About 4 1/2 years ago while my father was caring for my stepmother (who'd had catastrophic strokes), he had a heart attack and stroke in the same day. I began a caregiving partnership with my sister to arrange care for both of them. After about a year of that, my sister pulled away because of the nasty divorce she was faced with. My husband had just separated from active duty Army, we had to move in with my in-laws after moving from our last duty station to home, and we have 4 kids (preteen-teen now, two with autism). So things got difficult, but were being managed ok while my dad and stepmom were in their facilities and their savings paying for everything.

Then the savings dried up. My stepmom passed away. My dad's Medicaid application for long-term care was denied. And so he was being kicked out of his facility. So we moved him into our house, which is quite large and our downstairs provided him the best for mobility in his wheelchair.

Biggest mistake ever.

My dad has never been a nice person. Is a rather negative narcissitic, believing he knows better than anybody and everybody around him. He never understood that I had kids to take care of, work to get to, schoolwork to get done....he would often say I shouldn't have had so many kids cause I never have time for him. Would send me rushing to the store because he'd run out of essential items and not tell me sooner. Expected I wait on him hand and foot, and if it wasn't to his liking he would get angry. Would take out his frustrations on my kids. Would pile up trash everywhere, including his used pullups and I'd have to clean it all up. The only times he wanted to talk to me was to complain about things ranging from the present to 30 years ago, as usually things I had no control over. He lived in my home under very hostile conditions for 2 1/2 years.

He had a series of strokes last November, for which he was hospitalized. I realized after 2 days that he could NOT come back to my house. Set up everything for him to go to long-term care and reapplied for Medicaid (which he was approved for recently). When myself, my mother (my biggest supporter even though she and my dad have been divorced 20 years) and sister sat down with him to deliver this news he lashed out in a big way. He called all of us every name in the book, said I was abandoning him and it wasn't right, etc. But in the end, he's now in a care facility, raining hell down upon them.

I thought that once he was gone, my home life with my husband, kids, and house in general would be much improved. Instead I find myself just not wanting to do ANYTHING. Grocery shopping, chores, school functions, family get-togethers. I literally don't want to be bothered. I can't even get myself to go into the downstairs of my house where Dad lived because I get such a sense of dread. I do see a counselor, and she's told me this is indicative of a complete burnout, and I should give myself time. But I want to want to take care of business like I used to before caregiving for my dad came into the picture. I used to be really good about meal planning, kids' activities and school, keeping the house relatively in order, laundry caught up on. Now I just don't want to be bothered, and I know it affects everyone.

Has anyone any tips on ways to motivate myself after having burnout from being on edge 24/7? I can visualize it, I can make lists, but then I just can't get started.

(By the way, Dad still tries to call me every day to demand things or to complain about things that aren't his business or are minor. He also had zero empathy for the fact my husband's mother was in hospice, so I couldn't come around, would constantly ask if she was dead yet. She passed last week, and it's hit our family hard. My mom and sister have stepped in for now, but doesn't prevent the calls/voicemails. He is of sound mind.)

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I know this may sounds nuts to suggest, but maybe consider energy cleansing the place?
Such negativity left behind like from your father can leave a mark on the place, and that mark can constantly effect you. Saging to clear away the negative can give room for the positive to return and regrow.
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Reply to DarkWolf013

It's good to know others have been in this position.  I have done a few things to try to get started on getting back to normal, but it usually lasts just a day or so and I'm right back to a leave-me-be status.  The fact I still have 4 kids in the house can make it somewhat complicated, as preteens and teens can be difficult to get to do chores and self-care, especially the ones with disabilities.  I think my husband is getting annoyed with my lack of action on things, which probably doesn't help the anxiety and depression, with subsequent avoidance. 

I started seeing a counselor not long after I had my dad placed in LTC a few months ago. It helps to have someone to go vent at for an hour each week, so I don't overwhelm my loved ones. But I haven't gotten any better. I do like my counselor, but I'm beginning to wonder if medication is something I need again. I'm hesitant because the last time I was on medications for mental health I gained 60lbs in 6 months and it took me two years to lose it after stopping the meds.

