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I feel so guilty. - Carers UK Forum

I feel so guilty.

Tell us a bit about yourself here.
I was a carer for my parents in the past until they passed on and now one of my friends is reaching a point where she needs at least some care and I am feeling stressed and guilty because I feel that I am not doing enough for her. At the same time, I don't want, in my heart of hearts, to take on the caring role again. I am mid fifties, single without any family and she is 70 and in the same position. She has several conditions including diabetes and diverticulitis and recently she fell in the street and is bruised and shaken. I want to help and support her as much as I can-there is no way I want to abandon her. However, I have mental health issues (anxiety and depression) and am not working, so have little money. She lives several miles away and bus fares are expensive . If she was nearer, there wouldn't be a problem,as I could pop in most days or at least once or twice a week. I started recently to build up a social life for myself with my therapists encouragement -I go to two support groups and to two discussion groups. These latter two groups involve bus or train fares and buying a drink so I can only go once a week to one of them and the other week to the other one. If I gave them up I could afford to go to see my friend every week. I am going once a fortnight to see her at present. But I really don't want to give up my groups and this is making me feel so guilty. Despite my age I am hoping to meet someone eventually to settle down with and going to groups is part of a plan to build up my confidence and to combat my loneliness by meeting new people. I phone my friend several times a week and she says each time why dont I go up the next day or the day after, that I only live a few miles away etc. She said she would pay the bus fare, but I don't like the idea of this at all and would prefer to go when I can afford it. She is a member of a church but noone from there has been to see her yet. It is all falling on me. A neighbour with a car does her shopping and I take a few 'bits' when I go. Am I awful and selfish for only going once a fortnight and for wishing that it wasn't all falling on me when it comes to visiting? The guilt is tearing me to pieces.
Hi.I think you`ve already said it all.You have to prioritise and make sure your own life is working out,otherwise what use will you be anyway.If you feel guilty consider this,would it be better to get into a mess with stress,feel bitter at your life wasting away,and end up on your own with nothing to look forward to? Put yourself first,get your life together and when you can do what you are comfortable with.Good luck. Image
No way are you awful and selfish. You may still feel it, many of us do, but that doesn't make it so. You deserve your own life and planning to meet someone and settle down sounds like a good one. I appreciate that your friend needs care, but it sounds as if you've done a lot of caring yourself and it's not fair for you to sacrifice your support to care for her, that making things doubly hard for yourself.
Obviously the final decision is up to you, but I it sounds as if there might be some middle ground, maybe someone else to help out. It might be uncomfortable, both for you and your friend, to have someone else in, either a care worker, someone from her church, or someone else entirely but you need to take care of yourself as well. There's nothing wrong with asking others for help, even if the help isn't for you.

I hope you can find a good solution, take care.
Hello Chris. Welcome Image

I read what you say with interest, and I can understand why you have various emotions at this point in time. Perfectly understandable. You are a very kind and caring person but at the same time, you do need to think about yourself too. This is not the same as being selfish. By all means be a good support to this friend of yours, but stay in command of your own life and keep a clear sense of balance. And you need to feel stronger in yourself anyway.

Maybe you might speak with this friend to explain how you feel and your 'concerns'. Besides the financial aspect of things, getting involved any more might just be too much of a strain right now. If this friend is worthy to be called thus, they will understand Chris.

Finally, let me welcome you again. I'm pleased that you have 'dropped in'. Most of us carers here face emotional issues of one sort or another. We understand stuff. And most of all you'll find lots of support and plenty of kind folk willing to listen. I'm glad you dropped by Image Image Image

All good wishes, and take care...

Robert
Hi Chris and welcome Image
It sounds as if you are still just sorting out your own life and finding yourself, so your feelings are perfectly understandable and no, you aren't selfish, far from it as you want to do what you can for your friend.
I know you don't like the idea of your friend paying your bus fare (and I'd be the same), but maybe you could 'go halves' to see each other weekly, if you would like to. After all if you did alternate visiting she would pay bus fare to visit you and this way you might both feel happier.
Chris, please don't feel guilty its neither helpful to you nor constructive for your friend. We all have our limits despite how caring a nature we have - yes that means you else you wouldn't have posted here.

I can't really offer any more advice than what you've already been given. If you have a contact for your friend's church then would be a good idea to explain the difficulties your friend is having, there is always someone in a church community who is responsible for visiting those in need, besides it might jog some of her friends conciouses or maybe none of them are aware of the situation.

If you are able to continue visiting once a fortnight, when she phones say that you can't come any sooner than your regular day - you don't need to give reasons. Support via the phone is still very important although I hope it doesn't become too much pressure for you.

You will be no good to your friend by going downhill yourself, don't undervalue the support you already give - some people don't have any support at all. You are a good friend and you deserve happiness as much as anyone else.

Stay strong and banish all those negative thoughts.
Please don't feel guilty, you have already done more than your fair share of caring. You might like to quietly find out whether your friend has all the benefits which she is entitled to, and suggest that she might find it helpful to have someone call in to do the heavy cleaning etc., which would give her someone to chat to. Loneliness when you are unfit is really difficult. My mum has been so much happier now that she has carers popping in and out, they tell her what they are doing for tea, what their children are up to etc., so mum feels part of the human race again, and it takes a bit of pressure off me. I have a son with learning difficulties and a few health issues of my own, so if I push myself too hard I get ill again. Take care.
You have absolutely no reason to feel any guilt, i agree with others on here in that contacting someone at her church will help, they have pastoral people who can visit and offer emotional support etc. You need to look after yourself otherwise you will be in no fit state to offer any help to anyone.

Take care of you Image Image
Thank you all for your very nice replies.
A couple of people from her church have been in touch with her and and have been to see her, so it isn't all down to me any more. One thing I do find hard, though, is that she is critical of everyone who tries to help her. None of us are doing enough or aren't doing it right, or she thinks that noone really wants to help her. I visited recently and said on leaving that she should phone whenever she needed to talk, and then three days went by with no call, so I called her, and she was shouting that noone had called her. A nieghbour said to her to call if she needed anything from the shops, and now, because the ball was left in my friends court to call the neighbour, she says that the neighbour doesn't really want to help. Another neighbour asked to do her shopping but he goes to the 'wrong' supermarket. It all of this sort of thing which is getting to me, and making me feel guilty.
I'm afraid that elderly people can do this, it's nothing to do with you at all. I suppose it's the loss of control and loss of independence which is so difficult. My mum can be very critical too, she wanted new pillows, I bought new pillows. Took endless care finding something suitable, but no, they were'nt quite right. She wanted an air freshener, I bought one, very expensive, one of these automatic ones. A few days later I was told it wasn't working, asked to get another one. Someone had taken out the spray container and mucked it up, so now it doesn't work, so she wants another one. She can't cook at all or make a cuppa, but doesn't appreciate how hard it is to find anything she does like to eat, and most of it goes uneaten in any case. I've even taken food over on special occasions, but she says she can't eat it any more. Then a few days later I find her eating exactly the same thing (and I'm a good cook, so it's not my poor cooking!) All this while I'm recovering from major knee surgery and also caring for my son with severe learning difficulties. Don't feel guilty in the least. It's nothing to do with you, just try to ignore it. You are doing all you can, and that's got to be better than doing nothing. Take care.