- Bearing a heavy weight is the image most common for this phase. This is the place where caregivers are often brought to their knees and all supports are needed to work through these feelings.
- Emotions increase and push forward either internally to cause muscle tension, intestinal problems, increased anxiety and/or depression, as well as withdrawing or outbursts.
- Old coping strategies are tried like using alcohol, food or exercise. Sometimes that can help find short-term relief, but it is creating long-term problems if the caregiver is not mindful of the behavior.
- Effects are compounded when the desire for the old life and the realization of what this new life is now like confront each other head on. The caregiver is facing a great struggle. It can be very intense.
Caregiver Story: Stan had spent months researching and visiting assisted living facilities, and finally worked through all the pieces, including getting his mother to agree to move. He thought this was the answer and that he could get his life back. He was at a very low point physically and emotionally as he realized how much his caregiver role would be continuing.
Caregiver Story: Daughter moved in temporarily with her mother once her mother came home from the hospital. She continued to work, commuting a long distance, which was very difficult, and then tried to go to back to her home on weekends. That symbolized the desire for her old life and she was realizing how little of it she can actually have and was feeling guilty. She loves her mother, felt the duty and real satisfaction of being there for her in her time of need, but was struggling to hang on to her life.