need to offload

carol o

Registered User
Nov 13, 2011
40
Need to offload in the hope someone will read and share feelings of low mood and lack of energy just when things may be improving.

I've been looking after my parents for about 15 years now, and I'm tired. First Dad's physical health problems, then Mum's, then her dementia, then Dad's. Just lately it's all been happening at once. Dad was abused by a careworker whilst in respite care, and we reported it to the Safeguarding Adults Team. Mum has reached a threshold - she's in a CH, is now unable to walk, and has stopped struggling. Getting very frail, but the upside is that she has stopped fighting everyone and started accepting personal care more readily. I had to do my usual foot-stamping and accuse the staff of abuse by neglect when they did not recognise she was in near-constant pain and was not strong enough to move independently.
:eek:
Dad has been declining steadily, and all sorts of problems to sort out, including his odd behaviour, and inexperienced young care workers who sometimes just don't seem able to cope. He has agreed to move into CH, and social worker agrees, just waiting for formal agreement from funding panel so he can take up a place offered.

In short, on the verge of life being easier for me than it has been for years, and I suddenly feel flat and lethargic, just feeling sorry for myself, really selfish and afraid of not being able to find any sense of purpose. I've grown so used to blaming my lack of achievement on my caring responsibilities that I don't think I'm capable of achieving anything any more. Caring doesn't feel like an achievement - just a long slog to save a bad situation from being totally intolerable. Not that the end is in sight - if Dad's experience in CH is anything like Mum's, he'll still need me for some time yet. And in terms of his behaviour, and relationship with me, things could get a whole lot worse.

Anyone else feel like this?

I'm not clinically depressed, and I may wake up tomorrow and remember how lucky I am really and get on with all the tasks I have to do - best interests meeting, ending Dad's tenancy and dealing with his financial affairs, being with Mum as she gets more frail. If you'd told me 15 years ago what life would be like......ironically, when I was much younger, my parents both said: if we get like this (meaning like their parents) put us in a home straight away. Easy to say.......
 

CeliaW

Registered User
Jan 29, 2009
5,643
Hampshire
Hello Carol - sorry you are feeling so low but I would venture to suggest its perfectly normal. It sounds as though you have valiantly fought many uphill battles in your caring for your parents and they have been lucky to have you supporting them and fighting their corner. But...

...However hard it has been and however much you have wanted things to be easier and less stressful, it has been the reality of your life in an increasing way for the last 15 years. I would think it would be very unusual to not feel somewhat cast adrift and wondering how things will work out and where do you go from here.

I am sure there are a variety of coping mechanisms and suggestions that others on here who have been in the same position can tell you about, but may I respectfully suggest that you just be a little kinder to yourself and accept that you are bound to fluctuate in mood and attitude because you are undergoing a lot of change and, hopefully, the removal of much of the stress. There really isnt a right or wrong way to react or "be".

Maybe arrange to meet with friends for coffee, book a massage but just build little "somethings" in to each day that are just for you and put a smile on your face and help ease you through this difficult time of transition?

Take care

Celia
 

jan1962

Registered User
May 19, 2012
721
bedlington northumberland
Hi Carol,

just read your thread and my i be as bold to say that you should feel so proud of yourself, and needles to say your mam and dad will feel the same pride in you.

you should now take the time out for yourself and indulge in something for yourself. the old saying time is a good healer is what i am thinking but if feel it only makes it easier to cope..

keep post as someone is always here to offer advice and understanding. you are bound to feel that life is empty now that your parents are in care homes but what you have to understand is that now you can spend proper quality time with them both and build some lasting memories to carry with you. it is time now for someone else to carry the for the want of a better word burden and hopefully remove the stresses from you.


please take care of your self now, go out with friends, visit places do things you have wanted to do, this time is for you now, sorry if i sound so blunt.


take care

jan1962
 

Chemmy

Registered User
Nov 7, 2011
7,592
Yorkshire
How about looking for some sort of volunteering role? It can be a little or as much as you like in terms of time commitment but if you find a niche that suits, it's very rewarding, and you will meet some interesting people on the way.
 

Kathphlox

Registered User
Dec 16, 2009
1,091
Bolton
Hello Carol,

I know what you mean, you've probably been running on empty for some while.

