Spiritual Healer’s Handbook — When You Just Can’t Take It Anymore
Dealing as a Spiritual, Magickal Caregiver of Alzheimer/Dementia or Terminally Ill Patients
by Silver RavenWolf
Unless you are a Saint, you are going to go there. It may hit you out of the blue or you may have felt it coming for several days.
There you are…standing in the sick room (or maybe on your knees covered in urine) screaming either aloud or internally: “I just can’t take it any more!”
You mean it — yes, yes, you REALLY do.
Of course as this is a public article and since I am in no way an expert schooled to tell you what to do, I must defer you to seek qualified, professional, medical assistance, particularly if you are urged to put a plastic bag over the patient’s head. Hey, if you don’t have humor when you are a caregiver, what good are you?
Let’s move on.
When I’ve had those moments, here’s what I did:
First, I always ask Spirit for help. Always. Either aloud or in my head — it doesn’t matter, Spirit always hears you. Your call may be answered by an actual phone call from a friend or understanding family member, or by someone dropping by, or by a commercial on the television, or a book falling off a shelf. No kidding. If you only knew how many times people have written to me over the years to tell me that my books have literally jumped off the shelf and have either hit them or landed at their feet when they really needed help you would be astounded.
Next, take several deep, cleansing breaths (I realize when you are sobbing this is difficult — try anyway.) These cleansing breaths are really helpful and healthful. Eventually, you will gain some control.
If you are in the patient’s room — walk out, shut the door. Go outside if you can. Vigorously shake yourself. No kidding! Your hands, arms, legs, etc. Tap your arms, legs and trunk of your body with your hands. This is actually a Tai Chi technique that helps to get your energy flowing and removes blocked areas. Slap yourself like you’ve got bugs crawling all over you — because, really, in a sense, you do. This invigorating exercise always feels terrific! Try it!
Immediately change your routine. I realize that you are held to certain time tables — medicine, appointments, and other health oriented needs; but, there is no reason why you can’t adjust other things that you have slated as your personal routine in caregiving. I realize that Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients can be somewhat OCD and that changing a routine can be a problem — but, truly, I’ve found there is always wiggle room — take advantage of it. If yesterday was a horrible day, change today’s pattern in some way. You can do small things — hang a new picture on the wall, add flowers to a table, clean out a junk drawer, make arrangements to run your errands at a different time, do the laundry first thing in the morning rather at 1:00 PM, etc.
By changing your routine you break the negative pattern of action and thought.
Pick up your phone and reach out to a loving friend or family member (don’t choose someone who you know is historically a jerk). You need support, not recriminations. Many times just talking to someone about anything but your caregiving experience can be very reassuring. Too, if you need to blow your guts about that awful day, you can do that as well.
Take a shower. Yup. Running water is a healthy way to deal with the stress affecting body, mind, and spirit. The sound, the ions produced, the flow of water down the drain — every bit of it is good for you. If you can’t take a shower, then simply hold your hands under running water as you breathe deeply. Keep doing this until you feel calm and collected — meaning that tightness between the shoulder blades has eased significantly.
Find something uplifting in the moment. Let’s say today was a very, very bad day. You have a break and you are running an errand. Your brow is furrowed, your shoulders are tight, and you are hunched over the steering wheel of your car. Your frown is deeper than a pothole. As you sit at the traffic light you are focused only on your stress…until you look up and see the most beautiful autumn tree over there by that building, ringed with fiery red mums. There is always beauty…always. You just have to pay attention.
Finally, on those bad days — find something creative to do. Anything. As long as you are being creative and can allow yourself to be lost in the process. Whether you are cooking, playing with a car or computer part, enjoying a video game (well, that’s sort of creative), drawing, painting, crochet, knit …whatever! Let what you love to do carry you — that’s why Spirit gave you the talent (whatever it may be) in the first place.
Then, sit back and say, “Okay, okay…I can do this. I can!”