by Brian Baez, Caregiver Liaison
My mind keeps coming back to the countless conversations I have with various aphasia caregivers who are so worried about what the future holds. They desperately want their loved ones to return to the way they were, or maybe even more subconsciously wanting their own lives to return to the way they were. We need to get back to “x”, or “I don’t know what’s going to happen when __________ happens”. The thought of the future CAN be daunting, but what’s more important is to stop and not let the future get away from you before it’s even here!
I remember when the anxiety of these thoughts first hit me. It was while Jason was still in the hospital. I felt completely overwhelmed by the answers I thought I was supposed to have. Well-meaning family and friends constantly checked in on his prognosis, or inquired about what we were going to do now. And to be honest, I was just worried about the possibility of a second stroke when no reason for the first was ever discovered. Questions were asked about things that had not even crossed my mind yet, for which I had no answers, which was no help at all. Let’s just add to the pile! With the inquiries coming at me from every angle imaginable, my anxiety level was climbing at an uncontrollable rate. That’s when I got the advice to throw on the emergency brake and make it all come to a screeching halt.
“No one is owed answers.” a dear friend told me, seeing how much the pressure and anxiety was getting to me, rendering me unable process what was going on around me. He couldn’t have said anything I needed more. I took this to heart and applied it to many things that we were about to face, including Jason’s subsequent aphasia diagnosis, when everyone wants to know What is Your Plan? I found that allowing others to drive your thought process can lead to anxiety, depression, and utter confusion. You and your loved one are who really matters when all is said and done. Taking on one hurdle at a time, and remaining in the moment will allow you to proceed with your life in the healthiest way possible.
When your anxiety reaches new heights, what helps you stay grounded?