Stuck in an unambitious RUT...?

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I've read a few other posters on here who mentioned feeling unmotivated, unable to get energized. Jessiebelle referred to it as "feeling frozen inside" and a sense of "inertia". It struck a chord with me because I've been feeling that way for quite a while now but I thought it was just me. I'm curious to know how many others have found themselves feeling this way.
Here's my story....
I can't seem to get motivated to do anything beyond caregiving anymore. I've reached a point where I'm so fixated on my MIL and every aspect of her health and well being that I can't shift my concentration or lagging energy onto anything else. I think part of it is I'm afraid to let my guard down - if I lose focus I might forget to pay a bill or miss something else important because I wasn't paying attention. I've also convinced myself there's no point in getting involved in anything like a creative project, or gardening, or even a day of spring cleaning (which my house desperately needs) because I know I won't be able to finish whatever I started. Even if I don't get interrupted in the middle of it for some reason, I know I'll still have to stop anyway when the time comes to go fix MIL's supper and get her ready for bed. EVERY day at 4:30, without fail, hubs and I must go tend to those needs, at which point I have to put everything I was doing away, and who knows when I'll be able to get back to it again? So why even start?
It's not that I've lost interest in doing these things - just the opposite. I'd love to break out my sewing machine and get back into learning to quilt. I'd relish an opportunity to dust off my watercolor paints, or revisit some design ideas I abandoned in the computer, or even work in the yard for a while now that spring is here! But all those things turned into sources of frustration rather than pleasure a long time ago because I had to keep stopping when I didn't want to. Maybe it's just me, idk. But when I get really, deeply involved in something, or I'm in the midst of a good creative flow, I just hate being told I have to stop before I'm ready to. I used to try working on art designs on the computer...until it got so I'd cringe and groan and roll my eyes every time I heard hubs start "the countdown" (he'd let me know when there was only 15 minutes left until we had to leave for MIL's...then 10...then 5...then "time to shut it down. We have to go." I realize he was only trying to be helpful because he knows how easily time can get away from me when I'm absorbed in something. But it ANNOYED me to no end every time he did it!! I found myself getting snippy and feeling resentful toward him, which was totally unfair because the fault lies with the situation, not him, and he's under just as much stress as I am.
I want to be able to work (or"play") unfettered by any time constraints, the way I used to. Before I was a caregiver I was able to keep going on a project for as long I as wanted. I'd stop or take a break when I CHOSE to, not when I HAD to. I've had friends tell me, "well just pick something and work on it a little each day." Sure, seems simple enough. But they're not taking into account the time involved in setting up before and cleaning up after. If I try to invest a couple of hours each day in an activity like sewing or painting I end up with only an hour and a half to actually DO anything. Heck, at that point I'm just getting the real creative juices flowing! So again, why bother? Maybe if I was fortunate enough to have a room, a studio of sorts with a door on it, where I could spread my s**t out and leave it there indefinitely without worrying that the cat might get into it, then the set up/clean up time could be cut down a bit....but I don't. And that still doesn't solve the whole interruption issue.
I consider myself a decent multi-tasker. I can stir a sauce on the stove, talk on the phone, keep an eye on the time, load the dishwasher, chop onions, and toss kibbles into the cat's dish all at the same time without batting an eye. But when I decide to get involved in a project, whether it's sewing, or gardening, or just cleaning out/reorganizing a bookshelf I don't want be distracted or pulled away from it until it's done, or *I* decide I've accomplished enough for one day. If 4:30 rolls around and I'm not done, then I want to keep going until it is. I don't like living things unfinished.
So I've given up...resigned myself to reserving such projects until that elusive unknown future date when my time is all mine once again. Meanwhile I fill the time in between visits to MIL's with stuff I don't mind setting games of Solitaire and the smaller, day to day household chores that can be done quickly, like laundry and dishes and scrubbing the inside of the microwave. It's a boring, repetitive, monotonous existence that leaves me feeling unfulfilled and only minimally productive....frozen in a state of inertia.


So glad you posted that question. We are experiencing the same thing. Barely motivated to maintain just routine things around the house. We used to sit around and talk about all the things we would like to do together, or projects we'd like to work on. No more. It feels like living in limbo with only one sure thing that must be done, take care of Mom. Can't leave the house for very long, can't plan, time is ticking away for us both. After a number of years at this, it becomes mind numbing and demotivating. Even when and if it ends, not sure if we'll even be able to do the things we'd like to.

It's hard not to resent the situation when all of the people you know are living their lives and doing whatever they please or are able to do. No thought for the well being of another and no one even thanks you for what you do, not even the one receiving the care. I feel like a doormat.
When I started having panic attacks caring for my mother, my doctor ordered me to spend one hour a day painting with my watercolors. No excuses. Make yourself a "ME" space in one corner of your living room, dining room, or even bedroom where you can disappear for one hour each day. Sew, paint, read, do something for yourself. It really works.

