You’ve nobly accepted the role of caregiver and are anxious to grab the reins and provide exceptional care for a loved-one. Horror stories describing the mental and emotional stress of caregiving are over-exaggerated. Your independent personality paired with impressive problem solving skills will make caregiving’s challenges less difficult. Everything is under control. How emotionally draining can caregiving be? Meal preparation, bathing, dressing, afternoon naps, medication reminders….piece of cake, right? WRONG! As a young, energetic, independent woman, I was unable to keep up with caregiving’s daily demands. The emotions encountered during this journey were overwhelming and mentally exhausting. Varied emotions supported a vicious cycle of fatigue, burnout, and depression. Following are the emotions I experienced while persevering caregiving’s craziness!
- Worry is constant while caregiving. Anything and everything pertaining to the care-recipient becomes a worry. It’s emotionally draining and physically unhealthy. Excessive worrying wreaks havoc on caregivers’ minds and bodies. They lose confidence in their capabilities and experience unwanted weight loss or gain.
- Anger manifests when anxiety and depression overshadow your initial caregiving motives. Social isolation creates a stressful, argumentative environment. The world is viewed as unfair while onlookers question your caregiving intentions.
- Resentment occurs when caregiving becomes too overwhelming and the final result is burnout. High stress levels promote foggy thinking. Caregivers begin to blame the care-recipient for their inactive social lives and recurring health problems. Family and friends are disliked for their non-participation in major responsibilities.
- Loneliness is a direct result of social isolation and inconclusive respite care research. The four walls of a home are unifying but disharmonious. Concerns and needs are expressed, but only the walls are listening. Social isolation can be resolved by simple phone calls or visits from family and friends. Caregivers must have the opportunity to vent and voice their concerns.
- Guilt is an intrusive emotion continuing long after caregiving ends. The inability to improve a care-recipient’s quality of life or prevent deteriorating health fuels caregiver guilt. Death is an unavoidable conclusion overloading caregivers’ minds with doubtful thoughts and what-if’s. A care-recipient’s passing doesn’t release you from feelings of frustration and guilt.
- Grief transpires when caregivers anticipate the end of their caregiving journey. The reality of the situation becomes obvious and they begin grieving the care-recipient. A depressive mood lingers and consumes the care environment. It’s an emotionally draining unpreventable circumstance.
Caregiving reveals both positive and negative emotions. Avoid resenting the care-recipient for generated negative feelings. Combat caregiving’s emotional rollercoaster by instating a stable support system and arranging deserved respite care. Exhaustion fosters irrational thinking and moodiness. Practicing self-care and emphasizing initial caregiving goals will recreate your nurturing, caring, independent self. Thank you for reading. Good luck!