Welcome back, Careblazer.
Today I want to talk about something that you may be doing that’s causing you a lot of worry and fear. For some of you, it’s even getting in the way of getting the dementia support and information that can help you along your journey. In some cases, it’s even causing you to remove yourself from support groups, it’s stopping you from reading information about the disease, and it may even be stopping you from watching some of these videos on dementia.
I’m talking about comparison. Or what I’m going to call COMPARE AND DESPAIR. And at the end of this blog I’m going to share the one thing you need to remind yourself over and over again to help you through all the difficult moments now and in the future.
If you would rather watch my video on this topic, click here.
Comparing your caregiving situation to someone else’s situation. Whether you think you are in a more difficult situation than most, or whether you think your loved one is actually doing pretty well, comparing your situation to someone else's situation can cause a lot of extra grief and i want to talk about why it doesn’t actually help and what you can do instead.
No two dementia journeys are the same. You can have 2 people with the same exact dementia diagnosis, in the same exact stage, and receiving care from the same type of caregiver, but it still doesn’t mean that the caregiving situation and the way the dementia progresses will be the same.
Dementia can be a pretty confusing syndrome that presents in all types of different ways...even if someone is diagnosed with the same type of dementia. I’ve noticed that some of you will join the Careblazer Community on Facebook and quickly become overwhelmed with the questions and posts from other Careblazers. You start to see what some of the struggles are that people are dealing with and you start to stress about those types of struggles and get concerned about being able to handle those types of struggles BEFORE they are even happening in your situation.
For example, you may be reading about a careblazer whose husband keeps accusing her of stealing all the money. And then you start stressing and worrying about what to do if your LOWD starts accusing you of the same thing. Before you know it, a group that is supposed to be supportive and relieving just added to your stress level and you’re worried about how you will respond and handle it when your LOWD starts to do the same thing. You are actually suffering about a symptom that hasn’t even started yet.
In these situations, comparing yourself to other people’s situation and assuming that someone else’s struggles will eventually be your struggle is like dealing with the difficult behavior before it even happens. Your brain is starting to freak out over something that may not ever happen. It’s important to catch your brain when it starts to do this so you can remind yourself that every situation is different, dementia doesn’t look the same or progress the same way in every person, and you may not ever experience some of the struggles that other caregivers experience. Your struggles and your loved one’s symptoms may look entirely different. So it’s a waste of time and it’s harmful to assume that you’ll be dealing with the same thing.
And the biggest take away, something I want you to remember and remind yourself of the next time you start to worry about the future, the next symptom, the next stage of the disease, is that you have made it through every point up to now. From the beginning stages when your LOWD started having changes but you didn’t know what was going on. From the point your LOWD was initially diagnosed. From the point when your loved one started to decline and go to the next stage. With each and every new thing along this disease process, you have been able to make it through. After all, here you are watching another video on the caregiving journey.
Sometimes, when we let our brains run loose, they go to the worst case scenario and we start to suffer before the thing that we are dreading even happens...if it ever does happen.
Notice this. Catch yourself when this happens. And remind yourself...you’ve made it through every single thing up to this point. Whatever the future has in store for your loved one, you will make it through that too. Let's try to go through it without the extra worry and concern about symptoms your LOWD doesn’t actually have at this time. Remember, not every person experiences dementia that same way and what you may be reading and hearing about may not happen in your situation. And if it does, you’ll get through it. I have faith in you.
I’ll be back next week.