I just read that all caregiver coping strategies aren’t equal.
In Every Victory Counts, a free manual for living well with Parkinson’s Disease that has info that applies for MSA and other neurological diseases, a section on caregivers talks about the emotional impacts of caregiving on the partner.
Apparently there are two major categories of caregiver coping strategies, and based on our personality and the level of stress, we default to one or the other – either emotion- based coping or problem solving coping.
Caregiver emotion-based strategies are things like avoidance (not so successful), meditation, religion, etc – things to help with the emotions.
Caregiver problem-based strategies are things like seeking opinions from multiple providers, searching for complementary therapies, focusing on managing the disease symptoms.
According to studies, problem based coping leads to lower levels of distress in situations involving chronic disease.
I think I do both, and personally think both are necessary.
The emotional strategies help you manage the stress so you can stay present and think. The problem strategies give you some sense of relief because they are action based and you at least feel like you can control the actions you take, if not the disease.
So today we are taking action. I’ve made an appointment with the primary care doc about Larry’s breathing, which I wrote about yesterday and has continued to be a challenge. I’ve recorded about twenty seconds of his labored breathing on my phone so that if, as seems to happen, the symptom doesn’t show up in the doctor’s office, I can play it for him to hear.
We’ll see what happens.