How long can it be for recovery from caregiver burnout?
Has anyone researched or even stated how long it may take to recover when you are suffering from caregiver burn out?
I'm guessing there is no one size fits all answer to that question. I moved in with my dad to care for him for almost 3 years before he moved into assisted living. It has been over a year and I still feel like I am recovering. What has helped me is signing up for a monthly massage, some quality time with my husband, and starting to rebuild my social life. My next goal is to start getting regular exercise.
Give yourself time to recover but don't hesitate to seek help from friends or doctors or clergy if you need it.
I agree with Carol O about there not being a single, standardized answer to your question. I expect there are a LOT of factors that will influence the healing process.
if your question is stemming from your own personal experience and situation, then the fact that you're aware of feeling burned out means you're facing the right direction to allow healing to start. And yet, it also sounds a bit as though you're feeling somewhat "scorched" and/or this has been going on for quite awhile.
As I sit with your question, an analogy with "getting out of debt" comes to mind. It's one thing to pay off an existing debt and quite another to cut up the cards and/or avoid creating new debt. Likewise, it's a really wonderful thing to add bits of self-care to our schedule and a whole 'nother thing to develop a different way of "being with" the stressful situations that caused the burnout.
Either way, I hope you can discover ways to be compassionate with your own need for healing and respite.
One of my friends researched this a bit. Evidently, it takes the adrenals as long to recover as they were under stress, i.e. I have been under heavy stress since my husband's stroke 6 years ago, starting caregiving of my parents on top of caregiving for my husband about 4 years ago, husband passed away unexpectedly 3 years ago, Mom and Dad's dementia really took a large toll on me after that, Mom diagnosed with terminal cancer (mesenteric) Halloween 2011, passed away 1/6/12. Dad has dementia, and is still going strong, although his strength is fading, so he may go soon. So 6 years of heavy duty stress for me, my adrenals still have not gotten a break, so I'll be recovering probably for the rest of my life. Uck.
I agree with CA-Claire. It's been five years since the parent passed and in getting my life back together I still face fallout/obstacles from caregiving. I was just telling a friend that I wish these obstacles/artifacts would stop so that I can get ready for my own retirement and decline. Give yourself as many years on the back-end as you put in, including the years spent doing those little errands and chores that you did just to help out. Recovery does happen but it may be proportional to the sacrifices that you made. Exercise is key. Laughter is crucial in frequent and ample doses. Do not ever give up and do not ever stop being patient with yourself. You will recover.
This site is helpful, a start perhaps .. what I need: My partner has had 2 psychotic breaks in less than a year, late age onset PTSD, no previous symptoms. Regardless, the journey has been grueling and miraculous and my soul is aching for healing, compassion, and caring .. we're near the end of this nearly 3-year journey and my soul is in need of comfort and frankly crying. Do any of you know of any retreats that offer this type of intense, compassionate healing? I'm weary, not broken and want to get "me" back again.
After 2 years with my mother,3 years with my father and 8 years with my mother in law, we are finally alone and out of people who need caring for. The years we put in have been incredibly catastrophic to both our physical health and our mental as well. But, with my mother in law passed now, I have to admit-although it sounds terrible to say it-that it is like being in long term prison and finally being released. The sudden culture shock is indescribable-to suddenly be free and on our own to live our own lives for us alone now. Unfortunately, the affects of the years in care giving have,indeed, taken their tolls and I doubt that we may Ever be at peace and relaxed again, but the silence,though deafening, is for sure a welcome sound. About the best that I can recommend from our experience, is to get Out and Do things you once enjoyed but were unable to do for all those years you were duty bound to stay home and tend your loved one. If you physically can, take a trip. Go see something or some place that you've always wanted to but couldn't. The scars will never be totally gone, but Try to live your own life now. You owe it to yourself. There's no pats on the back or attaboys rewards for all the sacrifices and horrors you've gone through-even though it sure Feels like there should be. The terrible fact is, no one really cares what we've been through. All they Might feel is vague relief that They didn't have to. They've all been living their lives during these times. Now it Your turn-late though it may be. Go out and Enjoy life again. It's surprising how good it will make you feel.
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