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    Caregiver burnout???

    What exactly is caregiver burnout? How do I know if thats what I am feeling? What do I do to fix it? Lately I have no energy, simple tasks like washing the dishes aren't getting done because I don't want to do it. My house is a mess, we just snacked for supper. I can't seem to make myself do anything. Don't get me wrong I am still tending to Davids needs but all the other stuff is just building up on me. I had the day off work today because I had to go have a root canal done, after that I spent the good part of the day on the phone asking for help. That has me feeling like a failure. I have done everything myself for 5 years and now all of a sudden I can't do it anymore. I don't understand. I know alot of it is financially I feel like I am working my butt off and not getting anywere, I have no time to do anything I want to do like my geneology work. I love my husband with all my heart and hate seeing him like this. I hate it because he is mad at me for not making him better. I hate it because I have not been the mother I should have been for my kids and now they are grown and almost grown and we have missed out on so much. I guess today I just realized I am human and I break too. I hope and pray that some of the calls I made to various organizations come thru and send some help my way. I don't know what I want by posting this but someone to understand I guess. My family all thinks I am having a nervous breakdown but there solution is to just take a nap and that should make me feel better. What they don't understand is when I get up everything is the same. Thanks for listening.

    #2
    It sounds like you are just overwhelmed, we are mom's and wives and we think we can do it all we are woman as the song goes. It is real life and after 5 years you have the right to hve a little melt down. You are not a failure you are human, and it is ok. Your children will remember the great mom and the caregiver you hve been (I suspect they see what you hve gone thru) A nap might be nice but the issues do not go away, thts why this forum is so good you are talking with people dealing with similar problems. You are working and your life has really changed you should be applauded for the great job you hve done. I do not know how you feel about praying or listening to music KLOVE is an awesome site you can type on this and listen to thier music at the same time . Just remember to take a deep breath, let your heart guide you--you can do this and yes your job is probably harder than his.... you are in pain also...good luck..
    JeAnNE L1Burst Fracture inc. 11/5/10

    Live Well--Laugh often

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      #3
      sounds like you need a break from something. it would be lovely if your family would just get a clue and maybe come vacume, dust and whatever for an hour. a nap might help, if it lasted a week or two with room service, and you didnt have to worry about if you husband was getting proper care while you were gone.

      I had a lot of fun one winter when my son left his paintball gun at my place. I plastered the back of my neighbors moldy garage with paint balls. it was the best thing at the time for keeping me from falling off edge. I had to go replace them but ended up getting some glow in the dark ones and pink ones and that is how the neighbor figured out how I was letting off steam. I think I really miss moldy old sheds and paint ball, so if I get it worked out, you are invited to come over to my place and come shoot the hell out of something, and maybe get a little cheap vacation in south carolina.

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        #4
        (((MSWIFE))) Caregiver burnout. I'm not sure what it is either, even though we are warned all of the time not to get it.
        It is harder now with winter because I can't even go sit on the patio for a few minutes. When you pile the finanical stuff on your shoulders it gets to be a very heavy burden.
        I have no doubt you are giving David the best care. I think if we let our guard down and talk about our feelings we feel people will judge us, think we are not trying hard enough or are complaining.
        We are supposed to take time for ourselves-but when?
        I wish I could give you a hug Lisa.

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          #5
          You need to meditate on a daily basis. Start with "Crane-Turtle-Deer" qi-gong

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            #6
            I don't know about you but I find this time of year really tough!

            This is just a drive by post cause I don't have time right now but I just wanted to let you know I/we hear you - I have more to say but it has to wait a bit !

            .......... later

            Obie
            ~ Be the change you wish to see in the world ~ Mahatma Gandi


            " calling all Angels ...... calling all Angels ....walk me through this one .. don't leave me alone .... calling all Angels .... calling all Angels .... we're tryin' and we're hopin' cause we're not sure how ....... this .... goes ..."
            Jane Siberry

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              #7
              Caregiver burnout is very real and it is exactly what you described. Talking about it here is, in my opinion, much more helpful than talking w/friends and family who don't/can't understand. I don't blame them; there's just no way they can possibly understand unless they've been in your shoes.

