not a fucking idiot. I know my grandma is old and although she’s passed the tests for things like dementia and alzheimers she will likely end up getting it since it is common in my family. I know she can’t help how she acts the way she does sometimes... But I still have a right to feel upset and feel exhausted about living with her.
From mid march until now I’ve been self isolating / social distancing/ whatever you want to call it and it has been extremely difficult. Here are some things that have happened that have lead to me feeling stressed, frustrated, anxious & depressed.
Date: sometime in february. My older cat who is prone to accidents and is on meds has a few accidents in which he poops on the floor. My sister made a vet appointment for that monday and was visiting me up at my college on sunday/the day before the appointment. My sister told her this but because my grandma has memory issues she forgot this, and ended up CALLING my sister while she was visiting me and basically demanded we take our cat to the vet asap (and by our I mean my & my sister’s cat).
Date: sometime in march. I throw the cat poop in with the regular trash. I did this when I use to live with my mom and it was never an issue. It is apparently, a big issue for my grandma. She pulls my sister and I aside and in a serious voice says “I need to tell you something.” Fearing that our cat died while we were out on a walk, my sister and I anxiously listen to her. She proceeds to scold us about the trash. Trying to deescalate the situation I say “I haven’t been at your home in a while... I forgot. It’s my fault” She then interjects and says it is both my and my sister’s fault. On a related side note: She puts the cat pop with the regular trash she has by the garage so her logic of not mixing them inside makes no fucking sense to me.
Date: midmarch-ish. My sister went to visit her girlfriend. We had discussed it a bit before and although we didn’t all agree it was a good idea, we agreed that if my sister did a 14 quarantine after visiting her girlfriend it would be fine. My grandma starts to get second thoughts AFTER my sister already left and calls my aunt. My aunt then calls my sister saying that she can’t come back to my aunt’s house until this is all over. My aunt tells me about this as well - running across the lawn to ambush me with this news after I just got back from my walk. I confessed to her that I planned to help a friend return bottles for money and have that friend drive me to the store so I could get shopping (and get a break from my grandma but I kept the grandma bit to myself). My art proceeds to ramble about how that’s a bad idea and that if I interact with my friend I wouldn’t be let back into my grandma’s house since she is high risk.
Date: april-ish My cat has an accident at 1am. It’s late and since there are often wild animals around her house I don’t feel comfortable going outside that late/early. I put it in the regular trash and plan to take it out in the morning. Please note I couldn’t just bag it and leave it the bathroom or something because my cat chews on plastic - it had to be either outside or in a can and I chose can. The next morning, THE FIRST THING my grandma says to me when I walk out of my room is “I noticed the trash smelled this morning...” and gives me an expectant look. I confess/explain what I did and offer to take it out immediately. She responds with “I see. I already did it” or something similar to that.
Date: april-/early may-ish My cat has more accidents and has some blood with poop in it. His poop is EVERYWHERE. On the floor, on the bed, etc. I get him into the vet two days afterward. I take him to the vet, pay 200 JUST for the vet to be like /shrugs/ might be the food. I change his food and he seems to do better. I also change the format of his meds, switching from pills to liquid meds.
Today: He has a messy accident again today - in multiple spots. My grandma knows about it but doesn’t really say anything. Not long afterward, she comes in from getting the mail and waves at me to get my attention since I’m wearing headphones. She says “that’s the second or third accident he’s had and I can’t keep him here anymore. Your sister needs to take him or he needs to go to the vet or both.”
I call my sister and we admit a couple of things to ourselves. (1) Bringing our cat to live with our gram was a mistake. She’s not a huge cat fan and the fact he’s old and prone to accidents definitely doesn’t help. It also doesn’t help her house has ugly fucking carpet like everywhere. (2) Him being here at my grams house is not worth the trouble -- she seems to freak out over little things, especially if they are cat related. (3) my sister had to take him and he could really use to go the vet again. We plan to take him to a different vet because although my gram loves her vet, I personally think he’s a fucking idiot. Oh and (4) living with my grandma, especially when you can’t go anywhere else is a fucking nightmare.
