I Had an Anxiety Attack!

United States
November 4, 2017 7:14am CST
Yesterday was a trying day with my client that has Alzheimer's. She was very confused. Repeated herself the entire time I was there. I can usually shut if off, but yesterday was different. She was becoming verbally abusive with her words. Barking at me, mumbling to herself, occasionally yelling at me. Wanted to go home with me. Told her that I lived with my husband and granddaughter and she couldn't come with me. Two minutes later, she repeated the same statement. She does a lot of sorting of her objects. Clothes, food, cookware, etc. Yesterday we sorted a puzzle that she combined two into one. The puzzle pieces were different sizes so it was an easy one to sort. I put it away and told her where it was before I left. She yelled at me to tell her where it was again. I told her and headed to my car. She opened the door and yelled at me again as I was shutting the door to my car. By this time my heart was racing, my breathing quickened. I was having an anxiety attack. I often have them when I am at this client's house and after I leave. I have to take time to calm myself down. Lately it is becoming a difficult task to do. Maybe I shouldn't do this work anymore. I am beginning to wonder if I need to walk away from it and find something new. I cannot take the stress. The problem is, we need the income to pay bills. Can't do a part-time job at this time or I would consider that. How would you handle such a situation?
34 people like this
37 responses
@LadyDuck (122260)
• Switzerland
4 Nov
YES, you need to find something new. It seems to me that you have reached a point you cannot continue to take care of those people. They can be abusive and rude.
7 people like this
@marlina (62314)
• Canada
4 Nov
I agree with Anna here. Time to quit that stressful environment and look for something calmer.
5 people like this
@LadyDuck (122260)
• Switzerland
4 Nov
@marlina I see that my mother, aging, has become more aggressive. I call her every day and some days she gives me anxiety attacks.
2 people like this
• United States
4 Nov
My mother has Alzheimer's too and it is sometimes hard to see her in the state she is in.
3 people like this
@Platespinner (18536)
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
4 Nov
If I were you, I would be inclined to look for another job. Unfortunately, that is easier said than done. But, I think the stress could cause health problems for you in the long run....
6 people like this
• United States
4 Nov
I am very concerned about the stress levels I am experiencing. I'll have to start looking soon.
3 people like this
@Happy2BeMe (69842)
• Canada
4 Nov
That sounds extremely stressful. I would not be able to do it at all. Are you able to get another client. Sounds like she should be in a nursing home and not living alone with you going in, I know how you feel about needing to work to pay the bills. If I could afford it I would look for another job too because I find since I went back to work I find it harder to handle the stress and attitudes.
3 people like this
• United States
4 Nov
I have to talk to my supervisor and explain what happened and that it happens too often. If they don't change my schedule, I will have no other choice but to start looking for something else. Sadly I was hoping that this would be the job to lead me into retirement. Doubtful that will happen. I am sorry to hear that you are also having stress at work. You do not need it either having just been through all you have dealt with.
2 people like this
@Happy2BeMe (69842)
• Canada
4 Nov
@ElusiveButterfly sorry to hear that. I know it. I have been there 30 years. When I got back they were good for a day or two and then my boss starting pile on extra work. He may have offered to pay for the dress for my daughter's wedding but he is going to make sure he gets the extra work out of me to pay for it. I would rather buy the dress myself and not feel that I owe him anything.
2 people like this
• United States
5 Nov
@Happy2BeMe say something to him about the fact that he is piling on the work. Yes, you are back to work, but holy heck, he shouldn't be laying extra on ya so soon.
2 people like this
@koopharper (6318)
• Canada
4 Nov
Anxiety attacks are not a good sign. If the situation is getting progressively worse you may have to leave the job or the client for your own well being. I walked off a job in the middle of a shift after two years because of constant stress from management. It hurt us financially at the time but the situation was hurting me mentally worse. I should have left a lot sooner than I did.
2 people like this
• United States
5 Nov
I have told her that I was leaving if she didn't calm down and stop yelling at me. She stopped for a few minutes and then started back up again. Alzheimer's disease is horrible and it can cause a person to have terrible mood swings and memory lapses. I understand that. However, I just can't tolerate it anymore. My husband understands how stressed I am to an extent. However, I know he wouldn't know what to say if I were to walk out at the drop of a hand. I will give my notice before I leave them high and dry.