              I don't know what your financial/insurance situation is, but the best thing you can do is to try and get some help which will give you some relief. I'm not necessarily talking about help with David, but even help with housework or shopping, or whatever it is that stresses you out the most.

              Put aside some time each day that's just for you - if you only feel like you can do a half hour a day, start with that. But make sure everyone understands that barring a true emergency, that time is yours! To take a bath, do your geneology, talk a walk, talk on the phone; whatever.

              As for the issue with David blaming you for not making him better, he needs to understand that's his problem, and not yours. He may need help working through that, but to place blame on you isn't appropriate, and doesn't even make sense.

              Can you talk w/your doctor/pastor/ a counselor? Some folks have taken antidepressants and its worked for them; for me, it didn't work at all, and they just made me not care - about anything! I've ended up working through things myself, and think I'm stronger for it.
              Also a small caution about talking w/a counselor - I've been to 3, and although the reasons I've gone have been with my issues, the sessions all ended up being more about my son than me, so I just quit. So if you do talk w/a professional, make sure to set the groundwork right off the bat!

              Every single one of us has been in your shoes. Every single one of us has felt the way you do, both with being overwhelmed, sad, angry, and grieving not only the loss of our normal lifestyle and relationships, but our own personal loss of freedom. After 12 years, hubbie and I do pretty well most of the time, but we both have our moments when those 'hopeless, helpless' feelings surface. The major mantra in our house is "It is what it is"; somehow that helps us put things in perspective, and to not dwell on what was in the past, or how much we've lost, but to take each day as it comes to us, and try and make the most of just that little bit of time.

              Stay here, talk, don't ever feeling anything isn't important enough to talk about on these forums.
              _____________

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                #8
                Thank you so much all of you. I was really hesitant about posting last night, but as I said it just finally got to me. I have put a smile on and acted like everything was ok for the longest time. But I think I have finally just reached my breaking point. I don't know how to take time for myself, not when everything else needs to be done. I know David is not really mad at me for not making him better its just the disease but thats his way of venting too. I think he believes he can take it out on me and I will forgive him. He is not violent, just "mouthy" sometimes or gets into a mood and won't talk to me at all which hurts me even worse. I'm not really awake yet this morning, I will be back later. Thanks again and hugs to you all too.

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                  #9
                  MSWIFE1, I'm fairly new here, but have always been impressed when I see your helpful comments on this forum. I'm so sorry that you're feeling down right now, and as others have said, this isn't a reflection on your abilities as a caregiver (to either your children or your husband). Everybody (including people who have much less responsibilities and worries) reaches this point sometimes. I agree with others on the thread who have advised taking time for yourself, meditation, a hobby (like the geneology one you already have) and getting outside help. When you think you don't have time for any of these things, remind yourself that time is what we make it.

                  If I may, I'd also like to suggest that simply writing about your situation/worries, etc. will be helpful. Writing to this thread is a good start, but you also might want to try some journaling. I've volunteered as a facilitator for many journaling groups over the years, and in addition to all of the research that demonstrates writing is good for both immune function and psychological well being, I've seen from experience that it really can work. It just helps to get this stuff down on paper. I've got a bunch of prompts for writing activities if you're interested. Let me know and I'll e-mail them to you. In the meantime, find a sliver of sunshine and bask in it. Best to you and your husband.
                  Julie

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                    #10
                    I went to a therapist a couple weeks ago that was nice enough, but really hard to explain to anyone what life is like. I'm not really sure what I expected anyway to be honest.
                    She herself was surprised by the lack of health care agencies that would help and anything she suggested we have done. Until you have been in these shoes it is hard to understand the isolation and frustration and exhaustion trying to keep it all together.
                    The phone calls for help you mentioned are especially draining.
                    If one more person tells me to take a bubble bath and have a cup of tea I will retch.
                    It does help to take time for ourselves, which I do as much as possible.
                    But sometimes doing something like genealogy or an art project ends up being interrupted so many times it isn't worth it.
                    Like you, it is hard to see the relationships with family change. I feel so much guilt for that. My mother and I used to do things together.
                    Dave feels the same way the the isn't there for others just like I'm sure your David does.
                    When we left for rehab an RT we had grown close to gave me a journal. I ended up writing "THIS SUCKS" in each page.
                    For me things hit a high pitch and then calm down for a while. I think you hit a high pitch and will continue to carry one, that is what we do.
                    I hope you get some results from the calls you made.

