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To me it is like living under a dark cloud all the time. Even if it is not raing you never know when the rain will start. Living with this over your head is a constant reminder of the burden you have and no relief in sight. I think you absolutly have to get out and away from it..when you are away there is nothing you could do anyway so you might as well enjoy yourself. Even if it's a couple of hours up on the shooting range or out to dinner. It's away. Try something new...that really makes you concentrate on something else. It's hard to put it out of your mind and truely relax, but that helps. Exercising helps too....some sweatin to the oldies! The "true joy" is elusive..find it when and where you can.
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This can be very difficult sometimes. You need to be sure to carve out time in your schedule to nurture yourself....you know, do the things that bring joy to your heart, whether that is reading a good book, taking a bubble bath, going for a walk in nature, visiting with a friend, etc. It's not healthy for you to get so wound up in your parent's life that you don't take good care of yourself. Also set limits with your parent, as far as how much you are willing to do for them. It is a fine line, I've discovered, between helping my father and catering too much to him. In my case, I also needed to talk to my doctor, who prescribed medication to help me cope. And I also have a counselor I can talk to when I need to. A counselor/therapist would be a big help to you. Also support groups, like this one or one in your community. Just realize that this is not easy and you're not imagining that it's hard! Many on this forum have posted that the caregiving job for a parent has turned out to be actually THE hardest thing they've ever gone through thus far in life----and that's saying something if you're in your 50's or older, because you've already presumably gone through tough stuff by now. You are so perceptive to see that it is the "joy" that we need to preserve in our own lives. Thanks for helping me to see that.
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