“I have tried, I have given, I just can't take anymore. I am exhausted and feel like I am on the brink of a nervous breakdown. I have never even had one day alone in my home in 10 years.”
This quote is from one of the hundreds of online blogs that help caregivers vent and perhaps get some support from others dealing with similar situations. If you are a caregiver for an aging parent, a sibling or a spouse, you may be experiencing some of these same exact sentiments.
Many times family caregivers leap into the role feeling it is their responsibility; with little experience along with promises of help from family members, and often times find themselves years later still waiting for those offers of assistance. Instead issues of depression and anxiety are frequently the result of not recognizing the need for self-care.
Much like the caregiver quoted above, the daily challenges of caregiving can leave a person frustrated and angry along with a sense of guilt feeling unprepared or just not good enough. Caregiving can also be very isolating; leaving the person little time or energy to socialize.
In his blog, The Unprepared Caregiver, Dr. Zachary White tackles a myriad of caregiver issues. His take on how stress turns us away from others is thought provoking:
“Stress isn’t like fear. When we fear something, like watching a horror movie, we want to spend time in the company of others because we believe we will be okay simply because we aren’t alone. Stress, on the other hand, tricks us into believing that we can best ‘solve’ stress alone, behind closed doors, in the privacy of our own thoughts. Stress is at its most dangerous when it convinces us to turn away from others by telling ourselves, ‘Others wouldn’t get it,’ and ‘I’m different than others’ and ‘I don’t want to burden others with my problems.’ When this happens, stress not only changes how we think, it pushes people away from us.”
If you feel as though your life is no longer yours due to caregiving and stress has taken over, it may be time to take charge of your life once again. Finding support and training for caregiving may be as easy as going online. mmLearn.org provides over 200 free videos for caregivers of older adults with many that address the challenges of stress and the caregiver including Caregiver Stress presented by Andrea Wirt, RN, The Nature of Coping is a series given by Dr. Edward Shafranske, Ph.D as well as Caregiver Stress Related to Dementia presented by Liliana Oakes, MD., CMD. The time to take your life back is now!