Sleep problems include insomnia (the inability to fall or stay asleep), hypersomnia (problems staying awake), poor quality sleep, or inability to stay asleep. Sleep problems can change the way you think and feel. If you haven’t had a good night's sleep, you may feel tired, irritable, jittery, and/or depressed.
Dealing with Feelings
Isolation happens when a person does not spend time with other people enjoying themselves. Caregivers have a lot to do, and this often takes them away from their usual connections with family and friends. There are bills to pay, people to call, direct care to provide, prescriptions to pick up, and appointments to go to.
Uncertainty is the inability to know what will happen in the future. Cancer and cancer treatment can be scary and unpredictable. Feelings of fear and uncertainty can be triggered by not knowing how the disease will impact the patient and family physically, emotionally, and financially or how the illness may impact employment.
Fatigue is an overwhelming sense of tiredness. If you are fatigued, you may have little energy to do the things you normally do - even if you are getting enough sleep. You may feel tired all the time, weak, worn out, slow, or heavy. You may also feel sad, irritable, and frustrated.
Depression is a deep sadness that lasts more than two weeks and gets in the way of daily activities. If you are depressed or have depressive symptoms, you may cry often, have problems sleeping, eat too much or too little, feel hopeless, helpless, sad, guilty, worthless, and/or sluggish.
Anxiety is a feeling of uneasiness, discomfort, or impending doom. It is common for people taking care of someone with cancer to experience anxiety. It can be caused by a loss of control, fear for the patient’s well-being, worry over family finances, uncertainty about the future, and feelings of being overwhelmed.
Many caregivers feel angry at some point. They may curse, yell, get irritated, withdraw, or even get physically sick. Caregiver anger usually comes from feeling out of control, overwhelmed, anxious, scared, tired, or stressed.
Taking care of another person can be stressful. Everyone has some stress, but too much can harm your health, relationships, and enjoyment of life. Caregiver burnout happens when you are in a state of stress or distress for a prolonged period of time.