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Isolation: Fear's Breeding Ground

Hope for the Caregiver / Peter Rosenberger
The Truth Network Radio
March 24, 2021 3:00 am

Isolation: Fear's Breeding Ground

Hope for the Caregiver / Peter Rosenberger

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March 24, 2021 3:00 am

How we deal with fear remains one of the bigger challenges for family caregivers. All too often, our loneliness and isolation foster so many dark thoughts and fears that we can become paralyzed ...or worse. 

In this special episode, John and  I delve into this topic with our usual goofy selves .,..and in a way that helps shed some light into dark places for caregivers. 

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Have you ever left the stove on? I'll be honest, you know you have.

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And what about your loved one who's living alone? Or what about families with a special needs child who may accidentally leave aluminum foil on the plate, put it in the microwave, or a fork on the plate, and it starts smoking up? These are things that we can avert with fire avert. F-I-R-E-A-V-E-R-T. Go out there and look at it today. We've seen all these homes and seen all the damage that could have been avoided.

And so we came up with a great idea that did this, and guess what? It's working, and hundreds of thousands of homes across the country are using fire avert. Let yours be one of them. Use the promo code CAREGIVER and get an even greater discount than the already low price. It's a great gift to give to yourself, to a loved one, and to a caregiver you know. Promo code CAREGIVER. Welcome back to Hope for the Caregiver. This is Peter Rosenberg and this is the show for you as a family caregiver. Healthy caregivers make better caregivers.

And we're working hard to help you find that path to healthiness for yourself, not just physical healthiness, emotional healthiness, spiritual healthiness, financial healthiness, and professional healthiness, all of the above, so that you can live a calmer, healthier, and dare I say it, a more joyful life. And as always, I am with the man himself. He is delightful, de-lovely, and he is de-butler. John Butler, everyone.

John Butler, the Count of Mighty Disco, and he's so tall. I really need you to email that file to me yesterday. I cannot tell you the joy that is brought to me. I can understand because I know how much joy I am experiencing right now. And I played that in the car for Gracie and she just about doubled over. And then I sent it to Ed. I played it for him yesterday and Ed was laughing.

This is beyond the pale of great. And to have a world-class jiggle singer sing that for me, Hank has been doing this a long time. And he's been just an incredible singer and he's worked with everybody, Dolly Parton, he's done it all.

And then he got in the studio and cut that and he was laughing while he was doing it. He was having a good time. So John, you bring joy to a lot of lives. All right. I wanted to jump into a topic. Rather serious, but I think we can handle this without us going into a dark place. Fear is a tough topic for so many caregivers. There are a lot of things out there that are fear-worthy.

And I talked about this on the broadcast show yesterday. And I opened the phone lines up and sure enough, the calls just were coming and coming and coming about fear. And one guy in particular, he's been going over to see his wife with Alzheimer's. She's in a facility and he looks through the window every day. He can't go in and see her. And he broke down on the air and he said, I'm afraid she's going to forget my name.

And with Alzheimer's, she most likely will unless she passes away before it completely takes control of her. And these are heartbreaking fears, but we also have a lot of other fears that are not necessarily founded in reality, but they feel real to us. And so I wanted just to get your thoughts on fear.

Just jump in. Yeah. The thing you mentioned there, I wasn't going to go in this direction, but that's kind of the fun of all this. But the emotions we experience, the emotion of fear, the fearfulness that we're experiencing is not fake. It doesn't matter if the fear is logical or reasonable at all.

Those feelings are still real. Even if it's something we've just made up or we're overthinking something. Oftentimes that doesn't even it doesn't matter how reasonable the fear is. It matters how it's affecting us and how it is going to affect our decision making process and how it affects our quality of life. And that's a real important thing, especially when you're speaking to someone who is experiencing this type of fear, to make sure that you give space and grace to that very reality driven part of this, that the fear exists separate from the probability of an outcome.

I want to go back to something you said. It affects our decision making process. One of the issues for me as a caregiver now for lo these many decades and is that I've allowed fear to enter into my decision making process on pretty much every level. And so I when I set out to do the show. And I've talked about the fear, obligation and guilt, the fog of caregivers. This is what paralyzes us and causes us to get hurt. What I what I thought was I went back to that old axiom knowledge is power. And the more educated become we become about these issues, the less gripping the fear is over us.