Some other things my grandma does that makes my frustrated or uncomfortable:
She’s super nosy and when I’m on my computer asks me at least once a day what I’m doing, if I talk to someone on the phone she tends to ask who I talked to. Even when I have headphones on she somehow manages to guess when I’m talking to Ashleigh and gets all mopey when Ashleigh doesn’t call her... Like seriously grandma? You basically kicked her out of the house and you wonder why she doesn’t call you?? smh
I keep my dirty clothes in the bathroom because there’s nowhere else to put them. THERE ARE TWO BATHROOMS AND THERE IS NO REASON FOR HER TO GO INTO MINE. Yet, she always goes in there, looking in the bathroom a few times a week. On one hand it is nice for her to give towels but that’s not what she’s doing most of the time. Most of the time she’s doing my laundry for me. She folds everything -- EVEN UNDERWEAR. As someone who grew up with abusive parents that crossed boundaries a lot this makes me super comfortable but she doesn’t get it. Unless I LITERALLY hide my dirty clothes and wash them when she goes to the store she always does my clothes for me.
Establishing boundaries and talking about anything serious is impossible with her. Her short term memory is shit and she forgets like 99% of the conversations we have... Even when I put the effort in and have the same conversation over and over with her she STILL forgets or she misremembers part of the convo and makes the whole situation more complicated than it needs to be.
My gram is racist and transphobic and homophobic. She’s the kind of person to be like “I’m not homophobic” but then laugh at homophoic jokes or tell her friends my sister’s girlfriend is just a friend when the two of them are DATING. My grandma doesn’t know I’m trans and I tell her Avery is just a nickname. Because of all of this, SHE chooses when to call me Avery, calling me Avery to my face but when talking on the phone to her friends or talking to my aunt calls me by dead name. Sometimes she gets really confused and calls me my sister’s name. One day she called me three different names, only one of them right WITHIN THE SPAN OF ONE HOUR.
AND THE THING THAT BOTHERS ME THE MOST
Instead of telling me how she really feels about things such, as, lets say my cat, she says one thing to my face just to later blow up about it. Then when I get upset she gets mad that I get upset and makes me feel guilty for feeling the way I do/invalidates my emotions.
When the sister getting banned thing happened I went to my room and cried. My family life has sucked and my sister and I have always been together so not being able to see her for who knows how long it will take the pandemic to end hit me hard. My grandma comes into my room and says “I know you’re upset but I don’t want to die.” And then leaves. She has a habit of blowing up about things, invalidating my emotions and then running away by leaving the room or going for a drive. After doing this she then proceeds to act like nothing happened and that I shouldn’t be upset with her.
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Stream of consciousness
Thinking about marriage and my values. I read an argument on twitter about abortion this morning. There was a woman who is married, pregnant with a wanted child but a difficult pregnancy. She said it made her understand that no woman should be forced to undergo that against her will.
How is it possible that someone could think that?
I have migraines with auras. I can’t take combination birth control that mimics pregnancy because I would have a migraine for weeks on end. So, while I have not been pregnant, I do not really expect it to be the best time of my life. I still want children. I would never terminate a pregnancy if I could help it. I don’t think my comfort is the goal of life. I tried it. I would rather struggle and suffer and do something worth while than waste all my time chasing down comfort.
I feel like that is missing from society, the notion of suffering. We want to eradicate it at all costs. We must give people free stuff because they are poor; they are suffering.
We all make choices in life and while I believe in compassion, I don’t think hand-outs do the soul of a person good. I think that’s why people get stuck on welfare. People need opportunity and maybe guidance to make better decisions. Just giving someone something because they don’t have it doesn’t take into account whether or not they are responsible for having nothing.
I made choices when I was young that resulted in me being a bit delayed in self-sufficiency. Granted, I was never fully comfortable with the notion of being some career woman who made a bunch of money and lived in a big house alone. While I did desire to run my own business at one point, maybe I will in the future, I understood I would be in debt for a long time before succeeding at it. When I got married the notion of doing anything to put us into debt pushed that idea back.
But back to being young, I worked a dead-end job for years. I lived with my parents going to a junior college with no real aim and working this job. For years. Seven of them. It wasn’t until one of my teachers whom I had for four different classes finally noticed I wasn’t going away and pulled me aside and asked what my plans were. I realized I didn’t really have any. I wanted to be a worship leader, so I was taking music classes, but I hadn’t really thought of getting a degree. So, we looked at my transcript and found the first degree I could get. Music History.
