The Caregiver Blues

blues-mdI have been wanting to write about this feeling that I have had over the past few weeks. However, part of me is very reluctant to share what I am feeling. In part I am afraid that people will judge me and in part I am ashamed that I feel the way that I do.

So please bear with me as I search for the right words to use to adequately explain the emotions and feelings turning inside.

Lately it has been a struggle to keep my son on track with his diabetes care. Don’t get me wrong we have made many strides in getting to a better place but it has been a struggle. In my efforts to help him to be well I often get frustrated by his unwillingness to take care of himself. I sometimes get down right pissed off that he gets upset with me when I bring the meter to him or prepare his insulin for him.

This is where I beat myself up. I know that this has been an even more difficult transition for him. Anger for getting a diagnosis that has no cure and will be with him for the rest of his life. That even when I am not here for him that he will have to take care of this health on his own. That sucks. I know that he has days when he is tired of this disease and that he wants to hide from it. I also know that I am the only parent he has to help him through this and I am the one person he can show his true emotions to. I also know that he is a 14-year-old boy. Still a kid that has not developed all the skills to take care of himself.

Having that knowledge sometimes does not help, because sometimes it makes me mad, and sometimes it pisses me off when he doesn’t care for himself and sometimes it hurts to see him hurt and sometimes it frustrates me that I am the only one taking on his care.

I would love to say that I am a picture perfect parent when it comes to helping him manage his diabetes and emotions. I am not. I try my best with what I have but it is a struggle as a single parent to make it all work. It is really tough to know how to help him and to know when to push him.

This is a dark time in my life and I know that others have been here before me but I am not sure that we openly talk about the feelings we have as a caregiver. I know that I am hesitating to post this because I am afraid that I will be harshly judged. The feelings that I have can’t be mine alone but because they are not positive in relation to what I feel I am supposed to feel as a caregiver I do feel alone and not understood.

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5 Comments on "The Caregiver Blues"

Profile photo of Denise
Sep 28, 2013

Hi Tami–I think this is terrific you shared this.

It is depressing so it’s understandable that you would feel this. I think many who care struggle with depression. Actually, I can’t think of a single family caregiver I’ve met who hasn’t struggled with depression. I think it’s a symptom of caregiving.

I wonder if you are also grieving. A diagnosis means losses. You grieve the loss of your son’s childhood and the future you expected for him. He grieves those losses, too. I also wonder if you are grieving the loss of a partner (your ex-husband) during a time that a spouse would be a really handy thing to have.

I’ve found that part of my healing hinges on my ability to forgive. If I can find forgiveness, I do find that I feel better about the difficulties. Not forgiving seems to be the ball and chain that keeps me in a world of hurt. Forgiveness seems to open the door to acceptance and peace.

Would it help if you started the process of forgiving diabetes, your ex and, most important, yourself? And, it is a process, one that starts and stops. Some days, forgiveness seems to come quickly. Other days, it feels lost to me.

I also wonder if you think somehow you are failing because you are human. That you should be much braver, somehow, than you are. You are courageous every day, especially because you are human. So is your son.

I hope it felt better to write this out. You deserve better. :)

Profile photo of Pegi
Sep 28, 2013

Tami, don’t be so hard on yourself. Trust me you are not alone, we all have our moments of frustration, anger and shaking our fists at the universe and asking “why me, why us”? None of us are perfect. There is no judgement here. Just support and acceptance. We do the best we can in sometimes unbearable situations. You are doing a wonderful job with your son; he’s not only a diabetic, but a teenager! Allow yourself these feelings, than move on.

Profile photo of Thedogmama
Sep 28, 2013

Tami, just being a single mom of a 14 year old is such a struggle, let alone handling such a life changing diagnosis. I’m sure there are days when you feel so alone you just want to pound your fists and shout to the sky. We all do. In big ways and small. I echo Pegi, you are doing a wonderful job (thankless as a teenager can sometimes make it) helping guide him through this. Know we are here not to judge, but to listen; to allow you to open up, get it out and continue on your journey hopefully in a better place.

Profile photo of Jane
Sep 28, 2013

Hi Tami:

I totally understand your feelings. I struggle with Nicole trying to get her to accept her illness and to take better care of herself but I can’t do it for her. I make sure she actually takes her medicine and get her new pump ready for her to give me the old pump.

Nicole is much older than you son and I get frustrated because she focuses so much on the bad instead of the good and I have tried everything. I have to accept that I can’t do it all for her.

I hope that your emotions will level out. It is very hard to accept a child diagnosis of a chronic illness.

Does your son use an infusion pump for his insulin?


Profile photo of ejourneys
Sep 29, 2013

Hi, Tami — As the others have said, you are not alone. I think the only days when I don’t feel like screaming are days when I feel too beaten down to even think of using that much lung power. I’ve often had to accept my utter helplessness in order to function. I’ve also had to cut myself a lot of slack.

One of the things I love about this site is that I can rant when I need to and it’s understood. I can be vulnerable here, can “tell it like it is,” and still feel safe.