You should offer lessons you handle stress so well.
Physically I don’t appear stressed. I have great blood pressure, I test well. Yet I am unraveling with the stress of my role as Younger Onset Caregiver.
A quick review of Alzheimer’s Association’s “10 Common Signs of Caregiver Stress” backs me up. Here they are: on paper, on line, in me.
I still tell myself that Rick manages well. We simply need to find the perfect set of variables and we will continue like this for years and years.
I am continually angered by life’s minutia. How am I supposed to know how to rewire the lights and put coolant in the van – those are not on my side of our responsibility agreement. And just why are there banana peels on the couch?
3. Social withdrawal
Sorry, I can’t go to Bottlerock with you, I don’t even have a reason
I am in no way prepared for the next stage, I’m not even handling this one very well.
Sometimes I don’t care and think it doesn’t really matter anyway.
You want me to jog and meditate and work and pay the bills and clean the house and cook? How about we just go to bed at 7:00.
Yes. From worry, and from Rick’s waking me up to say I have paint on my face (I don’t).
Are you serious?
9. Lack of concentration
I was recently 62 minutes late to a 90 minute meeting I had really wanted to attend (a mindfulness session). I misremembered the time and then was late for that time. My vehicle tags expired, I got the due date wrong on the visa bill. I used to be so together. #9 is my biggest worry, I miss the old on-top-of-it me.
10. Health Problems
Here’s my good news – I am healthy, a bit overweight due to numbers 5, 6 and 7 above, also 2, 4 and 8. But healthy.
Final assessment: I exhibit 9 out of 10 common areas of stress. My experience as a high school teacher tells me that 10% is not a passing grade. Am I failing? Not, yet.
Honestly, don’t worry about me, I am on the mend and have made significant improvement on all fronts, even concentration. It took me years to get so bad, a year to recognize and admit my stressed state, and I’m slowly plugging away and tending to myself as well as to Rick.
The thing is I (usually) put up a great front. How many caregivers are like me, showing up well as they give away bits of their well being by focusing their care and efforts on another?