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help...I have been a caregiver for 11 years. i am isolated from friends because i am to uncomfortable around them. i have been left alone by family. i am alone and sleep all the time. i have no hope for an end my life is on hold. my husband is a stroke survivor . a massive stroke left him paralyzed on right side. unable to speak. he has apraxia also i am never sure what he understands. i have recently hired a caregiver to relive me of some his care needs but i still continue to sleep and don't take advantage of caregiver to get out. i think i waited to long and am afraid to venture outdoorsl.

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If you're going to a church that makes you feel guilty for not tithing, then you're in the wrong church. My husband and I tithe regularly, but that's between us and God. And also your church shouldn't be making you feel guilty about NOT getting involved with helping. Especially if they know of your circumstances, they should be aware of the stress you're already under, and not expect you to add yet another duty to your list. I have found, the smaller the church, the more family like it seems. When you go to a huge mega church, it's easy to get lost in the crowd. Some people like that, we don't so we attend a small community church. And also, what better place for sick people to be then church? After all, why would you go to a hospital unless you were in need of help? So also with the 'church', but in the end it's the people that make a 'church'. Otherwise it's just another building.
Matthew 18:20:
For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the middle of them.
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SoAlone... We hosted services in our home several times (our church was a start up, no building, so congregation knew our plight), and I USED to volunteer on a local charitable board of trustees AND held several posts on our towns neighborhood watch (when I was a stay at homer, for several years BEFORE spouse was hurt and my time split between him and having to return to work full time), thus have done my stick so to speak with volunteerism. I would spend ALL weekend outside just trying to keep up with the yard work by myself, as spouse couldnt. In over 10 years of this, only ONCE did a neighbor offer to help shovel snow. I instead bought a snow blower, as at least I can rely on that/will spare my own back. I am sure there are good folk in many a church, just not feeling the warm fuzzies for churches in my area, based on experience.
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Careing can be very lonely even in a room full of people. I sometimes think only another carer can know. Try to find a carers group that you can visit, perhaps your doc will know of one.
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mschrys1 says ""nor did we experience any simple phone calls just to touch base. Seems unless you've directly experienced medical tribulations, most are ignorant of the feelings/needs of others""

It is easy to criticize a "church" as a group of people. but you have to remember each person is an individual and as a group we sometimes do not function well because we sort of think someone else in the group is doing it.

My sister often blamed "the people at church" for not going out of their way to convert our dad or whatever and she complains about other things related to the people at church yet SHE is one of them and she has never volunteered for anything either. She never "made a simple phone call"
We see ourselves as needing but we don't see ourselves as part of the solution for others either.
Everyone is in some sort of situation and can use support.

Sometimes to get past the group mentality a more personal plea has to be made. Directly to the pastor who can then make sure someone is assigned the task. Otherwise people assume someone else is doing it.
I know I never considered myself one of the "workers" in the church and I have sat there for years in the pew and never gave a thought to being the ONE who would answer the plea for help. I was leaving that up to the people who were better at it or who are just plain better people.

don't blame "the church" they are all just people like you..
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I find many of us no longer attend church because so many church congregations are worse than strangers when it comes to understanding the lives of caregivers and the ill. We found that we had no offers from our last congregation to get out/make friends, requests to help during spouse's many surgeries (perhaps baby sit as to allow some breathing room/time to not have to tend to twelve things at once), nor did we experience any simple phone calls just to touch base. Seems unless you've directly experienced medical tribulations, most are ignorant of the feelings/needs of others. Also, there is the pressure to spend more time at the church (hard to do when working, raising kids and tending to ill spouse/dealing with the medical and other financial based paperwork), and lastly, there is the sheer guilt of not being financially sound as to allow for tithing when dealing with the strains that illness causes to our fiscal survival which all play a part in why many of avoid organized religious gatherings so to speak. I find that my elderly clients (80% of my workplace clientele) are perhaps the most able to understand my plight/I connect the best with these acquaintances, but they dont have mortgages and children still at home, and had 30, 40, 50 years of a healthy spouse to enjoy v. our (and millions of others) situation of having your lives turned upside down in your 30's (effectively robbed of your good times/memories to lean on when in your golden year before being allowed to build them due to illness or injury or both.
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Hello. You are suffering depression and need treatment for that.

