Caregivers have needs too!

As a person with a mood disorder like PTSD, or another health challenge, it's important to remember that the people that you live with have wants and needs too.

If they feel that their needs are not being met it can cause them stress and really damage your relationship with your loved ones.

I recommend that you quickly apologize as soon as you notice, or are told that you have hurt a loved one’s feelings, or if they complain about you trying to control “everything”.

Remember that another person’s perception is their reality and it should be respected.

If your child or partner tells you that you're trying to control everyone and that you get agitated when things are not “your way,” you need to respect that is their reality.

What they are saying to you is that they feel hurt or controlled, they want an apology from you, and they want you to try harder to be more cooperative and less grumpy.

You might think that you're cooperating and have been working hard not to allow anger to be your go-to emotion when you're frustrated, but you might need to show more of this excellent behavior, or for a longer period of time before your family can feel or notice the difference.

I can tell you from experience, when someone has had their controlling hand on a household for a long time it takes a while for the family’s tension and anxiety levels to regulate to the new, more tranquil environment.

The last tip that I have to offer you for maintaining good relationships with your family and looking out for the health and well-being of your caregiver is to remember that your caregiver is a human being and not a machine.

Many caregivers have a full-time job outside of the home, responsibilities to other family members in the home, and their job as a caregiver.

As a former caregiver, I worked a twelve-hour a day job outside of the home before beginning my caregiver job.

As my father’s caregiver, there was actually more work to be done then caring for my former husband, but it felt less stressful and seemed to get done faster because my father was kind, appreciative, and he tried hard to be as helpful as he could be.

Doing things for my former husband was difficult because he was so agitated and demanded perfection in all things. As a caregiver, I became so stressed that my hair started falling out.

I became very sick and there was no one available that could take care of me. When the caregiver becomes sick everyone loses, so take care of your caregiver.

Tomorrow I'll post a life hack for how caregivers can take care of themselves while caring for someone they love.

My experience with trauma is unique to me. Not everyone will be triggered in the same way or react as I have in similar situations, but my hope is that it will help people to understand what it is like to have a mood disorder, how my trauma occurred, and what efforts I have taken, along with my healthcare team, family, and a small group of friends to save my life and to create my new normal.

I want to hear from you caregivers and loved ones of a person struggling with mental illness, PTSD, or recovering from a physical or emotional trauma. I especially want to hear from anyone who has found their way to their own recovery—and new normal. This is a safe community in which to share your story.

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