caregiver feeling guilty and depressed

Do you feel like you’re doing the best you can, all the time?

No matter how hard I try, it gets to me sometimes. Love alone isn’t enough for me to not lose my cool. Maybe it should be. Maybe it is for you. (is it?). But the pressure mounts…the bills are piling up, insurance is denying pre-approved claims, the laundry, the dishes, meals to be cooked, lunches to be packed, the mortgage is late. My boss is losing patience with how distracted I am and how I’m always late.

Sometimes I lose my cool. I yell. Or I just get that tone in my voice that shows how annoyed I am. And then I feel so guilty.

So guilty and so tired. I’m just so tired all the time.

It helps to hear how other caregivers feel this way, too. That maybe it’s not great, not okay, but understandable for me to not be as good as I want to be all the time.

“you’re doing the best you can, under difficult circumstances. Try not to be so hard on yourself, okay?” Denise M. G.

“forgive yourself, for not being able to do the impossible and for your very normal feelings. Those are feelings of frustration and they do not lessen the love you have for your parents…I had assumed I had to caregive alone, but then I found that there had been people I could call on for help all along. I should have spoken up.” – Nancy L.

“The hard truth is you can only do as much as you can do. It is terribly hard for us to accept that we cant fix it or do more more more. The best and most that we can do for those we love and care for is to love them and do what we can within reasonable parameters. You are giving them all that you can and you love them you have to accept that.” – Barbara F.

We all lose it from time to time. Whoever says they don’t probably doesn’t even know they did. Yes, Forgive yourself and move on. Longterm Caregiving is the hardest thing ever to do.” Diane L.B.

“Forgive yourself… happens to all of us more than we would like others to know! Being tired and stressed gets to the best of us and few among us are saints…we all do the best we can and just keep going!” – Micki T.

How do you keep your cool? And how do you forgive yourself when you lose it?

Written by Michelle Daly

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  1. Had one of those days yesterday

  2. Unfortunately i get so frustrated that occasionally i ignore my mom when she needs something.

    • I’ve been a family caregiver for many years so I know how you feel! Now I do paid caregiving for other people. Sometimes it still feels the same.

    • I’ve been a full time unpaid caregiver to my parents for over 21 yrs.
      I had to stop my pre med studies at USC to stay home 365 , 24/7.

    • Bob Hidalgo I gave up my dreams of becoming a doctor too. Being a caregiver means your life is no longer your own.

    • I’ll never have a life until my parents are gone.

  3. sometimes ‘good enough’ is the best you can do, most of the time. some days, moving the wet laundry from the washing machine into the dryer is the best you can do.

  4. I can relate to this. It’s weird that I read this article tonight because I was just having these feelings of guilt of times that I let my frustrations show. My mom has lewey body dementia and is in a nursing home now but we cared for her at home for almost three years. The last year she was total care and unable to do anything for herself. Now that she is in the nursing home I have feelings of guilt at times for the moments I let my frustrations show. :/

  5. Thank you so much for this. I feel the same way. I lose it and and yell at my aunt and then I hate myself. I should know better I am an LPN I cared for many dementia patients but a family member is so very different. I have known “Tillie” all my life she always was difficult person to begin with. We often bickered many times but I have a hard time discerning where her personality ends and dementia begins.

  6. Yet others live to pile it back on you.

  7. The guilt is due to our overwhelming love and dedication for a better and different life for our loved ones and ourselves. Feel it, but don’t stay in a negative place too long. Love to all, it’s not easy

  8. My husband is terminally ill and right now I’am watching his 18 year old chihuahua that we have had since he was 6 weeks old passaway in front of me. I feel so overwhelmed right now.

    • That is overwhelming Big hug .

    • I’m sorry, how very sad for you! 🙁 (I have to say, I have cried my eyes out over the passing of my beloved animals more than my relatives. It’s the TRUTH.)

    • I’m so sorry you are going through that. I know how heartbreaking it must be to watch your dog die while dealing with your husband’s illness as well. Our pets become like our children.

  9. Guilt is a useless emotion. We are doing the best we can.


    • How odd. I certainly wished ‘life was different’, 24/7, for a couple of years and I never once felt one minute of ‘guilt’. I only wished the stress would be OVER.

  11. Glad to know it isn’t just me who feels this way

    • Thought the same thing Miss Karla

  12. I feel very guilty when I go on vacation. I always make sure there are people to watch over my mom while I’m away but I still feel guilty while on vacation

  13. I’ve felt all that you’re feeling. You’re human just like every one of us- just like the person who we are caring for. When I lose my cool, I remove myself from the situation, feel the feelings and then let go. It’s not easy and lingering feelings of guilt may follow you but at the end of day, you’ve done the best that you can. Put it to bed and take each new day as it comes.

  14. Don’t forget that your human and losing your cool is an outlet so you don’t break down. Go for a walk when you can and scream and rant and rave in the great outdoors, get it out of your system. Have a good friend you can rant to and recieve the empathy you so deserve.

  15. Oh the guilt can be overwhelming. I lost my Mother 2 months ago and I regret any time I lost it, any thing I couldn’t or didn’t do for her. Being the single caregiver you get so tired and so burned out I tell you in hindsight do everything you can because regrets are painful!

  16. Try to forgive yourself, I lived it too and didn’t understand, but my Pastor assured me it is normal when one feels overwhelmed. Pray everyday and ask and accept help.

  17. I try not to yell but I do on occasion and yes it makes me feel very guilty.

  18. I can relate- I don’t mean to yell when I do, but I have little help and get stressed so easily now with all I have going on. No one should be put in this position to feel guilty.

    • Our Parkinson Support group speaker, was so uplifting. She used Kubler Ross, work on the stages of grief. I am back in perspective again, hope it last.

    • Judy Jaqua I hope so too! Try to stay in the zone and if you slip, don’t be too upset about it. Just pick yourself up and try again. I’m facing rough days, I’ll need that advice myself❤️ (((hugs!)))

  19. I have learned that when I loose my cool. It’s because I haven’t been taking good care of myself. I don’t feel guilty like I used to. It’s normal and were human. We can only do so much. It doesn’t mean we don’t love who were taking care of. We love them to much is why we get burned out. We need help. Bottom line. We need to give ourselves a break and refresh and don’t be so hard on yourself. When your at that crabby end. Find a way to retreat. God bless Marie Grace


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