It might be time to place your MIL in assisted living. When two doctors told me that I could no longer care for my mother, I followed their advise and put mother in a wonderful assisted living home. Now I have pleasant visits with my mother. My husband and I now have a real life and are free to do whatever we want.
One obstacle for us in putting Mom in Assisted Living, apart from the fact that we've been advised that she would "fail to thrive" is that my Mom has been supporting my sister financially for the past 5 years. Now my sister is severely disabled and needs in home care herself, which is coming from Mom's account. To put Mom anywhere would remove that support system from the sister. If Mom passes, then I'll just give Sis all money in the account, once she uses that up, probably take 2 days at the rate she spends money, that's it. I won't ask hubby to give his retirement money to support her. Ugh.

It usually just sounds so easy. Put Mom somewhere. Nothing is easy.
I am so glad that you took my words and ran with them, yaya. I had an ambitious day today. I got up early to get the chores done, took some pictures, and got my shop stuff done, then was doing some laundry. I was going to go somewhere this afternoon... THEN the dryer stopped working. It is 39 years old, so it was time for it to die. It died today. So may afternoon was spent finding another dryer. Then I had to find someone that could install a dryer vent, because my parents don't have one. So I did that, too. Everything is put in motion to be done. And my afternoon is gone.

It is time consuming to live here, because the place is so cluttered. I have to move this to do that, then move that to put this back in place. Nothing is easy. Much of my life is spent dealing with 60 years of clutter and neglect. The place is better than it used to be, but it has all fallen on me to get done.

I'm so glad to be getting the dryer vent. My mother didn't want to, so I am going to pay for it. It will be great not to have to clean the lint off of everything in the enclosed back porch. I don't know how they existed so long like this. My mother is concerned because she won't be able to do clothes every day like normal. I told her she was just going to have to deal with it a few days.

Tomorrow morning is set aside for getting the back porch cleaned so the work can be done. It never ends.
it seems to me that hospice type services are being expanded into home care. it certainly is in aunt ednas case. hospital stay , phys rehab , back to IL and home care is right on her heels. maybe you should ask your care recievers doc about this assistance. paid for by medicare for edna. home care , reluctant daughter and myself should be able to make the old gals quality of life shoot thru the roof. he he, im getting electronic access into the building.
social counseller will even help daughter figure out the complicated medical bills.
try to find some help yaya, thats what im getting at.
Jessiebelle, you have SO much more to contend with than I do, but when I read your words they really struck home. It's been almost six years, I'm worn to the nub, and just like FadingShadows said, it feels like we're in a state of limbo. Because of financial constraints we don't have a lot of options....MIL once signed up for Long Term Care insurance but she needed money to do something with the house so she cashed it in. She's living off her SS now which is enough to keep her comfortable, but AL is out of the question. She's probably beyond that now anyway. Captain's suggestion about looking into hospice is one we have been considering, especially as MIL's cognition declines and her needs increase. Her social/case worker is scheduled to make one of her quarterly visits soon and I've started working up a list of questions to ask her about that very subject. I'm not sure MIL's ready for it just yet but I want to know what our options are before we get to that point. Thnx for the responses guys - keep 'em coming!
Well, I have more to contend with than I thought. The dryer lives again. It is like the phoenix risen from the ashes. So I am having to cancel most of the things I did this afternoon. I'm still going to have the vent installed, though. Not having one was the cause of the problem.
"It's a boring, repetitive, monotonous existence that leaves me feeling unfulfilled and only minimally productive....frozen in a state of inertia." That is just how I feel, yaya, and it tidily sums up caregiving. Those rare moments I do find me time, my brain is like a hamster wheel spinning around an endless checklist of must do, should do, by the time it circles to want to do amd the time to get into doing something enjoyable, the time has past, and it's time to attend to the parent.

Last week, I had a rare hour in the raised beds which I have neglected the past two years. Twice while I was outside, my dad called but didn't leave a message. (I normally call him at 5:15pm daily, and this was early afternoon.) My husband was off work early that day and fielded the third call. (honestly. I'm beginning to think my dad has a secret camera and when he sees I'm doing something enjoyable for myself he interupts : ) My husband told him I would call him back dad said no that wasn't necessary. 

I was just coming inside when the phone rang and it was dad  I picked it up and he wanted to know why I had not called him back and I told him that he told my husb that wasn't necessary.  he said no he did not say that. Then he said that wasn't what he meant to say. 

He went on to say that when my husband told me he'd called, i was supposed to know it was time for me to quit and come in and call him.

I very facectiously told him from now on regardless of what he said, I would drop everything and call him. He said good that's what I should do.

When he's not checking up on me, he's making working for me. Last week I scheduled someone to trim his trees, he tells me to cancel. He does it himself (saving me $70, he says) then calls at 7:30 yesterday morning and tells me to call someone to pick all the trimmings up. He's just too tired. I spend two hours while I'm at (actually away from) work finding someone who can get it in three days because landscapers are on tight schedules and they have already filled his vacancy. He got mad because trimmings "will kill his grass." He told me to keep looking that my mother would've stayed on the phone all day til she found one who could come right then. I politely reminded him mom had been retired and could dedicate that amount of time, and had he just allowed the landscapers to do it as I had scheduled it wouldn't be a problem, so he could "like it or lump it."
And the picker uppers charged him double the amount. . .
Oh to live in a world where everything revolved around me.
JessieBelle - vents (of any kind) are well worth the money :)

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