HELP! I'm losing my social skills. What do I do?

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I have been a caregiver for the past 3 years, to my Mom who has dementia, which doesn't leave much of a social life except for doctor appts and grocery store trips. I went to the vet with my daughter yesterday to help her with the dog and I ran into an old friend of mine. She called me by name and asked if I remembered her, and thank goodness, I did!
In talking with her, I just figured out that I couldn't carry on a conversation that really meant anything, because I had nothing new to talk about! Thank goodness my daughter picked up the slack. I felt so stupid. I am only 58 and feel like a person with no life, that has nothing to talk about and has lost touch with life. Wow, is that depressing? This is really weighing heavy on my mind. Any suggestions?

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oh my, ive turned into the wild eyed cat who will fix your car for free if youll listen to his blasphemous tirade for a couple of hours.
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Even if there's nothing going on in your world that you feel comfortable discussing, there's a lot going on in the world around you. If you know you'll be going out, try to steal a few minutes here and there to check out some of the latest local or national or international stories. Ask others what they think about something that's going on (just not politics or religion, LOL).

Or ask them if they have any good movie recommendations or books they've read. Even if you're not reading or going to movies, it will get them talking and again, and as Bobbi said, they'll think you're brilliant. :)

You can also ask them if they have summer plans...vacations they've scheduled, etc. Once they get going, I'm sure you'll have some things to add, if not from your present life, your past life (before caregiving). I work from home and take care of my mom and so my life is pretty limited too. I've done a lot with meeting other folks through Meetup.com. Lots of groups for women doing things. It's free and maybe you can get out a bit with people doing things you like to do. Check it out!
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Thanks everyone! I'm already starting to feel some better. More comments, please!
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haha eyerish!

Um... so how are you today? heehee.

lovbob
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bobbi's totally right and I can't believe I forgot to mention it. Asking someone about their life is the greatest conversation starter. People love to talk about themselves and they'll walk away thinking you're the best conversationalist they've ever met.
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You did the first thing that has to happen and that's reach out and try and connect! Congratulations on a smart move!

It happened to me too. I couldn't focus on what people were saying and when I was able to muster some attention span I realized that I had no patience for bs such as the old 'she took care of you, etc etc' and it's 'god's will etc etc'.

This amazing site is full of people suffering from the same crazy of caregiving and the good news is that you can whip out some social skills here.

What I ended up doing myself and still do even though I am in the after-caregiving-phase is simply ask them about themselves and do they have any pictures of their kids. I know that's not a replacement for stimulating conversation but it will get you going and not make you feel so isolated. If you come across a compassionate individual who you feel good talking to then let 'er rip and talk about how you feel.

You really haven't lost touch with life, you are just in a period of time that is foreign to anyone who hasn't walked the walk.

Most importantly, to me, is don't beat on yourself. You are going through some of the hardest times a human can go through. Be patient with yourself and loving towards yourself.

There are many wonderful caregivers here who will pop on and put in their 2 cents worth. I am only one grain of sand on this beach!

lovbob
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Dear chloesgrams2012,

I ran into the same exact thing when I cared for my dad (he died a month ago). I had absolutely nothing to offer in social situations and found myself stumbling and stammering in most situations. On one hand those situations didn't come up often as, like you, I didn't have the opportunity to socialize very much. But the fact that this occurred bothered me very much. After thinking about it for a few days I figured that I needed to get out more which was difficult as I had my dad to care for. But there were times when my dad didn't need much care such as when he was napping or sitting in his chair at night watching tv. I made an effort to get away for brief periods of time here and there. I called on a couple of friends and they understood and were willing to accommodate my schedule so occasionally I would go for a late lunch (during my dad's afternoon nap) and I went to Mass on Saturday evenings. One hour. I had to make an effort to do this, it wasn't coming naturally to me anymore since I had practically become a shut-in while caring for my dad. It was very easy to just not go out. But once I made the effort I began to enjoy an hour away here and there.
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