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For Patients and Caregivers Who Feel Overwhelmed


by Carmen L. Colon-Sauls, BA, RN


Friends…just the fact that you are reading this article at this very moment in time and space says to me you are searching.

So, who are you?
Are you the caregiver feeling frustrated, overwhelmed or over-extended by the person or situation you are responsible for? Is your own wellness on the line here?    OR
Are you the person requiring the medical assistance or medical nurturing? How did you get there in the first place?

O.K. let us start with those of you who are the caregivers.
Ask your self:

  • How did this situation occur?

  • Did I volunteer?

  • Was I hired?

  • Was there no one else to provide this care?

  • Am I sharing this responsibility with others?

  • I have no clue how it all began. I just know I’m here and it is getting to be more than I can handle.     OR

  • I have no clue how I got here and it is more than I can handle!

  • How can I turn this into a positive, healthy situation?

  • What do I get from providing this care?Income?Companionship?Control?A feeling of self-worth?Time with someone I care about?Trying to make up for time lost with that person?

Please…be very honest with yourself…no one can hear your thoughts. There are no right or wrong answers…just honest ones. Take time to think about this. Be honest and gentle with yourself!

All right, now for those of you requiring the medical assistance and nurturing. I bet you thought I forgot about you.
Ask yourself:

  • How did your illness occur?

  • Did I see it coming?

  • Was there anything I could have done to prevent it?

  • Am I capable of providing this care for myself?If I am (be really honest with yourself!) …Why is someone else providing this care for me?

  • What do I gain from it?Companionship?Control?Time off from “life”?Quality of life?

Take time to really evaluate your present situation.Be honest and kind with yourself…your situation.

For those of you who have asked the questions and truly took the time to gently, lovingly and methodically remove the fluff answers and reach the heart of your situation…I say this to you…Congratulations…for this is not an easy task.

Take a minute to think about it.

When we hand over our wellness to someone else, we are really, I feel, handing over control of many aspects of our lives: Our wellness, our spirits, our decision-making abilities…and so much more.

How can you make decisions about your life if you have handed it over lock stock and barrel to someone else? How do you know what their motives and/or needs are? How are both of your spirits growing toward a positive path?

People, this is your life!
This is your journey!

Talk to your caregiver about you, about them.
Both of you sit down with the above questions and see if you are a good fit for each other? What changes can be made? Start small; work your way through each need/situation. Improve one thing at a time. Have fun. HOLD NO JUDGEMENTS!

You can start by doing these simple ACTION steps:

  1. Answer the questions provided above.

  2. Read online American Holistic Health Association (AHHA) pamphlet Wellness From Within: The First Step.

  3. Be open to your ability to change, grow, and make informed choices that lead to your wellness. Be kind and gentle with yourself as you change and grow.

  4. Read anything and everything you can on how your subconscious mind works.

  5. See yourself as slowly regaining control over your choices and life.

  6. See yourself as part of a global community that has questions to be researched and healthy choices to be made.

  7. If the caregiver and patient are partners in life, PLEASE, read the book Creating a Spiritual Relationship by Paul Ferrini.

  8. Learn what body, mind, heart connection really means.

  9. Explore what abilities, gifts, and wisdom you have and how you can share them, starting with yourself.

  10. Know that we are all spirit and what that really means.

Read together to find out the answers. Whenever possible research life together…So much can be gained by everyone!

You know…just because a situation seems helpless now DOES NOT mean it needs to stay that way.

Please, caregivers and patients change your roles from caregiver/patient to teacher/student and take turns playing your new roles.

I understand that many of you are physically and emotionally exhausted, but giving up or not participating in your wellness is not going to empower you nor improve your situation.

Try this approach:

  1. Know that you have choices that are empowering.

  2. Know that it is not easy to change old, established life patterns, but they can be changed for the better.

  3. Know that only you can begin the change for your personal situation.

  4. Know that everyone around you may not be thrilled with your empowerment because that frequently means that they, too, have to make changes. How about approaching it as a team change, where you all grow. Hold no judgements!

  5. Once your caregiver realizes you are fully committed to getting well, he/she will then be inspired to encourage you in your commitment. The caregiver, too, needs to be encouraged and enlightened in order to make positive changes.

  6. Know that you are not alone.

  7. Smile.

We all have the ability to make changes and choices that are good and healthy for us. The time to start discovering that is now. You can do this! Take charge of your health…Take charge of your life!

Carmen L. Colon-Sauls, BA, RN is a Complementary Health Care Provider working as a Healing Consultant and Facilitator in California. Her career has allowed her to train, teach, and work around the world. However, her philosophy is always take care of those at home first. Carmen’s deep interest in the relationship between caregivers and those requiring assistance began when as a teenager she was the caregiver for her mother who battled with cancer and depression. As an R.N. Carmen worked in Critical Care, Managed Health Care as Case Manager, and as a Home Health Nurse. You can contact Carmen at (916) 564-1996 or


The American Holistic Health Association has compiled a collection of self-help articles to support your efforts to enhance your own health and well-being.

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