Caregiver PLANS Vs. Hopes


We are switching From Plans TO Hopes…

Future Plans is a hot button and has been for the past few months. So much future changing stuff has been happening and plans that I had no knowledge of have been bubbling up since all these pre-made plans are going out everyones window.

My parents were sure that I would live close and always need a lot of help. So they were prepared to take me on and even have me live back home again if I ever needed. My old airstream trailer is still in their back yard. I told them they could sell it. They said,“But you’ll be moving back home someday, that’s what we planned.”

(I love my parents, we get along very well. No offense to them, but I’m not planning that.)

My Sis was a true surprise as far as her future plans for me. She was going to work and I was going to do my part time job and then sit passively and just breathe in a stress free environment with nothing to worry about, or even think about. (I left group homes for a reason) I find her plans frighteningly dull. I hope for more then that.

She had everything written down as future plans. It’s was surprisingly tightly scripted. She had my future written down to the penny. (I believe 9 years from now on a Tuesday, my dinner might be delayed by 10 minutes due to traffic jam on I-5. :wink: )

So here I am, trying to make plans for my future for me and it doesn’t match her plans for me and there has been a little odd conversation about that. I admit, the brother/sister team has felt a rift on this issue.

She hadn’t planned for me to make my own plans. She’s not sure how to switch from Plans to hopes. (It’s like gearing down from over drive to neutral)

I sort of pressed her… "What do you hope for me."
She said, "I hope you get better and get to be happy"
I had to say it, "I am better and I am happy so what are your hopes now?"
She can’t answer.

I know everyone always plans for the worst and the relapse. That makes sense. But does anyone ever plan for the better? What would happen if your loved one was doing well enough that the entire dynamic of your relationship changed again?

We’re trying to get the focus off of plans an on to hopes.


Hey you sounds happy happy. :smiley:
Must be having a terrific time, our handsome surfer.


Thank you for that. I am feeling better then I have in years. We all have hard days were the head circus plays but I’ve been able to cope with it and get better.

You sound much happier as well these days. How are you feeling?


I think taking the focus off of plans and on to hope is a very good approach. It’s hard to plan past the present in any circumstances. We can have ideas on where we want our lives to go but until we actually get there they are just plans.

I can’t say that I plan for the better or for the worst. I have hope for the best while trying to be prepared for the worst. That is the same even for my life outside of my son. I have plans for a house in the future with my husband but for right there is just today.

No one knows what will happen tomorrow. I know I didn’t really answer your pondering… I’m not sure there is an answer :smile:


Surprised, I was heartened by your post. It really resonated with me and I’ll tell you exactly why.

My son was diagnosed in 2008 and our world was completely turned upside down. My husband and I ended up selling our dairy farm (we were always thinking we would have to quit someday, just not so soon.)

We became freer to deal with my son’s illness. He progressed by little steps. By last summer he was living in a boarding house in a city 45 minutes from where we live. He was happy but was unable to land a job, probably due to the huge unexplained gaps in his resume.

He decided to enroll in a Vocational Rehab school 3 hours from us and we were completely freaked by this; we were sure he couldn’t handle it.

BUT, we didn’t count on his determination to break free and make something happen. AND, we didn’t count on the school, which stepped in when he became unstable, provided him with a psychiatrist and required him to take his meds in the office every evening.

Now he is in his second of five semesters and holding his own, despite occasional setbacks, which I can usually address via phone and instant messenger.

And no, we don’t know what will happen tomorrow. But I certainly didn’t foresee my son being able to do this.

As to his getting and holding an eventual job, who knows? But for right now he is living out an actual decision he has made, for the first time in 5 years.

My husband and I are thrilled we were wrong.


I was so surprised by how detailed her plans are and how far reaching and how I am the subject of her plans, but not actively in them. (it makes me feel like a chair)

I was looking at her plans thinking… Ok so while you are doing every thing under the sun… What am I doing?

Now that her very detailed planes seem dashed, she seems lost. She tells me all the time she’s proud of me and I know she is firmly on my side. But I know she didn’t expect me to get to this point. It’s still the push/pull of “who is the parent today”

I like the HOPE idea. It’s easier on all of us. It’s easier to feel hope that all will head in the right direction instead of working so hard to dictate every precise motion.

