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Don’t Let Caregiving Eat You Alive!

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If you are a caregiver of someone who is dealing with depression or another mental illness, know that it is time to take a break or even seek help for yourself when different things start occurring in your life.

Do you find yourself in the kitchen too often eating this and that and trying desperately to fill the hunger you’re feeling?

Or do you find that you just don’t enjoy that favorite dish of yours anymore and that you, in fact, don’t have much interest in food and often find that you’ve forgotten to eat once again?

And if you find that when someone invites you to the movies, you just don’t want to go because you are too tired or you are not interested, pause and think why not. Are you interested in things you used to be interested in? Or is nothing of interest to you anymore except the job of caregiving you are doing?

A big neon signal might be flashing if you find yourself thinking or saying, “It’s never enough what I do,” or “No one ever appreciates everything I do.” If you think what you do doesn’t count or doesn’t make a difference or is not good enough, pay attention to that neon signal.

And if you find yourself sleeping too much or too little or you are telling people how worn out or tired you feel, you need to remember that this is a sign you need a break. And going hand in hand with the sleep issue is the touchiness that might surface. Do you find yourself reacting and itching for a fight over little issues?

Or do you find a growing list of physical ailments appearing for you? Is your stomach a bit irritable or are you finding aches and pains where there were none? And does nothing seem to help?

Caregivers in so many instances are the lifelines for people dealing with serious brain illness. Often caregivers are the ones who keep the ill individual on the road to health. But when the caregiver is in need of help, of renewal, often we don’t see the signs.

If there is a caregiver in your life or if you are the caregiver, ask yourself these questions and if the answers point to the fact that you need a break, be strong enough to take it. Things will get done, people will come to help if asked, and you will be a much more effective caregiver when you come back on the scene and take up the gauntlet once again.

-Bernadette

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3 Responses

  1. Oh, such important advice. I’ve seen to many who give and give to the ones they are caretaker for and feel like it is too selfish to stop and rejuvenate themselves. Important to remember to take stock of these things and take care of ourselves so that we actually have something to give. Thank you!

  2. Such an important post, that every caregiver (and those who love them) should read. Thank you!

  3. This is good advice. I have been off work caring for my husband for six months, and could answer yes to all the questions at some point. I am just starting to get my life back, but should have found you sooner.

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