Surprisingly, there doesn't seem to be a correlation between the length of time care has been provided and the amount of stress felt by the caregiver [source: Parks]. This seems to indicate that our personal coping strategies -- the way we deal with adversity -- has more to do with our sense of increased burden than most other factors.
With increased feelings of isolation, guilt or even anger, abuse of alcohol, prescription drugs or street drugs can seem like an avenue of escape or relief. Of course, taking this route only adds to one's burdens and inability to cope with the situation at hand.
Don't forget how important a role you are playing for the care recipient, the family and even the community. It may not have been the life you envisioned leading at this time in your life, but there is great value and nobility in your efforts. Don't forget that you're not an expert. You're a concerned and caring person doing the best you can. Make time to connect with a friend, confidante, counselor or spiritual advisor. Sometimes just having someone listen is more important than what's actually being said.
Many of us internalize our anxiety instead of reaching out for help, as we discussed earlier. Other family members may be waiting for a cue from you -- a more obvious cue than you may think is necessary -- before they get involved. Give them the cue they need.