Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Lamictal Day 24: Sleep, Exercise, Stress, and Family

I was able to get a decent night's sleep last night.  There are two things that I think contributed to this: I went running, and my husband went to bed around 11:00 instead of falling asleep with his head on my lap while watching TV. Actually, make that three things -- I drank about three cups of Traditional Medicinals' "Easy Now" herbal tea.

Since I had exercised and meditated like a good girl, I felt relaxed throughout the afternoon and evening, and even tired by 11.  I went to bed just after my husband did, and even though I read for awhile (which is bad sleep hygiene) I felt sleepy by 11:45.  Since I'd drunk all that tea, I had to get up and pee a few times; the last such time was 12:20.  Then I fell asleep.  I woke briefly around 8, and then was up for good when my alarm went off.  Waking up went pretty easily.

Today I'm feeling some situational stress.  My grandmother, who is 85, can no longer live alone.  Grandma understands this.  The drama stems from my aunt's response to this situation, which was to buy a house, using money borrowed from Grandma, where she and her husband and my grandmother can live together.  My aunt failed to consult my father or my uncle before doing this.  My father had carefully managed these assets to enable my grandmother to be able to afford a decent assisted living facility, should she need one.

Don't get me wrong.  We'd all prefer that Grandma receive care from a family member.  But my aunt and uncle both work full time.  They can meet her needs now, but what if that changes?

Meanwhile, my father reports that the place my aunt and uncle bought is a fixer-upper, and they'll be putting in a bathroom somewhere next to Grandma's bedroom.  Grandma told me that it had some sort of "mother-in-law" set-up so she'd "have her own space".  She hasn't seen it yet, by the way.

My father is catastrophizing, of course, imagining and losing sleep over every worst-case scenario that could possibly be played out.  He's busy trying to minimize the damage to my grandmother's assets.  And trying to fix her house before it gets put on the market.  And, according to my grandmother, not bothering to stop for lunch while doing cement work out in the hot sun all day.

No, I did not learn my hard-won self-care skills from Dad.

My biggest concern is that my grandmother is not getting what she wants.  She knows she needs to give up living on her own, but at the same time she told me that she hates the thought of it.  Who wouldn't?  She's lived in that house for more than thirty years.  Then, whenever I've discussed this with her before, she's talked about moving into a facility in town where several friends of hers live.  She's been active and very independent until very recently, with much more of a social life than I have.  What will happen when she moves several hours away?  How might her cognitive and emotional functioning suffer when she's removed from her familiar surroundings, let alone her social network?

The situation is complicated by the fact that my aunt lives within a few hours of Grandma.  She sees my grandmother once a week most weeks, and knows the most about her going situation.  My father, who took charge of managing my grandparents' assets, lives halfway across the country, as does my uncle (only at extreme northern and southern ends of it).  My uncle, at least, has told my father he doesn't think the financial situation will turn out that badly.  Given Dad's ability to assume the worst (and assume moral responsibility for trying to prevent it from happening) I want to give my uncle's opinion some credit.

Me, I live clear on the other coast.  I talk to my grandmother at least once a month, but I haven't seen her since my grandfather's funeral (something I need to change, once this whole mess gets settled).  I feel like I can do so little about this.

So, there's my daily dose of stress.  We'll see if there's enough running in the world to burn it off.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, you've explained the situation very well, and I can see why you're stressed. It sounds like you have a lot of empathy. I think that people with bipolar disorder or other mood disorders are often hyper sensitive to other people's emotions. This sensitivity can be helpful, but also wrecks havoc on the moods.


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