I became a full-time student after years of taking two classes at a time, and realized that I didn’t want to study music. I love music. I love singing and I still plan on leading worship, but I have learned worship isn’t about musical skill. A good worship leader has a strong relationship with God, not a fancy degree. Plus, I hated those two years of grueling work to get that degree.
With music ruled out I then found myself without a path to follow. What would I do if I wasn’t studying music? I remembered being young and all the little businesses I tried to start and so I registered for some business classes. I love accounting. I fell in love with business. I wanted to study accounting, but I ended up really behind in an application and got rejected to the closest school with an accounting program so I looked at the other close university and picked the closest thing, management.
I have doubled my income from my dead-end job and I now have promotion options available to me if I say the word. But now I am married and hoping to start a family soon and I have zero desire to be working full time while trying to be a wife and mother. My boss does it and she is amazing, but she also lives with extended family and has a massive support network as well as a different mindset than I have.
As I look back on my life to this point, I have always wanted to be married. That has always been priority one. It took me 28 years to find my husband. Well, I met him when I was 17, but I was 26 before we began dating. But even when I discovered accounting and toyed with the idea of being a big wig accountant, I had a check in my heart. How would a family fit into that? Would I be okay with paying someone else to take care of my kids? Would I be okay with delaying it? Would my future husband be okay with that choice? Would I want to marry someone who was okay with that?
I think ultimately the accounting path was not truly what I wanted. I think I meandered through school because none of it was really what I wanted. I wanted a family. No one really expresses that as an option for women. We are supposed to pick a career path, no a life path. Would I have made different choices if I had thought of what I really wanted when I was young?
I think the one time I was on the right track with regards to school was in high school. I was looking around for schools with good English programs because I wanted to be a writer. Not really sure why I didn’t take that route. I guess I am glad I didn’t, I do like the skills I have acquired throughout the years, but sometimes I just wonder why I made that choice. Now that I think of it, I started the junior college meaning to study computer networking and then I learned that I would have to run wires and that sounded like no fun at all.
I think I started really seeking to be comfortable while I was caring for my grandmother. She had a heart attack and we discovered she had pretty advanced Alzheimer’s as well. We knew when we went to the hospital to see her that she could not live alone anymore. My sister was just newly divorced with a plethora of obstacles of her own to deal with. My parents both have pretty hefty health constraints, plus they have their own home that isn’t quite designed for an elderly person to live in. Grans house was specifically designed with convalescence in mind because of her husband who often used a wheelchair due to his health issues and experimental surgeries to correct it with no success. Given the fact that I was 26 and still living with the parents, plus I went to school where my grandmother lived, I was the perfect option.
When I moved in with my grandmother, I was terrified. The first night I remember getting there, gran was settled into the din on the couch where she loved to lay and I sat in the living room on the green chair and my dad started to head out. He gave me his friend’s number that lived around the corner so I would have someone closer than twenty-five minutes away. Then he left. I sat there thinking of the vest the hospital had given grandma which was supposed to shock her heart back into rhythm if it stopped. It felt like her life was in my hands and I wanted to cry thinking of how I hadn’t even taken care of myself on my own, now I had another person to care for.
I think I took to it fairly well. It was difficult to not be alone in the way that one is not alone when they live with someone with dementia. She was afraid and always needed to know where I was. I had to prepare all of the food, keep the house up, keep the bills paid (granted not with my money, its different doing that with your own money haha), keep gran clean and entertained. My sister would tell me it was like having a child and I would get so frustrated because I was watching her die not grow. She knew less at the end of each week. It was getting increasingly difficult, not better. The only reward was knowing that I got to show her that she was loved which is something I always wanted for my grandma. She lived as a widow for thirty years and I wanted her to know she was a treasure. I got to show her that.
But it was so hard. I experienced depression for the first time in those two years. It’s ridiculous how all day all I wanted to do was sleep and as soon as it was time to sleep, I would become incapable of it. I would be up until 2 or 3 in the morning watching Netflix, mostly because it was better than laying there thinking about everything. I wanted anything to make the weight of it lighter, the pain of it less. I was relieved when it was agreed in my family upon my engagement that I could not bring that stress into my new marriage (there is that instinct I had again, the marriage was priority and I needed to protect it). Gran was moved into a care home on the first day of the month my husband and I were married. For twenty days I had the house to myself with the exception of my family getting an estate sale together. The property is in a trust and it was agreed it would be best if my husband and I could move in and keep up the house rather than sell it or rent it to strangers.
