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Caregiver fatigue, anyone?

This is hard for me to admit, but…maybe it will hit a chord with someone else out there. Or maybe not. Either way, I’m going to toss it out there and see what happens.

I discovered recently that I’ve pretty much hit the wall with my capacity for caring much about the depression and other issues my husband struggles with. Been there, done that. For the last 25 + years. And have the PTSD symptoms to prove it.

A few weeks ago, I found out that anxiety and adult ADHD issues had gotten the best of my husband yet again. So much so that he lost his job as a result. And – here’s the difficult bit – I couldn’t have cared less what he was going through. I was so absolutely worn out with a lifetime dealing with his problems that all I had the energy to care about was the near-breakdown the situation created for me.

Selfish? Probably. Understandable? I hope so.

I think he understood where I was coming from at the moment when the crisis hit. In the aftermath, though, he seems truly puzzled by the fact that I’m a whole lot more concerned with myself this time around than I am about his feelings. I’ve had to say to him a couple of times, in various ways, “Your health issues just about drove me into a place I couldn’t get out of this time. Just now I don’t want to hear your side of the story.”

It’s what they call caregiver fatigue, folks. It’s not a pretty place to be in.

But I’d be willing to bet some of you have been in that place, at least to some extent.

I’ve got an arsenal I can use to help myself survive caring for a depressed (and otherwise diagnosed) person. Not sure what strategies I’m going to need if I ever want to get back to a place where I care about the feelings of the person I’m meant to be caring for. For now I’m managing by being busier at work than I’ve ever been before.

Distraction is a good tool in the short term.

-Amy

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6 Responses

  1. I can’t like this post, but I sure so understand. I get to the point where I lose it (briefly) and one of my other children will jump down my throat, and they don’t seem to understand that I need to “escape” from the hamster wheel of being a carer, but there is no escape. I really hope you can find some time for yourself, to regroup and find your way back to a place where you care enough but not enough to tip you over again xx

  2. Yep. Been there. Done that. Start with simple right brain activities, like coloring (yes, it DOES help with trauma) or an art class. Commit to a walk fifteen minutes a day to change the scenery. Go for drives to places that refresh you but are still close to home. The activities don’t have to be huge, just rejuvenating and for YOU. Alone. Listen to music. Take pictures. The important thing is to find a few things that bless your soul. I (Shelly) used to run away to my daughter’s cabin and read and sleep in her loft. She only lived a mile from me, but it was AWAY and free. Prayers.

  3. It is never easy.

  4. We cannot look after our loved one if we don’t look after ourselves. Please look for a support group because when you are with others, you will realize that you are not alone…that it is normal and okay to feel guilt, anger, sadness, depression. Have compassion for yourself and love yourself. Accept that you are doing the best that you can. And begin to take care of yourself: find activities that give you joy.

  5. So been there…

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