How To Free Your Mind of Worry When Your Loved One Has Alzheimer's
There were many times when my mom was living with Alzheimer's that I would find myself in a never-ending spiral of worry. I would start thinking about how things might play out in the future, and I would worry about how we would deal with it.
I desperately wanted to know how and when things were going to happen so that I could plan ahead. One thought would lead to another and another and then another. Before I knew it, my mind was spiraling out of control with worry about the future — a future which I had absolutely no control over.
Does this sound familiar? Do you find yourself doing the same thing?
If so, I have a few tips for how you can free your mind from constant worry about your loved one and the uncertain future. The next time you find yourself spiraling with worry, try reminding yourself...
Remain in the present
Worrying about something now is not going to keep it from happening in the future. You can torture yourself now with worry about how things might play out in the future, but that's not going to prevent any of those things from happening.
You have no control over the future. The only thing you can control is your own thoughts. Instead of making yourself sick with worry, try to focus on the present moment and find everything that is good in it. If there is nothing good about it, then simply focus on getting through it.
The limits of expecting the unexpected
Many of the things you are worried about might never happen. You can spend all your time coming up with solutions and plans for every possible scenario you can think of, but many of those things will never happen. It's important to remember that every person with Alzheimer's is different, and no two journeys are exactly alike.
I spent countless hours worrying about how I would handle it when my mom became incontinent. As far as I knew, that was an inevitable part of the disease, and I wanted to be prepared for it when it came. But it never did. My mom never became fully incontinent until the last three months of her life when she was bed-bound. You may be wasting precious time worrying about things that will never even happen.
Let the worry go
Worry cannot determine the future, but it can destroy the present. As I said, worrying about something is not going to prevent it from happening. No amount of worry has the ability to shape the future, but even a small amount of worry can ruin the present moment. You don't know how much time you have left with your loved one. You don't want to ruin it by being consumed with worry and unable to enjoy your time together.
The next time you find yourself in a downward spiral, catch yourself, stop, and take a deep breath. Ask yourself, "Will worrying about the future help or hurt me in this current moment?" I bet your answer will always be "no."
Take another deep breath and let the worry go. Focus on the here and now. See what you can do with that.
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