So, then I was married. I had everything I wanted. It was amazing. Now I was running the house with my own money and it was so real. It was nice having the advantage of I knew this house; I knew these bills. It was nice. It was kind of too nice. I suddenly felt aimless again. What now? I even felt like a bad Christian. I struggled to read and pray. I still just wanted to be comfortable, I took no risks.
I think the struggle and my realization that I have a selfish streak, exacerbated by that period of depression, came when my husband began to mention his interest in going into law enforcement as well as our discussions of beginning a family. I slowly began to realize that I don’t get everything I want when I get everything I want. Supporting my husband as he goes through the academy is difficult. I work over thirty hours a week while keeping up the house and yard on my own as well as the meals. I don’t always want to, it isn’t always fun, it isn’t always appreciated as I wish it were, but its right. Its good. It’s working to get us through to when he gets his full job and we become able to support a family with me not working over thirty hours a week.
I got on this train of thought because of a pregnant woman saying women should get the option of abortion because pregnancy is uncomfortable. What good thing comes from comfort? There is a cost to everything. You can’t have everything for nothing. That isn’t how the world works. And looking back, it was that season of seeking comfort as my priority that was the least fulfilling of all of it. I am happier now that something has forced my own comfort to play second fiddle to something with some meat to it.
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(1) I don't know if you've struggled with this before but have you ever wondered how you could use your talents in a career that would help others and do God's work? I'm at a difficult point in my life right now. I think what I'm best at is languages. I was raised bilingual in Spanish and English, and majored in Asian Studies with a concentration in Japanese language. I mostly use the first two languages (Spanish with my family, and English because I live in the USA).
(2) My dream was to get a job after graduation where I’d be able to use Japanese since I was super passionate about it. Things didn’t go as planned because I don’t live in an area with many Japanese speakers. I tried looking into things like internships outside my state and country, but then… some bad things happened. First, I had to undergo surgery for a condition I didn’t even know I had. It was a very scary experience, and I feel like a lot of my emotional problems stem from it. (3) Then, my grandma was diagnosed with breast cancer, and had to undergo two surgeries. She also has severe Alzheimer’s and can’t do many things on her own. I’m her main caretaker since my parents can’t give up their jobs, and I don’t work, so my mom puts me in charge of her while my parents are at work. A lot of other difficult things happened. I don’t have friends because everyone moved on, got jobs elsewhere, got married, etc. while I’m just at home the majority of the time.(4) I get debilitating panic attacks, and there have been times when I’ve not wanted to live anymore because I feel so sad and useless. I feel like at one point, people had high hopes for me, and then I disappointed everyone. It’s been about four years since I took my last Japanese class. Even though my online friends come to me for help with translating things like manga dialogue or Jpop lyrics, I don’t know if my Japanese is even good enough to use for something like a real job anymore. (5) Also, some medications I was put on to keep my health under control make me light-headed as a side effect, so I sometimes feel slower and more brain-foggy than I was when I was taking classes. I’ve lost confidence in my learning abilities compared to how fast I would learn stuff before. I feel like I’ve been so stagnant these past few years. And it’s hard when I don’t have a support system of friends. I love God. I put a lot of faith in God, I pray every day, and I know He cares about me. (6, last message) But I still feel lost. I haven’t had luck with finding a job, even part-time jobs that have nothing to do with Japanese. It’s hard. It’s just tough convincing myself that I haven’t messed up, and that there still might be hope for me. I’m sorry if I’m bothering you but I was wondering if maybe you could give me suggestions on how I could possibly start fixing myself so that I can be of more use to God. Also, prayers for me and my family would be appreciated. Thank you so much. —Hi there,You aren’t bothering me! I apologize for taking so long to respond to this. First thing I want to address in this message is you say it’s hard convincing yourself that you haven’t messed up.. Why do you feel your career going differently than planned is a result of you messing up? You couldn’t help that there were not any job opportunities in your area and that you needed surgery that set you back in terms of looking for jobs.. Generally speaking, being unemployed and searching in the job market is a tough spot for anyone to be in, regardless of which career it is. The job market has been difficult for quite sometime now.. I remember when I was between jobs, it was hard to just get an interview and a chance to prove myself, so the idea of actually getting the job can feel very discouraging nowadays. This isn’t your fault.. people who are qualified for jobs have difficulty finding them simply because the job market is saturated