Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness

Gaining a Sense of Control

Welcome to Caregiver Friday!!!

Let’s face it, we all have control issues.  Can you think of anything greater than everyone in the world responding the way you want them to?  Wouldn’t life be so much easier if all you had to do is pass out pages of a script for everyone to read from so the plot moves along and there’s no tension?  It would be great, but it would also be boring.  So how can we gain a sense of control without becoming control freaks?  After all, caregiving or being a wellness partner could become a slippery slope to the command center of the “Kingdom of Control”.  Now you may be wondering why I say that when it often feels that you have absolutely no control over the situation…that’s the conundrum.

So what do you have control over?  The only thing you have control over is how you respond to each and every interaction.  You have no control over whether the patient takes his or her medication.  (I’ve seen too many patients “cheek” the medication.  That’s where you give them the pill, they hide it on the side of their cheek till you leave and then they spit it out)  You have no control over whether the patient eats or drinks.  You have no control over the patient’s desire or wish to get well.

The question for you, the caregiver, is how will you handle each and every decision.  This is both on the intellectual/factual level, and on the emotional and spiritual level.  You may be surprised that they all don’t match, but that’s one of the things that makes us human.  It’s about isolating each experience and evaluating it for its own merit.  The tendency is to collect them and then when they you can’t hold any more having a melt down because of overwhelm.

This creates an interesting discussion.  If you take each experience separately, make a decision and move on do you have the consciousness to consider that experienced completed.  That means not taking the emotional baggage from one experience and super-imposing it on the up and coming experience.  This could be or possibly is one of the greatest spiritual practices monks around the world are trying to achieve, so you’re in good company.

It’s really about keeping your side of the street clean.  Clarity can be freeing and that’s how you gain your sense of control.

Do you have an instance you’d like to share?  How do you assume a sense of control as a caretaker?  What have you learned that you’d like to pass on to others?


I've lived my life in service to others. I'm focused on mental health and how it impacts our relationships, culture, and society. Through creative expression and narrative I believe we can impact change.

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