And so like when I had on, you remember a couple weeks ago when I had on Dr. Shannon Seri from Vanderbilt with talking about cancer and talking about chemo and so forth. OK, now we've talked about it. We're not going in cold to this situation.

We just finished the situation talking about elder law. You know, it's a it's a nebulous thing. We don't know much about. We feel inadequate. And any time we feel inadequate, we we often feel fearful as a as a close second to that inadequacy.

And so the more I bring in these specialists that talk about these issues, the I think the better chance we have as caregivers to make better decisions because we're taking away that stigma. And and so go ahead. Give me some of those quotes, because I know you. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Beautiful quotes.

Well, this is from one of the smartest people that probably ever walked the planet. And Mary, thank you for that. Thank you. Oh, I'm sorry. Harry Kerry. Yeah. No, Mary Kerry.

Oh, I thought you said Harry Kerry. Marie. But this is from her. Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more so that we may fear less.

And I really like that. And now there are some real things now. She probably should have been at least a little more cautious with radium. You think? Yeah, but she was the she was the first one to mess with it.

So there's yeah, there was no pressure. Right. But she did all that and and learned so much about it that we can be a little less fearful about radioactivity and this very damaging thing.

But the only reason we can be less fearful of it is because she was interested in understanding more than fear. And I just I really like that. And see, there was one more that that really works with us and was from Ralph Waldo Emerson. I know you like him a lot. Yeah, I do. Isn't it weird that as I get older, because when I was in school, I didn't care much for it, but as I get older, I've come to value poetry so much more. Isn't that kind of weird? Well, I mean, I think that that's one of those parts of of just becoming a more mature individual that we we can look to.

Said no one ever about me. Well, this was this was what you were talking about earlier that you've made. You've you've allowed fear to influence your decision making process an awful lot. This is what I was going to say first. And it's from it's from Emerson.

Fear defeats more people than any other one thing in the world. And I think I would concur with that. Yeah.

Yeah. So and I look at my fellow caregivers and and so when you get the diagnosis of cancer, for example, I mean, you're you know, it is it is gut wrenching. It's a kick in the gut when you when you see Alzheimer's and it's spinning out of control. And I've talked to more and more people about this or, you know, a special needs child. And they tell you that this child is going to require this, this, this for life. And all of a sudden and I've I've talked to parents about this, you know, with a they're never going to walk that little girl down the aisle.

He's never going to play baseball, you know, that kind of stuff. Yeah. And and and their whole life just kind of comes crashing down. What are we going to do?

How are we going to do this? You know, all that kind of stuff. And what I've hoped to do through the show and through the books I've written and everything else I do is to be able to help people step back a ways. When you've been fearful of something now, I know that you're John Butler and fears.

Well, a four letter word to you. But but when you've been that is not the case. What are some things that you've you've done to help you distance that from it? I mean, distance yourself from that. I was hoping that you would get to this or just ask a question along those lines or I was going to try to bring this up to like, how do we get through fear? How do we you know, we talk about fear being this this thing that may or may not, you know, fear in the short term can be very, very useful.

I fear getting hit by the bus, so I'm going to step out of the way sort of thing. But how do we deal with those long term crippling fears? And I don't know if I'm an authority on the matter. You're an authority on how you deal with it.

Right. On how I deal with it. And sometimes I deal with it in not necessarily the healthiest of ways through distraction or through, you know, short term fixes or things like that. But the way I deal with or when I when I do it the best, it's a lot like what Madame Curie had to say.

You try to get as much of as much information and understanding about this probably nebulous thing right off the bat. And I really tried to train myself out of reacting well, like we talk about a lot, not not reacting, but responding. And with if I am afraid, recognize that I am afraid and understand that I'm afraid and really have that that idea locked down. And then when I do realize that, understand that decisions that I make may need to be a little bit slower, may need to be a little bit more thought out, maybe need to be a little bit less gut, less heart and more head because they both have intentional and deliberate. Correct.

Yes. And try to be as deliberate about things as possible, even though sometimes it's difficult to and not take that to the extreme where I'm not never take a risk. Because sometimes we do have to, you know, like, I don't want to get another car payment.

And when I had this this car paid off or something like that, but the car is not working right now and I don't have the money for a car and I got to get to work. You know, and like, so let's do something that maybe is risky and maybe we don't want to do it, but try to have as big a handle on that as possible and do all the math or as much of the math as is appropriate beforehand. But yes, seeking understanding and really recognizing that I am afraid is how I deal with fear in the best way. And like I said, just knowing that these decisions need to be not firing from the hip sort of thing.

