The Clubhouse Sandwich Generation

In the layers of life, do you know where you fit in?

Trying to make some sense of it all,
But I can see that it makes no sense at all,
Is it cool to go to sleep on the floor,
'Cause I don't think that I can take anymore
Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right,
Here I am, stuck in the middle with you

- Rafferty/Egan, Stealer's Wheel 1972

My mother had a heart attack. But this isn't a story about her. This is ALL about me (just like she'd probably tell you it always is). For the last six years, I've been watching my father slowly deteriorate from what we assume is a terminal illness with no known treatment and no known cure. On March 12th this year, my 43rd birthday, we lost my 89 year old grandfather. I'm the mother of two growing pre-teens. I'm a wife. I'm a daughter. I'm a daughter-in-law. I'm a granddaughter. In summary: I'm surrounded. 

I'm part of a growing phenomenon - the Clubhouse Sandwich Generation - caught not only between raising their own children and dealing with the declining health of their parents but also lucky enough to have living grandparents (well, I guess grandPARENT now :sob:).

Stranger still, my own mother is dealing with her own level of this triple decker delight - having to care for her own parents, her husband, my brother and I, and her grandchildren. I know her heart challenges are hereditary but I'm sure the added stress of managing my dad's care with just regular life has taken a toll. We are TWO generations caught in the middle, together.

There are so many incredible things about being part of a Four Generation Family - and not just the fact we can (read: are dying to) make our own version of the Four Generations Challenge. My children have built meaningful relationships with their active and vibrant grandparents and great-grandparents, including spending many vacations together.

But the demands on my time are tremendous. My husband and I are both entrepreneurs which means we are never really off the clock. If I'm being honest, most days I'm left feeling less like the fancy skewer that holds the sandwich all together and more like a wilted piece of lettuce falling out of the back of the stack covered in too much mayonnaise.

To add to it all, I battle my own demons as a diagnosed bipolar II disorder sufferer with a side of acute anxiety. When it's really bad, I get the refrain from the song above stuck in my head. On repeat. And all I want to do is assume the fetal position right where I am and take a little nap on the floor.

Over the last 2 years, I've been using a special tincture to help with my anxiety. It's a hemp-based CBD isolate suspended in a carrier oil that tastes a little like Mango. I take it sublingually, usually right before bed, but I've been known to carry it around in my purse on really bad days. I don't notice any drowsiness but it relaxes me enough to bring my shoulders down from my ears and quiet my racing thoughts. 

After I had such great success, I thought it might be a great benefit to my Dad. He's been suffering through a degenerative brain disease that's so hard to diagnose, we won't even know what it was until he's gone. Astonishingly, he was still on a laundry list of pharmaceuticals - I guess hoping that maybe one of them might do something [insert giant eye roll here]? With really nothing to lose, we thought we might replace his occasional Lorazepam first. It was working for me, right? Seeing zero side effects and zero drug interactions, we slowly started removing prescription drug by prescription drug.

While it wasn't exactly Robert DeNiro in Awakenings, we started to see my Dad come out of the fog. He will never improve but we were able to slow the decline to the point where he's held steady for 18 months. My cousin described it best as the "haze" lifting. What was once a man who seemed dopey and sleepy, is now a man who's calm and even happy.

Six months ago, my 89-year-old grandfather received the sad news that his heart was finally failing. We knew we'd only have a few months with him and that he would have some pain. His arteries had filled and calcified, so the chest pain could be intense. He was in incredible stomach pain from the self-administered morphine his health care team provided. We started giving him a CBD tincture and weaned him off meds quickly. The difference was immediate and incredible. The nurses couldn't believe the affects and encouraged us to keep him on it. 

It was these initial experiences with a sublingual CBD tincture that first led me down the path to form CLOVER self care co.  I love seeing something so simple, so clean, and so straightforward have a positive effect in people's lives. I was excited to dive deeper into the endocannabinoid system and learn what other ways CBD could benefit our everydays.  

Have you ever used a hemp-derived CBD tincture product? What do you like or not like about them? What do you use to cope with your anxiety or periods of extreme stress? Are you interested in trying CBD but don't know where to start? 

We'd love to hear your experience in the comments below! 

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