How do I get over feeling unmotivated, due to being overwhelmed?

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I have the ability and freedom to do anything, except stop being the full time caregiver of two elderly parents. I can jump in the car and sit on the beach for a couple of hours, but it doesn't help me out of this funky feeling, nor does doing anything else help. I just want to hide under the covers and eat potato chips until I can have my old lifestyle back, without being a Caregiver. The more I don't do what needs to be done, such as paperwork and phone calls, the more I get overwhelmed. I'm scheduled for respite starting middle July, for a month. I don't think my sanity will make it to July.

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Top Answer
I think a part of feeling unmotivated is that we're all "waiting." Waiting for the next shoe to drop, the next fall, the next hospital visit, the next illness, and ultimately, the next death. Not knowing what will happen, how things will unfold, or when things will happen makes one very tentative about doing anything.

Once something happens, I'm a tornado in action. But most of the time, I have to fight my inertia and my desire to just sit and metaphorically wait.
Welcome to the club.... club Med it is not... that feeling is very common among a lot of us. I have found myself stalling at doing things, too. So many things have been put off.

I see from your profile you moved across country to be with your parents, away from your hubby and the cats. It's terrible when we find ourselves enabling our parents so that they can continue to live their lifestyle while we have to make major changes to our own lifestyle..... it's not fair.

Ask your self, what if you weren't around, what would your parents do? I asked my parents [mid to late 90's] and they said "we would manage".... good grief, they couldn't manage with me living down the street from them. Mom refused caregivers. Refused cleaning crews. Refused to take a taxi. Refused to use a walker.

If only I could re-wind the past 7 years, I would do things so much differently. I would have not enabled my parents to keep living in that house with all those stairs. Someone was always falling. My parents were in denial they needed help. They never took care of their parents so they had no idea how much stress they were putting me thought. It was totally overwhelming. I can't image what you are going through being under the same roof.

Time to let Mom and Dad know you need to go home to your own family. Mom should understand this if her memory is still ok. Time to look around for caregivers to come in, if your folks can afford it. Or it is cheaper to move into Assisted Living. If not look into Medicaid, they would pay for continuing care facility. I know, not easy putting a love one into a "nursing home", it's either them or you will wind up in one, or your parents will outlive you.
ltb2parents, you mentioned that you "promised" your parents to take care of them at home. May I asked when did you make that promise? Was it back when your parents were younger and healthier, with no age related declines?

It is so easy to promise home care when we can't visualize our parents becoming elders, and have zero idea what is involved.

My parents never asked me to promise them they could stay in their home. I never visualized my parents being very elderly.... they were still walking 2 miles a day in their late 80's and early 90's. Dad was still fixing everything around the house, Mom still doing all the housework even at 97.

You need to do what is best for your parents and what is best for you. I bet years ago your parents never thought about you leaving your husband across the country to take care of them..... oh never in the million years... now look.

You have been doing this for around 9 months... imagine doing this for the next 5 years. I know it has ruined my health, thus no fun retirement in my plans... that bucket list was crumbled up and thrown away. Yet my parents had a wonderful 25+ year retirement traveling everywhere.
I personally have an inner paralysis that keeps me from doing things. There are several reasons for the paralysis -- some I know and others I don't. It basically comes down to that I am living someone else's life and not my own. I have tried doing my work and keeping my own life going. It hasn't been easy. My work requires that I have my muse with me. Someone has beaten my muse up and chased it away. I keep trying to work, but I do need to find my muse again to put the enthusiasm back in.

