Thoughtful Thor’s Day: Stagnation and Change – what can I do if I can’t move?

I’m sure I’ve posted before about the current situation in my life – I am a stay at home caregiver for an elderly, ailing mother-in-law and a disabled brother-in-law. Had anyone told me 5 years ago this is what I’d be doing I would have insisted they were certifiable. I was determined that I would never, ever become a mother or caregiver to anything more needy and dependent than my dog. Fate had an ironic way of proving me wrong. After getting fired from my job and realizing that the in-laws couldn’t really live without a caregiver, I ended up stepping into that role. Hubby helps out when he can (which is often a lot) but he also has to take care of things like shopping and fixing things around the house so he is often not here. That means the care and feeding of the inmates falls to me. If I say I detest it with every fiber of my being that still wouldn’t be strong enough.

Don’t misunderstand – I chose to do this because I was unwilling to see them institutionalized. However I did not expect my mother-in-law to still be hanging in there after 6 years. It wearing me out body and soul. I am losing interesting in everything but junk food. I feel like the real me has left the building and what is left behind is someone I don’t know. It’s worse than any horror movie I can imagine.

So what can I do? Well one obvious solution is to throw in the towel, admit defeat and have them institutionalized. This would not be my first choice for a variety of reasons. Once I take that stand then I limit my other options. That means my ability to leave the house is severely limited. So I need to find other ways to express myself creatively, spiritually and emotionally. Having conversations with either in-law is not happening. Inviting friends or relatives over is another pointless endeavor. It’s impossible to give them any undivided attention and sitting here all day sucks.

So what can I do about this stagnation and stuckness? I don’t know. I’m trying several approaches to the problem and I’m not sure what will work yet. One path is journaling. Sometimes just writing all the anger, frustration, confusion and sadness on paper helps purge it from my system. Another option is to keep connection with my social network. This is a bit trickier now that I’m not on Facebook but I can still use emails, AIM and (believe it or not) the telephone. Sometimes just the sound of another human voice and the ability to have sensible conversations can be quite a relief. Another tool that I’ve woefully neglected is spirituality. I know I feel better when I do a daily devotional and yet I keep procrastinating. It’s time to kick my ass in gear and take a few minutes every day to sharpen this saw.

So far I’ve just taken some baby steps towards pulling myself out of this stagnating pool that is my life. I still need to motivate myself to keep taking these steps otherwise I’ll be in over my head. The last thing I need is to drown in my own misery. I’m tired of being miserable (of course I do say that a lot). If I want to change things then I need to take action. I know this. I know it very well. Now I have to do something about it.

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