Changes? New Directions? Burnout? Feedback, Please

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Changes? New Directions? Burnout? Feedback, Please

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clock-70189_640Hi, Everybody. Time to update, and also to wish the best to my fellow caregivers here whose updates and news I continue to love to check in about when I can. I’m on a vacation week from my work right now, and then after returning in the office next week to cover others’ breaks, I have another week’s time following after that. This is well-timed, because I’m doing some much-needed thinking and reflection.

For instance: My mom is now ensconced in her new senior housing residence since March, and it is literally a miracle how she has done a dramatic 360 in personality, mood, and happiness since then, where she is making friends, interacting in activities, and enjoying herself as a person–not as a widow or a parent–for the first time seemingly in more than a decade; We are still working on the steps to sell our 60-years family home, co-owned with my cousin, for which steps seem to come in bursts as he meanwhile tries to close on selling his own home in a nearby town first; and I am seriously feeling a combination of work burnout mixed with a desire to enjoy more involvement in bonding with my mom in this new latest phase of her life and which my almost-all weekday awake work hours preclude me from doing as much as I feel I’d like to.

I’ve been at my current employer for 11+ years now. So grateful and privileged for all I’ve had a chance to do, learn and be there during all this time. Extremely bright boss, great coworkers, but my stress levels–maybe because a change is needed?–are going through the ceiling. I’m feeling that sensation of being drained by the same terrible commutes back-and-forth to the same location, in same office, and dealing with the same conflicts with people I’m responsible for. I do not want to spend much longer having to be a disciplinarian and firm all day long, five days a week, as my career. I need more creativity in my life at this point. And those traits aren’t my personality, nor do I wish to foster and experience them each day. So what’s a caregiver to do??

I’m mulling and researching different options. For example, I know that my employer offers medical leaves–but which need to be approved first–that are non-paid. I could probably go through my mounds of accumulated vacation and sick time first. But then there’s not the guarantee of being able to come back necessarily to the same position. And at 52 as of this upcoming September, I don’t want to have to beg or wait for approval and go through all this bureaucratic crap. How have many of you caregivers juggling work with caring for someone with whom you don’t reside, approached such a dilemma?

I’d love to be able to draw on some savings that are set aside–especially with our eventual sale of our family home, and our half’s proceedings from that–so that I could take some “recharging” time to have a phase where I can focus on my writing and translation freelancing work while being able to pay my bills, rent and health insurances. Which brings me to insurance: I looked up Mass.gov last night to see different Massachusetts individual health insurance options that there are–many are quite pricey, at least about $250/month for premiums–and I’d need to ensure continuing having my PCP and core gastroenterology health teams and payment of my chronic physical health problems prescription meds. Or, if I decided to resign from my work and take a “life sabbatical” again, these 11+ years on, I suppose I could then request to qualify for MassHealth, unless I could not in the event they count my previous year’s earnings at my current job?

It shouldn’t be or feel so difficult to want to keep one’s head above the proverbial water in the life-quality sector of one’s life. I just can’t take the being pulled in 10 different directions, needing to be simultaneously mindful of so many concurrent obligations, people and emotions all at once constantly. At times, I sometimes wonder if I’m losing my mind because of the brain mental blocks I seem to feel. I’ve simply become overwhelmed from having to think about so many various things, people and responsibilities all at once. Anyways, thanks for letting me vent. One thing, for sure: Helping my mom to be in the new happy state she is in has been the greatest accomplishment that I feel I’ve helped to make happen in about the last decade of my life! She deserved it so much, and it helps to support all the eldercare experiences, information, and grad studies that I have encountered in the last several years. But I think it’s now time for this caregiver, Gary, to start also focusing more on my own life, freedom, peace of mind, and happiness. Thanks! GP

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Susan

Hi Gary! I know exactly how you feel. I am about to turn 51 and about 4 years ago, I knew I needed a change. About this same time, I was thrown unexpectedly into caregiving for both of my parents. Mom had dementia and Parkinson's, and dad had heart problems, diabetes and numerous other issues. I worked in medical administration for 23 years and was really ready for a change. I did some serious soul searching and decided to follow my heart and went back to school and became a certified nutritional consultant. I recently created my own website http://hearttoheartcaregiving.com. As for the stress levels, I started meditating. Believe me, I never thought I would have the time or the patience, but even for 5 minutes a day, it works!! Just the act of being still and listening to your own inner voice can sometimes give you the answers you are looking for. I hope you find a way to find happiness and peace in your life. You deserve to be happy, especially at this time in your life. Hope this helps, Good luck!!