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I am in my 60's, retired early because I was overseeing my Mom's needs.
Our family was close, but since my Mother's death a couple of years ago, my relationship with my two siblings is almost non-existent. I keep trying to reach out to them. One sibling and his wife have an attitude that they don't want to bother with anyone else's issues. The other sibling is handling his life, but now spends most of his time with his son who has stopped working.


I am single, no children, no close relatives anymore, and no close friends. I've tried joining groups, but every time there is an event, I back out. I have no interest in much these days. I've thought about getting part time work, but haven't tried hard enough. I've been shut up in my home the last year due to Covid. I basically sit in my recliner, watch TV or surf the net, and take naps all day. That's the extent of my life.


The past few years I have ALWAYS been the one to initiate getting together with relatives or friends. I can't take much more of this. I don't know what else I can do.

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My heart goes out to you since I have experienced anxiety and depression. As others have suggested, talk to your doctor; medication can truly make a difference. A good counselor can help, too. I am using BetterHelp.com. You can choose phone, email or FaceTime sessions. My counselor is perfect for me. Also, I have decided we have to create our own family. Depending on our blood relatives can sometimes be disappointing! The following has helped me:
1. Give medication time to work.
2. Do simple exercise like walking each day.
3. Write out on paper what you would like your life to look like. Read it every week.
4. Do something for yourself; new shoes; new haircut; new bedding, etc..
5. Push yourself to go to one social event. Reward yourself afterwards…even if you had a miserable time.
6. Get involved in a job or volunteer program where you are helping others less fortunate.
7. Remember that isolation is not healthy for your mind.
I know these seem overwhelming when you are alone and in the routine of little contact with the outside world. It’s so much easier to give into depressive thoughts than to go out. Just do one of the seven a day (well… take any meds daily!). If I can do this… anyone can. I’m already so impressed that you reached out on this forum! I’m excited to hear back from you! You can do this! Warmly ~ Sunny ☀️
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Destinydrh Jun 20, 2021
Excellent words,be encouraged people!💃🏿. Going forward!
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Being single and child free, you were probably "selected" to care for your mom by dint of your "FREE" status. Your brothers probably presumed because you are "a girl" with "no family" that your life was the easiest to offer for sacrifice. I have no doubt you loved your mom and she loved you, but caregiving sort of leaves you in a lurch after the person you cared for dies. And even if your brothers had participated in care, they go back to their other interests while you are left to pick up pieces with no one to even inquire about you. I get it. It's called singlism. Just listen to politicians....they go on and on about "families and kids" but NEVER spare a word about the single population whose efforts go unnoticed and unrepaid. With that: Notice yourself!! Take yourself out to lunch. Treat yourself to a massage. I know that it will difficult on a single person's retirement stipend (yes, housing costs just as much if you are single or coupled, but in the case of a single, we pay for it out of one income instead of two). Try to take the time to enjoy what you have and be grateful that you don't have to care for an aging spouse or snot-nosed brat! :)
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Heart2Heart Jun 17, 2021
oops...
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Many people have felt this way during Covid. Caretakers feel this way after losing a parent. Put them together and your loneliness feels exponential.

Feeling a little down is normal. Unless it is necessary, avoid adding your name to the millions on anti-depressive medications, which may dull your emotions (and potentially make you feel worse overall) while at the same time causing a litany of side effects.

Don’t despair! Your future friends are out there, waiting to meet you and feeling lonely too.

Forget about the siblings and relatives that haven’t extended any return invitations. You’ve made your effort there- apparently this isn’t the greatest “investment” of your time - so let that go, while feeling satisfied, knowing you’ve done your best. Lots of us have found that once the bond that held us together (our parents) is gone, we really don’t have that much in common with our siblings.

Rather than joining groups to meet people, join groups because you love the underlying activity. That way, you’ll meet the “right” people for you who share the same interests. If you feel like you’ve already done this, keep trying. Focus on the activity (not the people) and the friends will fall into place.

