Caregivers are capable, responsible and extraordinary individuals. We show up and often put our own lives on hold to care for the lives of others. We remain committed to those we care for.
I rarely hear about a caregiver who threw in the towel half way along the journey. We are in it for the long haul, no matter what that may mean. Obviously this type of loyalty and commitment is perfect for the caregiving experience and those we care for benefit from these wonderful qualities.
The interesting thing about most caregivers, however, is that while we are so giving and committed to those we love and care for, we can neglect ourselves and the very traits that make us brilliant caregivers can stand in the way of our own care and comfort.
Our commitment and sense of responsibility can be harmful to us!
Our commitment and sense of duty often allow us no room to accept the fact that we get tired, frustrated or overwhelmed. We feel so responsible that we can't bear the fact that we are human and sometimes can't do it all by ourselves. We even feel guilty about needing help, as though it makes us bad people or bad caregivers.
Nothing can be further from the truth. Caregiving takes a village and we are not superhuman. Asking for help from family friends and outside professionals can save the day, not only by allowing us a much needed break and some relief but by allowing us to share our experience with others who can support and comfort us. We feel less alone, isolated and crazy.
Quite often when I reached out for help from family and friends, they were so happy and had actually been waiting for me to ask. I was told they wanted to help but never knew what to offer. I quickly found ways and times I could use the extra pair of hands! Because I had back up, I began to take some down time and didn't need to be in two places at once. The relief was heaven sent.
Another wonderful source of support for me was picking up the phone to share what I was going through with someone who loved and supported me. I enlisted various family members and friends to be there for me when I needed to vent or run something by them.
Overcoming my guilt about needing help was so important!
Overcoming my guilt and embarrassment about needing help was probably the single most important action I took for myself and the care of my loved ones. By making sure I got respite, support and daily interaction with helpful family, friends and community resources, I became less stressed, tired and frustrated. I was then able to be calmer and more centered as a caregiver.So throw the guilt out the window and give everyone, including yourself a break! Get some help! Even if you just ask someone if they would available to help in the future you are on your way to getting the relief you need and deserve. Relief is a phone call or conversation away. Make a commitment today to reach out and ask for help. Miracles will happen when you do!