Care for the Caretaker
If you have a family member who has a chronic physical or mental illness, you are stressed, at times emotionally fatigued, and are yourself at increased risk for symptoms of anxiety and depression.
The illness does not only affect the ill person. It changes relationships. It alters the feelings and behavior of everyone in the family.
Children whose parents are ill are vulnerable to feelings of fear, guilt, confusion, anger or helplessness. As adults accompany a loved one through the darkness of chronic illness, they may feel experience difficult emotions as well: stress, profound sadness, and worry, to name a few.
As your loved one becomes ill, you suffer. All of the resources tend to go to the ill person, and it is easy to forget that others in the family are struggling as well.
Nothing has prepared you for this role.
Families of the mentally or physically ill need special support.
How and where do you draw appropriate boundaries? How can you act in the true best interests of your loved one? How do you continue to care for other family members who also still need you? What do you do with your own feelings—which may seem so unimportant when the family is in crisis?
Sometimes it feels like walking through a dark forest, where you walk blindly and are never sure if you are going in the right direction.
I am a therapist who understands the journey of those who walk through life with a mentally or physically ill family member or loved one.
If you are feeling overwhelmed or in need of support, call me and let’s discuss how I may be of help to you and your family.
As an additional resource, for the mentally ill and for their families, I strongly recommend a wonderful organization called NAMI: http://www.namidupage.org/ which offers many support groups and resources that are tremendously helpful.