Parrot Guardian Burnout

Posted By: CrimsonBeak

Parrot Guardian Burnout - 10/10/12 04:30 PM

It's been one of those weeks.

I can (ashamedly) admit that I'm suffering birdie burnout.
I will NEVER rehome her, but I have days where I get tired and scared. I get depressed and tired. The lack of joy I feel thinking about her scares me.

I wonder how those of you with multiple parrots (and toos especially) manage it.
I feel bad for admitting that I'm not always looking forward to seeing her, to scrubbing bird poop and mess...and sometimes I wonder what my life would be like if I didn't care for a bird.

I wonder how many people manage to make the entire lifetime commitment without doing it begrudgingly.
I don't want to end up like that.

I will never condone people my age taking on these creatures, but it is what it is for me, and I promised.

I just wonder how it is that people negotiate life's ups and downs while still keeping a smile on their face for their bird.

In the last year and a half I've miscarried, been hospitalized twice, my mother's been in and out of the hospital for open heart surgeries and emergencies...

And to top it all off, Jacko was diagnosed with the beginnings of heart disease...and that was a $700 ultrasound to check it all up, she's due for another in 6 months...
I'm a student with a disability, money is hard to come by, but her bills are paid, she's got homemade fresh food to eat and the best I can give her.

i just feel like it doesn't end---I dig myself out of the debt hole, and then I'm right back in.

I'd just like to buy a pair of jeans or replace the threadbare pair I have.

Sorry for the rant guys, but its a serious question? Do you feel like this sometimes? How do you cope? I'd really appreciate some help.
Posted By: HollyAnn

Re: Parrot Guardian Burnout - 10/10/12 06:03 PM

I have five large birds. A U2, Timor2, BFA, RLA, and a CAG. I have watched my father decline over the past year and a half. My birds were the reason I got up in the morning. I am a bit of a geek, so I read a lot about the birds I have. When feeling down in the dumps about life, I call up a friend and vent. Go out to dinner or watch a movie. My birds are in and out through out the day. They don't have a schedule set in stone. Jacko will roll with it. Get involved with a local bird group. Like minded people really help too.

I feel your pain regarding vet bills. Those just come with the territory. In the past 6 months I have spent $900.00 on my BFA. My beagles spinal surgery was $6,500.00. I am a single parent, so yeah, vet bills stink.

This is probably not what you want to hear, but in my opinion, birds pick up on our emotions. If you can't snap out of it, maybe rehoming would be what is best for Jacko. It really isn't about us, it's about what's best for the bird.

I hope things get better for you.
Posted By: CrimsonBeak

Re: Parrot Guardian Burnout - 10/10/12 06:21 PM

I promised her I would never rehome her--to boot she's an older bird with allergies and a funky heart from being fed coffee and steak in one of her previous homes.

She's been with me for 8 years and the vast majority of that time has been a joy and I can only imagine what awaits for a bird who is intolerant of other animals and small children, doesn't trust most people, doesn't talk (in spite of 'being an african grey') and tends to being easily stressed. She plucks from pain and when stressed it doesn't help. Where I live is reknown for puppy mills, backyard breeders, overflowing pet stores and a few bird rescues---the good ones being full and the others being closer to hoarders than not. Our animal rights laws are few.

I know that I can never abandon her into that.
I'm hoping more that other people can give me tips to weather the bad days.
Posted By: BE2Cassie

Re: Parrot Guardian Burnout - 10/10/12 08:45 PM

It seems like you have had a tough year. Do you think maybe it's the stress you are under from everything going on causing you to feel this way and really not the bird. If you're down in the dumps it's only natural to feel put out by the simple day to day demands. When I am feeling a bit overwhelmed I try to over organize my task for a couple of days. It really helps to have a few extra minutes me time after organizing. I pet sit so and work a full time job. So on any given day I have Cassie, my lizard and any where from 1 to 6 boarders. What I do is pull out all the bowls and get everyone's food ready for the next two days I buy plastic bowl covers at the dollar store to cover them, give the cages a good clean and layer the paper in the cages thick so I can pull the top layer off in the am and pm. Doesn't sound like much but it saves me an incredible amount of time. I can fly through in the mornings and evenings feeding and pulling papers in a matter of minutes. I even will organize myself by getting my clothes all set on a hanger for each day, get all my stuff together for work in my bag, write up a list with amounts owed and list of times for pick ups and drop offs. Anything I can possibly do ahead of time I do. Getting the food ready saves me about an hour and each of the other activities saves me a few minutes here and there and put all together lowers the stress and gives me some breathing room. I also try to find an activity that both Cassie and I enjoy, like shopping to have a good time together. We head to the big box hardware stores.
Posted By: CrimsonBeak

