We face a lot of stress from people who don’t get what we are going through as caregivers, don’t we?

The holidays are coming, and no matter how you celebrate, along with them comes stress. Like I said in a previous post, I try to be “an ocean of calm” for those around me, but there are days when I realize that I am still at the puddle stage.

We face stress from those trying to be helpful. I’ve heard too many suggestions beginning with “Why don’t you…?” over the years –  like I haven’t explored every avenue I can think of trying to get help for my loved one. And I am sure that you have as well.

I want to share with you some of my favourite quotes about stress:

“Stress under normal conditions is nothing more or less than the wear and tear of living – the process of aging. Abnormal stress results when an individual perceives threatening environmental conditions, but is unable to deal with them. If the stress persists, it can produce emotional and physiological effects that can be extremely damaging. … A variety of illnesses are linked to emotional stress.” – R.D. Lawrence

“God doesn’t give us any more than we can handle, but I wish He didn’t trust me so much.” – Mother Teresa

In an article written by Elizabeth Payne for the Ottawa Citizen (January 22, 2015), she states: “According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada, 16.5% of Canadians who provided care to a family member with a long-tern health condition, a physical or mental disability or aging-related problem in the past 12 months reported their responsibilities were ‘very stressful’.” She goes on to say that “efforts to treat more people with chronic ailments in their homes, rather than institutions, which are not supported with funding for caregivers, is also putting more pressure on informal caregivers.”

Tell us something we don’t know.

The Blessed Mother Teresa, who did so much good work in Calcutta, India during her lifetime, also once said, “Stay right where you are. Find your own Calcutta. Find the sick, the suffering and the lonely right there where you are – in your own homes and in your own families, in your workplaces, and in your schools… You can find Calcutta all over the world, if you have the eyes to see. Everywhere you go, you find people who are unwanted, unloved, uncared for, just rejected by society – completely forgotten, completely left alone.”

Remember that in caring for others, you are doing your part.  Thank you. You have found your Calcutta. But this holiday season, don’t forget you.

About Bonita O'Neill

Bonnie O'Neill is a 67-year-old retired elementary school teacher from Ontario. At the age of 60, she began a seven-year journey - caring for her 26-year-old son who had just been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. This blog documents that journey. She loves to knit and finds that living with someone with schizophrenia is a lot like knitting. Sometimes your work is wonderful, sometimes it unravels, sometimes it gets tangled and sometimes you just want to chuck it.

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