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Feeling wiped out - Carers UK Forum

Feeling wiped out

For anyone who is bereaved or no longer providing care.
Have any other former carers had a similar experience to mine? I was a fjull-time carer for my Dad from late 2006, until his final hospital stay, which ended with his passing in June last year. I had previously been living in London and had travelled up to be with him almost every weekend since my Mom died in April 2003. When he had been in hospital for 4 weeks, my Carer's Allowance was cut off and, being 49, I was forced onto JobSeekers Allowance. This meant that I had to be looking for a job just as his condition was deteriorating, at the time of his death, as I was arranging his funeral and when I was trying to come to terms with the death of the person closest to me (I am single and have no brothers or sisters.) The attitude of the Job Centre was that I was not entitled to any extra help with finding a job as a former carer, I was just expected to get on with it. They started to get a bit threatening when I had been on JSA for about six and a half weeks, (about 2 weeks after my Dad's funeral) grilling me and other local jobseekers at a "group session", and (they win no prizes for their maths!) telling us that as we had been on JSA for EIGHT weeks, we had to get our fingers out or we would have to turn up and sign on every week rather than every fortnight. I returned home feeling thoroughly dispirited. I stepped up my job applications and was lucky enough to be called in for an interview for an full-time, permanent admin job a few days later. I was called back for a second interview and offered the job. I accepted without a second thought - I felt I had no option. Ironically, all my earlier jobseeking efforts were starting to bear friut and I had some positive responses to other applications I had made, but by this time I had accepted the first job offer and committed to it.

Six months later, the position in as follows. I was made a permanent member of staff in October 2008 and, by and lerge, enjoy my job. My boss is really nice, and I get on well with most of my colleagues. I have to admit that I have been lucky in many respects, given the downturn in the economy that happened in the autumn. The downside is this: I feel totally and utterly exhausted. I have had very little time to rest in the whole of this period, I started to feel realy run-down in the lead-up to Christmas and went down with first of all a heavy cold in mid-December and then full-blown influenza (confirmed by my GP) a couple of days before Christmas. I spend much of the time feeling depressed and tearful, and the thought keeps coming back to me that if it hadn't been for the job centre badgering me, I would probably have been able to defer returning to work for a month or so, and then maybe work part-time, or do some temping and then have a holiday. Things have worked out differently and I can't help feeling that my health has taken the brunt of all of this. On top of everything I feel resentful at having lost Christmas and New Year to illness and also lost the chance to do loads of jobs around the house which had been piling up. Also, in the lead up to Christmas, I found myself getting emotianally worn out by lending as much support as possible to a neighbour whose son had died suddenly a few weeks earlier, and to a friend who is in ill-health. Both of them had been supportive to me during and after my Dad's illness, and I felt I had no option but to "do my bit" for both of them, however, I feel that this has taken every last bit of psychological energy out of me.

Sorry for going on, but I really do feel down at the moment. I am sure I will feel better physically very soon (my GP tells me it will probably be another week or two), but I am really anxious that I will "go under" emotionally before much longer.

Your thoughts as former carers would be appreciated.

Love from Dee
So sorry to read how your feeling Dee, I'm sure its quite normal under the circumstances.
Full blown Flu knocks you for six anyway, without all the other traumas you've had to suffer.
I'm sure things will get better. At the risk of repeating myself, I always gain some comfort from the saying " The lowest ebb is the turn of the tide" I really believe this is so true.

Love Pete x
Hi Dee,

So sorry to hear your story. I agree with Pete, that flu alone will really knock you back for a few weeks, let alone all the other problems you have.

Speak to your GP again; maybe he can recommend a supplement you can take to up your energy levels. And in the meantime make sure you are eating properly - lots of fruit and vegetables etc. When we don't feel up to par I know it is all too easy to fall into the trap of eating all the wrong things - especially stodgy, sugary comfort foods - but they just compound the problem.

Let the housework go - in the greater scheme of things it's not really important; what is important is you and your health. So instead of worrying about cleaning, take a long relaxing bath and try to have a few early nights.

Once you start to feel better physically, then I'm sure you will improve psychologically as well. The way we feel healthwise has a great bearing on our emotional health.

Take care and start looking after yourself

Hi Dee,

You have had a rough time - of course you feel washed out. You are absolutely normal, you hear me girl!

Since you get on well with your boss, why not outline the situation to him and ask if you can arrange some holiday time to look forward to? Don't panic him that you are about to collapse at your desk, but although you always do your best, you will work so much better if you feel better in yourself. If you can afford it, get away for a few days, the jobs in the house will wait that much longer while you recharge your batteries.

Keep going - but try not to run yourself into the ground.
Hi Dee

Sorry to hear you have had that awful flu and as usual right behind being at a mental and physical low. When things are so bad, they can only get better.

Would your GP consider signing you off for a week to enable you to rest and recharge your betteries, convalescence it was called in the olden days! If not, even a long weekend from work might help.

The housework will be there when you are not............ however I know where you are coming from and if you have a routine to keep everything in order at home whilst you work full time it can be annoying when your tasks go out of kilter. Much prefer a soak in the bath to dusting any day!

Take care
Thank you all for your concern and for your very helpful suggestions. Thankfully, I am beginning to feel better physically. The awful tiredeness is beginning to lift - probably because I took my GP's advice and apart from going into work (he didn't sign me off), I have put everything else on hold. I am quite determined that I am not going to let myself get so run down again. I can't say with any certainty that I wouldn't have been ill if I had felt stronger to start with, but I am sure that I would have coped with the whole situation a lot better if I had not been basically worn out all along I shall be arranging to take some holiday, hopefully within the next few weeks.

I have to keep reminding myself that it is only seven months since I lost my dear Dad and that I have to give myself time to adjust to all the changes that have affected me recently. I am sure things are going to get better from now on, but I'm not expecting miracles!

Thank you again for all your support and suggestions.

Love and hugs

Hi Denise,

Glad you're feeling a little better.

Hugs to you,

Karen x x
Hi Denise
So pleased to hear that you are feeling a bit better. You have coped with an awful lot on your own. I hope you get to take a holiday and have some me time.
Take care
Bluebird xx