You know, I really concur with that. And I'll give you a real time example. Well, not a real time because it happened 30 years ago. It was a real example.

This is your primary source material. Yeah. Gracie, when she was making the decision to amputate her right leg, this was her first amputation. She went to, on the advice of her surgeon, he said, I want you to go meet with this guy. His name is Jim McElhaney and he's a prosthetist there in Nashville. In fact, I think Parker was in a, he was just a toddler when she first met him.

Maybe, I don't know if he was three. And she went to go down to his office, taking Parker with him, and she limped in because her legs were, you know, just really in bad shape, and we're looking at her right leg first. And she met with this guy and she didn't know anything about prosthetics. And here she is, you know, approaching the decision to have her own leg amputated.

And I don't think she was 26 years old. And this was not a decision that was going to be made for her. She had to be the one to make the decision. So she went out and talked to Jim and talked about prosthetics. And then Jim, she didn't know this about him, but he was an amputee himself. And she didn't know. And she watched him walking around and he said, you know, I'm one. And she said, you're kidding me.

You're lying to me. And he said no, and he knocked on his leg. And she was stunned. You're pulling my leg.

You're pulling my leg. But she was stunned by this because he had such a healthy, normal walking gait. What she did in there is what you just described. She educated herself to the best of her ability. She deliberately went down there with intentional to understand this world of prosthetics.

Is this a viable opportunity for me? Because the thought of telling a surgeon to amputate your leg is a horrific thought. And she's done it twice. But it is one that she faced it with her eyes wide open. I've always admired her for this. I think Gracie has far more courage than I do. She has far more courage than most people do.

But I always admired her for that because she faced it with her eyes wide open and said, yeah, this scares the crap out of me. But I'm going to do it. And I'm going to educate myself and I'm going to empower myself through this process. And I'm not going to run from this. I'm going to face it. And I'm going to deal with it. I'm going to educate myself to the best of my abilities. And I'm going to do my due diligence. And I'm going to punch through this thing. And she had to go through the process.

And it was painful and it was scary. You know, my faith comes into this and certainly so does hers. And I recognize that. But it's hard to connect the dots with your faith sometimes. Because you understand the concept of, okay, God is sovereign.

God loves me and all this kind of stuff. I'm still having to have somebody amputate my leg. I'm still having to get up in the middle of the night and deal with these things. I've seen Gracie go into seizures.

I've seen her go into respiratory arrest and so forth. And these are real no kidding fear moments. God is not personally coming down to do the procedure. You're going to have to trust people in this and trust that he's guiding through this process. But it is a very scary thing. And for caregivers though, what I hope that happens with my fellow caregivers and with myself is that we don't get into a situation where we are paralyzed by our fear. That we can take even the tiniest of steps. In her case, she literally took steps to go meet with the prosthetist and say, okay, is this even a possibility and if so, what does this look like? And she was able to chop this.

No, that's a bad choice of words. She was able to put this decision into smaller pieces so that she didn't have to take the whole enchilada at one time and make it manageable. And I think that's a healthier way to do this for us as caregivers no matter what we're dealing with. Whether it's Alzheimer's, mental illness, addiction, anything that seems beyond our control, and most things are. We don't have to fight it all in one day.

This is Hope for the Caregiver. We'll talk about this more when we get back. This is Peter Rosenberg along with John Butler, the Count of Mighty Disco. He's so tall. And you'll hear his theme song often. And we're glad to have you with us.

We'll be right back. Have you ever struggled to trust God when lousy things happen to you? I'm Gracie Rosenberger and in 1983, I experienced a horrific car accident leading to 80 surgeries and both legs amputated. I questioned why God allowed something so brutal to happen to me.

But over time, my questions changed and I discovered courage to trust God. That understanding along with an appreciation for quality prosthetic limbs led me to establish Standing with Hope. For more than a dozen years, we've been working with the government of Ghana and West Africa, equipping and training local workers to build and maintain quality prosthetic limbs for their own people. On a regular basis, we purchase and ship equipment and supplies.

