As the primary caregiver for somebody with Alzheimer’s, should I journal my thoughts?
Absolutely. Keeping a journal is a good idea for everyone — especially someone with a stressful and emotional burden such as caregiving. Journaling means putting your thoughts on paper and keeping them between you and the paper. Keep the journal in a secure place if you’re worried about someone else reading it. Just don’t forget where it is so you don’t write in it! Actually take time to schedule journaling into your routine. You don’t have to find time every day, but you should make a point of doing it regularly. Journaling is to the brain and emotions what physical exercise is to the body. You don’t have to write a lot, just enough to get things out and off your chest. Write about your thoughts and feelings. Write of your anger, resentment, fear, guilt and any other strong emotions. You can even make this a practice of “writing to the disease.” Go ahead and tell it how it is upending your and your loved one’s lives. Let it know you hate it. Tell it that it is messing up your retirement years after so many years of hard work and planning. This is a good way of dealing with your feelings. It is healthy to do so. Your journal also can reflect your observations about your loved one. Include notes on patterns that might emerge regarding behavior, eating, sleeping, toileting, etc. This will help when you talk with the doctor. It also can help you reflect on the way you handled certain situations. Journaling is a good way to help you sort out your thoughts — on many levels. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, it can help pull things back into perspective. It is important, however, not to allow journaling to be your only outlet or release. Human interaction is still very important. You must continue talking with friends and other members of your family. A support group might also be a good idea. Everybody needs human contact and socialization to re-energize. In fact, The FREE Indispensable Alzheimer’s Kit includes a Caregiver’s Journal specifically for this purpose. Click here to download it now.