1 person likes this
• Canada
5 Nov
@ElusiveButterfly My situation was different. It was a problem with the employer themselves and they had a reputation and no excuse for their behaviour. I believe they were fined by the provincial labour board. That didn't do me any good outside of the fact that I was awarded Employment Insurance without any argument.
1 person likes this
• United States
5 Nov
@koopharper I am sure that I wouldn't be given any benefits if I were just to walk out. Even though it is a rough job and this company has been known not to have high expectations of their employees, they somehow stay in the playing field without penalties.
1 person likes this
@BarBaraPrz (17542)
• St. Catharines, Ontario
4 Nov
You are providing a valuable service, allowing aging citizens to remain in their own home instead of being institutionalized. But it seems to me that this woman is deteriorating enough to be taken out of her home. Do you interact with any relatives she may have? Perhaps you can mention to them that she needs more care than just the few hours you spend with her. You have other clients, correct? They're not all like this, are they?
2 people like this
• United States
4 Nov
I am going to talk to her case manager. I feel she is unsafe being alone because of her memory issues. She will one day injure herself to the point where she needs to be hospitalized. I have tried to reason with her relatives to no avail. They are not thinking clearly.
1 person likes this
@BarBaraPrz (17542)
• St. Catharines, Ontario
4 Nov
@ElusiveButterfly My friend's mother is in the early stages, and the other kids were in denial until my friend finally got throught to them about the seriousness of the situation. They seem to be up to speed now, but the mother is still living on her own, without any "official help". My friend does all she can for her even though mom verbally abuses her, and the other kids put her down, too. It's not a healthy family.
2 people like this
• United States
4 Nov
@BarBaraPrz I have heard them laugh and make jokes about her problem. That really agitates me. My mother is in the middle stages. She is in a nursing home and they provide not the best care for her. Of course they are short staffed, but I feel they can do better.
1 person likes this
@AmbiePam (46220)
• United States
4 Nov
Is it possible to simply not see that particular client anymore? If you can just quit seeing her your stress may be dramatically changed. If not, then yes, it's probably a good idea to try to find something else. I know that is easier said than done though.
2 people like this
• United States
4 Nov
I will have to start by speaking with my supervisor and then see if there is any other client I can see in her place. I see this client for 16 hours every week. There is only one day out of the week that I do not see her.
1 person likes this
@AmbiePam (46220)
• United States
4 Nov
@ElusiveButterfly Oh man. I hope your supervisor listens. I mean surely she realizes striking that lady from your schedule is better than losing you altogether.
1 person likes this
• United States
4 Nov
@AmbiePam she will probably suggest I take a leave of absence. Perhaps that is a good idea at this point in the game. The only problem is that I can't afford to do so. I have bills to pay. My husband has a job, but we need two incomes to survive.
1 person likes this
• Jacksonville, Florida
4 Nov
It sounds like a high stress level environment. I would have to mentally prepare myself and pray a lot before walking into her house.
2 people like this
• United States
4 Nov
I have one patient before her and one after her. Sometimes I can meditate a little before I go there. Even so, I am don't know what she will present for me on any given day.
2 people like this
@GardenGerty (91105)
• Marion, Kansas
6 Nov
@ElusiveButterfly The anxiety of not knowing can be a real killer.
1 person likes this
• United States
6 Nov
@GardenGerty I am a bit on edge this morning with the thought I have to go there today. Not sure how I am going to handle it.
@Susan2015 (18696)
• United States
5 Nov
I'm sorry that happened to you and it sure does sound very stressful. Maybe it's time for a different job. All that stress is not good.
2 people like this
• United States
5 Nov
I need some calmer seas in my life. Having experienced my fair share of stress over the years, I think I have earned the right to calm.
2 people like this
@Susan2015 (18696)
• United States
5 Nov
@ElusiveButterfly Yes you have.
2 people like this
• United States
19 Nov
@ElusiveButterfly Do you work for an agency? maybe they can give you respite from this client?