And with the help of inmates in a Tennessee prison, we also recycle parts from donated limbs. All of this is to point others to Christ, the source of my hope and strength. Please visit to learn more and participate in lifting others up. That's I'm Gracie, and I am standing with hope. He will be strong, but he'll never be saved. The joy of the Lord is my strength. The joy of the Lord, the joy of the Lord, the joy of the Lord is my strength. Welcome back to Hope for the Caregiver. This is Peter Rosenberger. We're glad to have you with us. That's Gracie with Russ Taft.

I tell you, we're talking about fear, and she was very nervous because he's a big-time hero of hers musically, and when she got to meet him and do this with him, but it was such a great moment, and she just knuckled down and sang the song. I'm back here with himself. You know him. You love him. He's John Butler, everyone.

John Butler, the Count of Mighty Disco, and he's so tall. How many cuts are there? We have a lot, and we're going to do more. We're going to do more. Oh, no. I love it. No, no, no. Stop. No, come on, come on. No, stop. As Larry the Cable Guy says, remain seated.

Remain seated. But no, we're talking about fear and how we as caregivers can take steps in a healthier direction. We're going to have things that are fear-worthy. It is frightening, and there's a difference between being scared, nervous, or anxious, and then being paralyzed with fear.

We still have decisions to make, and so what is it they say? Courage is not the absence of fear, but a greater presence of devotion. Right, and you do not have courage without fear. If you have, quote, courage without fear, that's just recklessness.

Yeah, and not even really based on a lot of it, some of it is reality. Right, right. Well, I got one more quote for you that kind of ties in with the last of it. Give me a quote, John. Herman Melville. Oh, yes. The anti-transcendentalist.

But ignorance is the parent of fear. I agree. I think so. By the way, did you ever see the, I know you're a big Patrick Stewart fan, did you ever see Patrick Stewart?

I did. Oh, yeah, Moby Dick with Patrick Stewart. He was spectacular in that. Oh, yeah. Well, he's one of the best actors out there.

He was particularly good in that one, though, because, you know, he's doing this. And you think he's got a peg leg the way he's doing this. I don't know how they pull that off, because that's... Well, you just unscrew it, you know. I got to stop. I mean, I'm just blundering into these things today with prosthetics and amputees. But this is wrong.

This is wrong. I'm afraid of this conversation. But no, I think for myself, John, and I have, I've been in those moments when it seems so dark and so frightening that I was almost paralyzed with fear. I couldn't move.

I didn't know what to do. And in the absence of not knowing what to do, instead of, and I found something even worse than being paralyzed with fear. When you go spastic in the wrong direction. Oh, yeah. Because then if you're paralyzed with fear, at least there's not quite as much mess to clean up.

But when you go spastic in the other direction, you create a lot of carnage and it can get a little gnarly. And so I've been in all these places and none of these things that I'm saying are things that I own or that I have somehow mastered. These are things that I've learned the hard way, and I want to go back and, and kind of put this out on the table and say, okay, is this something that is connecting with you as a fellow caregiver in this audience? And we have quite a few people now that are listening to the podcast, John, and I cannot separate the fact that the vast majority of them, the overwhelming vast majority of them are struggling with fear on some level.

If you're a caregiver for any length of time, this is going to come and just bite you in the rear. And so I wanted to give a little bit of thought. And I know that a lot of people, their faith is a guiding principle for this, and scripture says the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord and so forth, but that's a different kind of fear. Yeah, that's in awe.

That is not. Yeah, that's, and I, but I think the best thing for us is the way to deal with this, yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for thou art with me. We're not fearing because we have presence with us and his presence is there to guide us.

And guess what? He also, he also allows other people to be present with us in this. And I think that isolation, for me, I think isolation is the breeding ground for so many of our fears. We go into these dark, lonely, by-ourself places, and then our minds just go, it's like we just turn the keys to take it. And our minds will just go into all kinds of different scenarios.

Many of them will never happen. I think it was Voltaire who may have said, no, don't quote me on that. It was somebody important, John.

You know, John Candy or somebody, I don't know, somebody important. But it's said that, you know, I had many terrible things in my life. Most of them didn't happen, you know, kind of thing. And I think we do live in the wreckage of our future sometimes. We play out these scenarios where these horrific events are going to happen. And in the process, we miss the beautiful things that are available to us right here and right now in this moment. For us as caregivers, I cannot stress the absolute imperative need to live in the moment. Doesn't mean we don't plan for the future prepared like we just had in the earlier blocks.