Re: Parrot Guardian Burnout - 10/10/12 09:56 PM

I suffer from PTSD and a whole resulting range of things like dissociation and panic attacks.
so needless to say I don't do stress well.

Believe it or not Jacko has always been a rock for me.
I think you're on the money Cassie, I'm probably just stressed out about recent events and money squeezes n whatnot.
Posted By: My baby Sunshine

Re: Parrot Guardian Burnout - 10/10/12 11:38 PM

Sometimes I feel like you. Although my birds will never be rehomed. It is hard to work, deal with everyday issues like bills, illness, housework and so on and not feel crazy. I come home and make sure they have hours out, played with and well feed. I get up at 4:00 am just to give them a couple hours in the morning. There schedule is the same as mine and I do enjoy the time but sometime just to have some peace and quiet would be so calming, yet I would feel guilt ridden. What makes you so terrific is despite your feelings of stress etc. you still know that you will always care birds. I hope things get better for you.
Posted By: EchosMom

Re: Parrot Guardian Burnout - 10/11/12 04:23 AM

I am going to say with 99.9% confidence that there isn't one seasoned bird person here that hasn't felt overwhelmed from time to time. And from personal experience I know that these feelings are exacerbated when we are struggling/coping with other difficulties in our lives. I haven't really shared here, but it's been a tough year for my family. My oldest daughter has had some personal struggles that as a parent, ripped my heart out and most recently my 85 y/o mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a double mastectomy a month ago. When we are struggling with other issues in our lives, the added responsibility of caring for birds in those dark hours can seem huge.

Nancy has given wonderful advice and I agree, that taking an extra few minutes here and there can add up to lots of saved time in the long run. Thank you Nancy.

When I feel particularly down, I read one of my favorite poems (which I've posted here before) but am copying below because it serves as a reminder of just how much they give to me in return...

"Just A Bird"

From time to time, people tell me, "lighten up, it's just a bird,"
or, "that's a lot of money for just a bird."

They don't understand the distance traveled, the time spent, or the costs
involved for "just a bird."

Some of my proudest moments have come about with "just a bird."

Many hours have passed and my only company was "just a bird,"
but I did not once feel slighted.

Some of my saddest moments have been brought about by "just a bird," and in those days of darkness, the gentle touch of "just a bird" gave me comfort and reason to overcome the day.

If you, too, think it's "just a bird,"
Then you will probably understand phrases like
"just a friend,"
"just a sunrise,"
or "just a promise."

"Just a bird," brings into my life the very essence of friendship,
trust and pure unbridled joy.

"Just a bird," brings out the compassion and patience that make
me a better person.

Because of "just a bird," I will rise early, and look longingly to the future.

So for me and folks like me, it's not "just a bird" but an embodiment of all the hopes and dreams of the future, the fond memories of the past, and the pure joy of the moment.

"Just a bird" brings out what's good in me, and diverts my thoughts away from myself and the worries of the day.

I Hope that someday they can understand that it's not "Just a bird," but the thing that gives me humanity and keeps me from being "just a human."

So the next time you hear the phrase "just a bird."---just smile, because they "just don't understand!"

