Walking this Journey

You may recognize the “sign-post” that I have up. It’s the stages of grief. Anyone who has been to a counselor or therapist should know the stages. I joked with my counselor that I was so acquainted with them I knew them by heart.

You see, any loss be it a job, a move, any large changes in your life will kick in with some of these stages. We who are caregivers should be very well acquainted with them, indeed. We feel the grief when our family member is diagnosed with a terminal condition. They haven’t died yet, but we are already starting down that road of denial, anger, bargaining and depression. And while we are caring for our terminal family member, even if it’s for a short time, we may “move around” from one stage to another and back again. And just because we get to acceptance doesn’t mean we’re through grieving.

The one I got stuck in more than others was depression. That one is a killer. I read once that depression is anger turned inward. We can’t just be angry at the one we’re caring for so we stuff that anger and then feel guilty for being angry in the first place. I took a mild anti-depressant while taking care of Joe. I needed it so I could focus at my work and be functional in my life. I also went to a counselor, someone who is not judgemental who could listen to all my frustrations.

We all need an outlet for our feelings. Find someone, whether it’s a counselor, therapist or just a very understanding friend, who you can talk openly to. Someone who can listen to your frustrations and anger and not let it bother them. Someone who understands. If you need to use anti-depressants to help you get through your journey, because this is a journey, not just a little side trip off the road of life, then use them.

These stages are going to be a large part of your journey. Please find someone to help you walk through it.