I think for me, one of the saddest things is not having time for other people. It's just the last thing on the list. I can long for company in theory but just feel so completely drained that all I really want is to be left alone.
Also, I find that when it's been a tough day, I might not get a breathing space til late at night; it takes time away from the world to regain my strength and identity away from caring, and sometimes it can be hard to switch heads and connect with even really good friends.
I am so, so lucky to have an understanding partner and that counts for an awful lot. My heart goes out to the people who are caring for their spouse so they have no-one to sound off to at the end of the day - that must be the loneliest situation of all.
But we do need friends, and social interaction. Again, thank goddess then for Twitter, but also for letter writing and postcards and just smiling at strangers and being kind. As often as possible, be kind.
And as the movie producer said, Show Not Tell. It has helped me feel less lonely to write this blog, but also to introduce friends to my brother and involve them in the caring process. When someone else sees the situation first hand, you have a witness as well as someone to share the load, and it can create a new intimacy to bring them in to your reality. They see Nick as a person then too. Really doesn't work with everyone, I know, and out of all the people I know, only three have returned to visit Nick with me again, but it is still worth a try.
And never underestimate the healing power of cats on the internet (or dogs, if you prefer) - again, I'm lucky to have a teenage son with an endless supply of links to funny sites (my current favourite is crap taxidermy ) that sooner or later have me roaring with laughter. I don't do animal cruelty, but there are some very daft critters out there.