Hi Angela57I understand exactly how you feel. I lived with my mum and looked after her 24/7, for 7 years. She wouldn't go out and often I was lucky to speak with anyone but her for days on end because I couldn't leave her alone. It's now 2 years since she went into a home and I thought things would be different too. But it isn't, I have to pluck up courage to even leave my home, while craving company. I force myself to go out alone, but always with butterfly in my stomach, trembling and racing heart. I'm relaxed when I go out occasionally with family though. I am lonely, but just don't feel like a normal member of society any longer. I am so drained and in my opinion mentally damaged myself now. I question my conversation capabilities and my own sanity now, I've lost all my confidence to the point that I can't even bring myself to go to my GP, I've seen how not understanding the professionals are towards carers too many times in my journey!
As others have said, finding/making opportunities to go out and socialise, is key to looking out for your own well-being?
For me, it has been a combination of dementia coffee mornings and a local pub. My wife's aunt recommended the coffee mornings, held locally once a month, where although I don't think my wife got much out of it (her FTD affected her speech and cognitive abilities early on), it was so beneficial talking to other carers.
The pub has been the real life saver, not just because of the drink (honest). My wife (before getting dementia) had suffered for many years with anxiety and depression and was a real worrier. So she was not keen on socialising that much.
We did go to pubs occasionally, but I've never had a "local" in the 46 years we've been married. When I first realised that she may have dementia, I managed to get her to visit a few pubs to watch bands performing (excellent music scene here in East Kent). It helped that due to the dementia, she was actually becoming less anxious (perversely), so would go wherever I suggested.
Following the death of her mum, we started visiting a local pub in town, to keep an eye on her younger brother (it was his local) and quite quickly made some good friends with the landlords and pub regulars.
Well I have been amazed at the level of support and understanding those good folk have given my wife and I. I can honestly say that without them, I would be in a whole world of darkness. Don't get me wrong, I still have times when I feel desperately lonely, but at least for the time being, I look forward to our weekends out.
So forgive my ramblings, but I would urge you to seek out any opportunity to get yourself out and about.