parent burnout/caregiver stress


New Member
Parents with special needs kids face huge levels of stress and burnout----

caregiver stress was a HUGE topic in the nursing school I went to, the entire first semester of classes was about care of self.
We had to take these surveys and they were supposedly an indicator/prediction of possible poor health falling upon you.
I took one of the surveys and scored well over 600. Alas not very long after, my RA hit so hard I was bedridden for quite a long time.
I knew the people who put this site together, and I shared those surveys from my nursing class with them to put on their site.


Active Member
Thanks these are interesting. I took the life stress test right after my divorce and scored so high I should've been comatose. I'm still here plugging away. lol


New Member

thanks so much for posting this. I found the first article on the stress test stuff very interesting. and the bodysoul one very good in terms of addressing all the different ways one can deal with stress.

I am wondering for those of you that have some help from someone(therapists?) addressing the stress issue. What do they do that you find most helpful? I guess I am thinking for myself that I try to do at least some of what is recommended (exercise, etc), but there doesn't seem to be anyone in my life that helps me affirm how stressful this all is and helps me deal with it. (MOstly I get from my parenting counselor discussions of what problems I am having with the kids and how i could handle things differently). I wonder how important it would be to have that affirmation, how to get it, whether it has helped any of you. I am thinking that maybe "traditional" therapists may not be the best people to help...

Don't know whether that makes any sense. Insomnia is one of my big reactions to all the stress and I am very weary...


I'm just going to take a sleeping pill and go to bed now having been up all night again. Yes, insomnia is a problem for many of us.

I find the affirmation here, on the board. No one else really understands except other parents so I don't bother. Having said that, some social worker and therapist types who have been with us a long time see the toll it has taken on me and understand to some extent. When they have been to mtg after mtg, court hearings, etc for years with you, when they have spent hours trying to get your difficult child to see sense, been to the psychiatrist with you,... they get as frustrated with the whole thing (and with your difficult child) as you do so they do understand. But how many are with you for that long? In the end, even though I know they have some clue, it doesn't really help much. One other note, it also helps them understand if they are parents.

I haven't done any specific anti-stress work with a counselor. I have talked to my therapist about which techniques I'm using and whether or not those could use improvement. Personally I think taking some kind of yoga class, aerobics class meditation class or whatever would be more helpful. My DBT group does do a couple moments of meditation at the beginning and end of each class. Again, not very helpful but interesting in that each time it's done differently.

As non-difficult child understanding people have said to me when I comment on my stress.."we all have stress" or "we all have family problems". So I do think the best thing you can do is to focus on your stress reduction techniques rather than pursue the affirmation which will come in time.


New Member
I have had therapists suggest specific things that I found very helpful.

Meditation is something you can do today, and that will help. The deep breathing that is done in meditation works because it signals our bodies that everything is fine. This changes the chemicals circulating in our bloodstreams, which in turn calms the mind. When you meditate, you learn to disregard your own thoughts. That is key to permanent change. We can learn to look at our anxiety dispassionately.

Try sitting quietly with your eyes closed or slightly open ~ either way, it doesn't matter. Set a timer for five minutes. All you need to do is sit there and not think. Concentrate on your breath, on breathing in, deeply and slowly, and on breathing out again ~ deeply and slowly.

Whatever thoughts come up, tell yourself you will think of them, later.

If they refuse to go away, jot them down on a piece of paper you set up beside yourself before you begin.

If you try it and it helps, increase the time to ten minutes a week from now.

Anything we do to help ourselves is an indication that we are ready to change the way our lives are going.

I wish you well.

Suz, from PE, told me to read The Serenity Prayer until I got it. I did that, and it worked ~ especially when I was too worried to sleep. It helped me, to say it again and again, in the dark.

Here it is, for you.

I hope it as as helpful for you as it was for me.