The stresses of everyday life weigh heavily on patients with familial amyloid polyneuropathy. When faced with major external stressors, such as the diagnosis of a severe ailment in another family member, however, the stress and anxiety may be unbearable.
Peripheral neuropathy symptoms make it difficult for them to navigate life physically. In times of crisis, they also need help managing the feelings brought on by emotional trauma. Managing peripheral neuropathy and anxiety is no easy task, but it is essential to instilling a positive sense of well-being in a neuropathy patient.
Addressing the causes of anxiety and external stressors
Earlier this week, our family received some very troubling news: My wife’s grandmother was diagnosed with cancer. As a family, we’ve had to cope with various medical diagnoses in the past. We now found ourselves facing health issues in someone who has been a fortress of resiliency when we needed one. Finding out that her mother is now dealing with the uncertainty that comes with a diagnosis was not easy for my mother-in-law.
The additional stress and anxiety caused by such a diagnosis may be earth-shattering for someone dealing with a sense of uncertainty surrounding their own health. It made the situation seem hopeless to my wife and me, too. We’re very close to my wife’s grandmother, so the news came as a complete shock to us. We felt like we’d just had the wind knocked out of us.
Caregivers must also care for themselves
A caregiver may be the rock that a neuropathy patient needs in times of hopelessness. We immediately found ourselves doing our best to console my mother-in-law, while feeling blindsided by the news ourselves. We can only impart that strength when we have the support we need during our times of stress.
It’s important that we practice self-care and give attention to our own mental health when we’re in charge of caring for someone else’s physical and mental well-being. At times, this may require controlling things that are difficult for us to control. We may need to enlist others to help us cope.
Ways to manage caregiver anxiety
Our close friends help my wife and me navigate tough times. They share in our burdens and offer advice when we need it. Caregivers facing a situation that increases their anxiety, as well as their patient’s, need their support group to help them manage their thoughts and emotions.
My wife and I have resolved to be proactive in providing extra support to my mother-in-law at this time of crisis. Since the diagnosis is relatively recent, we’re not sure how the situation will pan out. It’s important for us as caregivers to understand our circumstances and not let them become overwhelming. This will help us be on our “A” game when our loved one is hurting, too.
Note: FAP News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of FAP News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to familial amyloid polyneuropathy.