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Treacle brain - Carers UK Forum

Treacle brain

Share your ideas about the practical side of caring.
Hello,

I am not sure if this is the right place in the forum to post this. I wonder if anyone else has problems with, or had any tips for dealing with what I call treacle brain.

My concentration over the last few years had got worse and worse. Forget what I am doing half the time, feel like I am in a near constant mental fog. Never seem to get much accomplished. If I start one thing, I end up having to attend to another, then try and go back and finish the first. I start the day with pretty low expectations but it sometimes feels like I’m fighting a set of constant fires of various intensities.

I don’t know if it is the long-term stress of caring, or peri-menopause or anxiety or depression or some combination of all them. I think it partly to do with caring being so intense yet at times so monotonous, so challenging yet also mind-numbing repetitive at times, so closely related with someone else and also so lonely.

It feels quite a burden to constantly worrying about the needs of someone else while also trying to meet your own needs. I am worried at times at how bad my concentration is.

I feel like there is an enormous list of things to be done, some of which never get round to being down year after year eg. minor repairs in the house. It feels so frustrating day in, day out to not accomplish anything except to get through the day.

I sometimes feel like, if only I could just just put it all on pause for a day, and I would be able to think more clearly and sort things out. The constant different pulls on my attention and interruptions to my train of thought are wrecking my ability to focus, and decide what is most important to do next.

A desert island for a few days would be great.

Thank you for listening to my rant. Helps to get it off my chest.
I don't have too much trouble concentrating and I have a never-ending list of things that need doing. I've got several lists in fact.There's no cunning logic for several lists, a new one gets started when I remember or notice things that need doing, sometimes I even manage to collate two or three lists into one.

If I had more energy, my lists would be shorter, some of the things on my list will only take a couple of minutes, but having seen something that needs doing, I can usually forget it about within a couple of minutes, so I try and remember to put it on a list. It is very satisfying crossing through completed items on a list.

The last couple of days, my wife (my caree) has stayed in bed until close to lunchtime and that has made a difference: Tuesday I hoovered the floor everywhere, (for the first time in about a month)! Wednesday, I washed the bathroom floor. I can't explain why it made a difference, I suppose mainly that she wasn't actually in the way just made me see the task differently.

I no longer do anything in the garden except watch it grow, I could easily spend all of my spare time and more out there and it still wouldn't all get done so it seems like a waste of time to even start.

My spare time (me time) is fairly limited really and is absolutely sacrosanct, otherwise more would get done - but I don't know how long I would last without it.

Don't beat yourself up about things that aren't done, you can only do a days work in a day.
Be kind to yourself, in fact how much time do you have genuinely to chill out and relax knowing you are off duty??
You need a true HOLIDAY. If you love your caree enough to care for her 50 weeks a year, then your caree should love you enough to understand you need a break. Your caree needs to take a break in a nursing home, or pay for a live in carer.

Social Services should give you some money to look after your needs as part of a Carers Assessment.
Ayjay wrote:
Thu Jul 02, 2020 4:42 pm
I don't have too much trouble concentrating and I have a never-ending list of things that need doing. I've got several lists in fact.There's no cunning logic for several lists, a new one gets started when I remember or notice things that need doing, sometimes I even manage to collate two or three lists into one.

If I had more energy, my lists would be shorter, some of the things on my list will only take a couple of minutes, but having seen something that needs doing, I can usually forget it about within a couple of minutes, so I try and remember to put it on a list. It is very satisfying crossing through completed items on a list.

The last couple of days, my wife (my caree) has stayed in bed until close to lunchtime and that has made a difference: Tuesday I hoovered the floor everywhere, (for the first time in about a month)! Wednesday, I washed the bathroom floor. I can't explain why it made a difference, I suppose mainly that she wasn't actually in the way just made me see the task differently.

I no longer do anything in the garden except watch it grow, I could easily spend all of my spare time and more out there and it still wouldn't all get done so it seems like a waste of time to even start.

My spare time (me time) is fairly limited really and is absolutely sacrosanct, otherwise more would get done - but I don't know how long I would last without it.

Don't beat yourself up about things that aren't done, you can only do a days work in a day.
Hello Ayjay,

Thank you for your reply. I read your thoughts with interest. I’m glad I’m not the only one with the never-ending list, though you sound more organised than me.

I do find things work out a bit better if I write some kind of rough plan for the day the night before, even if it is just things not to forget to do eg. phone the doctor. Also find it helps to write down what I have done in the day, sometimes I remember more things and it doesn’t seem so little then.

I know what you mean about the garden, I could be out there all the time, but then other things wouldn’t get attended to.

The limited time you have to yourself definitely should be sacrosanct. I’m more introvert by nature anyway, need time alone recharge.

Thank you for your encouragement. Wishing you all the best in your situation.
bowlingbun wrote:
Thu Jul 02, 2020 7:01 pm
Be kind to yourself, in fact how much time do you have genuinely to chill out and relax knowing you are off duty??
You need a true HOLIDAY. If you love your caree enough to care for her 50 weeks a year, then your caree should love you enough to understand you need a break. Your caree needs to take a break in a nursing home, or pay for a live in carer.

Social Services should give you some money to look after your needs as part of a Carers Assessment.
Thank you for your reply, bowlingbun.

I will have to start to consider all these things.

I would probably be able to arrange a few days away informally, but don’t feel that is really a fair option at the moment due to the virus.

I am quite an adept mental escapist (avid reader from an early age) into books, films, music. They offer mental time off for me. I love the outdoors and the garden too. I took up the violin again last autumn which has also been a great distraction and solace and the right kind of challenge.

I am just worried about my distracted state and inability to concentrate. I think my age/hormones certainly has a part to play. Things have been pretty erratic on that front for a few years. Cutting down on caffeine, any alcohol has certainly helped to an extent, especially with sleep, and sometimes it is worse than others. My brain seems just overwhelmed sometimes, with no sense of clarity.

Thank you for your thoughts and suggestions, it is most appreciated.
I've lost all four of our parents, poorly for a long time. Now carer only to my son with learning difficulties. I have never really recovered from those years, ended up having major surgery. My husband died a few months later. I'll always believe it was the stress of everything. Don't ignore how you are feeling, your body is struggling, you need a break. I now go to Crete every year. The difference in me after 2 weeks is stunning.
bowlingbun wrote:
Thu Jul 02, 2020 10:10 pm
I've lost all four of our parents, poorly for a long time. Now carer only to my son with learning difficulties. I have never really recovered from those years, ended up having major surgery. My husband died a few months later. I'll always believe it was the stress of everything. Don't ignore how you are feeling, your body is struggling, you need a break. I now go to Crete every year. The difference in me after 2 weeks is stunning.
Thank you for sharing with me the relentless toll that all those years of caring took on you, and your husband. I am sorry it has had a negative effect on your health. It has made me think that something has to improve, that I need to make some changes to how things are going.

Your holidays in Crete sound a wonderful tonic for you. My grandmother loved Crete, she made several trips there in the Spring, because she was captivated by the flowers. I have been to some of the Greek islands a long time ago on a sailing boat which was a wonderful experience.