In addition to your caregiving responsibilities and your feelings of isolation you may be feeling some guilt because it is natural to have some bad feelings toward the loved one.

You may feel trapped and angry. Forced to live a life which you no longer control but you can get control but you may need some help from someone who can help you see a different point of view.

You may not feel like a WIFE anymore but rather a nurse so you have to deal with those feelings. Your husband is probably suffering many of the same feelings and probably needs help for depression too. If he is aware then he knows you are sleeping all of the time.

You can live a happy life and so can your husband.

I spend a great deal of time alone and isolated. I practically have gotten to the point where I hate to leave my house! Fortunately I have found that I do love to read and find a lot of peace in reading. I also have pets to care for which helps me a great deal.

Do you and your husband have a pet? They can be lifesavers.

One thing you may consider is volunteering at a place which supports a cause you care a lot about. We have a local animal shelter store which sells donated items. Working there is very uplifting and you meet wonderful people.
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There was a lady that would come by and bring my mom Communion for several years. When my mom got sick the lady came by while I was there. I explained to her that my mom had had a stroke and couldn't eat solid foods, that everything had to be puried and that the communion would have to be broken up and given to her in a small piece. I went out to get some water, came back and found the lady had placed the entire communion in my moms mouth. I knew then that she did not understand what I'd said. She told me to call her when my mom was better that she couldn't break off pieces of the communion.

I called the Rectory and left several msgs for the Priest. I told his secretary that I'd gone to the elementary school, as had my sister. I told him I was baptised, made my first Holy Communion, Confirmed there. I further told him I'd married there, and both my sons were baptised there. I also told him that my mom use to work at the convent, which she did for 5 years. I told them that my mom had been making donations of $100.00 to the church for many a year....MANY A YEAR. It took several calls for me to get the priest over there.

The Priest called me and made arrangements to come over. He did not know our history with the church and had only been at this parish for 8 months. He also has another church so he pulls double duty.

I found him to be delightful and uplifting and a great sense of humor. He even got me to return to Mass at the church,
and he has been coming faithfully every since October atleast every week.

If you call, they will come. Explain your situation and you will feel a lot better.

I'm praying for you. You can do it, I know you can.
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I took care of my husband for 16 years and he died last June, I was able to get out for some activities occasionaly while caring for him so already had some interest. You can't have a garden now outside but could buy some herb plants for the window sill to have something to grow. My church is very little less than 50 people but so. If you knit or crochet you can make lap robes to donate to nursing homes in your area or maybe you could find someone who is loney and make their life more enjoyable there are so many lonely people out there if you give to others it will make your life better.
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I agree with the comments and especially angelgirlpj. Talk to God. He's the best friend you'll ever have. You took the first step by getting a caregiver to help you out. Now you have to give yourself a break. Remember that you have given up your life for the past 11 years and you have to start living again. You probably will feel guilty having a good time or even feeling happy because your husband can't share that with you, but he wouldn't want you to give up being happy for him. If you have any hobbies, pick them up again and find new friends in club meetings, ect. that involve that hobby. I had all but given up on getting my life back because I spent so much time caring for mom, but I also have found 2 caregivers who help me out and I'm going to start horseback riding again. I went to a club meeting with only women around my age who ride last night and we planned rides (even overnighters) and I came alive again just talking about it. I had so much fun and can't wait to have some "life" in my life again. Do something for yourself. It's okay.
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Can you call your church and ask someone to visit? How about your local Senior Center or Commission on Aging?
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i have always been active n church, opened and ran a library, was a stephen minister, communion distributer and also reader. i have actively read the bible and other religious books. i wouldn't haved survived the 11 years without Gods help all along. but as for my church it like many people i have known have forgotten me because they don't see me anymore. the priest was changed in my parish and the new one doesn't know dicke or i except as a couple he sees occassionally at mass. since thanksgiving i have been unable to attend mass and have been unable to get church to haved any one bring me communion. still having trouble typing with large bandaged finger sorry. thanks again for all your uplifting comments. but i really feel abandoned by my church right now. not God just my church. i can't garden its 22 degreesa here in mn and i live in condo without a garden . in fact i'm lucky if i get the energy to dress and bathe. the inertia i feel is overwhelming.
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Do you have a garden? If not why not start one. It's so peaceful and rewarding and since I've taken over my mom's garden for her I find myself singing a lot more, guess since I sing in the garden, I've carried it over.