Remember to appreciate the gift of time alone. There are many people reading your question who may be envious of your ability to have the time for a good book or your ability to control the remote. (I haven’t been able to “really” choose a program for about 18 years-during normal “waking” hours). There are plenty of horrible marriages, abusive parent-adult child relationships and overscheduled calendars. The grass always looks greener on the other side, but don’t forget it is nice and green (to everyone else) right where you’re standing.

This is the perfect time to reinitiate life: start a book club, create an urban hiking club, or revitalize a bunko group in the neighborhood. If you organize others, you will be part of their loneliness solution.

if you don’t have a pet, they can be wonderful and entertaining companions!

Personally I have found it very rewarding to work on charity projects in my community. (These will fill your calendar fast)! When life has fully reopened, there will be no shortage of schools and shelters, religious institutions, and even hospitals that would appreciate your time and talents. In the meantime, drop off dinner to someone undergoing surgery or newly mourning. It will make you (and them) feel better.
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Apeter Jun 20, 2021
Great ideas. Begin just one of them. Don’t overwhelm yourself. It can seem like climbing Mt Everest just showering , putting ones face on and doing ones hair when depressed. Sometimes just getting dressed up is a win!
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I have to agree that you are exhibiting classic signs of depression. I know because I have had clinical depression in the past. The feeling that nothing will get better, the loss of interest in activities, the isolation. I strongly encourage you to make an appointment with a psychiatrist as soon as possible so you can be properly diagnosed. The preferred treatment is talk therapy and medication. This does not mean you have to be on medication the rest of your life. It is to help you during your current situation. It may take some time to find the right medication or combination of medicines that are effective for you. Don’t give up. Things can and will get better. I was so depressed I attempted suicide, because I thought I was a burden to my family. That was 15 years ago. I have since had the joy of seeing 2 of my sons get married and I now have 7 grandchildren whom I adore. Hope is very hard to hold on to when you feels so bad, but please seek immediate treatment and eventually hope will return. If you need to talk, I am available. Bless you on your journey to recovery.
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Tynagh Jun 20, 2021
Wonderful to hear that you recovered from your depression, but unless I misread the OP, her situation is entirely different grom yours. She doesn't have 2 sons and 7 grandchildren to bolster het mood and support her. She is quite alone and her partnered/childed siblings have left her to herself. Not the same at all.
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Honestly, it sounds like you are experiencing some depression. Have you considered speaking with a therapist for ways to forge ahead.

I totally agree with Alva, ditch your family if they aren’t going to be close. Or how about, accepting them for who they are and not allowing them to cripple you from moving forward. Sure, in an ideal world, everyone would have a loving and supportive family with similar values in common. That isn’t always the case.

Work with a therapist to concentrate on YOU and healing any past issues, in order to progress to a better place in your life.

Plus, you never know how things will end up with your siblings down the road, but If you and your siblings remain going in separate directions, so be it. Take control of your own life.

Take baby steps. Nothing is solved overnight. It takes time to build a life that you will be content and productive.
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I think the covid year pushed a lot of people into extreme isolation, regardless of being an introvert or extrovert, because the social habits we once had were gone. I'm learning about humanistic theory and self-actualization in school right now and this week the prof shared this video. https://youtu.be/OKJImnk-gzQ

I had no idea the actor Matthew McChonaughey was giving inspirational speeches but he has a knack for it. It's only 5 minutes long. He says that while achieving a fulfilling life is difficult, there are some first steps we can take.

When I was at my lowest point during caregiving, I watched many motivational/inspirational seminars. Even if I couldn't achieve all the things these successful people were talking about, I got a big mental boost from watching the videos and started crawling back towards life. Can you put something uplifting on? Humans are amazing and we can come back from darn near anything.

You may need medication, or supplements, for physical or psychiatric symptoms and reaching out for help determining that would be a good first step, too.
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Start small. Think of just one thing that you could do, by yourself, that would make you happy for a bit. That may be as simple as sitting outside in the sun and watching the clouds. If your depression is fairly mild, you may be surprised at how much of a difference it can make to simply go outside and walk for 15 minutes each day. I know this makes an enormous difference in my life. You might even start with just stepping outside the door and smelling the fresh air. Try to go out before 8 am, if you can. The world is a better place in the morning (unless you are a confirmed night owl). At any rate, you do need to get out of that recliner.

