De-stressing Frustration

Stress: a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances; something that causes a state of strain or tension. It can come from any event or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, or nervous. Stress is your body’s reaction to a challenge or demand.

de: from the French and Latin languages, when added to a verb, it means down from, or away, being separated from

Frustration: the feeling of being upset or annoyed as a result of being unable to change or achieve something; an event or circumstance that causes one to feel frustrated

Compared to last year, the months of this year so far have been much more peaceful as it pertains to caring for my mother. We overcame the hurdle of her recognizing (for the most part) she lives in a nursing home, no longer having an apartment, that I am handling her financial affairs, and always looks forward to receiving popcorn and Mr. Goodbars candy from me. She is in her second year of living at the home, and things have improved.

But there are those times when frustration stops by for a visit during our conversations, and brings its close buddy named stress along for the party.

As the dementia worsens, the same questions keep happening, namely having food to eat. One of the good aspects of the nursing home is the staff who make sure the patients have their meals, including those who don’t want to eat…but my mother is not one of those who don’t to eat, just the opposite. She makes sure she eats, though she tells me she hasn’t. I know that is not the case, however….

We had one of our many conversations on finances, and on her getting meals. Though said countless times before, me saying she is entitled to three meals a day plus snacks, she will swear she is not getting that. On this particular day she insisted on going to the nurses’ station to discuss it. To make a long story short, what I had told her numerous times, the nurses confirmed the same thoughts, even telling her of all the patients they have, they know she loves to eat, and makes sure she gets her meals. My mother said that was good, and now she knows… (give it a few seconds)…and she was back to voicing her concern of not getting anything to eat.

Frustration set in.

It is during this time I wanted the floor to open up so I could drop down and land in the driver’s side of my car so I could quickly drive away. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, so I had to deal with this. Given a few moments, the nurses exhibited their gift of patience and continued to tell her the same thing repeatedly, and that seemed to calm her down a bit. I told her I had to leave (the location of a Zumba class was about three minutes away, and was calling my name, and I desperately needed it). Eventually, I left and got to the class. For the next two hours, I danced the frustration away through the lifting of my hands, dancing forwards and backwards, with my feet pounding on the dance floor, sweating frustration away…

Stress and not dealing with it can cause all sorts of health issues mentally as well as physically, and what help are we to those we care for if we are sick? So to all caregivers out there, please remember that we have to find an outlet to de-stress. Stress is going to occur, regardless of how we try to prevent it from happening. What counts and helps us is how we deal with stress and frustration, getting rid of its effects.