Returning to work after 4yrs caring


I gave up my career/ flat/ friends/ moved cities - generally experieinced loss and grief for my life as it was. I did this in 2016 to care for my partner when he was given 6 months to live. I have now nursed and cared for him for 4 years - with lots of help from CHC care package it must be said… and things are more calmly unstable now - we at least live day to day rather than minute to minute!

On Monday i start a part time job - It’s at a much lower level of responsibility and pay than I was at in 2016, but I didn’t want to go back to work with a dread of stress - I just wanted to, finally, after 4 years start that transition (I’m 35 so retirement not an option.)

I really don’t know why i’m writting this, I dont have a question. I suppose I just wanted to share with others who may understand. I regularly dream of life as a non-carer, and I have recently realised that after 4years of trying I don’t think I am able to accept that intimacy/socialising/ life choices were stopped for me at 31. I struggle with feeling this way and TRY to bring myself back to one step at a time - ie start this job, make that work first then take another look. I love this man more than I have ever loved anyone, the fact that he was made paraplegic and diagnosed with temrinal cancer at age 30 is unbearable for him, as it would be for anyone. It breaks my heart that by holding him together, I have fallen appart.

There’s so much I could say about my feelings/ fears/ hopes at the moment - but I’ll stop there because it might be quite nice if people read this and give me something to feel more positive about.

Going away now - A

Hi Anna

It’s time to get some form of yourself back. This is a good start and by the way you are allowed to feel how you want. There is no rules to say how you should think and feel. Hopefully you will gave another/different cycle of friends. You may or may not want to share your current situation. But again here you are under no obligation to share. Possibly only your employer should you require help or time off. Well done for getting back into the work place. As many have struggled over the years to re enter the work place. And you have age on your side. This is a major turning point. As it was when you became a carer. I feel we experience episodes in life. And you have just completed one and now a start of another. Nothing ever stays the same. Sending you positive vibes.

The key to being happy

is knowing you have the power

to choose what to except

and what to let go


Anna, you are in such a sad situation.
When I was absolutely exhausted through caring, on the verge of a breakdown, I started having counselling. I have always been regarded by everyone who meets me as “strong” and “capable” but all of us have our limits, and I met mine.
My counselling is now paid by the LA as part of my Carers Assessment. My counsellor is lovely, she goes through things with me, whatever I want to talk about, and doesn’t tell me what to do, but helps me deal with my feelings so I come to the right conclusion for me.
For years I was regarded as something like a slave for all the different people I cared for. It was a revelation for someone to focus on ME!!
Your caring is different from mine, but it’s a very similar situation otherwise. Giving so much of ourselves to help others that we ignore our own needs and our own happiness. You need to rediscover yourself, not Carer Anna, but happy, young Anna. Older, wiser, but still a young woman.

I made a new life after I was widowed at 54, you need to find a way of caring for yourself now.
Counselling will help hugely during this process.


What a sad situation but i do think you are doing the right thing by going back to work and re-carving a life for yourself. I love the expression “by holding him together, I am falling apart”. I think that sums up the carer’s life perfectly.

You are not returning to the life you had before. The experiences you have had will change you forever but you can develop a new normal. Give it time, you have lived your caring life minute by minute. Do the same with your work life, gradually. Probably worth explaining a little to a sympathetic boss or HR Manager in advance, especially if you think you may be called home suddenly in cases of crisis.

Good luck, and let us know how you get on,

Hello Anna,
I’m in a similar situation I totally understand how you feel, My husband had a massive stroke last year he’s very disabled needs 24 hour care I’ve been his carer not as long as you but it feels like a life time with no support whatsoever, if I’m totally honest my marriage was only an existence he was very selfish went to work then went to pub after work and weekends too , old school if you know what I mean but I love him so just put up with it then stroke changed our lives totally, I’ve had the chance to go back to work I worked for the council and have done for 21 years but been on sick since stroke don’t get paid anymore, but work / HR have been negotiating and I’ve got the opportunity of going back and can apply for reduced hours, I have mixed emotions over what to do some days I just wish I could run and not come back horrible as that might sound , two years ago I lost my mum I’m an only child it was a very hard few years caring for mum heartbroken watching her going down hill and where was my husband in the pub he was a very selfish man but now he needs me just in a dilemma scared to of going back to work after so long, but scared of my future without a job security if you know what I mean he doesn’t want me to go back he wants me now with him all the time
sorry my story has been so long but thanks for listening x