( By Sangeeta S. Bhagwat )

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m-Be Compassionate With Yourself

  • There will be times when you are completely exhausted and frustrated. A caregiver ends up doing the work for three people. You have to shoulder your own, the patient's and the caregiver's responsibilities.

  • There are also many changes and constraints that may affect your lifestyle adversely. Social activity, leisure, fun, work of your own choice, all these can become limited.

  • Finances may become a major concern, automatically forcing you into giving up many things for yourself as well.

  • Society in general, may not notice the more subtle sacrifices, that you have to make. By default, the concern and sympathy goes to the patient. This can be disturbing to the caregiver. A burden of guilt may also be introduced, for even having considered one's own emotions and difficulties.

  • Be kind to yourself. It is natural to experience anger, depression and yearning for another kind of life, a better life.

    The patient may have had to give up most things, because he is now unable to do them, or because they are now detrimental to his well being. You, on the other hand, have to compromise, simply because you are the caregiver. Despite the health, inclination and ability, you are making changes in your lifestyle. How can this possibly be easy? Even if your family, friends and sometimes the patient, do not see or understand this, you must be fair and understanding to yourself.

  • Join a support group, where others in similar situations, are far more likely to empathize and counsel you, than your own relations.

  • Vent your tears, fears, frustrations and other such emotions. Confide in a trusted friend or support group. Consider writing a diary.

    Bottling up your frustration and emotions can make you tired, angry, intolerant, unhappy and physically unwell. It also makes your breaking down in front of the patient, a distinct possibility. This is something you will want to avoid. It would add to the patient's guilt and misery and can undo all your efforts, at maintaining a positive attitude.

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