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Having a bit of a bad day - Carers UK Forum

Having a bit of a bad day

For anyone who is bereaved or no longer providing care.
Hubby passed away in August, and I’ve been keeping myself (too) busy since. Removing floor coverings due to nature not being kind to hubby in his last few weeks. Sorting out his hut, getting rid of his stuff, dealing with technical problems re broadband provider, having to find another car, as my old one is on its last legs. You know, the usual stuff.

I know my concentration isn’t good just now, so I’ve been doing what I know I can tackle, doing what I can, then moving onto something else I know I can cope with. This means I have several projects on the go, depending on energy, weather, time available, mood.

I lost it yesterday though, because I do want these projects completely finished, but work, weather, energy, and concentration is getting in the way, and frustrating me. What did it though, was a good friend telling me I was constantly losing interest in one thing, then starting something else, as if that was a problem. For some reason, that ripped me apart, and I’ve been crying and feeling really down since then.

I thought I had worked out a coping plan to deal with a mountain of stuff, but apparently I’m the only one that thinks that. Or at least that is how I am feeling.

I know there more to my reaction than unfinished projects, and I know this is quite normal, but it has surprised me how little it has taken to set me back.
Bereavement is crippling. No other word for it. When my husband died I felt like I'd been 'amputated' - there was only half of me. And yet the 'paperwork of death' as I call it (and it's not all paperwork, it can be physical practical thigns, too, like clearing wardrobes and other things, as you are describing) is mountainous. It goes on and on and on and on.

Look, your friend is an idiot. Sorry, but there it is. Has she been widowed in the last few months? No? OK, so then anything she says is pointless. She 'meant' to help - and maybe SHE works by starting one thing, finishing it, then starting another. But you have very eloquently described WHY you are working in the way you are - that you are, very sensibly, pacing yourself, taking things 'little by little' and multitasking across a range of simultaneous projects that will each complete at different times, and have different 'internal dependencies' (ie, you can get half way through one of them, then have to wait for 'someone else' - eg, a bank, a broadband provider etc - to 'get back to you' so that you can complete and finish....).

It sounds to me like you are actually coping incredibly well considering ....ie, considering you are 'on your knees' and 'crippled by bereavement'.

Your energy levels (physical, mental and above all emotional) will fluctuate HUGELY. You can think 'OK, I'm coping, I'm coping'....and then one tiny thing (a thoughtless word from a 'well-meaning friend' or even something like a mug breaking or missing a TV programme, or getting a bill you hadn't foreseen) can just send us crashing to the floor. And on the emotional front, one tiny thing - seeing a photo of 'happier times', or getting a sudden memory, seeing something on the TV that 'breaks you' (I still 'break down' when I see travel programmes about places I went to with my husband 'in happier times') - can send us hurtling over 'the cliff of grief'.....

So, please, put aside the idiotic thing your friend said - she isn't wearing your nightmare shoes, she simply 'does not know' what she said, or what it is like for you.

Can you factor in some 'time off/treats' for yourself? I know you hardly feel like 'relaxing' or 'celebrating' etc etc, but maybe just something 'soothing' ....a walk in a park, sitting on park bench with an autumnal scene around....watching something 'daft but fun' on the telly, getting your nails painted, anything just 'little but nice'.

This is, without doubt, a dreadful, dreadful time for you, and I do think, as I say, you are coping remarkably well - but do allow yourself to 'fail' and 'fall' ......your life is YOURS now, for good and ill, and you can set your own pace for as much as you possibly can. There is no 'timetable' for many things and let others wait for YOU.

PS - one tip - I didn't bother to inform my utility suppliers I was widowed. Years later, no one has asked, and the bills are paid on time. That's all they care about! It was one part of the 'paperwork of death' I simply postponed indefinitely! None of their damn business is my opinion!!!!!!!!! Oh, and there are still a couple of small bank accounts that I haven't moved to mine yet - I still get statemetns to 'The executors of'.....it just doesn't matter. So much doesn't matter, so take things at your OWN pace as much, much, much as you can.
PS - have you joined any widows forums? I joined WAY UP after I was widowed, and it was very helpful. (WAY itself is 'Widowed and Young' but WAY UP is for those over 50).

When I last saw it there was a section for 'newly widowed'.....you may find the 'main section' which is more about 'enjoying life as best we can aferwards' a bit 'full on' at this stage (they do lots of meeting up and 'activities'). The 'newly widowed' section I found very good - we could say 'anything and everything' and would know that 'someone would understand'.

