10 Emotions, One Day: The Life of an Alzheimer's Caregiver

As an Alzheimer's caregiver, I go through a lot of different emotions. Some days are better than others. I made a list of 10 emotions that I usually hit in one single day. It's no wonder I sometimes feel as if I am going crazy. Here is the list, see if you agree:

1. Trepidation
When I wake up in the morning, this is the first thing I feel. How is today going to go? Will things be different? Will she be in a good mood or bad? Will she be calm or agitated and if you add in the RA, there is where I do a mental check of my joint pain. Will I have a good day or bad? Will it be painful or not? Will I get anything accomplished?

2. Optimism
This is my very next feeling or emotion. I am going to make things different today. We are going to have a good day today. I am not going to let the RA and Alzheimer's rule our lives.

3. Happy
Through optimism, I start getting that happy feeling that things are really OK in our little part of the world.

4. Sadness
This can sometimes take a while to get to or it can happen immediately upon stepping out of my room. How is Mom's day going to go? What will she forget today? Will she be sad and upset by something?

5. Anxiety
This is the big one. If things are calm, I worry that something tiny will happen to disrupt these few and far between moments. Will we have company? Will she remember something sad that has happened in the past? Will she get bored then frustrated? I usually live here a lot more than is healthy, but I try my best to stay focused and positive.

6. Anger
I can't help feeling angry sometimes, no matter how much I try to fend it off. What has my life come to? Why can't things just be a little easier? Why is she so mean sometimes? Why did my mother get this horrible disease in the first place?

7. Guilt
This always immediately follows anger. How can I get angry when she is the one suffering and losing her memories? How can I get frustrated and angry when I know she can't help it? How can I get angry because sometimes I feel my life passing me by? How can I get angry when I know she needs me so much?

8. Wary
I am wary of opening my mouth and saying the wrong thing. I am wary of any change to our routine and what that might bring. I am just wary.

9. Resigned
This is my life. My parent/spouse/sibling/friend needs me more now than ever. It will only get worse as the time goes by.

10. Hopeful
This is the last thing I feel. Hopeful that tomorrow will be a better day. Hopeful that one day there will be a cure. Hopeful that I will find the strength to do all the things that need to be done.

I am usually a very happy and upbeat person, but there are days when I just want to pull the covers up over my head and stay there. I just don't allow myself to give in to those feelings. Sometimes no matter how hard you try you, just can't seem to keep your emotions in check. Having these emotions is very normal we're only human after all. The most important thing to remember is to never let it translate over to the one you love. For this, you must become an Oscar-worthy actress.