Anger and resentment are emotions that most of us carers experience.
In an article by Lisa Hutchinson she says
"There can be a sense of shame and guilt when anger develops. We want to be seen in our best, most giving light. To ease your stress, I want to let you know that even the most loving and compassionate caregivers experience frustration and resentment because it is a part of our human experience. Resentment builds up when there is no outlet for feeling hurt and angry. When we care for someone who needs us, we often put aside the activities and things we love in order to focus on the need at hand. In the beginning of helping this is normal. We are finding our way through a new way of life. Overtime this invalidation of who we are drains us of our energy and joy.
Rather than fear or resist anger and resentment, let’s look at them as signals reminding us to incorporate more balance into our lives. When we experience such feelings it is time to take a step back and reassess."
There are a few things that she recommends
* give to yourself
* friends and supports
* forgiveness and prayer
* going deeper
When I found carer fatigue setting in I realised that I had been neglecting these areas.
* I had not been engaging in the self care that is necessary to refuel for the road ahead and had given up things that gave me joy. I began to do small things for myself. I began to be intentionally grateful. Fortunately I did not lose my sense of humour, but it did need cultivating, this made a huge difference for me.
* I got support. There are a number of free supports available for carers and I tapped into them. I also had an understanding friend who I would meet for coffee.
* Forgiveness is a tough one and can only be done when one is ready and there were people I needed to forgive. My faith certainly gave me strength and I don't think I would have coped without it.
* When my husband became unwell I stopped exercising. I only started as our dog refused to walk with my husband on his own and I needed to join them. Since that time I have had measurable health benefits and am much healthier.
*Going deeper - this was a gradual process and as I got some counseling to help me with the various emotions I was experiencing. I learned to let go of things that were not mine to hold on to.
Kayjee, can I gently encourage you that it is possible to let go of anger and resentment and for us to live well in spite of our loved ones diagnosis. I found love to be one of the keys. I found that letting my husband know I was on his team and that he needed to tell me how best I could support him. I also spoke up about my own needs which my he was happy to support (some other forum members have found resistance in this department). My husband to had childhood trauma in his past, sadly a lot of people with mental illnesses do.
Your wife might also be feeling a little apprehensive about your in-laws visit. Perhaps letting her know you love her dearly and ask her how you can help support her when they visit might be helpful.
Feeling helpless is so much par for the course but focusing on what we can control gives us a sense that there are things we can do that will improve the quality of life for both ourselves and the ones we love.
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