How will you feel as a carer?
It’s common for carers to experience a range of feelings about their new role and responsibilities, and many describe it as an emotional roller-coaster. Often these feelings are similar to those experienced by the person with cancer – some studies show that carers can have even higher levels of distress.
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Many carers find it reassuring to know that their feelings are a normal reaction to the demands of the role. This section describes some of the common emotions experienced by carers. It’s important to give yourself permission to take care of your own emotional wellbeing.
Start by thinking about how you have coped with difficult times in the past. If you have a history of anxiety or depression, this could make you more vulnerable now. It’s important to manage emotional distress – learn some strategies that may help you manage your feelings.
A sense of satisfaction
While caring can be challenging at times, many carers say that it can also be a rewarding experience. Providing support for someone can bring a sense of satisfaction, achievement and personal growth.
Knowing that you are supporting someone during a time of need can help you feel good about yourself. Being there for them and helping, even in small ways, can strengthen your relationship and create lasting memories.
You may not always feel a sense of satisfaction when you’re caring for someone on a day-to-day basis. But some people find that when their caring role ends, they are able to reflect on the positive and rewarding parts of their caring experience.
Download a PDF booklet on this topic.
Dr Laura Kirsten, Principal Clinical Psychologist, Nepean Cancer Care Centre, NSW; Mary Bairstow, Senior Social Worker, Cancer Centre, Fiona Stanley Hospital, WA; Anne Booms, Nurse Practitioner – Supportive and Palliative Care, Icon Cancer Centre Midland, WA; Dr Erica Cameron-Taylor, Staff Specialist, Department of Palliative Care, Mercy Hospice, Calvary Mater Newcastle, NSW; Tracey Gardner, Senior Psychologist, Cancer Counselling Service, Cancer Council Queensland; Louise Good, Cancer Nurse Consultant, WA; Verity Jausnik, Senior Policy Officer, Carers Australia; David Larkin, Cancer Supportive Care Manager, Canberra Region Cancer Centre, Canberra Hospital and Health Service, ACT; Kate Martin, Consumer; John McMath, Consumer; Simone Noelker, Physiotherapist and Wellness Centre Coordinator, Ballarat Regional Integrated Cancer Centre, VIC; Tara Redemski, Senior Physiotherapist – Cancer Care, Gold Coast University Hospital, QLD; Dean Rowe, Consumer; Chris Sibthorpe, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council Queensland.
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