I can identify with your feelings, I have felt that way a lot in the last few years. I know that even the simplest things can seem overwhelming. If you can get yourself to do just one simple thing, though, that can give you enough of a start to do something else. Try to fill your mind with enough other things that you can forget your siblings for as much as possible. They have already taken up enough of your life; don't let them have any more.

Think about maybe reading a book instead of watching tv. It doesn't seem like much of a difference, but you are more actively engaged when you read. I would recommend "West With the Night" by Beryl Markham. You can get it on Barnes and Noble. Every time I read the book I am inspired by this early woman pilot. It is a great memoir and will get you out of yourself for a while.

Another small thing that could make a big impact would be to look at what you are eating. Buy some fresh fruits and vegetables that you can just eat raw and plain for breakfast or lunch. That requires very little effort and will awaken your tastes. Most of us tend to eat carbs when we are depressed because they are easy and give some immediate pleasure, but they tend to contribute to that leaden, tired feeling.

And keep posting! We are here to help you through this. You are obviously a very good person and you deserve to get good treatment from yourself. Hugs.
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Caregiverhelp11 Jun 20, 2021
Thank you.
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I stopped wishing I could talk to my siblings about the crises I managed the best I could while they enjoyed their lives. I tried to keep my mom independent but it was a sinking ship the whole time, I now realize. One of my siblings shut me up right quick with "Don't tell me how to grieve" when I dared mention things that had happened, and the other had simply cut off relations with her years ago and was uninterested. Both argued, when I used to open up to them, that their problems superseded all else. 

So I understand what others glibly call depression here. All the wise expressions in the world (let go and let god, grant me the wisdom to know the difference, etc.) do nothing to lift the crushing burden of sad memories and of being born into a dysfunctional family. There *are* functional families - - I've seen them in action. But mine is a far cry, a muffled whimper, from how things could have or should have been. 

I agree with another here that moderate exercise can help, though. As for drugs, I don't know that course but imagine you're on them for the rest of your life, which doesn't sound like a solution. I also agree with others who say get *involved* in something out there -- a p/t job, volunteering, etc. For sure you have the right to be happy. From what you've said here, you've earned it.
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Dear Caregiverhelp11,
Like you, I have felt lonely and isolated and abandoned because of my decision to care for MIL.
I chose to reach for happiness through Jesus. I go through my day expressing gratefulness for every little thing; thank you God for this coffee, it sure tastes good! Thank you God for this sunshine, it is so beautiful! Thank you God for this rain, it is so refreshing! Thank you God for my family memories, I sure had a good time when I was six...
At first, it is hard, because my heart was breaking. I felt I had lost so much.
But after awhile, I lost sight of the loss, and happiness crept back in. Soon, I was able to experience the "peace that passes all understanding" and "His unspeakable joy!"
It is kinda like Peter walking on water. As long as his eye was on Jesus, he did it! When Peter started thinking about his circumstances, he sank.
When your eye is on Jesus, you'll see more clearly the path you should take. A path that will lead to fulfillment, happiness, and purpose.
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Caregiverhelp11 Jun 20, 2021
Thank you for your wonderful suggestion.
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I am so sorry to read this. I get this! I worry I too will end up in the same circumstance as you when my mom passes. She is 88. My life is my moms life at the moment. She is out of memory care and in an assisted living building but requires a lot of attention from me to stay reasonably happy. At 70 I am single. My only child lives far away. A sibling is busy with his life. What I have done is join a church and force myself to attend weekly. I even joined church committees. I moved myself into a retirement community {sold my condo}…I now live in a high rise apartment building where I am forced to interact with others. I go to the onsite gym every week day…another interaction with people. I too could stay in my house and be online or watch TV but I know that is not healthy for a long life. You might benefit from an antidepressant. I really believe being depressed after a parent dies, especially when you were the caregiver is expected. I hope you can slowly climb out of this lonely place.. God Bless you..
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