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Depression after respite

Hi Guys, 

 

This is my first post so I hope I am doing this right, a hopefully can get some feedback. 

I guess firstly I'm a 24 year of female looking after my father who is in his 70's, suffering from terminal cancer and an array of other chronic illnesses. I haven't known my father long, only 7 years and I took on this role knowing what I was getting into but also not if that makes sense. 

I've put a lot of myself and life on hold, relationships, friends, reckless behavior i.e clubbing and drinking. I try to stay social and active but it's getting hard. 

As I have only known my Dad for 7 years i have despite this built a strong relationship with him, my extended family on his side I haven't, therefore the role of caring is left with me and I get barely any support. 

Which brings me to this weekend, I was in a position to leave dad alone and not have a fear of him being neglected or injured due to lack of observation. I went 4x4ing, hiking and to an amazing party over Australia Day, knowing dad was safe gave me the ability to switch off my brain to the caring role and for 2 days I was free from worry and concern. 

Over the last few weeks I've been suffering from a decline in mental health and motivation, everything seems to be harder, I thought having the weekend off as a respite would help but switching off for even two days meant when I came home I was in shock, Dad lives with me and I take care of every need he has beside bathing and toilet use. 

I have 2 days to be a 24 year old, making dumb and amazing decisions, being carefree and stupid but loving every minute. 

Now I feel numb, I love my father so much and I will admit I'm so scared of losing him, I know I will, and I get that, but this weekend made me wonder who am I? why do I still feel so down with respite and without? and what do I do when the person I built my life around is gone?

 

I'm sorry if this is full on, but I need to know if anyone else gets even more depressed and down after respite, like having the time off reminds you of everything you're missing out on, which leads to overwhelming guilt and confusion.

 

3 REPLIES 3

Re: Depression after respite

Hi @Sapphire 

 

The caregiver gateway provides information that may help you and the transition phase.

 

https://www.carergateway.gov.au/caring-for-someone-with-a-chronic-illness 

 

Carers Australia offer free counseling and support services and might be a starting spot to help you navigate the way ahead.

Re: Depression after respite

Hey Sapphire,

I get similar feelings when my wife is in a mental health facility again and i have my respite period.  Apart from the fact that you seem to sound a little burnt out which may be colouring your perception of everything a  deep dark blue you sound very articulate and can express whats happening for you very well.  This is going to help you navigate through these feelings.  From what you have written i see that you go from some pretty busy intense days caring for dad to zero.  Of course there is zero because you havnt had any time to build a young life of your own.  I know if i came into my respite period and was suddenly reminded of what i dont have or lost it would be a huge downer.  Maybe this contributes to your fears of losing your dad and being left alone with................not much in your life.  May i suggest that during your busy days with dad you sneak in some time to begin organising what i have come to call "a parralel life".  Maybe you could make some coffee dates during that time to catch up with friends you want to reconnect with or organise some friend dates or fun activities in advance so your not rolling out of all that intensity into a big void in your life.  Just some suggestions from somebody in a similiar situation.  I have lost all my friends but ive recently discovered cooking, reaching out to family by text and taking up the bass guitar (which i am totally awful at).  Start rebuilding your own life Saphire.  I started taking some St Johns wart in the early days because i found the burn out and depression stole a lot of my motivation.  Once my mood lifted a little i could see some positive small things to start with and the motivational barrier wasnt so hard to get over.  Best of Luck.

Re: Depression after respite

Hey @Sapphire, it's been a while! Your situation sounds like a real challenge, especially if you haven't got good family support from your dad's side of the family. The 4X4ing and hiking around Australia Day sounds like a fun weekend though. How are you doing since you posted in here? 

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