Lately I take a lot of time for myself, watching TV/movies and I do cross stitch. Unfortunately it's at the expense of doing anything else. I mean I do get my kids to and from school, check on homework, attempt to figure out dinner stuff, make sure everyone is good. But anything else just feels too exhausting to do.

I have my questions about my dad being of sound mind, as do many other family members. My great-aunt and cousin have said he's always been like this, but from my descriptions it's worse. He was a pampered child, the youngest boy of 4 kids.. my grandma did everything for him until he married my mom at age 30. My mom admits to carrying on the pampering, trying to make him happy for over 20 years. His wife after my parents divorce did the same until her strokes (I believe if it wasn't for the fat inheritance that came with her, he would've put her in a home somewhere and moved on). I think he expected me to do so, but I don't follow that philosophy. Even my children with disabilities are taught to do as much for themselves as possible, and how to behave, and respect people and show gratitude. So he got treated the same here, and it caused so many arguments, screaming matches, him throwing things, threatening to kill himself, telling my kids he should just die cause they won't do stuff for him. Gah. I think he may have some vascular dementia, but no medical professional has diagnosed him.

I honestly hadn't considered PTSD as a possibility for why I feel like I do. My husband has PTSD, but from wartime, so I tend to think in those terms. But knowing how he reacts to triggers, it does make some sense because I do the same, just more often and for longer.

Thank you so much for everyone that replied. It helps to know that I'm not just defective and that others have been here. Hoping something clicks soon, or something works. Feels like my marriage and kids and relationships are at stake and I feel somewhat powerless to change things. Thank you again, I so appreciate the time taken.
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Reply to Miranova

I believe you are suffering from PTSD. Have you considered therapy? It sounds like your father is a truly toxic man. Call your physician and ask for a referral to a psychologist. I really think it would help. .
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Reply to Ahmijoy

I sure can relate. It sounds like you are still just so traumatized from being treated so poorly by your father. It's great you are reaching out for help.

I think that I would try to be kinder to yourself. Self care is so important. Can you get a checkup with your doctor to see how you're doing physically and mentally? Maybe, see a counselor to help you with building some coping strategies and confidence.

If dad is triggering negative feelings, I'd have to put that on the back burner. He will get the care he needs in the LTC. Time now to get yourself healed. You say that his mind is sound.....I'm not so sure that I would see it that way. Sometimes people get real bitter and mean after a series of strokes and they may be suffering with cognitive issues, that don't show up so clearly until further down the road. All those repeated calls sound like something is not right with him. You can have the facility restrict these calls and/or block them from your phone.

Is there anyway you can take some respite to sea shore or lake for couple of days...relax, sleep late, take long walks? Sometimes, exhaustion causes much upset to our system.What brings you joy? Music, art, ........

I hope you can find some answers and that happiness will be possible again. I do believe that is always possible.
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Reply to Sunnygirl1

First, do not caregive for another parent in ur home. Yes Dad was an unusual pain but even nice parents cause problems. Its still you doing everything. There are options out there that you can explore without them being in your home. Most of your energy should be for your family.

My Mom lived here for 20 months, AL 8 and a NH 3 before she passed. Before moving in with me I watched my gson who was 20 months old when Mom moved in 5 days a week. Mom 24/7, I was only able to get out to run errands. When she passed, I took a year off from helping anyone. (before gson and Mom we were helping a family with rides to drs.) I did not volunteer to drive anyone to appts. If they had asked, I probably would have but they didn't. (I have a gson with Epilepsy and a nephew with physical problems so I do chauffeur them around.) I really just wanted to chill out. Just getting to where I feel I want to be involved again.

Take your time, my Dad was like yours. I had sworn that if Mom died before Dad he would have gone into a home. Loved him but couldn't live with him. He passed b/f Mom so never had to make that decision. Take it one day at a time. Do something everyday. A room a day thing. Force yourself to do what needs to be done. This winter was very depressing. Get out in the Sun.
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Reply to JoAnn29

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