I want to share a bit of humorous coping that helped me keep my sense of balance during extremely stressful times. Two things come to mind: my second childhood craziness, and my escape plan.
I experienced a sort of "second childhood", just prior to taking on full time caregiving responsibilities. There were indications of the way events were heading and it was pretty scary. So I retreated by revisiting the simple, safe, happy childhood memories which allowed me to prepare for the shift in roles that often happens between adult child and elderly parent as the aging and/or dementia process unfolds. I took comfort in remembering the joys of childhood past, as a way of girding myself for irrevocable adult caregiver future.
For me, this second childhood expressed in the desire to reread my favorite books, (the Walter Farley Black Stallion series, Nancy Drew mysteries, Albert Payson Terhune's wonderful books about collies, among others). OK, that part was pretty normal, very comforting and not too embarrassing, since I could buy those books as if they were gifts for children as indeed some of them became.
The other expressions of this were a little harder to keep under wraps. I started collecting Beanie Babies and Barbie dolls! Yup! Whacky blend of second childhood hitting at midlife crisis? Maybe, but I figure the retro toys of my childhood were both cheaper and less self-destructive than some typical coping or midlife crisis behavior. Better to turn to books & beanies for comfort rather than booze & bingeing. Thankfully, this slightly weird obsession with childhood didn't last long.
My other sort of unique coping skill was my escape bag. I kept a packed duffel bag of emergency clothes and supplies in my car at all times, just in case I decided to run away. Of course, I never actually did execute my emergency escape plan, but it imparted a powerful sense of control and possible options just to see that bag there "in case". A harmless, helpful fantasy to get me through the rough places.
I have not yet managed to pry similar confessions from other caregivers as to their own slightly odd coping tricks, but I'm sure you all have stories & secrets to tell. So, spill! You are among friends (not to mention, anonymous) here, so go ahead and share your own coping strategies and foibles. I'm all ears!
Karen is a compassionate, enthusiastic student of life, who cared for her mother for 17 years. She brings her insights, compassion, experience and desire to share knowledge and healing to this ongoing conversation with others on the caregiving path. If you are caring for a parent, spouse, friend or other loved one this site offers sanity-saving tips, open-hearted self-care ideas, and an open forum for discussion, connection and sharing resources for the journey.
All Acceptance Aging Together Alan Cohen Alive Inside Movie Alzheimer's Alzheimer's Prevention A Mind Of Your Own Anxiety Aromatherapy Audio Therapy For PTSD Austin Air Hepa Filter Autism Back Care Video Beginner's Mind Being Present Blessing For Caregivers Books Brain Insulin Butterfly Story Calm Calm.com App Care For Veterans Caregiver Advocate Caregiver Coalition Caregiver Comfort Kit Caregiver Guilt Caregiver Retreat Caregiver's Serenity Prayer Caregiver Stress Caregiver Support Care Giving Caregiving Vulnerability Care In Hospital Caterpillar Into Butterflies Chamomile Tea Cindy Laverty Comedian Computers & Exercise Crisis Dan Cohen Deepak Chopra Delirium Depression Diabetes Disaster Preparedness Distractions Dr. Dharma Singh Khalsa Dr. Oliver Sacks Eden Alternative Eldershire Elizabeth Dole Foundation Emergency Planning Emergency Preparation Emerson End Of Caregiving Enough Already Escapism Essential Oils Food Safety Forgiveness Funny Stories Gaiam.com Gail Sheehy Gift Of Alzheimer Gift Of Healing Presence GMO Food Green House Project Gregory Fricchione Md Grief Guilt Happy Light Healing Holding Hands Home As Sanctuary Hope Hospital Caregiving Hospital Stay Humor Inspirational Reading Ipods For Nursing Homes Isolation Jacksonville James E. Miller John Denver Johns Hopkins Study John T. McFadden Jon Kabat-Zinn Kelly Brogan Kirtan Kriya Meditation Lao Tzu Laugh Laughter Lavender Loneliness Loss Of Purpose Love Love In The Nursing Home Maya Angelou Mayo Clinic Mayo Clinic Alzheimer's Blog MD Meditation Meditation Garden Melatonin Memory Memory Cafe Military Caregiver Mindfulness Meditation Mr. Bean Music Music & Alzheimer Music And Memory Neurological Research Noise Pollution Operation Family Caregiver Opportunity Overnight Respite Care Pandemic Passages In Caregiving Patience Paul Coelho Peace Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Power Of Love Prayer PTSD Quality Of Sleep Radical Contentment Relaxation Releasing Problems Renewal Research Respite Rewind Rodney Yee Rosalynn Carter Rosalynn Carter Institute For Caregiving Rowan Atkinson Sanctuary Sanity Self Care Serenity Silence Sleep Slowing Time Solutions Soothing Music Stress Stress Relief Sun Sunshine Support For Caregivers Tai Chi Thanksgiving The Care Company The Kiss Time Traumatic Brain Injury Travel With Alzheimer's Person Treat VA Caregivers Valentine's Day Verilux Veteran Farms Veterans Veteran Suicide Vitamin D Wayne W. Dyer Wellness Wendell Berry White Noise William H. Thomas Worry Yoga Yoga Video