Ok, your by your son for the long haul, you love him, and you will always be on his side working for the best.

But what if a miracle happened and he really pulled out of it to the point that you didn’t need to be the care taker you are now… How weird would that feel?

I know everyone says… Well it would be party time. But to me it might be sort of sad… like that bird has flown. If that makes sense. Not that I’m saying my family and my sis doesn’t want me to get better, but me getting better has really had an odd effect on her and my parents.

I’m agreeing with your idea that there might not be an answer to this ponder…

What do Caregivers do when they don’t need to give care?


Thank you for that. I am so glad your son is doing so well. What a good school.

So have you found this to be a bit harder or easier?

I guess I’m just surprised at how much Crisis planning has gone into me.
My family is always ready for a major crisis. Well… Crisis to that degree hasn’t come in nearly 6 years now… and everyone seems to feel guilty for breathing a sigh of relief…

So it’s like standing on high guard for an emergency that never happens. But all the other little plans seem like a huge surprise. If that makes any sense.


Good question… I would be elated and a little lost for a bit.

Take mental illness out of the picture. As children we all to some degree fought against the restraints of our parents and wanting our freedom. Slowly as responsibilities are taken on and handled then over time the parent learns to trust the child. To let go little by little until the child is self sufficient. Then parents go through what is called the empty nest syndrome. Finding ways to fill their lives with something other then their children. Circumstances may be a little different when an illness is involved but I would think the process is still the same and will take time to adjust to. I sometimes make the analogy in my writing of my son learning to crawl and walk. As a parent when our children first learn to walk we are right there beside them, hands on each side, even when we are being told “Don’t, I can do this.” As the child becomes more stable the hands slowly lower and get pulled away.


This is a great thread…yes there is a part of me that is braced for some crisis and then…no crisis…everything is fine. He is well, stable, happy…so a let-down emotionally, in a way.

But I have experienced a sense of peace I haven’t experienced in years and I think I’m thriving again. My husband notices a difference in me, I notice a difference as well. I’m not as nervous that a shoe will drop any second.

So I’m learning to trust in my son’s judgement as far as what he wants for himself, the choices he will make. I just want to be there to make recommendations. Particularly insofar as spending money is concerned…he tends to spend money indiscriminately, and although he is aware of these tendencies himself, he doesn’t always have the self-control to not spend. Luckily, he is in school and so has not so much opportunity to spend at the moment.

There I go, worrying in advance again…

I like your image, Surprised, of feeling like a chair. That was very illuminating for me.


I’ll be in a class at the neighborhood center on Saturday afternoons starting next month, on how to manage money and how to fight the spending urge. I know… I do know I can’t spend more then I earn. I know this. But then there is a delusion that comes back and I fall for it and I spend my money on that returning game in my head. (My delusion is that there is a baby on the way into my life, be it an ex-girl friend, my kid sis, a spirit that take’s human form and leaves me a baby.) I spend money on baby cloths and shoes and stuff. It’s embarrassing. I tell the lady who owns the shop that I’m an a doting Uncle. (which that part is true. My brothers have kids.)

But I too need help with the money. My sis knows how and were to pay rent and utilities and how to balance a check book. She and my parents are trying to teach me. I’m getting there.

I’m glad to hear that. It’s nice that ALL of you are healing from this. That’s what I want. I want all my family to heal.


I plan on getting a Ph.D. in psychology, or a least a master’s degree in psychology, and this is my parents’ plan for me as well. I live with my parents (can’t afford anything else), and so I always worry that they will die before I finish my education.


I’m sure they are very proud of you for getting this far and getting into school and getting the good grades you’ve gotten. You’re doing really well. At least they see that your working hard and going to kick this thing.


Thank you for your support and encouragement.


Strange, I don’t know what to answer, how I am feeling.

I feel great talking to you. Talk to you again tomorrow!


I spend less time thinking and more time doing things, which is good.

I am feeling better too.