How long can this burnout last?

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These days I only feel like reading a book or watching TV. It's fine, but I really need to rejoin life. have been dealing with constant crises with my mother for almost two years, and I have kind of hit a wall. I need to get past that wall and start working, seeing friends, and moving my life forward, but I can't seem to muster the energy.

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Sometimes we "hit a wall" whether it's in caregiving or being a performance athlete, or in our careers. I think sometimes it's advisable to just work through it without forcing progress - sometimes these issues just really need to be addressed before moving on.

You can't plant a garden and grow your own produce when your garden is full of rocks and weeds; you just have to work through them. And sometimes you find a fossil in your yards - that's an incredible experience to find something that lived 350M years ago.

Sometimes you meet new friends if neighborhood pets come to visit; sometimes you see a butterfly and it reminds you how beautiful the little creatures are. So there's beauty and consolation to be found as you work through that wall of burnout.

I was in kind of a blue funk the other day until I started looking at new online gardening catalogues. Seeing all the new varieties, the green plants, thinking of the harvest....in a short while I "had my mojo back."

Color and beautiful art work, whether it's a famous painting or a sketch of a garden, always inspires me. I think there are some colors that are more upbeat than others - you could experiment with looking at online art or photos of your favorite subjects and see if any inspire you.

Reading is a wonderful method of escape, and learning, depending on what you're reading. It can create a more rational perspective from which to view your situation.

Hang in there; you're with people here who've been through and are still going through it.
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I have been feeling this way also (my mother doing well in a nh)
All I can say is that I feel guilty I am not "Doing Something!"
well, reading is all I can do right now... Oh! I did finally email and get together with a friend I hadnt seen in over 5 years because of mom... that was nice to talk to someone.... I hadnt even spoken to a soul on the phone prior to that....It triggered the PTSD just to think of dialing anyone.
Yep, one tiny step at a time
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Ribbman take as much time as you need and things will start to fall into place. My mother was a mean, spiteful narcissist ... on reflection I think she was mentally ill life long. I cared for her (parkinsons, strokes and dementia) for four horrendous years until she went into a nursing home. The three years that followed were full of crises of her making and daily screaming phone calls until, on the verge of a nervous breakdown, I blacked out doing 85 in my truck, changed my phone number and made it unlisted. I never gave her my address either or she'd have sent the cops round, however I continued to visit (in dread) and run her errands.

She passed away on September 12. I was due to go back to my doc as my blood pressure was dangerously high but I decided to take my time and work on me, for the first time in so many years. The palpitations and thundering stomach 24/7 went away after a while though I didn't feel like doing much of anything either. After almost three months I'm starting to feel much better, filling my days with stuff ... and on 2 acres with an old house and critters there's a lot of stuff to do ... and generally starting to feel happy with my life. Take your time. It will come. Dog Bless.
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You've been through a lot Ribbman. Be gentle with yourself. I compare the trauma that caretakers go through with dementia patients like post traumatic stress disorder. It take a toll and a while to get ourselves adjusted when the crisis is over.

If we are lucky enough to maintain our physical health, we are fortunate. I'd try to be very good to your soul for a while and put some boundaries on how much your mom demands on you. With dementia, she can't put the brakes on, but you can.

So far this season, I've planned a party for my house and have accepted two invitations for attending parties with family and friends. I think I'm ready. I hope things get better for you, but I would just branch out when I was ready. It's nice you're feeling better.
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Thanks everyone! I feel a bit better all the time, and the fact that I'm thinking about rejoining life, maybe starting to work again, shows some movement.
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I can totally relate to what you're going through. I feel like I can't enjoy life because my mother is the elephant in the room/in the entire home - that will never go away!! Today, I was Googling how to move on from regret because I was thinking of my deceased father and wishing he was alive so I can tell him the things I never had the opportunity (the Holiday season can be rough). In reading these various articles I came across the same theme: People regretting not taking that chance, not taking that opportunity to live the life they want. I learned that my "regret" shouldn't hold me back. I have learned (painfully!) from it and I'm a better person from it. I need to - now - take steps to create the life I want because I don't want to be miserable on my deathbed. I think it's okay for you to feel the burnout for as long as you need to but I think you'll eventually decide you've had it and it's time to get out there and get back into life. I've recently reached my breaking point in this sense. I've been making steps to fulfill my dreams because my father would be so sad that I didn't try to reach my full potential. Most importantly - I would be sad if I didn't reach my full potential! As caregivers, we all get stuck in a rut - and this is okay. But, hopefully, we snap out it and realize enough's enough and it's okay to put ourselves a priority - for once! :-)
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I feel the same way in Winter. The shorter days and cold dampness can really get into your bones. Head to Phoenix for a week .
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Ribbman...I hear you.....my Mom made it to 91(last year w/caregiver help) living independently in her condo (swearing there was no way she would ever leave her home). We accommodated her.....then followed 3 years of hell w/her falling, breaking every weight-bearing bone on her right side: ER, surgery, rehab, all the horrors of rehab (communicable diseases: cold, flu, pneumonia, CDiff, UTI antibiotic-resistant infections, dehydration, blood clots, etc).....a total, multi year nightmare.....and yes, like you, I am exhausted, my sibs (1 of whom lives overseas ) are exhausted......helll....I didn't even mention having to deal w/ the insurance company!......soooo....you take your time to regroup.....but , beyond that, you are right.....you need to reconnect and re-engage....when you are ready.....I can only tell you that once you start it becomes like the snowball....gathering strength and much larger than it's weak beginnings. So.....start small but think as large as you want....
For the last year, my Mom has been in a beautiful ALF that I found.....she is actually quite content and has many friends and visitors.....she is now wheel-chair bound but still as as damn stubborn....and lovely....as ever. She will be 94 on Monday, November 30th......she has had a damn good long run....I am planning to have close to same myself.....You dear, need to make those plans for yourself.....plz....
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Ribbman I find my life goes in phases. During the winter, I have a welcome "hibernation" phase where I give myself permission to stay home more and read and be by myself (I'm single). But as soon as the weather starts to warm up, I'm antsy to get up and get moving. Or sometimes I sort of hit bottom (like in a pool) and I start to come back to the surface and I want and need to be around people. I have learned (through 13 years of caregiving) to give myself permission to do whatever it takes to make me feel OK in the moment/day/week/month. So I suggest you start doing the same. Unless it gets to feeling like a real depression, at which time you need to seek some counseling to help get you moving again.

Caregiving will kick you butt if you let it. Even when things are going "well" there's a huge stress factor that's always just under the surface. That's why I let myself do whatever I need to do to keep myself sane and happy. And sometimes that spending time with friends/on the go and sometimes that's time alone and doing very little.
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Sounds like you're at her beckoned call 24-7. She says "Jump!" and you say "How high?" I'd start labeling the crises under "Earth Shaking" and "Can Wait." If she's living independently, that means she can handle her business. That also includes mobility issues. It can be as simple as picking up the phone.

The real wall here is your mother. Find a way to go over it, around it, or punch right through it. It's time to re-discover yourself. In the meantime, eat well and get as much rest as you can. You'll be fine soon.
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