and there is competition. A lot of times, people know someone on the inside who puts a good word in for them and that’s how they get their foot in the door. You shouldn’t feel like it’s your fault that it’s been difficult to find work. Honestly, find comfort in the fact that you are certainly not alone in this struggle. I have definitely struggled with wondering how God could use me for His work in the career I went to college for. Like I mentioned above, there was a period of time I was out of work because the job I had been promised for after graduation fell through due to budget cuts. During the period when I was between jobs, there was a long stretch of time where I wasn’t getting any interviews and I fell into a very negative mindset. I was feeling angry with myself and completely discouraged, wanting to give up on the career I worked so many years for. The enemy was really doing a number on me during that time and I kept telling myself, “This is useless, I don’t even understand how He could use a career in healthcare to spiritually help people. I wasted all those years in college on something I can’t even find a job for and won’t even help people spiritually and give me chances to do His work.” But in His timing (and there was a good period of waiting I had to do), He opened the right doors for me and once He did, things fell into place effortlessly. I saw clearer how every door I tried to force open in my own will didn’t open because He had a reason. He wanted me a certain place in the time He set for it, and the ones I was trying to push for in my own power weren’t it. And in hindsight, I realized He was protecting me - because I later found out one of the places I had been interviewed for and thought was a serious possibility was a really unhealthy work environment that I would have been very unhappy in. Instead, when He opened the doors, I ended up in work environment where I could truly flourish and learn. I have coworkers who are caring and teach me what they know and in turn, I teach the people who come after me what I learn. I’ve built my confidence and became more independent in my job, in ways I never thought were possible because I trusted Him to do the work in me where I was unsure and scared. I came to realize that you don’t have to work in a church to be able to do His work. It brings me joy to show my coworkers love and help them when they need it. I know how much it means to me when people help me when I’m overwhelmed by a large workload or am facing something that is confusing to me, so I’m more than happy to return that favor. I hope when I show them that care and love coming from my heart, that they can see Christ’s love in me. I’ve learned that you can show Christ’s love by being there for people when they feel comfortable enough to open up to you during a quiet moment at work about something going on in their personal lives. I show love for the patients I’m playing a role in helping during their time of medical need by treating them as I would my own family. And I wouldn’t have ever thought ahead of time that it was possible at work, but He has opened opportunities for me to witness for Christ by sharing His Word with a coworker I befriended who opened up to me about emotional pains and regrets he has been dealing with for many years. I’ve written down quite a bit of scripture for him and even got to give him a Bible. This experience taught me that He has work for us in any setting, even settings we may think are the least likely.I understand that there are many factors that pose challenges for you in your situation, but always remember that all things are possible with Christ. Your mom has likely put you in charge of taking care of your grandmother since you are still out of work, but I am guessing that if you were to find a job, she would work with you to make arrangements so that you can start putting your career in motion? If you are concerned about your grandmother having proper care when you find a job, I would suggest to definitely talk with your mom about this. Regarding the panic attacks, I can only imagine how upsetting that must be to deal with, but it doesn’t mean you won’t be able to find and hold a job.. same applies to your loss of confidence in learning abilities. It’s very easy to be fearful that you can’t do it when you haven’t done something for a long time. I’ve been there, I know that scary feeling. But once you get into the routine of a new job, you will see it’s not as frightening as you think it is. Your confidence will grow with each passing day as you see yourself doing what you thought was impossible. Find peace in the fact that panic attacks and lack of confidence are not too big for our God to handle. Trust that He can and will carry you through this!I hope reading about my experience encourages you with the truth that God can and will provide opportunities at your future job for you to do His work.. even while you are waiting to find a job, you are still doing His work by taking care of your grandmother. Taking care of a sick person is something that requires a lot of dedication, love, and sacrifice. It’s not an easy job and is definitely not something that everyone is cut out for. It’s honestly very admirable that you are able to do this! So don’t lose sight of that.I will pray for you and your family.. Don’t lose hope and seek Him for guidance as to what steps you should take next. I hope this has been helpful to you and if there’s anything else you want to talk about, please feel free to message me!
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