Wednesday, 27 March 2013
Caregiver stress--What do I do about it? pt. 6
Muriel was caregiver for her husband, who had Parkinson's disease. At this point, he needed minimal help, but in the last year, she had seen a lot of changes, and they haunted her. She had done extensive reading, and knew that the disease was progressing more quickly than it did in some people. The drugs didn't seem to be making much improvement, and she was terrified of the future. Her fear kept her up at night, listening to her husband's breathing. It caused panic attacks when he was out of the house. She burst into tears one day while doing the grocery shopping, and had to leave her cart in the middle of the store.
Her husband was concerned. He saw her slowly drowning in her fears, and he felt responsible. He had his own fears, and grappled with depression every day. They were starting to bicker, and he was afraid it was affection their relationship--a relationship they desperately needed to be strong for the road ahead.
10. Get professional help
My suggestion is just this--get help.
Everyone's situation is different, and people struggle in different ways. A situation that is difficult but possible for one person might be overwhelming and incredibly distressing for someone else. It doesn't mean that one person is weaker than another. Sometimes (not always) what passes as strength is pride that keeps the person from seeking much needed help.
Sometimes the strong one is the one who goes for help.
Professional help can help you in so many ways. It is someone who talk to about your caregiver issue who may have some perspective and wisdom that you are too close to the issue to see. They may have suggestions of resources that you can access. You may need other medical help, such as medication, for a short period, and they can help with this.
Not everyone needs this kind of help, but if you need it, you are doing yourself and the person you are caring for a favour if you get it.