Now that the constant pull of caring for someone has been removed, the reason for your high energy is no longer there, it's hit you hard.. So relax a little, sleep more, look after yourself more. You deserve it, you gave it your all, you should be very proud :)

When you are feeling more human and up to it, perhaps you could find a job.. I know, it's not easy at 50! Tell me about it, I was 57 when I was made redundant and it was very hard. I managed to get some long-term contract work to see me over.. so there is hope ;)
 

greengirl

Registered User
Jun 25, 2012
109
Southern England
You have been fighting and now the threat has lessened your body has to adjust chemically as well as psychologically. I take your word for it that you are not clinically depressed but you sound pretty low and I think a really short burst of counselling might help you deal with/express all these feelings. Exercise is great for lifting your mood, brisk walks and all that, and I hope you have friends and things in your life to help you feel valued for something other than all the caring and organising you have done for your parents. 'You' have probably not put yourself first for a long while.
gg
 

Big Effort

Account Closed
Jul 8, 2012
1,928
"In short, on the verge of life being easier for me than it has been for years, and I suddenly feel flat and lethargic, just feeling sorry for myself, really selfish and afraid of not being able to find any sense of purpose."

If you have been looking after parents intensively for 15 years now, I can imagine that this is a veritable career, a deep and meaningful part of who you are. I think you are being far too hard on yourself. When people retire (and presumably many of them have looked forward to this stage of their lives after many years of hard slog), it is common to feel depressed - the change is simply so great it takes time to acclimatise. When I finished my psychology degree (and that was just 4 years), the day I was finally free of all those thick tomes, articles, and assignments, and exam pressure too, I thought I would be so happy to be free at last. The first few days of blank.... blank.... blank.... emptiness was horrendous, I felt a freak as I couldn't adapt instantly to total freedom. Take a look at how some people cope after a divorce, the change is so big, so different to life before, that the new life doesn't feel too great. We humans are creatures of habit. It takes time to create new habits. My guess is that given a little time, you will start to add in meaningful bits and pieces into your life, and you will start to adapt to a life that isn't dominated by the needs of others. You have dedicated your life to others, now you have a chance to dedicate life to you.... no wonder you're scared. It sounds terrifying. But it is a once in a lifetime chance, so take small steps, observe yourself, feel the fear of change, and feel the fear receed over time. Good luck!
 

Nan2seven

Registered User
Apr 11, 2009
2,525
Dorset
Dear Carol,

You have been given lots of good advice here.

"On the verge of life being easier" you find yourself feeling flat and lethargic. You have clearly worked so hard caring for both your parents over the last fifteen years and now suddenly the burden is about to be lifted. I would suggest that you are slightly in shock at the moment. Slow right down, and even though there are still things to be done, meetings to attend, arrangements to be made, take them gently. Don't try to do it all in a rush. They WILL get done. You should be looking after yourself now and being gentle with yourself. You have temporarily run out of steam.

Thinking of you and sending love,
Nan XXX
 

carol o

Registered User
Nov 13, 2011
40
thanks

Thanks to you all for sensible advice. In my heart I know it's normal to feel like this, and I certainly need to remind myself not to be so hard on myself. Once Dad is settled, I'll take a holiday and re-plan my time. I think once I start doing new things I will feel more in control. Thanks again.

Dear Carol,

You have been given lots of good advice here.

"On the verge of life being easier" you find yourself feeling flat and lethargic. You have clearly worked so hard caring for both your parents over the last fifteen years and now suddenly the burden is about to be lifted. I would suggest that you are slightly in shock at the moment. Slow right down, and even though there are still things to be done, meetings to attend, arrangements to be made, take them gently. Don't try to do it all in a rush. They WILL get done. You should be looking after yourself now and being gentle with yourself. You have temporarily run out of steam.

Thinking of you and sending love,
Nan XXX
 

zeeeb

Registered User
there is nothing wrong with resting up when you get a chance. Take the opportunity to sit on the couch and do as little as humanly possible for a few weeks, recharge your batteries and wait for the energy to return.

Sounds like you've been working really really hard, and you need a rest. No harm in resting and waiting for inspiration to arrive.