Friday, 30 November 2007

a bit more about me

Anyone who has checked out the excellent blog "Alzheimer's Moments" will understand why I feel so guilty. Here's a man who has crossed a continent to go and live with his Mom and support her himself rather than see her institutionalised. His tone is usually one of gentle amusement, fascination or wistful sadness where mine is usually one of gloom, despair or sheer terror. I respect and admire the Author and I find his posts to be 'chicken soup for the soul' (well, I'm vegetarian, so probably more like 'leek and potato'.... except that I don't like soup either..... hmmm).

Anyway, once again I'm feeling the need to expose a bit more of my personal circumstances in mitigation for my being such a poor excuse for a Son. This is not meant to exonerate me, but I hope it will help the reader understand where I'm coming from, and where some of my decisions originate.

I've referred to a new job role recently. The fact is that I've been away from work for the past 5-and-a-half years after a breakdown and consequent Chronic Fatigue problems. I have suffered on-and-off from Depression since probably 1992 (it was first diagnosed in '95) but it was a condition managed by medication until a work crisis broke me in 2002. At that time I spent 18-20 hours per day asleep and I couldn't hope to manage my own affairs. My brain is still scrambled, and I'm sure some of my decisions may strike those around me as odd. I still struggle to cope with my own day-to-day problems, and find dealing with Mum's often overwhelming (as is no doubt obvious).

My company kept me on their books on a very low retainer all this time until last month, when I was given an ultimatum to return to work or face state benefits. It couldn't have come at a worse time given that this was precisely when Mum's condition took a steep downward turn. Just when I need time to spend time with her, investigate Care Homes or come up with an alternative solution, I'm chained to a desk trying to re-integrate with a company that outwardly talks about flexibility but is actually intractable.

It was pointed out to me this afternoon that the company might think that I've invented this whole situation with Mum to excuse further absenteeism. The idea is profoundly shocking, but it could explain some of the feedback I've been getting. I just don't think that way myself, so I'm reeling right now. It might be a good idea for me to gather some documentation together just in case I need to present proof to them.


Dee said...

Sorry about your difficulties -- I have suffered from depression also and I've read that people w/ depression are more prone to AD. Scares me big time. Have you ever tried extra B vitamins or read up about their effects? They have helped me tremendously. Just an idea. Remember that you're not any help to your mom if you neglect your own health. D

Greg said...

Thanks Dee. I didn't know about the link between Depression and AD - yes, that IS scary but I'd rather know in advance. I was kind of hoping that being an adopted Son got me out of the whole genetic inheritance thing, but maybe I've got reason to worry, too. I tell myself that I've got so much going on in my head that it'll never happen to me, but then I remember the movie "Iris" and realise that even a passionate cerebral writer can succumb. Thanks for the B vitamin tip. I do try to eat well (veggie) and take supplements, but as you've suffered from Depression, you'll no doubt know how hard it is to concentrate on your nutrition when the whole world seems to be coming at you double speed and you're fighting fires all the time. This blog helps me organise my thoughts about Mum, and the suggestions are a tremendous bonus. Thanks again. Greg

LSL said...

Hey there, thanks for sharing a bit more. I have a family FULL of chaos and drama and have had to learn, through years of Al-Anon, to take care of myself first. I still neglect myself and run after the latest drama at times, but I really try to go by the old saying about not being able to give when you're empty. It's so hard, isn't it? Huge kudos to you for just trying to move forward. We're here.

Greg said...

Thanks. I'm glad there are people out there to remind me of that and to be there - it's really helpful. I'll have lots more news soon. I've got Mum here staying with me and it's a 24/7 thing looking after her, so finding time to organise my thoughts is hard. G