Caregiving’s Emotional Insecurity

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 overexaggerated. 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!

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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!


Non-Caregivers Don’t Realize….

Caregiving is a selfless act defining personality and morality. Only those who have walked this path can truly understand the struggles. Third-party observers try to empathize, but are unaware of the daily stress endured by the caregiver. Non-caregivers don’t realize….

1.) ….their “care for yourself” advice is falling on deaf ears. Self-care is important and caregivers should have the opportunity to rest and de-stress. However, the daily demands of caregiving can cause physical and emotional exhaustion. We’re aware of self-care’s significance, but are too tired and preoccupied to practice it.

2.) ….caregiving is not just healthcare. Financial obligations, domestic errands, meal preparation, advanced planning for family gatherings/outings, maintaining a safe home environment, and endless paperwork are daily caregiver responsibilities.

3.) ….our smiles are disguising a feeling of constant worry. Self-doubt and uncertainty adds to the overwhelming character of caregiving. Questioning judgement becomes part of our daily routine. Sleep provides little relief from anxiety and tension. The mind is unable to fully rest and is overflowing with what-if’s and did-I’s.

4.) ….the social isolation endured by caregivers. Devotion to the well-being of another involves love and sacrifice. Caregiving is demanding and allows limited time for socialization. Doctors, nurses, care-recipients, and an occasional visit from friends and family is sometimes the only “outside” contact for caregivers.

5.) ….caregiving’s financial burden. The amount of care required and long-term care funds, dictate frequentness of responsibilities. Care-recipients needing 24-hour care and lacking significant healthcare funds need unemployed caregivers with open availabilities. Those providing care are forced to live on one income in a “two” income society. Many receive no compensation for their caregiving duties and survive on the care-recipient’s limited income.

6.) ….the strain caregiving puts on marriage. Arguments manifest from lack of socialization and financial instability. Frustration incurred from caregiving is released at the expense of the spouse. Conversations about NON-caregiving activities are inexistent. A caregiver’s marriage revolves around the care-recipient.

Non-caregivers, help by volunteering your time and patience. Listen and allow us to vent. We’re aware of caregiving’s difficulties and need not be reminded of its hectic reality. Offer support through respite care and socialization. Thank you for reading! Take care!