2 people like this
• United States
20 Nov
I do work for an agency. However, we are short-staffed lately and they wouldn't be able to find someone to cover her. I am learning to use other methods to keep her from snapping at me. I try to get her mind off things that cause her worry.
1 person likes this
@Corbin5 (81769)
• United States
4 Nov
Well, I would stick with it while looking for another job that pays about the same. It seems that this client is the problem, and just remaining cool, calm and matter of fact with her with no emotion at all would help keep the anxiety tasks to a minimum. When there is a problem with my elderly dad, I deal with everyone I need to in a robotic fashion and have no affect whatsoever to protect myself. I also give only one word responses, "Yes, No, Perhaps,Fine, OK, etc."
2 people like this
• United States
4 Nov
That is how I deal with her repeating behaviors. It is when she gets angry and starts yelling at me that I get a little unnerved. I try not to let it bother me and keep myself busy with tasks around the house. But she will follow me around and her agitation worsens as the minutes tick away.
2 people like this
@responsiveme (14418)
• India
4 Nov
I don't really know...Will it help if you know she will be like this and take it as it comes
2 people like this
@sallypup (21926)
• Moses Lake, Washington
5 Nov
I used to be a home care aide. I applaud anyone doing that job. At least its not an over night gig for you. Years ago a lady with dementia waited for me- I'd be sure she was physically cared for but stayed away from her wicked mouth. So she waited and when I had to be close cause I was giving her a meal, then she'd get vicious with her mouth. The lady who helped her on another shift used to have ear phones in- she'd listen to books and not hear the lady. Smart! Anyway, I applaud you. You have a tough job.
1 person likes this
• United States
5 Nov
They have asked me to do overnight shifts and evening shifts too. All of which I have declined. If they do demand that I do these shifts, I just won't show up and they can fire me. I know that I won't be able to continue to work with this poor woman. Makes me sad knowing this. When she is in a better frame of mind, she is delightful. But, the times when she is nasty get to me and cause my heart to race. Not a good thing for one's health.
1 person likes this
@sallypup (21926)
• Moses Lake, Washington
5 Nov
@ElusiveButterfly I hope it helps you to know that you are not the only one having trouble with the lady. I finally refused to work with one totally pysched out lady. My supervisor called me a few days later, begging me back to the lady- other workers could not take the verbal abuse! My supervisor gave me hard cases but this one, well, she even insulted the supervisor when she talked with her on the phone.
1 person likes this
• United States
6 Nov
@sallypup oh my! Sounds like a lady I once had. I was her favorite and when she took me out of there she called the office. It wasn't pretty.
1 person likes this
@Hannihar (12898)
5 Nov
That is a very difficult situation. I really could not tell you how I would handle it. You did good. It must be very hard for you and for her as well. She once had a memory and now she feels so helpless and it must be very hard to not remember things. Does she remember when you go there or do you have to repeat who you are? Is there something else you could do instead and then look around for what you really want to do. I can see why you had an axiety attack.
1 person likes this
• United States
5 Nov
Because I have worked with other people who have had Alzheimer's, my mother included, I understand what is going on with her. Unfortunately I cannot handle her yelling at me. It leaves me anxious and I cannot deal with the stress. I have looked at job listings and other than manufacturing or retail jobs, there is nothing out there. Of course I could work in a nursing home, but I don't want to do that either.
@Hannihar (12898)
5 Nov
@ElusiveButterfly Could you have another client other than her?
1 person likes this
• United States
5 Nov
@Hannihar I have a few others besides her.
• Pamplona, Spain
4 Nov
I would look for another kind of job that does not involve so much stress. Those kind of people are very hard to look after at the best of times. Good luck see if something better turns up for you.
1 person likes this
• United States
4 Nov
I have some wonderful clients that I truly enjoy seeing and know that I am making a difference in their lives.
1 person likes this
• Pamplona, Spain
4 Nov
@ElusiveButterfly Perhaps you can refer her to someone else that can cope maybe having more time for her as she needs such a different kind of care. Poor woman I feel for her as well. That way you would have time for the ones that you can help.
