Several years ago, I went through about five years of fatigue that, it turned out, had no medical cause. I finally decided it was all about the stress.
I made some changes, felt better, and life went on.
Well, here I am again. For the last month or so, I have felt that same almost-debilitating level of fatigue, and again I attribute it to stress.
WHAT’S GOING ON WITH ME?
Oh, all kinds of things!
Chief among them? I am burnt out.
It’s not easy being a caregiver for two people with two entirely different sets of needs. CeAnne has one set of needs, which requires a lot of extra little physical things, including running most of the errands (which is almost every day).
Sharon, her mom, has a shitload of physical problems. She has also given up her driver’s license, so I take her where she needs to be (several times a week). It used to be that I was driving her to medical appointments a lot, but that has shifted by her attitude (“Oh, I don’t care anymore”) and the helplessness she feels. Not to mention, she has a co-pay for specialists – and with as many specialists as she needs to see, that’s a pretty penny.
But there are always her trips to
Hellmart Walmart to keep me busy. 😉
Then, of course, there are the finances. What couple doesn’t run into this problem?? The funny thing is, we have separate accounts; and yet, money is the thing we “argue” about the most. Why? Because what’s mine is CeAnne’s and what’s CeAnne’s is mine.
That’s just the top of mind stuff. There a million little things that add to the stress.
LACK OF ENERGY REALLY SUCKS
Lately, I’ve had no energy to do the things I need to. I had started doing yoga again, but when I wake up exhausted, there’s no doing it.
I’ve lost interest in writing and in photography. Well, I haven’t really lost interest, but I’ve just got no energy to do it. I’m motivated, I have the will, but the body is not able.
Case in point: I think I’m going to take a nap. I’ll see you soon.
…Well, that was not very refreshing, but at least I’m up!
CeAnne has not been feeling well for quite a while now, and she needs my help with a lot of little things (and bigger things). Since she has MS, she tries to conserve her energy, and I fully support that. I just wish we had a little help around here.
Twice now, I’ve contacted the county and we’ve been assessed for any kinds of programs we might be eligible for. The answer both times? NONE.
That’s weird. All three of us have disabilities and we live on Social Security; and yet, we don’t qualify for any programs?! We make too much $$ to be eligible for Medicaid, and Sharon is able to do ILS’s (Independent Living Skills) like dress herself, bathe herself, etc. (even though it’s not easy for her and puts unnecessary stress on her heart and the rest of her body). So no help there.
So, even though we each have our own debilitating diseases, the county can’t help. You know what that means? We’ve fallen through the cracks. CeAnne has MS, Sharon is 79 and has a host of serious ailments, and I have severe, recurrent major depressive disorder.
There should really be programs (free or sliding fee scale) for people like us. Maybe you, too.
SELF-CARE? WHAT’S THAT?
One of the first things to go when I get over-stressed and fatigued is self-care. I start to be even more of an emotional eater than I already am, I look for quick fixes, I think about drinking. My hygiene could be better, my sleep patterns go awry (where I’ve been able to do okay on six hours of sleep, I’ve been doing nothing but sleep for the last week). Everything just kind of goes haywire.
To be sure, I’m not blaming this on anyone. It’s just hard to be a caregiver when you have a hard time even giving to yourself. It definitely does not help the fatigue.
If I got out more (read: If I didn’t isolate so much), I wouldn’t feel so funny asking friends for a helping hand. But, where I once was good at reaching out, I’m just not anymore. I have no social life; therefore, I have little contact with my friends. I know they would do anything for me, but you know how it is. It’s hard enough to ask someone for help, much less if you haven’t seen them in six months (or longer).
In fact, it’s 1:30 a.m. right now, and I’m sitting here typing this because the inspiration hit me. My habit of writing in the mornings has disappeared and I feel like I’ve been neglecting my blog, so I write when I can. And that time is now, even though I should be in bed. I need to get up by 7:00 to start my day out right.
Since my brain (and my body) is fried, I’m unable to think all that clearly lately. If you’ve found yourself in this place before, I welcome any suggestions you have.
I promise to consider each one of them. Hey, I’m an open-minded kind of girl. Hell, I’ll make a list and try each one!
Thanks for letting me vent. And thanks in advance for the suggestions! 🙂
IN A NUTSHELL…
- Fatigue sucks. And damn, am I tired.
- I know you can’t take care of others unless you take care of yourself first, but try doing that. It’s hard.
- Stress will wreak havoc on your mind and your body.
- Being a caregiver is stressful. Being a caregiver x2, exponentially moreso.
- But it’s worth it.
- Self-care is often the first thing to go.
- If you’ve been there too, I’m taking suggestions. I already have plans to spend a week at a spa, where I can be served great food by sexy waitresses and get a massage and a pedicure every day, but that’s going to have wait until Sharon wins the lottery.
- To be continued…
Please share the love! 🙂
A version of this post was previously published on DepressionWarrior and is republished here with permission from the author.
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