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It's 11:00 already and I haven't gotten a thing done other than updating my stock information and feeding the critters. I feel like I don't want to do anything. There is someone coming in to give an estimate on a fence. I need to get the car maintained. I need to take some pictures for my shop. I need to trim the grass and cut some limbs in the back yard. The bathroom and kitchen need cleaning. I do need to vacuum. And what about getting some type of water-proof box for the outside weather probe. I do need to buy some RoundUp for the weeds...

I think I figured it out. I need to assign myself one major task a day. There is so much to do that I think of it and want to hide under the bed. No wonder I don't get things done. I paralyze myself with my own thinking. When I worked outside the home, there was always one, maybe two, major things to do in a day. I need to adjust my thinking, so that I am wearing one hat at a time.

So this afternoon I am putting on my yard-woman hat and going to buy the RoundUp to tackle those weeds. There's only a little more monkey grass to pull, so it all sounds workable. Hey, this works!

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Caregiver burnout disorder is a real thing.

I remember when my son was first diagnosed with ADHD & Aspergers/Autism Spectrum Disorder, it was a full body immersion experience for me. Every day was on the same rigid schedule with no breaks - even weekends. It took me about 7 or 8 years to finally figure out that you cannot wear out an ADHD kid.

I remember the day I wanted to have an ADHD/Asperger free day. I still wanted my son around, but I didn't want every cotton picking thought, action, or thing to be centered around this diagnosis and this uber-strict schedule we were keeping long past the point it was necessary. I wanted a weekend day where we slept until we woke up and then ate what we wanted for breakfast. I wanted to let him nap when he felt like it and eat when he felt like. Just loosen up a little and just have a day that was about being together and having fun. It was so hard to get my husband on board with that. The schedule was his only coping mechanism and even now that my kids are teenagers, he still insists on the same bedtime they had in 6th grade. And we wonder where the inflexibility comes from.....

Not a lot of other people will understand this at all. I had people ask me why I didn't just take a vacation by myself. Because I want my family with me. I just needed to be off the hook and not having to obsess about any particular disorder every ding dong moment of every day.
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Oh, Jessiebelle, How well I know the feeling --- already, and I've been caregiving only a month! Here's my system ---

First, what are the "pressure points" that need to be "touched" every day: that is, the different areas of responsibility that have to be kept in motion. For me, other than "general housekeeping/caregiving" that's finances and admin., medical care, yard and garden, clearing out/repairing the house. Second, what can/should I do today, if anything, to keep from falling behind on each item. Third, of the things I can or should do, which are absolutely necessary (do them---i.e., renew a prescription), which are desirable (in order of importance) and which ones might I actually want to do (fiddle with the flowers). Then I do what I can, and start over the next day. I figure if I get the absolutely no-fail stuff done, I can congratulate myself. If I get more done, I'm ahead of the game. And if I fall behind --- there's another day tomorrow, and all the rest of my life to get to it. Good luck!
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Just a thought, could the coins mysteriously disappear, saying you needed them to buy groceries for example? Maybe out of sight out of mind.
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Babalou, I have been juggling with that idea. The problem I am having making a decision about the drug is that it has lifted her spirits and made her interested in living. The projects are obsessive and drive me crazy, but before beginning the medication, she just sat and watched TV all day long. I'm reluctant to throw out the good things because of the bad. Something that is strange is that my mother has never really been an obsessive type on many things, except maybe hoarding clothes. She has definitely never been obsessive when it comes to housework! :)

What I decided for the moment is to let things ride. If her obsessiveness turns to harmful things I'll have to do something fast. She finished washing and putting the coins in holders last evening, so that's out of the way now. One main thought I've had is that I don't want to take away enjoyment from her because it makes me uncomfortable. To me it was crazy to spend several days to wash coins. To her maybe it was an enjoyable project. No harm done, since the coins weren't collectible.

I did stop the nurse practitioner from increasing the dose of her Remeron. I have the feeling that would have pushed her over the top.
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Jessie, if the antidepressants are making your mom's ocd worse, you need to tell the doctor that.
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Me neither! And there is a pending move to a facility coming.
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Wow. (Blush) That is such a nice thing to say. Most of the time I feel like a cold, whiny person. A lot of the time I feel bad for my mother because I talk about her so much.

Today was a really good day. A man came by to give an estimate on a privacy fence. It was very reasonable, and the company is going to start work in a couple of weeks. And I thought, why didn't I do this five years ago. I had thought about this fence every day and now it is finally going to happen. Doing this thing for myself picked my spirits up so much. I started seeing the table with an umbrella and a barbecue grill. I saw the old depressing fence remnants disappearing. It picked my spirits up so much. Funny how something that really shouldn't matter did matter so much to me. I got new energy as soon as we shook hands on the fence. :-D
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I think it's because our days are no longer planned as they would be if we were working, and because caregiving is so disruptive. It's not as if we have time to focus on one large project, evaluate it, then put it into action. We're continually dealing with disruptions, some repeated ones, that break up our attention span and making focusing difficult.

