Becoming a caregiver is a whirlwind. You might be focused on the practicalities – medications, appointments, new routines – but there’s a whole storm of emotions swirling inside as well. It’s important to acknowledge the good, the bad, and the complicated feelings that come with this role. Here are five you might experience:

Anger: Frustration is normal when caring for someone who needs significant help. Allow yourself to feel anger, but find healthy ways to express it – exercising, journaling, or venting to a trusted friend can help.

Guilt: Caregiving is hard, and it’s easy to feel guilty for needing breaks or wishing things were different. Remember, you are doing your best, and taking care of yourself is essential to providing good care.

Resentment: It’s okay to feel resentment towards the illness or if others aren’t pulling their weight. Focus on what you can control and seek support, whether it’s respite services or a support group.

Grief: You’re grieving the person your loved one used to be, the loss of your old life and theirs. This is different from clinical depression, but finding rituals to honor your grief or talking to a counselor can be helpful.

Loneliness: Caregiving can be isolating. Make small efforts to connect with friends, even for short calls or coffee. Respite or adult day care programs can offer a social outlet for your loved one and a much-needed break for you.

The bottom line? Your emotions matter. They are valid, they don’t make you a bad person, and they aren’t going to get any better by pretending they aren’t there.

It’s natural to feel a mix of things as a caregiver. Talking about them – even the difficult ones – is a sign of strength, not weakness. By acknowledging your emotions, you can find healthy coping mechanisms and ultimately feel more capable on this challenging, but often deeply meaningful, journey.

Need More Support?

Our team helps family caregivers find solutions that help alleviate these worries and concerns. Ask me how we can help. One thing I can do is share support groups with you so that you can connect with others who understand what you’re going through.

I also can talk with you about counseling options that specialize in caregiver health and wellness. Remember, you can’t take care of anyone else if you aren’t taking care of yourself.