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Feel Different - Carers UK Forum

Feel Different

For anyone who is bereaved or no longer providing care.
Hi, I don't know what I would have done without this Forum recently. Mum went into a care home at the beginning of September after a stroke took away her mobility. Since then I have managed to have a holiday in the sun, the first in 5 years. I am beginning to realise that caring over the last 5 years has changed who I am as a person and I didn't realise this was happening. I am just not the same person as before and I think that my family thought I would just snap back to my old, spontaneous self but I am full of anxiety. The mere mention of an outing or holiday fills me with panic, like it used to do when people didn't realise the full implications when you are a carer, and I find I cannot make decisions about anything, deferring all the time to my O/H (!) Is this a common thing amongst former carers and do I just need a bit more time or is it time to get help?

Thanks for listening
Katy, it's going to take a long time to get over caring.

Don't worry, the old happy you is still there, think of it like peeling off layers of an onion. Just to keep going you had to submerge yourself under layers and layers of work. I promise you, if you listen to your body and get physically really well, don't over do it, and enjoy time with your husband, and allow him to be the dominant partner when you want to, this time next year you will be fine.
A couple of months is not long after 5 years caring. You have much to unlearn and/or relearn. I certainly recognise what you are saying. If someone else's experience helps, ten months on I am getting quite good at accepting invitations, appointments and outings without the constant feelings of responsibility and worry left over from my caring days. You don't have to live up to your family's expectations; take your own time.
I'm not the same person I was when I (blithely!) took on caring for my MIL. I think I have changed fundamentally. I look back on my 'naïve self' and wonder how I was that person.

Remember, when stress is lifted from you, as it is now with your mum in a care home, there is bound to be an 'equal and opposite' reaction....

Go very easy on yourself, and let yourself 'find your own level again'....'equilibriate'. You will eventually, even if you are no longer the same person.

It's daft that friends think you should be exactlyi the same as you were! Of course our experiences change us - and our 'grim' experiences change us all the more.

That said, with the care burden lifted now, the REALLY important thing is to make the most of it! Very glad you ahd a holiday. Book another one! (even a weekend away somewhere). Give yourself some of the treats that were impossible or very hard while you were a carer, that you used to long for - having your hair done, nails done, going shopping and taking all the time you want, having a 'day off' whenever you feel like it, sitting in the garden, going for a walk, whatever it was, do it! You can now - and be so, so glad of that....
Hi Jenny
I work in Home Care for a company that also has a residential home. I love my job because I 'help' people stay in their own homes. That said there is a fine line between being safe at home and needing more care.
The reason I wanted to comment on your posting is because, I love the message you are giving about (trying) not feeling guilty about making the decision, in the best interest in a loved one.
Thank you for your post
We would 'cure' them if we could, so they don't need care of any kind, in any place - but we cannot 'cure' them....

Needing care in old age is, really, the price we pay for HAVING an old age. Is it fair that some 'age well' and others don't? No, but then life isn't fair, and really, unless we ourselves have 'caused' them to NEED care, we truly should not feel any guilt that they do, or where it has to be provided.

I myself made the deliberate decision to 'put my MIL with dementia into a care home'. In the end, it boiled down to 'me or her' and I chose me.

I am over 30 years younger than her, she has HAD her life, and I had not. I was nearly a breakdown. My son was getting more and more worried about the stress I was under. There were things in life I wanted to do and I just could NOT do them if I was looking after my MIL 24x7. Each and every day was dedicated to her (I got an our or two 'off' to meet a friend, or hit the Internet, while she dozed, and that was all) She wasn't 'horrid' she was simply a 'permanent house guest' and my days revolved around her TOTALLY. My life 'disappeared'.

When she went into a care home I got my life back. That simple, that brutal. She had a team of people to look after her, instead of 'jut me'....