Have You Experienced the Hidden Costs of Caregiving Yet?

 Loss of intimacy, Changing of roles, Changed expectations, Unexpected responsibilities, Anger, Financial hits,  Time squeezed, and more…

You can manage the stressors, for a while and then you start to notice that you have already tied a knot at the end of your rope and are hanging on. Whew! Things have calmed down or stabilized once again.  But then, that freaking straw hits the camel’s back and you begin slipping down your rope once again and now are hanging on with your fingertips. Now what?

These are the things that I hear from folks all of the time. It isn’t just an aging parent caregiving situation; it is sometimes your wife or your husband that you are caring for.  For others, they are caring for their young adult child that has had a life altering experience such as a traumatic brain injury.

You do what you have to do and you will do what you have to do.  Why? Because, that is who you are; you love this person and want to help.  Success is your only option.  I get it.

The toll that it takes is what we need to acknowledge. To realize the cost to our relationships, our own health and ultimately in the care we are providing to our loved one.  The anger, hurt, frustration, and even feelings of hate… Yes, I said it. Hate.  You know that you have those feelings and you are so confused because you can’t hate them, you love them. The opposite of love is not hate, it is apathy, and you just do not care anymore. It is really the situation that you hate and not really the person.

Under stress you are all amped up on cortisol and you are not able to think clearly. You don’t know this, because, you can’t think clearly. You don’t realize that you are reacting and going around and around in circles with no clear path forward. You are expending all of your energy on the crisis of the moment.  It is not a fun way to live or rather exist.

I didn’t start this article for a shameless plug, but, here it is… When you are ready for help to get back in to control of what you can, have a plan to move forward, provide the best care possible and to get your life back. We need to talk.  You won’t know if I am the one that can help you or not, unless we talk.  Pat Collins, Empowering Health Options 865-684-8771. If I am unable to answer, leave a message and I will return your call. Shameless plug over.**

What now?  Answer the following questions. Get a piece of paper and your favorite pen or pencil and write them out. No, you cannot just think about them in your head, that is the freaking problem…you are in your head too much. That is where the fight is.

Think about where you are, right now?

How are you truly feeling when you let yourself feel?

How is that impacting you?

How is that impacting your loved ones?

How is that impacting your job or career?

What would you like to happen in the near future?

What would you like to happen in the next 6 months?

What would your life look like if you could rest, relax and recharge?

Sit with your answers. No judgments allowed. They are your thoughts and feelings and they are all okay. Be curious about why you think these things or feel things about certain situations.  Are you smart enough to know when you don’t know the answers?  It is okay for you not to know, this is probably not your area of expertise.  When you want help, write the specifics down of what you want and by when then share the information or ask. Most people do want to help, they just do not know what you want or need.  Think outside the box. Remember, it can be doing something for your or your household so that you can take care of someone else’s needs.