Caregiver fatigue & burnout
Do you care for someone with chronic migraines?
Does it feel as if your life revolves around your sick loved one?
Do you experience intense emotions of anger, resentment, or annoyance only to be followed by guilt for having these feelings?
Do you struggle with resisting the urge to blame your loved one, especially when you see him or her doing things you believe make the condition worse?
A lot is written about the impact of chronic migraines on the patient and their needs, but you won’t find much about effects of chronic migraines on the rest of the family. I’d like to remedy that. Migraines take a lot from you, too. You deserve a voice, some understanding, and some helpful tips.
Caregivers sacrifice so much and carry a heavy burden. They often shoulder much of the financial burden and responsibility for household chores and parenting. Then there is that constant struggle between the desire to be present with your suffering loved one and the very real need to take a break, have a life, and enjoy the world around you. It is only natural to think, “I deserve to have a life even if he/she can’t. Why should I be punished?” only to be overcome with feelings of guilt and remorse for having such thoughts.
If your loved one also struggles with depression or anxiety, the burden is doubled. When overcome with mental health symptoms, he or she is not in a good place to be a sounding board for your legitimate feelings. You expected to have a partner, someone to share the joys and help you carry the burdens of life. It isn’t fair that you’ve been stuck living alone and still have the responsibility to care for your sick loved one.
Isn’t it enough that you stick around? You work hard. You can’t be on-call 24/7.
You’re right. No one can be available all the time and meet all the needs of a chronically ill family member. You need help. You need a break. Maybe it’s time to consider prompting your loved one to apply for disability? Maybe you need some practical help from professionals, friends, or family? He or she has a chronic, incurable illness. Any other condition would warrant outside help, so why not migraines?
You cannot meet the needs of someone else if your own needs are not being met. That’s not a justification to ignore your loved one’s needs. It’s more like a reminder that asking for and accepting outside help is a good thing. There’s no shame in it. Imagine trying to fill a glass from an empty pitcher. It won’t work. You have to have something to give something. You can’t give someone else the last drop of your energy and expect to have any left over the next time you have need of it.
Take gentle care of yourself so you can be there for your loved one when it counts.