Being in the Sandwich Generation

I feel like I'm stuck between my mother who is only 56 but in very poor health, and my grandchild who is just turning a year old. I myself suffer from fybromyalgia, Osteoarthritis of the lower spine. Severe depression and anxiety, as well as post traumatic stress syndrome, and have filed for my own disability, yet I feel like my daughter dumps the baby on me 90% of the time, she's just doesn't have the maternal instinct, and now my mother is bed bound due to her rheumatoid arthritis, diabetic neropathy, and mental problems, When do we get a break, and how?

Bridgette in Georgia, 38

You are truly a member of the “sandwich generation.”  You are a caregiver on many fronts. Under these circumstances, you must take care of yourself first, or else every other person who needs you will go without your invaluable support.  As the stewardess says before takeoff on every flight, "If the oxygen mask comes down, put it on yourself first, and then take care of who you are with such as a child, an elder, or someone else who needs assistance."

Caregivers often forget how vital it is to take good care of their own physical, mental, and emotional well being.  This goes beyond eating well and getting exercise and rest.  You need to figure out what gives you strength, what gives you support, and what gives you a sense of wellbeing.  You must make sure that your personal well does not run dry.

Also be aware that most physical or mental ailments have public support groups that are usually free to attend.  So I suggest you write, call, or search online for organization that fits your particular needs in your community.

Most sincerely,

Doctor Marion

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