I'm sharing this post in hopes that a Caregiver reading it will find encouragement and motivation to place themselves and their self-care at the top of their priority list.
I'd been caregiving for my son for just over 8-months, when I left my job headed for home not sure if I was having a heart attack. All I did know is I didn't want to be sitting at my desk if I was having one. In hindsight I understand how careless my decision was to leave work driving myself unsure if I was having a heart attack or not.
I hadn't wanted to call my husband who was under so much stress from work already and just as tired as I was, with the exception if I fell asleep at my desk I wasn't risking getting an arm chewed off by large machinery or receiving large amounts of high voltage streaming through my body. So I decided to go home and lay down first to see if I felt better. We'd probably gotten 4 or 5 hours of sleep on average a day that week and it was wearing thin on us both.
Fast forward to the emergency room some time later after being sent there from my PCP's office. Hooked up to EKG machines, an IV, and a monitor to check the "saturation" of my body of Oxygen there I sat sure I was about to die. I wasn't it was a severe Anxiety attack. I would later be diagnosed with Anxiety and Depression, given medication and instructions to "try to rest" or quit my job because it was going to kill me.
I share this story with other Caregivers because not caring for ourselves first puts us at great risk for being hospitalized or worse...never waking up again. Who will care for our loved one then?
That old adage put the oxygen mask on yourself first is and should be the Caregivers 1st-commandment! We cannot pour from an empty vessel.
What has been your experience with over exhaustion or over exertion?