Help for Caregivers Who Can See No Way Out

I almost didn’t see the tiny insert in the newspaper, but my eyes immediately stopped on the heading, “Ohio Woman Kills Daughter, Self.” Something told me why, and as I read further, it was confirmed.

“Authorities say two people are dead in southwestern Ohio after a woman shot and killed her adult daughter and then killed herself… the bodies of the 54-year-old mother and her 24-year-old developmentally disabled daughter were found . . . Police said the mother left a note saying life was too difficult . . .” (The Canton Repository, 3/12/16, bold is mine.)

Of particular interest to me is the despair and hopelessness that results when a caregiver is overwhelmed. I have had that feeling more than once. It can happen with postpartum depression, raising a DD child, or with elder-care. It is vital that you share with someone how you are feeling!

My focus is naturally more on the despair brought about by being over-worked, overly-tired, and under-supported when caring for a developmentally disabled child, because of Lilly, and my work with her. (Chasing Lilly, on Amazon)

If you are in this situation,

  1. You have to tell someone how you are feeling! If they don’t take you seriously, tell someone else.
  2. If you have nobody to talk to, callĀ  a crisis hotline. They are trained to offer advice and resource options. Call as often as you need. There’s nothing worse than finding out that something that could have helped you was in place, but you never knew it. Look that number up today and post it nearby.
  3. Start by contacting your county DD board. Contact your SSA worker. (SSA =Service & Support Administration) Go to the county web site and get names and numbers that might help. Make the calls.
  4. Contact your state Department of Developmental Services, (or similar title). This agency has a Deputy Director, and the websites will give contact information. You may qualify for help that you didn’t know was there. These people know how to help, if all else fails at the local level.
  5. Be frank. Don’t skirt the issues because you are embarrassed about your inability to cope. Many people suffer in silence, and then we read an news article like the one above.
  6. Leave a paper trail. Document your calls for help, any emails sent, etc. Use these when you are contacting people so they will see the seriousness of your situation, and the potential liability that might result should you send out call after call for help with no action resulting.
  7. Find a support group. Even if you cannot leave the house for now, find a support group and ask for phone contact with some members who are willing to reach out to you until something is in place where you can go to a meeting. (If you parent RAD kids, I highly recommend BETA: Beyond Trauma and Attachment, because they have a Facebook family that offers encouragement, as well as retreats.)
  8. Take care of yourself. Easier said than done, you say, and you are right. This can look like a shower, a salad, or a call to that crisis hotline. Do something to counter the downward spiral. Hang in there -Nealie <3