1 person likes this
• United States
5 Nov
@lovinangelsinstead21 I am not sure they can find coverage for her. I have her 4 hours a day, 4 days a week. That is a huge chunk of time to find someone to cover her. I would also be left with time on my hands if they couldn't find someone for me to see.
1 person likes this
@Courtlynn (50931)
• United States
4 Nov
Honestly, i would stop doing it. May need the money but certainly not worth it if its causing you health problems
1 person likes this
• United States
4 Nov
My husband would not like it if I were to quit, however, he knows how stressed out I am. He would rather they let me go so I could draw unemployment. I have to see what is out there for work. If I can't find anything I am going to see about a training program that is available for people 55 and older.
1 person likes this
@Courtlynn (50931)
• United States
4 Nov
@ElusiveButterfly honestly, if you have to quit.. no big deal. Not as long as it means you still have good health.
1 person likes this
• United States
4 Nov
@Courtlynn I know, but I would be in worse shape because of the loss of income and worry even more.
1 person likes this
@cahaya1983 (9655)
• Malaysia
10 Nov
That is definitely a tough decision to make. The income part is important but if it reaches the point where the work takes a toll on your health, maybe you should consider again.
1 person likes this
• United States
10 Nov
For now I am sticking with the job. I just need to disconnect from the stress of it.
1 person likes this
• Malaysia
10 Nov
@ElusiveButterfly Was that the first time that she became verbally abusive like that?
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Nov
@cahaya1983 she started right at the beginning of my time there about a month ago. I think I have figured out what makes her tick though and I can work through her temper flares.
1 person likes this
@CoralLevang (40850)
• United States
5 Nov
Oh, my goodness. Are there other options with the company for you?
1 person likes this
• United States
5 Nov
No, unfortunately you are assigned the work and if you can't do it they can opt to let you go.
1 person likes this
@CoralLevang (40850)
• United States
5 Nov
@ElusiveButterfly Maybe you can talk to the coordinator of this. You should not have to put up with abuse from this woman. I know that she may not be in her "right mind," but we do not have to be required to do so. She may not treat others the same way, or others might be more able to put up with it and let it roll off their backs. We are all different and our background is different. I know that kind of verbal abuse would not bode well with me given my history. I hope that your supervisor can help you in this situation.
1 person likes this
• United States
5 Nov
@CoralLevang I just hope she doesn't tell me that if I can't do my job I won't be employed.
1 person likes this
• Lakewood, Colorado
4 Nov
It is most likely that you are more stressed due to worry of you Mom Elusive..I can understand this. How would I handle that? Honestly I would not be able for it at this time.
1 person likes this
• United States
5 Nov
I know that if they don't adjust my schedule and give me less hours with this person, I won't be able to handle it. I am very stressed and it will cause me to be ill if it doesn't change.
1 person likes this
• Lakewood, Colorado
5 Nov
@ElusiveButterfly Yes it will I totally understand Elusive
1 person likes this
• United States
5 Nov
@TiarasOceanView thank you dear lady.
1 person likes this
@DianneN (59544)
• United States
4 Nov
I retired early due to the stress of paperwork and constant meetings before meetings. Stress can be a killer. I suggest you find a different job.
1 person likes this
• United States
4 Nov
It seems no matter what I do to try to relax and not let the stress get to me, it is there lurking in the darkness. I really need to find something else before it does cause me more health issues.
1 person likes this
@DianneN (59544)
• United States
5 Nov
@ElusiveButterfly You should look, even if it's at your leisure.
1 person likes this
• United States
5 Nov
@DianneN I have little leisure time lately. Frustrating.
1 person likes this
@paigea (21209)
• Canada
4 Nov
Is it possible to be transferred to another client?
1 person likes this
• United States
4 Nov
That is what I am hoping for. Not sure if they will do it because I have this client 4 days a week and 4 hours each of those days.
1 person likes this
@paigea (21209)
• Canada
4 Nov
@ElusiveButterfly I hope they can switch you.
1 person likes this
• United States
4 Nov
@paigea me too. The problem would be taking another staff member from their regular clients to take over the one I am seeing.