The Caregiver Hangover: Stress

stressfreezoneFor almost a week, I’ve been managing my “stress-belly.”  It’s the term I have used for decades to describe the stomach discomfort I get that never coincides with poor food choices, but does seem linked to intense periods in my life.

My mom passed away over 4 months ago, and her burial was last month. I have been able to be more focused on my business, and am now working through my own medical and personal chores.

When I share with my friends my tummy issues wondering if I could suddenly have a gluten, lactose, or other intolerance, they remind me that sometimes stress shows up when you least expect it.

WHAT?  I don’t stress! It’s why I could say for years that the 4-hour tummy ache was my way of working out my worries. As things started to get complicated in my life most notably when my parents started to exhibit concerning behaviors, I hired a life coach. She helped me recognize that worrying about my parent’s, my kid’s, my job, didn’t change anything. I learned to focus on how I could improve things that were in my control.

While I’m sad that my mom is no longer here, I am still working out life after being a caregiver for so many years. The last think I would expect is for me to be stressed about it.

Within a day of my girlfriends reminding me that stress can happen after you face a crisis, my symptoms disappear. Cured.


5 thoughts on “The Caregiver Hangover: Stress

  1. Hi Kate,
    Glad to know you are getting a hang of your life. I have the same “stress-belly” symptoms which often result in my urge to run to the bathroom. It’s never easy to be a caregiver and I’m starting to be one – my mother-in-law is showing signs of dementia. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

    1. I hope your mother-in-law is open to help. The first two years are the most difficult. The person usually doesn’t recognize anything is wrong and fights harder to ensure independence.

  2. I don’t get the tummy ache but get hit by a feeling of total lethargy from time to time. It’s over a year since dad died and I thought I’d have my own life back on track by now but it seems to go forward in fits and starts and stops. It is going forward, though, which is good.

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