Just like here on 'caring' in fact. 'We' here all know that caring is wearing, etc etc, and we 'get it', as those who don't have to care for anyone simply can't 'get'. (LIke your friend can't 'get' the way you are processing all the paperwork of death right now....)
Hi Maureen
I'm not actually widowed,but feel semi widowed, as my lovely husband is in a nursing home because of strokes and vascular dementia. It's a long goodbye sadly. I visit every other day. Shared with my family.Even though he has not lived at home with me for 3 years I still have the times of not wanting to do the chores etc. I sometimes just can't summon up motivation,and like you, don't always complete one thing before jumping to another. I wonder if your friend understands that she has upset you with the thoughtless comment. Can you tell her, explaining that it was very insensitive.
You are coping much better than some recently bereaved people I know. Go at your own pace, and don't beat yourself up if you haven't achieved what you hoped to. It will eventually get sorted.
I've seen a quote somewhere
Don't worry about walking a mile in my shoes,spend a day thinking in my head.! No one know each others pain, but some will have a very good idea, others are just naive or downright insensitive, and not worth listening to.
Try to do something nice, just for yourself.
When I read the first part of your post, about how you are dealing with everything bit by bit, I was so pleased and relieved, because that is exactly how I have been coping and it was great to hear that someone else is finding life the same.
So I was so sorry (and cross on your behalf) to carry on reading and find the next bit about how you have been undermined. If only people stopped to think - or even ask - how hard it is to do anything at all!
In months, I am ahead of you (widowed at the very end of last year); in terms of clearing up I have almost got back to how things were before I became my husband's carer, but I now have to face all the building work we were planning together; in terms of concentration I can tell you it gets better but then suddenly there is a bad day when everything slips back again, but there is a slow upwards trend.
Jenny mentioned WayUp, which is a great organisation, but I must warn you that it is having to move to a new online host as the old one is closing at the end of the year. As a result, they have had to put new memberships on hold until they have managed to transfer everything across so if you have not joined already please try again in the new year https://way-up.co.uk
Maureen, I am 100% behind the way you are coping -multi tasking and dipping in and out of things. This is the approach I have taken (although not coping with bereavement of spouse but elderly parent) . I'm still doing this 10 months on. I have different categories of "jobs, ", there is paperwork, clearing away personal belongings, reinventing yourself, dealing with property, rooms, finance, a new concept of hobbies (not got to that one yet), house, work, garden, friends , career. I am constantly juggling and as time goes on I spend a bit less time on one and a bit more time on another.
I have a friend living in another world who keeps telling me to change one of my chairs which has an interesting lean to it (suits my dog) and I can't begin to tell you how far down my list of priorities this chair is , but I listen to how bad it looks on a weekly basis. :D :D
Do not let your friend's lack of empathy bring you down- you are doing fine.
Many thanks folks, my friend has been astonishingly supportive, but I think patience is not her strong point, so having so many things going on isn’t her ‘thing’.

We speak every day on the phone, but I specifically made a point if not answering the phone today. Not because I was in a huff, but because I needed that gap to get my head together.

I will take a look at that forum you mention, and as Henrietta and Dusty both point out, the multitasking way of using your resources works really well (at least for me), and I shall continue with it.

Treating myself to a takeaway tonight, as an indulgence, after a full day of tackling the hubby’s mancave.
As a widow myself I think your friend did you a favour by making you cry! Crying can be very therapeutic letting out all that pent up emotion, it's vital. Stop and make a list of what needs doing most. Then plan regular my body time, walk, gym, swim. Then regular down time. Baths, hair cut, facial. It will get better but you have to go through this period of adjustment to reach the other side. Your New Life. I've found mine but it can't be hurried!
That thought had crossed my mind, as I think I had been making myself too busy to have a good cry, and things had been building a bit.

As to lists, even my lists have lists. :D

I think I’m just frustrated at the amount of stuff the hubby had, and have yet another trip to the charity shop some time next week. Not that the charity shop is complaining. :D
Tomorrow, take the day off from ALL Work! The biggest challenge of all is to learn how to do nothing on your own, and feel comfortable with your own company.Took me a long time. I met my husband when I was just 16, married at 19, went from my parents house to being a house owner! Didn't live alone until I was 54!