Itb, I wondered if your parents are still independent, could you direct them how to cleanup their own paperwork. Could they write and cancel all the bug contracts? Or is it easier for you to do it? When I have this type thing to do, I make myself do it first so I can put it behind me. Then I don't have to worry about it anymore. I have a feeling that if you don't get it done before your respite that you'll worry the entire time you're gone. In your shoes, I would enjoy the weekend ahead, then get busy on the paperwork Monday. You should be able to get it all done pretty quickly and not have to worry anymore.
It always strikes me - the odd coincidence of someone posting pretty much what I've been thinking, the same day. A little different here - I've been thinking - fantasizing- about running away from home. It just gets so overwhelming at times - the feeling that everyone wants/expects a piece of me - all the time. I've even gotten irritated that I have to take the dogs out first thing upon getting up. Can't I just have a frickin' cup of coffee first - before I have to start the fetching and toting? Regarding the paperwork, itb- is there any way to condense and simplify? When I took over my parents "stuff", they had accounts at several banks, investments with four different brokers etc. it took forever to sort mail, balance check books, pay bills...So I made it a project to condense and simplify- which in itself was biting off a big chunk to chew. Now since there is so much less to deal with I can let it sit - just glance at moms mail when it comes to make sure I'm not missing something time sensitive - but then it goes into a cupboard- out of sight - and I deal with it the last Sunday of the month. I use to think I had to deal with the stuff as soon as it came in, then I'd procrastinate, then feel bad about endless cycle of feeling stuck in quicksand. Now I know I can do it in one day - the world didn't end when I stopped balancing the checkbook to the penny and it has helped. Now, if I could just get my hubby, son, dogs, mom to save up whatever it is they want from me and just ask me on the last Saturday of the month...
This funky unmotivated feeling you describe is exactly what I'm experiencing. I'm reading this on the couch with tears streaming and, alas, no potato chips. I agree with Blannie that the terrible constant sense of "waiting" is largely to blame. I read all 30 responses and I needed this today. Thank you to all of you. After 3 years I've recently had to pull way back on caring for my Mom and find now my depression and health is worse. This too shall pass. Love and strength to all of you.
So sorry you are going through all this. I was in your shoes after my Step Dad passed away and my Mom was "Home Alone" for a couple years. Things started to happen. Burners left on. Vent hood burnt. Water left on. Mailbox stuffed with magazines...everyday. Mom ran off cleaning ladies, Home Health, yard man. In hind sight Sis and I tried to keep Mom at home too long. Falls. Way too many falls with all that drama. Mom ended up in ER then by her choice to Nursing Home for rehab. There she stayed. I still had to "care" for Mom while she was there. Still drama but safer for eveyone! Mom passed away in October and the mental and physical fatigue remain. Please take care of yourself and not push yourself to the point of no return. Even those of us who consider ourselves mentally tough and physically fit would probably confess that we wanted to pull our hair out and stick a fork in our eye on several occasions during our caregiving journey. Dont beat yourself up. Hang in there!
Yes, you have clearly touched a nerve with your post, so you know it's not just you! My husband and I have given up income, privacy, sanity, etc., to care for my mom (82), who is now solidly in mid-stage dementia and now in assisted living. I work part time from home, and have constant feelings that I'm forgetting to do something important, not doing things well, not sleeping well, resentful feelings towards my mother for not preparing in any way (even though my siblings and I discussed that very thing with her several times over the years after she had to care for HER mother, and she assured us that everything was "taken care of") but the worst is that "hanging on a hook feeling" that demotivates me from making plans, looking forward to things, and getting things done. I'm challenging myself to address one issue or project a day outside of my normal routine, so I can begin to see some progress and change. I'm also making more of an effort to eat well (instead of comforting with food) and get some exercise, even minimally. It's tough, I know. I used to walk/run 3 miles a day, do weight work, was in good physical shape.

If I could redo any of the past, I would have dismissed my mother's wall of privacy and insisted that she show us exactly what she had in place for herself. We would've been much better prepared.
We never know how long it will take for parents to complete their journey. As freqflyer writes, it can turn into years. My rule of thumb about promises is don't make them if I have little or no control over keeping them. Perhaps consider reworking the promise so that it incorporates the current realities. Otherwise it seems like trying to fit a "square promise" into a "round promise" hole and it can't be done without cutting corners. This life is not a dress rehearsal. Live it or lose it.
ltb2parents -I agree with the posters who have said you made a promise to your usband too. It supercedes any promise to your parents IMO. Your heath, mental and physical is suffering and will get worse if you keep this up. Your parent's ailments will increase and their conditions deteriorate. Your job with them will increase and you are not coping well now. Sticking to a promised you made at some time is not wise for them or for you. They deserve care from people who can cope with all the jobs, and you and your husband deserve a life together. You can help them from afar, possibly look after their financial matters if you feel you can cope with that, but hire people to look after them on a day to day basis and look to what works best for the long term when their health deteriorates which it will ands so will yours and your husband's as you both age. I speak from experience. I am nearly 79 and my mother is still alive at 104. She is in a facility and gets excellent care there. In the transition time during which she became unable to live alone there was a great deal of stress which affected my health and I still suffer from the effects. I am her POA medical and financial and that in itself is a big job without doing any hands on care. The bottom line is that you need to look after yourself first and if your health mental and/or physical are suffering you need to make some serious changes to improve your situation.

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