April 11, 2010
"I'm so scared I'm not going to be able to get everything done. I can't believe no one will help me! It makes me so angry. I've never felt so alone and out of control before."
The emotional experiences involved with providing care can strain even the most capable person. The resulting feelings of anger, anxiety, sadness, isolation, exhaustion—and then guilt for having these feelings—can exact a heavy toll.
It's important to recognize the emotional signs of caregiver stress. Take a look at the following list and see if any apply to you:
- Moodiness/mood swings
- Irritability, easily frustrated, road rage
- Memory problems and lack of concentration
- Feeling out of control
- Increased substance abuse
- Feeling of isolation
- Job dissatisfaction
Noticing the way stress affects you physically is sometimes easier than seeing how it is affecting you emotionally. You may want to think about how your spouse or children are reacting to you. If you're more grumpy than normal they may let you know or may just avoid you altogether.
Consider talking with a healthcare professional that can help you to evaluate your situation. Remember, it is not selfish to focus on your own needs and desires when you are a family caregiver. In fact, it is important that you take initiative with your own physical and emotional care, or else it could make you less useful to the person for whom you are caring.
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