And if dementia is involved and the disruptions are the same over and over, that complicates the issue and tries our patience - at least that's my observation and experience.

Then projects don't get completed, or even started and we feel even more behind and frustrated.

One thing I've tried that's worked is to use zero based concepts. When feeling overwhelmed, I do some deep breathing, clear my mind, then ask myself what absolutely has to be done today. After completing that task, then I can think more clearly about what would be desirably, but not necessarily done.

Sometimes starting the day with art work or something very pleasurable helps as well as it's a calming influence. Exercise, reading, walking...just something done for yourself, even if only for a short time seems to help.

That's not to say that I don't feel overwhelmed as other posters do - it's sometimes a constant battle.

This is a good thread. Jessie, I've always admired your approach - you're rational, knowledgeable and always seemed to have control over your complicated life as well as compassion for others. I feel more normal now knowing that you too have days which are frustrating - not that I'm glad you do, but knowing that SuperCaregiver Jessie has days like I do makes me feel as if I'm not just floundering around as I often seem to be. Take that as a compliment!
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I wonder if it's because we don't have any fun that we don't get anything done. I can think of lots of projects to do around the house. Things like wash the walls, clean the cupboards etc. You get the idea. But they're all "have to do" projects. I'm sick of "have to do" projects. Since becoming a caregiver everyday of my life is filled with "have to do" projects. I want to have some FUN!!! Maybe that's why I put off extra "have to projects" until another day.
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Jessie my brothers goes to a rehab center 3/d a week 8:30 to 3:00. I drive him and pick him up. Sometimes I just come home and go back to bed. I guess I shouldnt complain I do have those 6 hours 3 x times a week. I do get the housework done, laundry and pay bills but anything else is overwhelming. I probably need a schedule but it is hard getting motivated. When he is ill I sit around and wait for him to get better and then when he is better I sit around and keep him company. Hopefully I'll improve with the weather.
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Jessie, what you need is a full time handy man. I'm available. Make me an offer. ( I doubt you can afford me....)
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alice, I know you're tired. I can tell that you run on love for your brother. What kind of program does he go to in the morning? I wonder if it gives you time for a break. I would be exhausted in no time.
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Well now its 11:30 PM and I'm giving him a shower before bed because he goes to program tomorrow. Has to be there at 8:30 AM. After shower he wants his toenails done says he cant walk. He is down syndrome and has alz, has had a stroke and a few tia's and is not easy to reason with. He is a special angel BUT sometimes it is haaard.
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I have experienced all of the above but thought i was just me being lazy. I do try to at least one task a day.. Took my brother grocery shopping with me today. Pulling a 180 lb weight and a full grocery cart. It was raining (he doesnt like the rain) so I left him and the cart in the front of the store and ran to the car to get umbrella. When I get back he is sitting on the floor waiting for me. Its impossible for me to get him up by myself. I had to ask a passing man for help. I want my helmet to have sparkles on it. It is endless and there are some days i just make breakfast and dinner, make beds and nothing else. My sister is three years older than me and can run circles around me.
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I prescribe a massage. STAT.
And a giant Texas margarita.
Maybe a night in a local hotel by yourself, a massage, and a margarita.

Throw out the Easy Off and disavow any knowledge of it.

Just for one week - 7 days - do not do anything you don't want to house/yard work-wise. It will wait on you, I promise. I practice this periodically and it is life changing. Anything that can wait and not cause physical harm to anyone should wait.

Sometimes we "should" ourselves to death. I do it because I really want things to be like they used to be in some "before time" I can barely remember. I did this when my first son was born. I had a really hard time adapting to the fact I physically could not go on day-long shopping adventures with my MIL and the baby. Or do marathon deep cleaning on Saturdays, run all the errands, and be ready to go out at night. That ship has sailed.

After a 7 day respite, I feel ready to do & go again. I seem to be able to handle more than one thing at a time again. I have better clarity.
If it's not go-time after 7 days, try 3 more. If not after that, go to the doctor.
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ROFL, FF. Now that was funny. :D

And Jeanette, that is a very good idea.
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Ha! Love this topic!

Motivation doesn't seem to be our fried lately. Hmph! Or at all. I like your idea of tackling one major project per day, just have to find the will to start with that ONE! Funny how once you get going, it's like you are one a major mission and won't stop!! LOL that happens far too frequently....

looloo , as a last resort, go to the ER with a panic attack and seek a psychiatrist. Hopefully they'll call one in right there and then which means you will be able to schedule a reasonable appointment.
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Ha! Love this topic!

