Caregiver burnout leading to social isolation.

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I'm taking care of my mother four days a week. It seems all consuming and such a huge part of my life. I don't have another job thank GOd. I commute a half hour each way. By the end of the six hours I'm exhausted. I have friends but by the time I get home and even the next day, i just want to veg out and have peace and quiet. I'm a homebody anyway so that's how God made me. I just don't want it to be unhealthy.

Another factor is that I may have some social anxiety because I don't know what to talk about! Other people have 'lives' and have plenty to talk about. Someone asks me what's new....i'm taking care of my mom, is my response.

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I thought about this thread today when my mother woke up. She was having breakfast, while I was sitting with her. She went through a symptom list -- her scalp bumps, her itchy skin rash, the carcinoma on her nose (real), the lump on her side, her back pain, her imaginary bladder infection, and her memory loss. As it went on, I felt the energy being sucked from me like a vampire had latched on. I go through this several times a day and realized it was like torture that I couldn't stop without leaving. Getting away from her is my only relief.

I'd like to say a word for us caregivers. Often we're told to let it roll off us, to suck it up, or how to take better care of the care receiver. But I'm left with the big question of how to keep our life from being sucked from us as we do this.

Would say more, but I have to take my mother to the doctor -- 4th appointment this week.
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i was just talking to my therapist and it is EASIER for me to be alone when i'm tired. This is a separate issue but sometimes it takes too much energy to socialize with others. However, it's not healthy for me, i'm starting to realize.
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I wonder what causes this, because I do it myself. I don't feel depressed or anyway in particular. It is like something has changed with my need to seek out people. And, no, no one did anything wrong to me. When I go out, I get along fine and enjoy talking to people. Maybe I'm just getting old and settled, and that it is happening when I am caregiving is coincidental?? Or maybe it is because I feel at peace. I don't know what it is, because even though it is peaceful, it doesn't seem normal.
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I understand your situation. Since my mother has been living with me I find my-self just not wanting to talk on the phone, rarely going out and just staying in my room. It seems as if I have no energy for anything. You are in my prayers.
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I can totally relate to your feelings. My MIL lives with my family FT, and by the time I get my kids off to school, my sister-in-law off to work (She is mentally handicapped and lives with me also), then take care of MILs morning routine. Head to work for a few hours, I am blessed that my employer allows me to work from home all but 2-3 hours a day, then come home, take care of MILs afternoon routine, head into the dinner routine, bedtime and all the other crap that needs to be done I feel like I have nothing left for anyone else - let alone myself. And when I do get away (rarely) to spend time with my friends, all I want is a few moments to vent and let go of all the stress and anxiety and mostly anger I feel towards my husband's family for their not helping and dumping everything on me. So now it is a year later, and my friends (minus one person) are sick of hearing about the same old complaints and sick of hearing me bitch. I am at such a loss. We need people in our lives that we can have to occasional 10-15 minute melt down with to vent and let it all go. And if we cannot then we just will end up in a padded room somewhere in a straight jacket. I wish I had some advise for you, and me. I have tried to find face-to-face support groups in my area and there aren't any that are close enough or I can make fit into my schedule. I have found a lot of healthy discussions and support on this forum though and that is really helping me a lot. Makes me feel less lonely to know that there are others out there going through the same thing and having the same lost feelings.
Good luck and know that what we are giving up for our loved ones is the most selfless act a person can do. Hugs to you
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Good answers above. True friends will talk to you about anything - if they aren't interested; then unfortunately they are not caring enough people to begin with. It is not your fault. Have you tried any support groups in your area? Elder Services is a great place to start and ask about this. Meeting with others in the same boat truly helps.

It is wonderful what you are doing - hugs and take care
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I totally agree, capnhardass. It doesn't matter if they are friends or family, if they stick by you through the worse parts of caregiving, they are true friends who will be there for life. Once my dad passed in October 2011, it has taken a long time to even feel like I should be living my own life. For almost 4 years, dad was my life. While it was so very hard, I don't regret a minute of it. Smitty, just make sure you notice those that are true to you and they won't care what you have to talk about. They will be happy just to be with you and feel that by listening they are helping you in some way. Good luck on your journey ~ Kuli
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people who have never had a caregiving roll have no idea how life consuming it is. if your friends shy away let them go. youll meet better people later on in life. i certainly wont revisit the people who let me down when i really needed them. the one girl who stuck by and helped me is the real deal.. those are rare though..
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