How do you have a Social Life?

It amazes me that I still get invited to things or have any friends left but miraculously it seems I do – even if quite a few of them are at a similar stage of life where they are looking after someone, worrying about an aged parent or coping with a troubled teenager, sometimes both of those at once.

When you have that going on in your life, you really need some kick-back time away from your caring duties. Leave the house, go out, see other people, talk about completely different things.
It’s very easy as a carer to feel you’ve lost your identity and to forget who you are, because so much of your head-space is taken up by the person you’re looking after. Especially when they have an illness like Huntington's that affects body, mind and every possible function. 
It's hard to sustain this level of care and dedication without recharging your batteries; you absolutely have to find time to come back to yourself, but it’s also important to be social and meet people as the person you always were, not just as a carer. You need to be able to break your routine and get some physical distance from your cares. Go for a walk, see a movie, have a dance, drink a few drinks, think about something else, laugh without feeling guilty, just lose a few degrees of your endless feeling of responsibility. 

It helps so much to have friends, “people who like you even though they know you “. 
The nourishment  from an afternoon out with a friend or meeting up with a few of the right people can sustain me for days, weeks afterwards. 
The trouble is, though I long to see friends and got to parties and have all those different conversations and so I make plans and put it all in my diary, so often when the time actually comes, something happens with Nick and I have to cancel. That has happened a few times, especially at the weekend when he might have a few more wines than normal and falls over or hits his head. Times when I am all dressed up and ready to go, except that I daren't leave him. 

Or – more difficult to be upfront about as not everyone gets it – I am just too tired.
It’s invariably the worst timing, just when there’s a fabulous party that I’ve been looking forward to for ages – but what d’you know, it’s at the end of a long day or a run of long days with meetings and health appointments and washing and shopping and cooking and cleaning and wiping up the spillage and all my energy feels as if it’s been sucked out with a vacuum cleaner. It seems so weedy but I can’t be the only one who feels like this?

And I feel teenagey, not sure that I want to go anywhere unfamiliar or talk to anyone new or have to account for myself as me. I miss the buzzy high from new conversations and emerging friendships but I’m exhausted and dull and have nothing to offer. If I ever had any sparkle it’s all come off in the wash long since. Since taking on this role it feels as if I’ve lost all my social confidence. And even with the friends I don't have to try too hard with, there are times when it is just all too difficult. 
I don’t want to stop making plans or trying to see people, it is so important, but it is impossible to guarantee whether come the day I’ll be able to leave the house. It's maddening but it seems to be all part of the new way of life where I'm as responsible for another adult person as I am for myself. 
I want to know what other carers do and how they cope. 
So – carers - tell me. How do you have a Social Life?