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I Have To Stop Giving A Sh*t

I’ve been pretty absent recently dealing with a big chunk of burnout. Not diabetes burnout, but caregiver burnout. While I really have to do very little for mom, there are a lot of things that roll into the caregiver picture, at least for me.

  • Always “on” – the monitors are always on. I’m always listening, the weekend is often not very restful and I’ve come to dread long holiday weekends.
  • Uncertainty – I’m truly not sure where I’ll be living in the future and have no idea when such a change might occur.
  • Fear – Let’s face it, I’m constantly worried.
  • Anxiety – Will my burnout become apparent to mom, making her feel like a burden?

  • Guilt – Lately, I sometimes find myself getting a little ticked about the situation and I shouldn’t.
  • Stagnant – Life for me is pretty stagnated now. There are things I want to do that are just not realistic at the moment and some that I just don’t have the effing energy for.
  • Isolation – I’m isolating myself more and more. Normally, this would be a sign of a depressive episode but I don’t feel depressed. I think it is just because I don’t have the energy.
  • Space – There is no space that is truly “mine” where I can sit around in my rattiest shirt, crank up the music and truly be alone. I go to movies usually alone, out to eat usually alone, the store usually alone. These are the only times that I don’t feel directly responsible for or to someone else.
  • Frustration – There just isn’t any practical solution to this problem given all the behind-the-scenes stuff I don’t share with you all.
  • Sadness – I am sad that I am basically just ‘waiting’

If you’ve read along for a while, you may remember me describing my “Why Bother” attitude. It was something that I had developed to help cope with under-the-covers “knowledge” that I should have been dead by the time I got through college. Just why bother worrying about long-term plans, having dreams, exploring a passion if I’m going to die?

It occurred to me, awakening in the middle of the nite once again, that I should apply that Why Bother attitude to my current situation. I will always bother to take care of mom best I can, but can I stop giving a sh*t about the stresses listed above? Every one of those has some aspect of future happenings in it, can I apply my Why Bother worrying about the future to these?

Can I let them just roll off my back or at least lock them away so they are not a constant drain on my spirit? Just for a little while at least until I can hopefully get some strength back?

I hope so or what emerges at the end of this won’t very likeable.  Tho, since I’ve never really liked myself anyway, I guess I could take some comfort in that familiar space.

© 2013 Scott Strange, Strangely Diabetic and

  • Hey Brother Scott.

    I don’t really know what to say, as I’ve never been in that caregiver place before (excluding raising kids – but that’s a lot different). But I want you to know that you are loved by many out here, and that you always have a safe place to vent, explore feelings, or just think out loud.

    For whatever it’s worth, I think you’ll come through all of this with a very valuable perspective on so many different aspects of life and living.

    • Thanks ScottieJ, I hope you’re right. It’s hard to look at it that way at times because everything is so uncertain

  • Alanna

    You’ve always got us

  • I can’t say I know exactly how you feel, but I can sure get into the same ballpark. I took care of my Grammy for the last 7 months of her life. What my caretaking stint lacked in longevity it more than made up for in intensity. She slept on a hospital bed in the living room. I “slept” on a twin bed next to it. Although not a lot of sleeping took place. I did this Sunday evening until Friday evening. When my Mommy got off work on Friday, she came over & took over until I came back on Sunday. It was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.

    So if you need someone to talk to, you know where to find me. LY/MI

    • Thanks Cheri, I think part of my problem is that home is in the environment that is stressing me so much. I literally have to leave town to get a real break

  • I haven’t been in the same situation (yet), but I think all people our age have concerns with parents. My grandparents have some friends who are still alive (the wife has type 1 diabetes so I’ve always had a relationship with them), and while her health is quite good, the husband has age-related macular edema and has lost almost all of his vision, which has lead to a lot of depression on his end. The effect is that their son, who is my father’s age, now dedicates a LOT of time to looking after his parents, but its very draining on him and the wear and tear is evident. Depression and why bother is an understandable response, but you should try to give yourself needed breaks from care. Don’t be afraid to reach out to others, whether its a religious institution or local charity, or even hire a caregiver to provide you with a much-needed break for your own mental health.

    In the end, I believe in karma, so your deeds now, while draining, will be recognized either in your own elderly years or an afterlife, at least that’s the basic idea. I like to think of parental care as akin to the golden rule, but you cannot give 100% to someone else if you don’t give yourself a short break every once and a while.

    • Thanks Scott, that self-care aspect seems to be one that most people have to learn the hard-way. I know I did, I was practically a basket-case by the time I got down to FFL last summer. I didn’t realize what the lack of “me time” was doing to me… it was affecting my mood, energy, and health. It felt so unfamiliar to me when I first arrived there that it was actually a bit uncomfortable

  • rpederse

    I want to respond intelligently, but I got nothin’. But I was here, I read it, and I care about you.

  • Pingback: The Oaks and Willows of Caregiving « Strangely Diabetic()

  • Hydrangea

    Hello. Just found your blog last night. Caregiving can be hard, draining work no matter how much you love your person. Last time it got long-term overwhelming for me what kept me sane was a support group. It took
    them (the MSW and other folks) more than 9 months to convince me to take better care of me. They helped many find some respite care (paid or local faith groups, etc) so that the caregivers got some time off.

    I need to go again. I am having a terrible time coping emotionally with the dementia and understandable sadness of my 93-year-old blind father. I have an awful time trying to remember and put into practice: “If I don’t take care of me, I can’t take care of you.”

    I wish you peace, self-care, and camaraderie (Just like from the DOC!). Thanks for what you do.

    PS The gerontologist’s most recommended book was “How to care for your aging parents” by Virginia Morris. I found it to be very useful (it also includes caring for the caregiver : ).

    • Thanks, Hydrangea. That self-care lesson was a hard one to learn, is it like that for everyone? I have trouble keeping it in mind as well, sometimes it’s just easier to not worry about yourself when there is a lot going on.