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We all get moody from time to time. Dealing with various moods of those in our care can be extra frustrating. And sometimes, their mood could be reflecting our mood as a care partner. It is important that you too, can recognize the signs of care partner stress and burnout. It is only natural to experience fatigue, especially when you are dealing with mood disorders. If you find your loved one in your care extra challenging, it may be time to assess your own feelings too. Ask yourself:

  • Do you have a tendency to ignore or postpone taking care of your own health needs?

  • Do you have a growing feeling of isolation, expressed by thoughts like "Nobody knows or understands what is really going on with us."

  • Do you have feelings of anxiety and uncertainty about the future?

  • Do you have feelings of anger at the person with Parkinson's or the situation, often followed by guilt?

  • Do you have feelings of profound tiredness and exhaustion not relieved by sleep?

  • Do you have emotional strain/stress, often manifesting as varying physical symptoms?

  • Do you find yourself with an inability to concentrate or make decisions?

  • Do you feel bitterness toward friends or relatives who "should help more?"

  • Do you have a tendency to use alcohol or drugs to lessen stress levels?

  • Are you having any feelings of depression, despair, or feelings of hopelessness?

All of these feelings and expressions are not only felt by our loved ones with PD, we as caregivers feel them too. The more stress, less rest, and more involved you are, the greater your risk for caregiver burnout. And when you are impacted by this, your loved one's care is impacted too.

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