Borrowing from anger management
A technique that anger management teaches is have a plan when you are calm to keep you calm when you know you are going to be triggered by events. I use that for my golf game and it works great. I no longer have tantrums after bad shots. I have conditioned my mind to process them as learning events. My relationship with my wife has slowly evolved from feeling like I am visiting a sick friend to babysitting a hyperactive child. In the morning I am cool calm and collected. By the evening I am an emotionally fragile mess from trying to manage a whirling dervish of mayhem and I have been snapping and losing my cool. My plan while I am calm to handle that is to just take a deep breath and say "let it go". If she thinks she is helping me in the kitchen but she is actually creating more work instead of visualizing putting her in a big play pen I just take a deep breath and say "let it go". I am exhausted from trying to stop her. She can't hurt herself or lose anything that cannot be replaced or make a bigger mess than what is already there. So take a breath and just let it go until she gets tired. What I have learned from Stoicism is we learn about ourselves through adversity. I don't like the person I become when I am frustrated. So in order to change that person I have to reprogram how I process frustration. So now it is a learning experience on how to do that. I get to practice every every day.
Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Caregivers: Dementia Support Group.
I applied letting go of control while my wife went through the motions of cleaning last night and this morning. What helped was to accept the fact that reason no longer works and she really can't help going through the motions of what she did for 40 years. That and the fact that I can always find or clean a cup or glass or plate or fork, and I can always find a full set of clean clothes and a towel. Letting go of control really felt good and not harping on her to stop making a mess made her day a lot more pleasant. So she makes messes, big deal. It isn't worth the effort or emotional trauma to keep it from happening so just letting go is working for our new dynamic normal. With my household responsibilities doubling the pile of stuff to do is so high just adding more to the top isn't making a difference. We were both a lot happier today and that is the goal, maximize our happiness and minimize our sadness while we both adjust to each other through this surrealistic experience.
Bill, sounds like a transformational day for both of you with many to follow. This learning to be a caregiver is a big challenge.
I feel better already. Thanks
I can so relate. I could have written that post. Thanks for the reminder. Much as I dislike the "Let it go" song from "Frozen", it has become my anthem throughout the last nearly 4 years since my husband's LBD diagnosis. Stoicism? I like that. You're right, we do learn from adversity.
So, thank you for your message.
I too have been using "Let it Go" for a year or so – and it does help me.
Reading Marcus Aurelius Meditations quotes helps keep negative emotions in check for me. Whenever I am feeling sorry for myself or wallowing in self pity I can read a passage or two and have an attitude reset from something that has been written by someone who fully understood the human condition.
Super-post from three days ago, Bill! Many thanks.
I agree, Larry.
@justbill123, how are you doing today?
Great Colleen, thank you for asking. Still a work in process but maintaining a positive attitude. I had a rough Saturday but didn't fight it. I allowed myself to feel sad and depressed because I knew after a meal and a good nights sleep I would experience what I call the pendulum effect. That is as sad and depressed as I felt, seemingly out of now where I get these feelings of extreme euphoria and happiness. I think it is how my brain is seeking balance. I meditate, exercise, do breathing exercises, read philosophy, pretty much anything I can do to release feel good chemicals in my head. When I am having a rough time with my wife my brain has these feel good items to look forward to. So I may feel sad and depressed but I have these disciplines that I do that even when I am not doing them the anticipation gives me a little feel good bump. Anyway that is how I am keeping my sanity through this experience.
I read these posts and feel for everyone- everyone, but also get it about the anger, frustration, sadness. My husband and I are married 50 years in December. He has been diagnosed with MCI but every day I wonder if something else is going on or is this it and going to get worse? Who is he now? Who am I?
One of my healing supports said, it’s like when you had your first child and brought her home and everyday learned to care for your child – now every day I am meeting someone new and different, except I knew him so well. We shared life together. We shared conversations, ideas, and responsibilities. Now it feels one sided at times. The conversations are difficult, processing of thoughts and ideas are muffled, and slow but sure I will be taking care of most things. Unlike a new baby who will grow and learn and thrive, this is a grown adult moving back to helplessness.
He is so sweet and then belligerent. Does no good to make sense of an argument. Just take a deep breath, “let it go” and move into the day.
I could write so much more but I think you all get it. Thank you for posting your most vulnerable self.