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Why am I so emotional? - Carers UK Forum

Why am I so emotional?

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Hello
I just joined carersUK last week. I was a nurse in my previous life so am used to caring for all sorts of people. What I can't understand now that I'm caring for my Mum is that I'm so emotional all the time. For example I can just be driving to the supermarket and suddenly I'm crying. Or last week my son's partner asked me a simple question about my Dad and I just burst into tears - even though I didn't feel depressed or anything at the time - my Dad's been dead for 46 years!! so it's not as though it's a bit new or anything; I don't feel especially depressed, just frustrated by not being able to get out and do what I like and also sad that I felt I didn't have a choice about giving up my career to look after Mum.
Anyway - looking forward to some encouraging replies!
Thanks
Julie
Oh, Julie, you DID have a choice! You've chosen to give up your own life, and now, in a way, you are in bereavement because of that. I'm afraid I would say you've discovered, bitterly, that being a nurse for other people is COMPLETELY different from being one for your own family. As a 'professional' you 'clock in' and do your job - you do it well, with sympathy and kindness and efficiency - but at the end of your shift you 'clock off' and go home to your own family, your own life.

This is not what happens when we care for someone in our family.

We give up our lives.

I did this when I 'took on' my MIL as she developed dementia. I lasted less than a year and then had just about a nervous breakdown. It took a friend who is a counsellor, and my young adult son, to just about FORCE me to accept on her behalf a place in a care home near me. I felt SOOOOO guilty at 'dumping' her. BUT it was, to be absolutely and totally brutal 'her life or mine'. And my MIL was 89 - I was 59. MY life was 'more important' than hers. I wouldn't expect ANYONE to give up their own life at my age....not to care for someone who had, again, to be utterly brutal, had already had their life. My MIL had 30 years 'more life' than I had - and at 59 was NOT caring for her MIL....

So, I'm afraid, all I can say to you is to look again at the decision you made. Now IF (if, if, if!) your mum's prognosis is, say, a year or so, then yes, fine, dedicate that year to her. I would have done that for my MIL IF (if, if, if) I had it written in stone and signed by God (!) that yes, it would ONLY be for a year.

BUT, the first lesson that elder caring teaches (usually bitterly) is that what we can do for a short/limited time is NOT what we can do for a long, indefinite and unknowable time.

How do you see yourself this time next year? And the year after that? And the year after that????

I'm sorry if this is sounding very negative, but to me, your entire post boils down to that one telling phrase about 'choice'.....

Please, above all, take this on board - Guilt is not a choice.

If you were your own mother, or if you have a daughter, would YOU want HER to do what you are doing now?

Apologies if I've managed to get hold of the wrong end of the stick, and you 'genuinely' are totally happy about what you've taken on!

PS -welcome to the forum!!! :)
Julie_16051234567 wrote:Hello
I just joined carersUK last week. I was a nurse in my previous life so am used to caring for all sorts of people. What I can't understand now that I'm caring for my Mum is that I'm so emotional all the time. For example I can just be driving to the supermarket and suddenly I'm crying. Or last week my son's partner asked me a simple question about my Dad and I just burst into tears - even though I didn't feel depressed or anything at the time - my Dad's been dead for 46 years!! so it's not as though it's a bit new or anything; I don't feel especially depressed, just frustrated by not being able to get out and do what I like and also sad that I felt I didn't have a choice about giving up my career to look after Mum.
Anyway - looking forward to some encouraging replies!
Thanks
Julie
I cry most day, Julie, about something or other. I think that it's probably something to do with someone you love being ill in some way - you wouldn't be caring if they weren't - and it's upsetting and difficult and also there is the issue of your own life being 'gone' and that is a whole other set of issues. With me I do think it's hormonal as well; I am more tearful at certain times of the month than others. I cry over good things as well, my son gave me a hug and a kiss on the cheek the other day for the first time in a very long time and I went into the other room and booed my eyes out - it made me realise how much I miss that (he's made it clear it's not happening again as well, lol). I don't know how encouraging any of that is but I do think what you're experiencing is very normal, although having said that if it gets to the point where it is bothering you a lot it probably is worth having a chat with the GP, I think it can be quite easy to get depressed and not notice it at times.
Hi Julie
I am also terribly prone to bursting into tears at the moment, as soon as somebody says a kind or sympathetic word to me. Not long ago I used to cry every evening as I was driving home after looking after Mum all day. I think it's a combination of things. Tiredness/exhaustion, frustration, having to take control every day, the sheer weight of being responsible for everything to do with another person from feeding to health watch, to their emotional needs and so on and on and on. Plus resentment at being lumbered (whether you chose to be or not), fear of what is coming, and a good understandable dollop of self pity. It's a wonder we carers aren't weeping all day long. Caring for others in a professional capacity is a completely different game to being a Carer to a loved one. Not skills wise, but emotion and commitment. Being 'on duty' all of the time takes its toll. You need a bit of a break and some me time.
Elaine
Me to Julie! Cried this evening at the state hubby's laptop is in. Spilled drinks etc. He was such a particular man as far as clothes and belongings. Upset that dementia has done this to him. Only looked at the laptop wondering if it's any use. Can cry at family finders. Cry at seeing couples enjoying retirement. ( Don't resent them) Find myself all cried out. Then it builds up again. Not sure this is any help to you except that you are not on your own. The forum allows you to vent etc and that it's not so odd to have high emotions. I certainly agree with Elaines post. Take care and keep in touch xx
Hi Julie,
Welcome to the forum.

The amazing thing about this forum is that although our caring situations are all different many of the difficulties we encounter are the same.

I'm another one who is frequently close to tears.
Elaine: I am also terribly prone to bursting into tears at the moment, as soon as somebody says a kind or sympathetic word to me
I tend to keep it under control until people are nice to me or genuinely ask me how things are and then I feel the tears welling up. I usually ask them to stop being nice or change the subject as I don't like crying in front of someone. Likewise if I think too much about the future or haven't dealt with a situation as well as I would have liked that can bring me to tears too.

Melly1