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Old 03-17-2019, 05:45 PM #1
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Default Burned out and depressed.

I've started threads before about being stressed by my role of caregiving to my terminally ill sig. other. Here's another one.

I don't feel sad. Mainly I've gotten apathetic. This has happened numerous times over the past 5 years, and it has passed. It's a form of depression. Like I just don't care anymore. Not about him . . . not about me . . . not about much. I just waste day after day doing as little as I can.

I'm a believer that a change in one's frame of mind is always set off by something. For 3 weeks my bf has had colitis. It's a side effect of the drug used to treat his cancer. This is a new development, after months of no really bad side effects. This morning I just got sick of dealing with it. Last 2 days, I thought he was better. But this morning, before dawn . . . it's not over at all.

I started thinking, "What has this guy ever done for me that I am here tending to him through all this misery?" We hadn't even been living together for some years because the relationship hadn't been too good. I just felt streaming resentment.

I'm not looking for praise. I don't need pats on the back. (Though a little expression of appreciation from him would be nice. He has always taken me for granted.) But I need to stop wallowing in resentment and demoralization - for my own sake.

I don't have to do this. Much of the time, I've felt that being here with him is what I've wanted. Much of the time I've been fairly content.

This morning, I thought, "I am throwing in the towel." Now I don't feel quite that bad. But I'm still in pajamas and have spent the day on the couch, both of us just staring at the TV. I've napped on and off. I'm just doing as little as possible and that feels fine to me.

Being this lazy can't be good though.

I wonder what others do when all interest goes out the window. Anyone who has recurrent issues with depression probably knows what it's like to feel this way.
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Old 03-17-2019, 11:14 PM #2
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Default Re: Burned out and depressed.

(((Rose))) ❤️ Itís so hard. Iím thinking of you. Sounds as if youíre on the horns of a dilemma. Loving thoughts and prayers...
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Old 03-18-2019, 02:41 PM #3
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Default Re: Burned out and depressed.

Those horns is a pretty apt metaphor. Life just seems to hand me these awful choices. Or I hand them to myself. Or I just have an unusually hard time dealing with "options." Shortly after meeting this man, many years ago, it was more than clear that he was a poor candidate for having as a life-partner. But we hit it off so extremely well, when I wasn't on the verge of killing him. Even when we stopped living together, we remained very close. When his health started to really deteriorate, about 8 years ago, I wanted to help him manage things that were getting difficult. I'ld pick up groceries and drop off laundry. He had such serious illnesses that it seemed he wasn't long for this world. That's what doctors thought and have been telling me. A few years ago, they advised me that "he should be a hospice client." (That's supposed to mean you have only 6 months to go.) If I knew - back in 2013 - that he had at least another 6 years to go, I probably would not have gotten so reinvolved. But I did, and it was a case of mission creep, thinking that I was making his last few months easier. Those few months have morphed into years.

Only Heaven above knows how long anyone has on this earth, but he keeps having one near-fatal illness after another. And he keeps recovering. Already he's been hospitalized 3 times this year. Each time, doctors tell me that the end is at hand and that he should get Paliative Care or Hospice. But they told me that over 2 years ago. Nobody wants to lose a friend as close as he's been to me . . . but, as a nurse, I have seen even parents get strung out keeping a "vigil" by the bed of a son or daughter, when the vigil becomes prolonged. Years of anticipatory grieving, combined with a relentless need for receiving near-total care, gets to be a drain. (He hasn't yet needed his meals spoonfed, but I do have to cut up his meat, like for a child. He no longer can walk.) This is not about "Look how much I do." I have gotten a ton of acknowledgement for that. This is about "Look how hard it is to step back, once you've stepped in." So I appreciate the "horns" metaphor. I know my options to pare down my commitment. I know all about nursing homes and how to get him into one. I was sort of picturing doing that after he, maybe, fell into a sort of a coma and wouldn't know the difference. Nothing like that is happening to make it easier for me. And I ask myself: "Why not?" Is there a Cosmic Force that just has to test us to the nth degree. I feel like a guinea pig in some sort of cosmic experiment: "Let's give her these very disagreeable options and see how long she squirms, before she caves in or goes nuts." My goal, presently, is to continue doing what I doing . . . without going nuts. But lately I've been acting "nuts." Way too irritable, impatient, burned out.

