As a caregiver, it’s all too easy to put all your energy, efforts and attention into caring for your partner or relative at the expense of your own needs and feelings. As everyone is unique, emotional responses to situations will very much depend on the individual, but you may have experienced some of the feelings below in your role as caregiver:
- You may feel that you always have to appear positive, cheerful and optimistic, even when you are struggling with certain issues.
- You may tend to bottle feelings up which may eventually lead to you experiencing ill health or high levels of depression.
- You may feel anxious because you are not sure what is happening to your partner or relative, or because you feel responsible for their health. If your partner or relative is also very anxious, it’s hard for you not to share their anxiety too.
- Circumstances could make you feel resentful. You may feel frustrated about the changes in your life or resentful at your partner or relative for being “the cause” of these changes. Also, if your partner or relative is being irritable or uncooperative, you may feel resentful and unappreciated for all that you are doing.
- You may feel angry because your partner or relative has heart failure. You may wonder why it happened to them and feel angry at life, or you could feel angry with them for not preventing it by stopping smoking or failing to follow medical advice properly. You may feel guilty for having these feelings of anger and resentment.
- You may think that you have to be the strong one and that having any of the above feelings means you are betraying your partner or relative in some way.
- There may be occasions when you experience a range of emotions in a short period of time. One day you may feel positive and in control, and the next day quite depressed and uncertain. At times, you may feel very isolated and feel that nobody else can possibly understand what you are going through.
Please be reassured, you are not the only one going through these emotions. You may find it helpful to talk to people in similar situations. Click here for more information on support networks for caregivers.