The Life altering role of a caregiver discussed by Beverly Kyer

Beverly Kyer

The life of a caregiver

The life of a caregiver is nothing short of “stressful, demanding, frustrating, exhausting, mood altering, and challenging. I am writing this with the perspective of both the patient and the primary caregiver. I have experienced both roles. As a child, I suffered from paralytic polio at age 10. My mother, as a single parent of two children with full responsibility for runningour tiny family’s household and working full time, was suddenly thrown into the role of caregiver for a child who just 10 days earlier was able-bodied. The event was life altering for my entire family, but devastating for my mother. Children by nature are self-centered. It took me half a lifetime to comprehend that polio had not just affected me and changed my life, it had also totally altered the lives of my mother and my older brother.

In retrospect, I clearly see how my mother suffered. At the time, I was only able to focus on myself. As a child, I expected to be taken care of with little or no thought for anyone else except me. Later in life I took on the role of caregiver to my aging mother suffering from cancer. I was at the height of my career, raising two children as my husband and I struggled to comprehend this new responsibility. No one takes on the role of a caregiver at any point in his or her life without experiencing a full array of emotions as well as extreme exhaustion.

Sadly, the caregiver is often the one that suffers the most during an extended illness of a relative. They are the ones that are overlooked by everyone and all too often by the patient themselves. I can honestly say that my mother was totally aware of the burden that I took on when she became ill and was very grateful for all that I could do for her. However, that did not change the fact that I was suffering emotionally and physically during her illness, which eventually took her life. I found myself having feelings of resentment mixed in with compassion and love. Some of the feelings made me experience guilt.

At one point or another during our lives many of us are going to experience what it feels like to be a caregiver. Is there any way to prepare for the possibility that you may become a caregiver? I personally believe that there are certain things that are difficult to comprehend before they happen.  For example, some of you reading this blog are parents. Ask yourself, if you totally understood what it meant to be a parent beforehand? I sincerely doubt that most of us understand how our lives change when we become parents. I feel it is the same reaction that many of us have when we become caregivers. We understand intellectually that it changes our life, but physically and emotionally until you experience it personally, you will not totally grasp what is involved.

 Never Say Impossible Radio  presents Beverly Kyer, MSW, CSW, ACSW 

Beverly has been a Public Speaker and Educator for more than 33 years with specialties in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; the Trauma Impact on Brain Development,  Behavior and Learning in Children and Youth, and Compassion Fatigue, also known as Secondary or Vicarious Trauma. Beverly has written a book called “Surviving Compassion Fatigue”. and it is soon to be released.  Through her own personal experience and through the experience that she has accumulated over her professional career, Beverly addresses the nagging issues that all caregivers experience.

Beverly offers help and healing solutions if you are finding yourself facing the following issues:

1.       Do you have episodes of self-doubt, minimization and/or loss of confidence?

2.       Do you find yourself on an emotional roller coaster: see sawing between intense anger and numbness?

3.       Are you experiencing sleep disturbances and frequently waking up fatigued?

4.       Do you struggle with acute or chronic sadness? Are you depressed?

5.       Are you feeling hopeless; have you lost your sense of purpose?

6.       Are you experiencing loneliness? Are you isolating yourself from people?

7.       Are you experiencing breathing difficulties and/or rapid heartbeats?

8.       Have you lost interest and appreciation for things you previously enjoyed?

9.       Are you experiencing frequent bouts of fatigue and exhaustion?

10.   Do you avoid important tasks?

11.   Are you having difficulty separating work from your personal life?

12.   Do your dread working with certain individuals?

 Don’t miss Beverly Kyer’s riveting interview: Non-Flash MP3 Direct Link