I'm burnt out. In fact, I'm burnt to a crisp. My 84 year old mother has dementia. Although she still calls me by name, she doesn't have a clue that I'm her daughter (I'm just a "good friend"), she thinks her parents are still living, she thinks my father, who passed in 1989, is still living and last evening she was telling me some incoherent story about her brother and her sister.....but she's an only child. I know the things that she says and does are because her brain is lying to her & is telling her that things are real or true that truly aren't. I also know that she's not TRYING to stress me out. Still, I've been a 24/7/365 lone caregiver for 5+ years and the constant effort to keep her happy (she's quite demanding), keep her from wandering & field her continuously repetitive questions & anxities has worn me down, stressed me out & gotten me to the point where everything she says or does gets under my skin. Lately, I've been finding that I don't even want to hug her back when she wants one.
I'm burnt out. I know that I am. I even know HOW burnt out I am. I also know that one of the reasons why I'm SO burnt out is that I've been a caregiver my WHOLE life. I've been a nurse for 28 years, the last 5+ years while simultaneously caring for my Mom. I had to quit my job 7 months ago in order to be a full-time caregiver to Mom. I find myself feeling angry, isolated, resentful, physically tense and consistently tearful.
I know, for my sake, that Mom needs nursing home placement sooner rather than later. I've started touring nursing homes & getting all the necessary information to choose one. It might be another sign of how burnt out I am that when I think about placing her, I don't feel guilt. I actually feel a sense of relief......until I think about going back to work.....back to nursing. The thought of having to go back into ANOTHER caregiving role takes me INSTANTLY to tears again. I have no other viable skills....I've never worked in any other field...I'm single and have no other income....and I'm scared to DEATH that if I DON'T force myself back into nursing that I won't be able to pay my bills. On the flip side, I'm scared to death to GO back into nursing because a burnt out nurse is not a good nurse, nor a safe nurse.
Any other nurses out there that have reached critical mass & are SO burnt out that they don't think they can return to it? How did you "fix" your burn out problem?