“Ask for help not because you’re weak, but because you want to remain strong.” Les Brown
Wouldn’t it have been wonderful if I had really believed this when I needed to?
Wouldn’t it have been wonderful if when I had recognized the signs I actual allowed myself to show my weakness? Wouldn’t it have been wonderful if I had given into all of my “anti’s”, conscious ones or not, instead of holding it all in. There were so many times when I cried myself to sleep or just found myself holding back the tears as I got into my car; so many times I put my head on my desk at work sure that I couldn’t take it anymore; so many times I looked at my “to-do-list” and knew that there was no way for me to do it all and feeling a total failure; so many times I couldn’t “see” my other loved ones.
I now know this to be true: Caregivers have to find their individual balance between their personal, work, and caring lives.
As a caregiver, the stress of additional responsibilities take an emotional and physical toll. Some signs that you might need help (before you break down) are:
· pains that seem to have no cause,
· tense muscles,
· a reliance on alcohol or drugs,
· a lack of interest in the people around you,
· a feeling of incapability in dealing with issues other than you “must”,
· strong emotions and mood swings,
· forgetfulness and lack of focus,
· a feeling of incapability to plan ahead,
· a lack of energy,
· loss of sex drive,
· a worsening of existing health problems,
· a feeling of being all over the place and not succeeding at anything.
If you are feeling all or any of these symptoms, it may be time to reach out for help. More often than not, we know that we need help. We don’t need someone to tell us.
Caregiver overwhelm is not to be taken lightly. There is abundant evidence on the physical and emotional stress, and even damage, of and to many caregivers. Some even call caregiving – an invisible disease.
One of the ways to manage even before you are “ill” , is to monitor your own levels of emotional and physical toll. Please take a moment to answer the questions in the self-assessment.
Caregiver overwhelm is not to be taken lightly. If you or a loved one may be suffering from caregiver overwhelm, here are some ways you can provide assistance
1. Provide a sounding board. Listen to their concerns and be there for them.
2. connect to a caregiver support group
3. Seek professional advice. To learn more about how you can work one on one with me, get in touch.
Stay tuned for the next part of my 3-part series “Dealing with Caregiver Overwhelm”.