When my little quirks stay that way, my mental health is better

Heightened anxiety and obsessiveness don't go well with caregiving

Alliah Czarielle avatar

by Alliah Czarielle |

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Good mental health is crucial for caregivers of people with chronic illnesses. As a wife to someone with severe hemophilia B and epilepsy, I’ve seen firsthand how mental health matters to both patient and caregiver. I have to balance my husband’s needs with my own physical and mental health. Every caregiver should.

Around my birth month this year, I experienced a long bout of heightened anxiety. The physical symptoms were debilitating, making it difficult for me to be the mom and carer I aspired to be. The fear of not being able to perform my duties compounded my anxiety, creating a vicious cycle.

On a regular day, my attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and bipolar disorder manifest in a few annoying quirks and some obsessive tendencies. These obsessions can consume hours of my day as I overthink minor issues, such as a scratch on a valuable item. When put into perspective, though, these tiny if consuming feelings pale in comparison with my husband’s bleeds or seizures or the intense anxiety I experienced.

Despite their relative insignificance, these obsessions can hijack my brain, making them seem crucial. They’ve been a major source of frustration for me over the years.

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How my mind budgets its resources

When I’m in “emergency mode” — attending to my husband during an active bleed, managing household chores, fulfilling my duties as a mother, or experiencing a high point of anxiety or mental distress — I don’t have the mental space to obsess over trivial concerns. My limited mental resources are directed toward solving more significant problems.

During these times, if I ding my watch or glasses, I barely notice. My focus is on stabilizing myself and ensuring that my sense of being overwhelmed doesn’t escalate. In these moments, I don’t feel like myself. All my energy is directed toward survival, and my primary goal is to get out of this mentally exhausting state. My usual trivial concerns are pushed aside, not because I find relief in ignoring them, but because I simply don’t have the capacity to address them.

Embracing mental wellness through therapy

Seeking talk therapy for my anxiety has made a world of difference. That, alongside prescribed emergency medicines and a consistent gym routine, have me feeling significantly better. The dizziness that comes with my anxiety is greatly diminished, and I can now walk outside without trembling.

And that means I feel more equipped to handle household chores and support my husband during his bleeds.

With improved mental health, I’ve regained the capacity to care about the little things. When I spot a tiny scratch on my glasses, I can afford to feel slightly annoyed and wonder about its origin. This shift signals that my mind is no longer overwhelmed by larger concerns.

Maintaining this balance requires mindfulness. I need to be conscious of my emotions to prevent me from spiraling into a dark place. By allowing my rational mind to prevail, I remind myself that these small issues pale in comparison with the bigger challenges I face.

Therapy and self-awareness are indispensable in managing my mental health, enabling me to fulfill my roles as a caregiver and mother more effectively.

Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, Bionews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.


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