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                      #11
                      MSWIFE1, .

                      Honestly, I don't see anyway around it. It is just so hard to deal with, and counselors usually don't get it - by the time you get to a counselor, you've already tried most of the things they're trained to suggest. That can make you feel lonelier than ever. I agree with Linda, the situation reaches a fever pitch, and then it simmers down for awhile. Sometimes the periods between peaks are very short. There is so much fear, it's impossible to describe to people who aren't dealing with it - When will the next shoe fall? What if he/she doesn't have me to be caregiver any longer? How will he/she survive without me, and I without him/her? Who will go first? What if one of us needs an ambulance and the other can't follow or visit? And all variations imaginable. Regrets and guilt are shadow companions - what if (fill in the blank)? On and on. I think that honestly acknowledging it is about as therapeutic as anything can be, and knowing that people here get it. And allow me to give you another .
                      MS with cervical and thoracic cord lesions

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                        #12
                        It drives me crazy when people say this to me, but I have to tell you caregivers that your strength is humbling. Especially those of you south of the 49th. You seem to receive so little support from the powers that be.

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                          #13
                          Hi Lisa,
                          I know it may sound like an overused suggestion, but in the time that your husband has been injured, have the two of you been to couples counseling? I don't mean ordinary couples counseling, but meeting with a counselor who specializes in working with couples who have suffered a catastrophic disease or injury.

                          I know from reading some of your other posts that David is the love of your life and the two of you have suffered through and achieved so much together, but when there is anger, when there is blame, when there are unattainable expectations on the part of the sick or injured person in the relationship, it becomes incredibly difficult for the caregiver to shoulder the burden. David has got to find a way to deal with his illness and disabling condition, without saddling you with his inability to accept what is.

                          I have no doubt that you could go on forever with the caregiving, your job, financial challenges, changes to your family dynamic if you didn't have to shoulder David's tendency to blame you, i.e., "I hate it because he is mad at me for not making him better." I think this one sentence that you wrote in your post is the tipping point for your frustration, your feelings of being overwhelmed and feelings of failure. You and David have been so busy and overtaxed dealing with his day to day needs that I don't think either one of you has absorbed and integrated the changes David's illness has meant to your relationship. Ask your doctor for recommendations for a counselor who specializes in couple dynamics when there is serious illness or injury. Call the MS society in your area and ask them for recommendations. There is help and not just with the chores and physical things that need attention. I hope you find that help very soon.

                          With care,
                          NL (GJ's wife for 41 years and caregiver for 28 years post spinal cord injury)

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Bonnette View Post
                            MSWIFE1, .

                            Honestly, I don't see anyway around it. It is just so hard to deal with, and counselors usually don't get it - by the time you get to a counselor, you've already tried most of the things they're trained to suggest. That can make you feel lonelier than ever. I agree with Linda, the situation reaches a fever pitch, and then it simmers down for awhile. Sometimes the periods between peaks are very short. There is so much fear, it's impossible to describe to people who aren't dealing with it - When will the next shoe fall? What if he/she doesn't have me to be caregiver any longer? How will he/she survive without me, and I without him/her? Who will go first? What if one of us needs an ambulance and the other can't follow or visit? And all variations imaginable. Regrets and guilt are shadow companions - what if (fill in the blank)? On and on. I think that honestly acknowledging it is about as therapeutic as anything can be, and knowing that people here get it. And allow me to give you another .
                            Were you reading my mind Bonnette?

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                              #15
                              Originally posted by LindaT View Post
                              Were you reading my mind Bonnette?
                              We are pretty much of one mind here, indeed!
                              MS with cervical and thoracic cord lesions

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