The only life I know is being a caregiver. How do I find myself & my personal identity again? - AgingCare.com

The only life I know is being a caregiver. How do I find myself & my personal identity again?

Follow
Share

I've been recouping from a burnout and things are going pretty good, except I've found that I dont know life beyond caring for my mother anymore. I miss "me" and really want to find myself again but have no idea where to even start.

Has anyone else been through this and what did you do to help yourself?

I've also been hit with agoraphobia as a result of the burnout, which isnt helping at all.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
17

Answers

Show:
Hi Jasmine, Many people, once caregiving ends (or declines in intensity), experience what you are going through. Friends have gone on with their own lives. Organizations we once belonged to have moved on. It takes time and courage to re-enter society after the isolation of caregiving.
Sometimes it takes counseling, as well, to help us find out who we are because we get so lost in the caregiver identity. I'd really suggest that you look at some counseling. It likely wouldn't take you more than a few sessions to help you back on track.
Good luck,
Carol
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Hi Jasmine i understand what you are going through now because i also feel what you are feeling.I have been taking care of my mother for two years and at first i thought i could handle this but of course when the disease got worse and i got worse and i didnt feel like the same person that i was two years ago and i still dont,but the one thing that you have to do is have alone time for a couple hours and yes it really does help.There is times when i think it would be better if i just gave up the fight and put her in a nursing home but i just cant.My mother has lost her sons and her husband at really young ages and i feel that im the only family she has left.so on that note find some time for yourself even pamper yourself every now and then and remember you cant help anyone till your healthy....Good Luck and remember were still here to lend a ear.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

Agree; start with counseling. Then I would take baby steps -- maybe join a local group that once interested you "birdwatching, hobby group"; maybe a local book club. I don't know if this will help; but maybe you want to volunteer at a local rehab center, elementary school as lunch buddy, etc if you seem to miss the caregiving role -- you could volunteer at local hospital -- limiting your time so you can wean yourself to other activities and interests; friends. I would also enroll in a class at your local community college -- something that holds interest for you. If you are a senior; they sometimes waive the enrollment fee. Its a great way to meet new people and build confidence. Do you have old friends or work friends you can connect with? Even if you haven't been in touch for a long time I'm sure they would be happy to meet up for lunch or just have you stop by; just be honest and explain that you've been out of the loop in your caregiving role and are ready to move into a new chapter in life and hope they don't mind reconnecting and catching you up. If you are somewhat agoraphobic; practice getting out of the house; start a garden?
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Hi Jasmine, I feel for you. I was typeing you yesterday and not sure you got it because I stood up and had a panic attack. I was so touched by your words. I thought wow someone feels like I do. I had counseling yesterday and it does help a little. I am also going to get on meds for now to get through this tough time. I highly reccommend the same for you if you have access to that. If you need to vent or any help finding things in your area let me know. I'm pretty good at helping others haha. Please take care of your self and do lots of slow breathing. Go outside in baby steps and do only what you can do but try to do a little each day. I struggle soooo much with the world outside since I started caregiveing for my mom and moved in her house. My sister God Bless her does the food shopping or we would starve haha. I do at times go to the store and get a couple of things but it takes so much out of me. So please please take care of you and hugs to you.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Thank you Burntout10. Panic attacks and agoraphobia are definitely not any fun and I can honestly say I feel for you.

I have been working on my breathing and you are right, it does help! And I am taking baby steps in dealing with the agoraphobia. I've gone from going out the door to walk to the garden and literally freezing in my tracks after taking a few steps and urgently scrambling back inside, to going out to the driveway to take out the garbage, which I think is something good. I must admit though that I havent been going out everyday and I will take your advice and make it a point to do it.

Its good that your sister is helping by doing the grocery shopping.

Hugs back to you!
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Give yourself time and don't get discouraged. It took me several years to get to where I felt normal. Walking and exercise can be very soothing, it gave me time to thing through things and I felt better afterwards. I also attended a series of meetings about coping with caregiving, it helped me to see that my feelings are normal. You will find yourself again in your own time.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Jasmine, i can totally relate to how you're feeling. I agree with another post that you take time to just be. If you like being in nature, set a specific time aside to surround yourself with beauty. Do you enjoy doing something in particular that you lost interest in since being a caregiver? Take baby steps and remember there is no right or wrong on how you enjoy life again. Hugs to you....
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I am still going through this experience and so I have a lot of empathy for you. I had to take charge and as one person stated, took baby steps. One of the things I did was to go and have a coffee such as at McDonald because there are always people there and it felt as though I was alive again. I have not gone to counselling yet but am considering it as I did suffer depression in the time that I provided family caregiving. The good part is that you can re-design your life now instead of just carrying on as usual. That is exciting for me. I am attending a large conference in Tampa, FL in another 10 days, something that scared me to death up to now. So I feel I am making progress for myself. Good luck to you, Jasmine, and God Bless you. You are certainly not alone.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Not knowing who you are anymore whether from being int he caregiving role or from the loss of a loved one is all a form of grief. Counselling can help along with bereavement type groups but you could consider coaching. It is what I do and I began doing this because of being in a caregiving role that I too, forgot who I was.
If you google grief coaching and not just counselling it will give you more to choose from.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Jasmine, I guess for me it is cooking. Cooking is part of me, the more exotic the better, minus Durian and duck embryos ( don't ask), but when I am up to it I LOVE TO COOK. It used to be my figure skating and singing, but life changes....
I also love to hang at a Goddess store/ Tea shoppe. People of all faiths welcome in and the place is more relaxing and more spiritual to me than my church, which just reopened thanks to the Pope, but it has changed too much...
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

See All Answers
This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Related
Questions