I have begun to be a professional caregiver (non paid) Am I sick?

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It started 5 years ago when my BIL had a stroke on the other side of the country. We (the only survivors, not married , no children) had to fly down and back a forth and take care of things, put him in a home, prep papers and dissolve his estate. It took months (into a year) to get things settled and still I handle things with his care about once a week via phone.

In the meantime my SIL who developed stage 4 brain cancer just prior to this. Subsequent 5 state away travel, surgeries care etc.... (not married, no children) was getting worse. We moved her in with us and cared for her until her passing. Again dissolve an estate etc... We were getting pretty good at this stuff.

Then 2 years ago my mom passed unexpectedly and I had to care for my father (5 states away), take care of all the finance and his business. 9 months later after countless trips back and forth I had to clean out his house and move everything and him in with me (I have 2 siblings, one in his town). They helped very little with the clean out but now its all on me.

I watch over my neighbors (87 and 94), I do the lawn and plow and odd jobs around the house. They have 2 children who live on the other side of the country and only visit once a year. I have become a sort of grandchild so to speak? I enjoy assisting them in need a couple days a week, help him when he falls etc. They do offer me some small amounts of cash for helping (lawn and plowing). I am glad to help, they are like the grandparents I never had to help.

Am I sick? I work at home and have the time to do it. I just feel so over whelmed at times. Dad is ambulatory but requires entertainment. He has his own space in our home and it is difficult at times with any parent child situation.

I feel like I am always reaching out for some crisis to fix. It is my nature. Pretty much when things are calm I am on pins and needles waiting for the next crisis to blow in. Do I have a sickness? I guess it is part of my being a firefighter for many years always helping people. Anyone else do this? I am looking for ways to concentrate more on my business and less on crisis. Tried going to the gym. (hate it). Tried walking (always an excuse), I have hobbies and a yard to work in etc... I just get so overwhelmed at times.


I am married and have 2 adult children (my BIL and SIL did not have kids nor were married)
Ever notice you get more satisfaction taking care of a non-relative, like a neighbor, then you do your own family?
You sound like a wonderful, caring compassionate man. Are you sick? If you find yourself taking on another's burdens when you really don't want to or aren't able too, or you are constantly sacrificing your own family and happiness, you may need some therapy to figure out why you can't say no.
If you are just feeling overwhelmed by handling a series of events beyond your control, then you are a hero.
I think you accurately assessed the situation when you wrote that you used to be a firefighter. People may go into professions like that for the adrenalin rush but I think overall they're very caring people who want to help. It sounds like that's your nature.

I think the difficulty with a strongly caring person who gains from helping others is balance his/her own life with the needs of those others. When you feel overwhelmed, that's a early warning sign that you need to step back and (a) reassess what's on your agenda at that time, and (b) ask yourself if you're overextended.

Otherwise, I wish more people had that kind of nurturing and caring nature that you have.

(Can you clone yourself?)
Thanks, trying to step back a little. I keep telling myself to step back. I am trying to slow down a little. It does make me feel good to help others. Fortunately I am in the postilion I can.It would be nice to have some help from the family. As they say lower your expectations so you are not disappointed. Need to get to the gym (will try today). Trying to eat healthier (need to lose some weight). Trying to get my dad to do things. The only thing he is interested in is going to visit family so he can be treated like a king. In my house you are treated like family not special except on your birthday. Looking forward to my kids coming home for the holiday and dad going to visit for a couple weeks. I could have it a lot worse I I hate to sound like I am complaining, just want to make sure I am not a crazy person looking for the next crisis. As firefighters are trained to be combat ready for the next conflagration. We are happy when we get to do what we are trained for. It is usually at peoples worst times. We do feel bad for them and we see more that most people and have to deal with the aftereffects but it is what we train for. Then we wait for the next one... kinda like my day every day!
Tgengine, I think life is always a journey, often with the need for, as business buzzwords call them, mid-course corrections. I like to think of them as life re-evaluations.

Sounds like you're going through that now. You have good insight into what motivates and pleases you as well what frustrates you. Now comes the hard part of finding a good balance of those opposite factors. Even more difficult can be achieving that balance, especially when others close to you are reliant on your volunteer assistance.

If you're anywhere in the path of the storm that's bringing some very early, very heavy snow tomorrow, it would be a good time to fix something warm (hot cider, hot chocolate, or something stronger), relax in a favorite chair, and just meditate on the whole issue.

One of the drawbacks of being someone who reaches out to help others is that the underlying motivations and satisfaction often become dominant, to the exclusion or lessening of the self preservation factors. Finding that happy Golden Mean can be a real challenge, but a journey into one's own psyche, and sometimes revealing and rewarding.

So, are you ready for a mental trip?
Dad is off for a week or more to camp so it will be quiet here for a few hours. My babies come home for a few days for the holiday so we get to have our quiet time. I'd like it if he was here to enjoy them but he always seems to go away when they come here. He goes back home for what ever is going on. Planning on a a nice Thanksgiving. He saw the menu I put together. He said he would rather be here but that is his choice to go to camp. Hes not happy I am not going but I need a break and I don't want to be the chauffeur, valet and chef at camp.
As much as I miss it I will have more fun with my girls here. Enjoying my time with them!!!!
He wasn't happy with me this AM when I was asking him if he knew where is spare keys were (he hates to be drilled). Just trying to avoid the "I forgot phone call". I didn't ask him any more about what he was taking, he is a big boy and he packed for a month long expedition. (I prepped some of what he needed anyway the other day).
The neighbors have their kids in for a few days so no one to look after for a while!
Oh well, to you and yours I wish you a happy holiday!

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