I wouldn't blame anyone for thinking: "What can we tell Rose that she hasn't already been told, repeatedly?" I guess I'm just venting.

The home attendant is here, so I better nap while I can. Last night I just didn't sleep. After getting used to taking Ritalin in the morning, I've run out a week ago. I can't seem to reach my pdoc to get a fresh script.
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Old 03-18-2019, 04:53 PM #4
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Default Re: Burned out and depressed.

Rose, anything I could say would be meaningless in the face of your situation.

It is possible, though, that by itself it is moving more or less interminably, to a crisis. Something may eventually happen that will make this decision for you, even if you have not by then made it for yourself. Meanwhile, it is totally understandable that you feel burnt-out, numb, half-dead yourself. It's like a mountain climber said about making the last few steps to the top of Everest: By then he no longer cared about what he was doing, he just had some unshakeable impulse within him to keep plodding to the top.

It does seem, though, as if someone ought to be able to substitute for your Pdoc in getting you some more Ritalin right away. You are under tremendous stress, after all.
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Old 03-28-2019, 10:30 PM #5
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Old 03-29-2019, 11:45 AM #6
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Default Re: Burned out and depressed.

I did get my Ritalin refilled. It helps a bit. Thanks Mopey and Fuzzy. Sooner or later, something's gotta give. I hope it isn't my sanity. I tell myself it would be better to scale back my involvement gracefully, then just become a wreck who can't cope, and then others have to take the situation in hand.

My options seem to be all or nothing. Seeing this man through to the end is like trying to get to the mountain top and plant my flag, saying "I completed what I undertook." I'm just slogging forward now, one foot in front of the other.
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Old 03-29-2019, 01:16 PM #7
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Default Re: Burned out and depressed.

Hi Rose - glad you got your Ritalin refilled.

Do you see any way you could scale back your involvement, as you say?

Anything? No matter how little?
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Old 03-30-2019, 03:24 AM #8
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Default Re: Burned out and depressed.

Not really.

If I would just get up and clean the apartment, I would feel so much better. But I can't even make myself brush my teeth.

I make sure he is clean and fed. I make sure he gets all his meds and keeps all his doctor appointments. I make sure he is kept reasonably entertained. I find shows on TV to interest him. And I even make myself reasonably companionable to him.

But, when I'm not tending to a need of his, I sit and read online. I don't brush my teeth. I don't bother taking some of my meds. I just take pain pills and what I need to sleep at night. I don't open my mail. I don't bother paying my bills on time, even though I have enough in my checkbook to do so. I don't bother combing my hair. I get the dishes done, but the place is messy.

I am depressed. I don't even think having my bf go to a nursing home temporarily would help me.

In the morning is bad. I only get up from bed to give him breakfast. Then this evening was bad. I was weeping, silently, while doing dishes.

I drank some wine earlier than usual, and it made me feel lousy when it wire off. I have no real hope. I think I'm just going to go downhill.

I'm hungry. Sometimes I just eat brown sugar by the spoonful. I'm hungry now. I'll eat something. Hydrocodone is not helping like it usually does. I didn't take the Ritalin today. I forgot where I put it.
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Old 03-30-2019, 12:08 PM #9
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Default Re: Burned out and depressed.

Rose, darling, it sounds to me as if youíre in real trouble. The only suggestion I can think of to lighten your load is that your computer can probably be set up to handle your bills automatically, but that is essentially meaningless in the face of your situation. Youíre just simply using up everything youíve got in taking care of your friend.

Iím going to seek advice.
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Old 03-30-2019, 12:51 PM #10
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Default Re: Burned out and depressed.

I feel like, if I wasn't taking care of him, I'ld be doing nothing. I'ld probably just go to bed and stay there. I know you can't get more out of life than you put in. I know I'm not putting much in. I'm not interested. If I force myself, it doesn't last. Getting started in the morning is the hardest. I haven't gotten started yet today. It's almost noon.

Thank you for checking my thread.
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