Motivation doesn't seem to be our fried lately. Hmph! Or at all. I like your idea of tackling one major project per day, just have to find the will to start with that ONE!
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Jessie, is your Mom laundering money? Sorry, I couldn't resist :P
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7:00 PM and my mother is still cleaning those coins. She took a break for dinner, then went back to it.
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JessieBelle, thanks for the tip! I will do a search and see what I find...
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looloo, something you might be able to do is check some mental health clinics and see if they have psychiatric nurse practitioners (PNPs) specializing in adult ADHD. Some of the PNPs are as good as the psychiatrists. They can prescribe medications. Beyond a degree, there is not a whole lot of difference when it comes to patient care.
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It drives me nuts when I think a task will only take a certain amount of time and effort, but it expands into a whole big THING. Example: My husband has never been diagnosed, but might as well be the poster boy for Adult ADHD. He decided about a month ago that he was at the point where he would like help -- meaning, he needs to see a psychiatrist who's trained in evaluating adult ADHD, and if appropriate, can prescribe medication.
Well...here we are one month later, and he must have called over a dozen Dr.s on the list from his insurance, and none of them -- NONE -- accept new patients. A few days ago, I said I would help. Because I get full of myself sometimes and I think I can somehow do a better job, lol...
Anyway, I have a whole bunch of info to give him, but not ONE actual contact he can call today and schedule an appt with. Why did I think I would be able to do any better???
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cwillie, I know what you mean. I am beyond burnout. I think crispy would be the best word for it. Taking "me time" is helpful. Trouble is that when you live with it that you always have to come back to it. I would love to hire a housekeeper to come in once a week and a yardman who does more than cut the middle of the lawn. If I do, I'll have to pay for them. I've already been tapping into my retirement money, since business was bad last year, so I can't really afford to pay more for upkeep of Mom's house.
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cwillie, I hate calling for appointments.... guess its the idea I would actually have to get in the car and drive there, sitting in yet another waiting room :P

What I have been doing now for myself, whenever I actually find myself at a doctor appointment for me, I will schedule the next one while I am there.
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Earlier this spring I was feeling a total lack of energy and initiative. I googled my symptoms and what should pop up but "burnout". Hmmm, time to put a little extra effort into some "me time".
I also like to use your idea of trying to tackle one or two things off my to do list a day (or week LOL). It has become too easy to say "why bother" to myself, so I feel very satisfied when I manage to get something done for a change, even if it is just calling to make an appointment.
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Well, I got the RoundUp and a sun hat. Went out and sprayed the wits out of those sneaky weeds. There were so many, but I stuck to it. I even have about an hour left before medication time.

My mother is doing so much better energy-wise, but she has become completely obsessed with projects. For the past three days she has been washing coins. Today she even took Easy Off to them. The house got filled with fumes when I was out working. I needed to turn on the AC, because I was hot. I told her she didn't need to clean coins, that you weren't supposed to. But she is OCD about it. I hate that these antidepressants are bringing out her OCD, instead of making it go away. It's totally crazy, the projects she is selecting. I wish she would at least select projects that are useful... like cleaning house.

So I am sitting here in a hot house filled with Easy Off fumes, fan blowing, windows open, with a crazy person bent over the kitchen sink scrubbing coins. But at least the weeds are sprayed.
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Jessie, I know the feeling, I keep dragging my feet when it comes to doing things around my house.... ho hum, maybe tomorrow.... then tomorrow comes, oh well, maybe the next day. Nope, Dr. Phil has something that is really good on when that day rolls around. Oops, can't do, looks like rain. Or I had fallen asleep on the sofa while eating a late lunch.

My energy and wanting to do things had just got up and left. Back when I was working more hours during the week and before I had to deal with my parents, I was keeping myself busy around the house big time, nothing ever fell through the cracks and there never was one weed in the yard.

Even building a blanket fort sounds like too much work. I am just so emotionally drained :(
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I feel that way my self, many days. The problem comes when I flit from one thing to another and don't actually finish anything.

I used to be a list maker. Lists for everything. It helped me to stay focused and I got such a little thrill out of crossing something off the list. I need to go back to doing that. Half of the time I don't even have a grocery list and then I forget things or worse yet, get stuff I don't need.

In a way, you made a list just by writing this post, and it helped you decide what to do.

The weather here has been so volatile lately, Spring storms and all that, that I tend to plan my day around the weather forecast. Have fun out there, we are clouding up for an afternoon shower.
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