No matter how much love a Caregiver may have for the person for whom s/he is caring, one can become overwhelmed and fatigued with the sense of responsibility. Below is a list of symptoms that should serve as warning signs for Caregivers to take a break before they break. Although a Caregiver may not be able to leave town for a vacation or even leave the residence that is shared with the loved one, there are ways to give oneself some space from the emotional stress. Breathing, mental body scans, and other mindful based practices are ways to get space. Following the list is an article that discusses research evidence confirming mindfulness practices can ward off adverse physical responses to emotional stress.
Warning Signs for Caregivers
- Lowered concentration, apathy, rigidity, disorientation, minimization, preoccupation with trauma.
- Powerlessness, anxiety, guilt, anger, numbness, fear, helplessness, sadness, depression, [feeling] depleted, shock, blunted or enhanced affect.
- Experiencing troubling dreams similar to a patient’s dream.
- Suddenly and involuntarily recalling a frightening experience while working with a patient or family.
- Irritable, withdrawn, moody, poor sleep, nightmares, appetite change, hyper-vigilance, isolating.
- Questioning life’s meaning, pervasive hopelessness, loss of purpose, questioning of religious beliefs, loss of faith/skepticism.
- Sweating, rapid heartbeat, breathing difficulty, aches and pains, dizziness, impaired immune system, headaches, difficulty falling or staying asleep.
http://www.compassionfatigue.org/pages/healthprogress.pdf (Retrieved on 04-02-2014)
About the Author
As a Licensed Professional Counselor and Supervisor, Dr. Jane Toler specializes in counseling individuals, couples, and families. She has navigated the caregiver journey in her own family, with clients, and with members of the group she facilitated, Caring for the Caregiver.
Dr. Toler earned her Ph.D. in Counseling from The University of North Texas and M.S. and B.A. degrees from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She has been in the mental health field since 1996. She has volunteered at the Suicide and Crisis Center in Dallas and is an affiliate of the Stepfamily Association of America, now known as the National Stepfamily Resource Center.