Hello...again.

For anyone who is bereaved or no longer providing care.
It's been many years since I last came onto this site,and I'm no longer a Carer, haven't been for almost 3 years now. I was my Dad's Carer, for nearly 20 years, and before that I helped him look after my house-bound Mum. Over the years, and with the experiences I've had, I've been left with PTSD, depression, generalised anxiety disorder, agoraphobia and other physical medical problems. Talking therapy has only done so much, and I've tried all manner of different medicines/therapies etc to get to any sort of even keel. I haven't held any form of job in about 15 years, and even then it was barely a part-time thing that I would fit around my Caring role.

I find myself in the position of not knowing how to even move further forward in my life. I keep reaching out for help, and now it seems I have come to the end of what has been available to me. I need to start bringing some money into the house, as I can't leave it up to my husband to shoulder the burden alone as he has done these past 3 years now, and I have no clue how or where to begin. I guess what I'm trying to say is how do you come to terms with needing and wanting to get back into 'life'(as it were) but being mentally and physically unable to do so!? There has to be something I haven't tried or thought of, that's my hope anyway.

It's all such a jumbled mess in my brain still, and thinking actually hurts sometimes! Help? :S
After a series of illness, the death of my husband and then a head on smash that left me unable to walk without terrible pain (and I'd been a keen walker all my life) I didn't know who I was any more. I'd even become allergic to hair colouring and became totally grey, didn't even recognise myself in the mirror.
So first, I changed hairdresser and found one that used a different range of products, then at least I looked like me. Then I tried to find something good in every day, and went out every day. I tried some things I'd never done before - went to a live performance at a local theatre, went away on my own for a weekend, learned how to put in invisible zips into dresses. Each time, I thought to myself - Did I enjoy that? Would I do it again? I also had some counselling to help me manage my mum, so I felt in control. Gradually, my life became my own again. A new life, lots of things had gone, new things were taking their place. I had to go way outside my comfort zone, had to dare myself many times. Since then I've had two knee replacements and can walk again. I've been to Crete, on my own, six times, and have holidays planned this year to Menorca and Mallorca.
From all this, I'd say give up trying to be the person you used to be, because you are now older, wiser, battle scarred but with a lot to be thankful for. You sound like too much is buzzing round your head, I think that as carers it's easy to fall into this trap, I found myself still snatching meals, still trying to do a million jobs at once because I once had five carers and life was busy busy busy. Now is the time to take a real effort to slow down, finish one job before you do the next, so you get in control again.
My son has severe learning difficulties, aged 37 with a mental age of just three. He's pleasant, sociable, just needs support for shopping, trips out, taking to the gym, etc. This area of care is often forgotten, but it's not difficult work. Maybe you could volunteer at a local Mencap club for example, even if it's just helping with refreshments, or at a charity event? If you could see how the members try so hard, it might help you find a new role?
Hi Alison
I too think some gentle volunteering is a good first step on the route back to eventual employment
If your anxiety issues cause problems being with people can I suggest animals or children ( Yes I know the latter are officially 'people' but they don't act like them!). Lots of charities like admin type vounteers too. I'd start by contacting a local branch and just asking what they need

Good luck
MrsA
In my area there is a "volunteer bureau" which tries to match volunteers with charities. Ask your local council or library if there is one in your area.
Thank-you both for your replies, your advice is much appreciated. I will look into a volunteer bureau, it might be just the thing :)