Recluses And Caregivers

Recluses-noun; a person who lives a solitary life and tends to avoid other people.

It seems now like it was some other person or a previous life but at one time I was an extremely social individual. I enjoyed almost any type of interaction with anyone.It didn’t matter what the topic was or whether it was some one I knew or a complete stranger.

I have been told that I could argue either side of an argument equally well. I tend to agree with that assessment and attribute it to the ability to see the good or bad in every situation. Maybe I should have been a lawyer or a politician. Instead I became a Christian. Just kidding. I’m sure there are fine lawyers and politicians out there who are of a high moral fiber. I just can’t think of one right now.

I am a completely different person now that I was five or six years ago. After being the primary caregiver for a loved one whose quality of life is totally dependent on your actions I realize that my personality has changed drastically.

I no longer yearn for human companionship. In fact , I would prefer to be alone. I do not desire conversation or meeting new people and this is not the way I am accustomed to feeling. I thought I was becoming agoraphobic until I looked up the definition and read where it meant a fear of being outside. I love being outside.I just don’t care to have other people outside with me.

I have decided I do not really like living like this yet after being isolated as a caregiver it is what I am most comfortable with. My life was my fathers life. It revolved around his needs and his care and now that he is gone I am not sure how to get back to living my life. I’m not even sure what my life is supposed to be like.

This is without a doubt the most difficult challenge that I have been faced with in recent years. I realized how severe this problem was until I saw that my city has a writing group that meets the last Saturday of each month. I really wanted to attend this function and meet some new people with the same likes but I couldn’t bring myself to attend.

I could not even imagine getting dressed in something other than scrubs or sweats. I have not attended my church in almost four years and have some serious reservations about going back.

Why is this? Shouldn’t some one who has not been able to socialize for so long be jumping at every opportunity to do so? I not only do not care to meet new people but I don’t even want to see my friends that I haven’t seen in five years.

I know that this situation is not unique to me. I can not be the only caregiver who has had to deal with this yet I have never heard it discussed or read it in the many , many caregiver articles and brochures that I devoured in the last six years.

I also know that no one else in the world can do anything about this except me. I am going to have to find a way to find the confidence that I use to be so well known for back again. I am wrestling with the thought that maybe I don’t want it back. I certainly enjoy my own company and have even gotten better  at arguing both sides of the issue at hand because I am alone when I do so.Which just goes to show you it doesn’t take two people to have discerning opinions or an intelligent conversation.

I’m thinking now that maybe my first venture out into the world should be to my shrink. As you may have guessed I haven’t seen her in a few years either.

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10 Responses to Recluses And Caregivers

  1. Marie Taylor says:

    You are still grieving. There is no need to hurry things up. When my son died I more or less disappeared for a year and half – in fact I moved to another town so I didn’t have to talk to anyone I knew. It wasn’t so much sadness, although that was present, it was learning how to live with a holy emptiness. We are never alone. Those we loved are still with us. Kindest regards. Marie

    • You are so insightful. My life revolved around his needs and now I have to establish a new “identity” that will give me a sense of fulfillment and self worth. You must be a woman of incredible fortitude. My heart , thoughts and prayers go out to you.

  2. sally1137 says:

    You did an admirable job of Honoring Your Father. There are people who would not take the time or trouble. God Bless you.

  3. Your lifestyle changed to accommodate someone else’s. Your life became about your dad’s safety, his comfort and his wellbeing. Your life became about your dad.
    Your heart is enormous. You didn’t see caring for him as a duty, you seem to have stepped into the caregiver role because you loved him with every fiber of your being and could not do otherwise.

    Perhaps you could ease your way into socialising by combining that giant heart of yours with someone in need? Could you volunteer at an animal shelter? It will give you a reason besides yourself to be there… at least until you feel ready to start doing things solely for yourself again.

    • Odd that you should mention animals. My sister founded the most active and well known animal rescue group south of Atlanta. I have seriously considered volunteering(I usually get drafted anyway) for their spay days. The name of the group is Central Georgia CARES and her name is Patti Jones. She also has several websites including one through a dog called ACPUP who also has his own facebook.

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