We had elder law. We're planning for the future to do what to do with our state and so forth and family members. But we don't have to live in that place. And I think for us as caregivers, we tend to live five or 10 years down the road. Sometimes we're living, you know, maybe five months down the road, but it doesn't matter.

Let's live right now. For me, that's been the way I've dealt with it. I've had to learn to deal with it.

It doesn't come natural to me. It's something I have to mentally discipline. I'm going to live in the moment. I know that this is a problem and I'm going to have to face it, but I'm going to live here right now in this place and enjoy this moment and see the beauty and the joy and the peace that is available to me right now. And I will work towards this, but I'm not going to spaz out about it. I don't get that right every time, but I get it right more than I used to. That's yeah, progress is progress is progress, not progress rather than, and I think we see, okay, I'm not going to, I'm going to, I'm going to face all these things. No, I don't have to do that. I can't fight every battle on every front.

And I think one of the things for me that has helped me as a caregiver is realizing that there are a lot of fights that I just don't have to go to. I just don't have to participate in. And, and I heard a great quote. Cough, social media, cough, cough.

Yes, stay out and stay social media. And that one, it broils me in a lot of them. And, uh, but I try to avoid it. But that's that we can do it. We need to do a whole show on that.

Yeah, we probably do. But I, I heard a great quote the other day that a man's wealth is determined by how inexpensive his pleasures are. And, and it was, it was, you know, and, and I think that sometimes we think we have to have all these exotic things to bring us pleasure. But if you are, if you draw great pleasure from something so simple as a nap, a bowl of soup, a flower, the, the, the, the comfort of a dog, you know, I'm not going to say a cat. Cats aren't exercising boundaries, Peter.

All right. They have a practiced apathy. Well, I hope this has been helpful to you, my fellow caregivers and learning to just kind of detach from living way out in it and being panicked about it. And let's deal with today right here and then let other people into your life with it. That isolation is what breeds so much of this. And you don't have to do this alone.

You don't have to be alone. That's why we do the show. John, I've enjoyed it today. You are a blessing and I hope you enjoyed your theme songs. This is Peter Rosenberger, Hope for the Caregiver,

We'll see you next week. This is John Butler and I produce Hope for the Caregiver with Peter Rosenberger. Some of you know the remarkable story of Peter's wife, Gracie, and recently Peter talked to Gracie about all the wonderful things that have emerged from her difficult journey. Take a listen. Gracie, when you envision doing a prosthetic limb outreach, did you ever think that inmates would help you do that?

Not in a million years. When you go to the facility run by CoreCivic and you see the faces of these inmates that are working on prosthetic limbs that you have helped collect from all over the country that you put out the plea for and they're disassembling. You see all these legs like what you have, your own prosthetic legs and arms. When you see all this, what does that do to you? Makes me cry because I see the smiles on their faces and I know what it is to be locked someplace where you can't get out without somebody else allowing you to get out. Of course, being in the hospital so much and so long.

And so these men are so glad that they get to be doing, as one band said, something good finally with my hands. Did you know before you became an amputee that parts of prosthetic limbs could be recycled? No, I had no idea. You know, I thought of peg leg. I thought of wooden legs. I never thought of titanium and carbon legs and flex feet and sea legs and all that.

I never thought about that. As you watch these inmates participate in something like this, knowing that they're helping other people now walk, they're providing the means for these supplies to get over there, what does that do to you just on a heart level? I wish I could explain to the world what I see in there. And I wish that I could be able to go and say, this guy right here, he needs to go to Africa with us. I never not feel that way.

Every time, you know, you always make me have to leave. I don't want to leave them. I feel like I'm at home with them. And I feel like that we have a common bond that I would have never expected that only God could put together. Now that you've had an experience with it, what do you think of the faith based programs that CoreCivic offers?

I think they're just absolutely awesome. And I think every prison out there should have faith based programs like this because the return rate of the men that are involved in this particular faith based program and the other ones like it. What I know about this one is just an amazingly low rate compared to those who don't have them. And I think that that says so much. That doesn't have anything to do with me. It just has something to do with God using somebody broken to help other broken people. If people want to donate a used prosthetic limbs, whether from a loved one who passed away or, you know, somebody who outgrew them, you've donated some of your own for them to do. How do they do that? Oh, please go to slash recycle slash recycle. Thanks, Gracie.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-12 00:20:40 / 2023-12-12 00:33:09 / 12

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