It doesn’t matter if you aren’t a mental health counselor, it doesn’t take a college education to figure out a caregiver is human, with human needs, and dumped into the middle of tough times. Sometimes caregivers need to find a key to unlock the mystery of coping.

Suggestion: Make yourself a cheat sheet to help you recognize your specific problems.

Guilt: You forgot to make the appointment you ‘should’ have made. You find a bill you didn’t pay on time.

Sadness: You woke up one more day to the fact that the patient isn’t responding to your loving care and you feel like you’ll be stuck in the roll of caregiving for life.

Anger. The doctor’s office didn’t call. Not one neighbor offered help. The patient is doing nothing to help him/herself. The illness in your home has gone on so long your friends have forgotten you.

Anxiety: Your fear of the future that hangs on your shoulder throughout the day and the utter helplessness in the middle of the night when you shake with despair.

Write yourself a cheat sheet to help you recognize your daily overload of guilt, sadness, anger and/or anxiety.

Once written down, talk to someone. Even if it’s the clerk you don’t know (and may never see again) in the grocery store. Clerks are okay. Safe. They don’t know your extended family or the patient. Chances are they won’t share your needs with anyone.

You say, but, “I can’t even grocery shop?”

Talk to yourself. Twenty-five years ago books started appearing about “Self-talk” and how to reprogram negative thinking to positive. In the process, the day’s outlook changed.

The Bible gives us the perfect example of self-talk. It’s an old key to change your thinking and attitude.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8 (niv)

Lionhearted Kat, the Caregiver of the Caregiver

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