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How do you know when you are truly becoming a basket case as a caregiver? What are the physical signs you notice?
For me, it is............easy tears...........heart pounding in my chest..........can't complete a task (that's partly due to constant interruptions of caregiving).....
How about you?

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Gardening helps me a lot, too. And I love reading as well. Those are my stress busters.
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Well, I've gained the 40 pounds back that I lost 2 years ago before my youngest (39 year old) brother passed away from alcoholism-related cardiac arrest. At the time I was walking and exercising daily, and taking really good care of myself. Then because I felt so rotten and guilty about my younger brother I ate myself back into (and out of) my fat pants. My 20+ years of ongoing anxiety/depression grabbed ahold again and I just started eating. Literally no time to go for a walk as I'm already taking 1 hour off work/day because a.m. caregiver can't get to mom's until 8:30, and the afternoon caregiver leaves at 5 (I work til 4:30). My daughter lent me her exercise bike (it's a clothes rack right now). My son wrote me an exercise program. I just can't get the ooomph to get back to where I was before brother died. I'm doing the shopping therapy, too. I don't have any new yarn to pet, but I do have the 3 pups, occasionally 4 when my other grandpup comes over. They are a huge stress relief. All 3 of the little ones sit with me on the recliner and it's the most peaceful feeling. They're always so excited to see me and I enjoy every single personality. Once I get off my butt and start exercising again, and stop the online shopping, maybe I'll get back to being and feeling healthy again.
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Get away from the triggers. I have chronic depression, so I really have to have a handle on things. Self-awareness is really important, and listening to your body.

I come to this site for encouragement, support, or honestly - to read about other far worse situations than mine.

When you can't get away from the stressor, stress only goes up, up, up.
It takes me 3 days to relax on a vacation under non-stressful times, so when there are no vacations and no place to even pretent to unwind, it's bad.

I try to be conscious of what I'm eating and if it's emotional eating. Sometimes I have that donut anyway, but I am accepting the consequences of an emotional doughnut.

Some people will say get more exercise because it really does help, but it can be hard to do when you are figuratively chained to the person needing care.
It does help burn off stress hormones though.

I force myself to breathe deeply and slowly and do some anti-anxiety meditations.

I temporarily let go of unnecessary things. Like dusting, or non-essential housework. When I feel better, I'll get back to it. I can promise that no dignitaries or press will be visiting my home, and it's not up for Better Homes & Gardens photo shoot, so a short lapse in straightening and polishing will be OK.

Sometimes I'll use a sick day at work to be in the house alone with the cats. I sleep until I wake up, dress in my polar fleece pants and just do what seems either relaxing or enjoyable. Take naps. Drink wine.

It's getting better when I can think about better ways to deal with a situation or prep myself for next time without falling down the well again.

I had to stop shopping therapy. That's fun, but I shopped for yarn, and I have more fancy yarn than I will be able to knit, so I just go pet my yarn stash now.
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Next part of the question...........what helps you all to deal with all these physical symptoms?
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Yes Lord, the panic attacks.
Dread
Short with everybody
Resentment
Anger
Tired
Eating my feelings
All I want to do is sleep, but have horrific insomnia at the same time
Forgetful
Not interested in my dearest hobbies
No desire to go out
Feeling like I can't enjoy anything even if I wanted to
Despair
Weight gain
My skin breaks out
My scalp gets itchy
Queasy & diarrhea
Can't make decisions
General dissatisfaction with pretty much everything
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pamzimmrrt, thanks for reminding me.... I also get panic attacks, had forgotten about them as they have been so much a part of my life for the past 6 years, all started when I first started being a chauffeur for my parents.
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I start out the day with plans to get a lot accomplished...then end up getting side tracked, usually fall asleep somewhere where I paused to long and end the day wondering why I couldn't get more done....I can't focus...period..I have gained too much weight, and can't get the house in order....still trying to figure out how to fit two house fulls of stuff into one house...plus all the health care supplies that now come every other week and all the health aid equipment....can't get to sleep at night even though I'm exhausted...when I do I can't stay asleep...wake up exhausted..can't stay awake during the day...ugh.
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My two main signs are being tired and angry. A few minutes ago I beat up an innocent roll of toilet tissue. No, don't worry -- I won't hurt anybody. But toilet tissue, watch out! (It's really kind of nice to punch. It helps get the aggression out.)
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i get mini panic attacks.. Pace around and can;t focus. Today I have been ichy on 1/2 my face.. no swelling, just ichy. I know it;s stress...
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stress pisses my liver off . my liver ct scans just fine , it isnt all that unhealty but one small bit of stress and my urine turns orange and my liver becomes agitated .
in my mothers final months i would get a muscle twitch in the back of my neck when id get stressed . hospice nurses were a real pain . because i didnt smile and act pretentious they decided i was unfriendly or judgemental . not at all , they were the professionals and i respected their opinions . i dont know what to tell them . when i smile its to uncover my teeth so i can take somebody ' s throat out ..
losers ....
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Physical signs for me are stomach aches and feeling like my throat is on fire [acid reflux].

Along with the heart pounding, and feeling light headed and that is just when the phone is ringing and I see my parent's number on Caller ID.

And now I feel like I am having issues with my own memory... but the doctor reassured me it is a symptom of stress.
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I should add ..........this is affecting my job. I work full time from my home office as owner/office manager of our landscape/garden center business. My responsibilities are significant to say the least. For the last 4 months, I am having a tough time concentrating - and it's giving me trouble at work. Simple tasks are taking me way too much time and effort. My husband died 4 1/2 years ago and I remember a long, awful period of stress during the months he was very sick and then after he died. This is not as bad but similar. One big difference..................I adored my husband. He was absolutely THE BEST. I miss him in every corner.
I am now taking care of his mother in my house but it's very different. I loved him so much. I feel bad about MIL but am not close to her - never was. I don't understand why I am reacting this way because my relationship to her is distant and not remotely in the same classification as relationship with my husband. So why am I getting this numb feeling all over?
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