~~Author Unknown~~
Posted By: PJsMom

Re: Parrot Guardian Burnout - 10/11/12 02:00 PM

I so understand how stressed and tired you must be! My mom has been in and out of the hospital all summer and my birdie boy was sick this spring.
Your commitment to your Jacko is admirable, try and find a way to destress if you can, take time for yourself, and to be totally honest, I've found brand new jeans with the tag still on at our local Goodwill for 5 bucks. Im so a new clothes Diva but the belt has tightened! Making food ahead and freezing, and layered poop papers makes things so much easier. Excellent idea to go to big box lumber stores with your bird and destress.
Posted By: jm47

Re: Parrot Guardian Burnout - 10/12/12 05:17 AM

Gotta admit, there are days I would probably lie around in bed all day if it weren't for the birds, and I just have a couple of little guys (sun conure and cockatiel). The routine of getting up, cleaning cages, giving showers, cooking and feeding both Hubby and birdies, caring for plants, supervisint "out" time, training, trust-building, those are the things that keep me from just sort of "waiting to die". And I really do NOT want to just do that; life is pretty interesting, when you pay attention! I don't get everything done, on any given day, perhaps because I have very, very unrealistic expectations of myself, but I live with it, and start over each morning. There are good days and bad days. the same is true of weeks, months, and years. As the Bible says, "it came to pass". It will pass. May take a while, but it WILL pass! Praying for you, CB.
Posted By: CrimsonBeak

Re: Parrot Guardian Burnout - 04/15/13 08:53 PM

Hi all!

Just figured I'd give you a bit of an update smile
Jacko and I are still going strong. We've ups and we've downs, but the situation is much improved.
I know when/if I start having those thoughts that I'm just tired/overwhelmed.

We're slllooowly digging ourselves out of the hole. Jacko is due for her heart scan in the fall (her one year follow-up) and hopefully with the diet changes we'll have good news.
Posted By: Charlie

Re: Parrot Guardian Burnout - 04/16/13 03:48 AM

Well, I'm not real familiar with your circumstances but you posted in August so I think you have a lot to be proud of. Time and familiarity can work wonders in our relationships with these beautiful birds. I just want to commend you and encourage you to keep up the good work. These are long term projects and won't work for people that are used to instant gratification. I think you are beginning to see the depth of the possible relationship. Thank you for sharing your progress with us. cool
Posted By: bellesmom

Re: Parrot Guardian Burnout - 04/17/13 01:45 AM

Just saw this today and glad you are feeling better. Like Janet said, everyone here can empathize with you. Its a hard job living with birds, the mess, the noise, the cost, wow. When you add in the stress of work, school, sick loved ones I wonder how we all do it. We do it for love. We all know where our birds might be without us and our hearts ache for those in rescues and those in bad homes. We do it for love. You must take care of yourself, get some exercise, go see a movie and be sure u are eating right and getting some sleep,a little fresh air and sunshine will do wonders, you and Jacko both. My birds have loved me through the deaths of both parents and failed relationships, some days I feel they are the only ones on earth that love me. Thats worth more than gold to me, its unconditional love. Exhaustion and stress can lead to depression and a loss of interest in things that once gave you pleasure. Take care of yourself and take some time for yourself and look for ways, (some good suggestions in the previos posts) to make taking care of Jacko a little easier. Good luck.
Posted By: Fluff'sMom

Re: Parrot Guardian Burnout - 04/17/13 05:25 PM

Posting your update made me smile that things are getting better a little at a time. It was brave of you to post that initial story and say it out loud. I'm grateful, because as I read more replies I picked up some useful tips, advice, and encouragement with you. It's nice to know that most of us feel that way from time to time.
Posted By: angelinasmom

Re: Parrot Guardian Burnout - 04/28/13 04:54 AM

Im so glad things got better for you. I was just going to post that after my mom died, everyday things were hard for me, including taking care of my birds. It seemed like a chore. Actually putting on my clothes in the morning was also viewed the same way. Being tired can make you think things that you would never consider in your normal state of mind. I think at least half of the people here have had the same thoughts you have in stressful times
Posted By: Dmr1414

Re: Parrot Guardian Burnout - 04/28/13 02:14 PM

I am happy that things are getting better. It is easy to feel overwhelmed when you have things going on that are out of your control. The stress is huge and the normal screaming that my U2 does that I have lived with for years, seems to be magnified by 100.. I find what helps me is taking a few minutes for myself. I get up earlier in the morning to have coffee, check emails, etc. I find that when I am really stressed doing something like this really grounds me. My bird is still covered in the morning, so she knows to be quiet. If she is awake, I give her some of my breakfast and put the cover back. She happily eats and mumbles.

It is amazing what a few minutes for yourself can do when you are running around the rest of the day. It helps me a lot.

I think you have made great progress. Keep up the good work!
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