It is hard to get away. It is hard to take a break. It is hard to do anything without interruptions. It is hard to take time for you.
And the worst thing about being a caregiver is how easy it is to become isolated from your friends and family.
In the past few years, as the grandmas needs for caregiving have increased, I have found myself increasingly home bound and increasingly isolated.
It is has been extremely easy for me to fall into the trap of isolation. I'm an introvert. I'm an INFJ for those of you interested in the MBTI. I fall easily into my inner world and literally spend days lost in thought about one topic and fade out the world around me.
I love to spend time by myself, and I have a hard time reaching out to others. It is hard for me to connect with others because I'm really a very private person. It is not that I hate people or that I'm not interested in what is happening in other people's lives. I'm curious and frequently wonder what is happening which is one of the reasons that I enjoy Facebook. Facebook gives me a small peek into the worlds of the people I care about.
But Facebook also helps to keep me isolated because it makes it easy to keep in the know without actually keeping connected to my family and friends. I can know who is getting married, who is pregnant, who has a new job, and who went to the Royals game last night and I don't have to talk to a single person to find it out.
To be completely honest, I want to feel like I can call up any of my friends at any time and know that they are willing to drop anything and come to see me.I don't because I don't want to be a bother.
I want to call up my friends and say, "How about meeting for dinner on Tuesday night?" but I can't because I don't have the money to go out to dinner on Tuesday night and I feel bad because they would have to pay.
When I first started taking care of Grams, I was able to do things like going out to lunch with friends and going to church on Sunday. Then her need for care increased and with all of my family working my time to do those things decreased and as that time decreased so did how often I heard from my friends and family. Now lunch with friends are a thing of the past and church on Sundays just isn't happening. (And before anybody says anything: I have tried going on Sunday nights or at different times, but when you go to fellowship with others and no one does more than greet you, do you really want to continue going there?)
My friends and my family are busy people. I understand that. With babies, marriages, work, children who are involved in many different types of activities, church and a variety of other activities, it is easy to get caught up in what is happening your own lives.
As my friends and family have gotten caught up in their own lives, my own life has been put on hold and I hear less and less from the people that I thought were my friends. Right now I don't hear from anybody unless I contact them first or unless they need something from me. And when I do contact them, all I hear about is how busy they are which just makes me less likely to contact them again because I don't want to be a bother.
Most of my family moves on with their lives giving little (if any) thought to the sacrifices that I'm making in mine so that they don't have to make them in theirs. Most of my friends are so caught up in their own lives that I feel like I have no one to turn to.
And that is the worst thing about being a caregiver is feeling like you're isolated and no one cares.