I also agree with an anti-depressant may be in order.

About church, girl If you don't know God now's the time to get to know him. He will guide you through any storm!
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Awesome! Think I'll try all of the above. Best wishes, and know you're not alone. We're here to cheer you on!!!
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You might contact a local hospice. Having your husband evaluated would not cost you a thing. If he should go into the program, there will be volunteers to come keep him -- AND you-- company and other paid workers coming & going, which might be a real bright spot in your days. You would also get a chance to get out of the house -- go to the library & read magazines, visit the senior citizen's center, stroll through the mall, visit a museum.
If his doctor says therapy is necessary, home health workers' visits (paid by Medicare) could provide you some time to yourself to just get outside and shift your perspective. Check with local hospitals & in the newspaper to see if a stroke support group is organized in your area. You & your husband would be welcomed into such a group.
Opening yourself to new possibilities will not be easy. You are going to have to push yourself. An anti-depressant for you might help some, too, even taken temporarily. Has your family stopped coming around because you are so despondent and negative on life?
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I also agree the above suggestions are wonderful. Get back into a routine of doing some form of exercise; walking, dancing around the house, or with your vacuum cleaner. Get yourself on a schedule. It will be difficult to start but, you owe it to yourself to get started. Find a church near you. There are many Christians who would love to be your friend. Your best friend should be Jesus. He has your answers. Trust him, seek him.
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As a home care provider that was going to be my first advice. The advice I am reading is good BUT one thing I haven't read yet is to Give it to God. It's great to go to church and be with other Christians, have them come to the house to be with you, or why your caregiver is there get away and simply talk to God. He'll listen you know. Nothing is a surprise to him or to hard! If you have internet connection listen to the podcast from http://www.new-song-church.com/ It's my church and a great one!
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Start going to the library and see if you could voleenteer maybe 1 hr. a week so you have something planned to go to at a certain time to start with and come back to this site you have a lot of insight that you can share with others go easy on yourself I try to have a plan for my days the first hr. I am up in the morning I do bills I also set the timer for an amount time and do work for that time then take a short break then set the timer for more work around the house you will be surprised how much you can get done by the end of the day.
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Delsberry:

During those 11 years you practically stopped living, and the thought of reconnecting again with yourself and the world at large is quite daunting. Also, sleeping your life away is a sign of depression. So it's time to get back on that horse and live again. The moment you start socializing and re-discovering both yourself and the things you used to enjoy you'll definitely feel better. We'll be here to tickle you every now and then, so keep us posted.

-- ED
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Naheaton is right, you need to heal yourself, but it won't happen overnight. I recently lost my mom after several years of caregiving, and I know how having time on your hands can leave you feeling adrift. I've been doing the baby steps. Walks really help. You would be amazed at how activity can lift you out of the doldrums. I don't know your eating habits but mine had gone to heck in a handbasket. I've been working on eating healthier foods on somewhat of a schedule, taking vitamins, and I am feeling physically better. And when you start feeling physically better, your mental state picks up too. It's like an upward spiral! You may be a wee bit depressed (?), so activity will help there, and from what I've been reading, meditation helps tremendously.
Hang in there, you will be able to get your life back, and you need to start with healing yourself. We're here for you.
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I think the care giver was a great idea. Maybe for now, you should just sleep, get caught up. As far as outdoors, why does it have to mean you have to GO somewhere? Why can't you just take a walk, or sit on the porch or backyard? Now if it's snowing where you live, then maybe not outside and sit in the snow, but can't you bundle up and still take a walk? I think baby steps are in order here. You've become a hermit of sorts for 11 years, just do the baby step thing for awhile. Get your 'sea legs' so to speak. And after you've gotten used to being 'outdoors' again, pick up the phone and reach out to someone you haven't talked to in a long time. It'll be fine, you can do this. After what you've been through for 11 years, this getting out of the house should be a 'walk in the park'. (pun intended) :)
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