Have you ever felt that your life is not your own? Are you constantly doing something for someone else? Sometimes I feel like I want to change my name and assume an anonymous alias. Do you sometimes feel like you can’t catch a break and are always in the middle of some challenge just waiting for it to plateau… however, when you turn around there is something else you have to contend with? If these questions seem to fit you and you can answer any of them with a resounding “Yes!”…you must be a caregiver on the verge of burn out.
Lately I’ve been feeling overwhelmed myself. I am feeling tired of having this responsibility and I just want to put all of this aside. I try to maintain a positive attitude. However, when faced with a grouchy sick person who has otherwise been for the most part reasonable to get along with, turn around and flip the script and act with the most unpleasant behavior and attitude toward you and others………… you start to question a few things. Why am I doing this? Why do I have to put up with this? Why is God allowing this to happen? How can I continue to deal with this and move forward with the things that I want for my life? Will I be able to pursue what I want?
I was caught in one of these moments in the past week. My father decided to be angry with everyone – himself, me, my mother, and the aide. His behavior was inexcusable. There’s nothing like trying to remain pleasant with someone who is being stubborn and refuses to listen to reason. As for me, I tried to reason with the irrational. At that point, an otherwise reasonable man was facing a pivotal point in his life – the thought or realization that he may never walk again on his own and will probably always need someone’s help.
At that moment, my Dad’s ability to be rational was severely compromised because his independence is slowly, “yet rapidly”, in his mind escaping him. My thought is why be mad at the world? Why be mad at me? I have endured so much with you…advocating on his behalf by talking to doctors, nurses, and all kinds of medical staff – so much so that I can say that I’ve been through a mini medical school boot camp. What did I do to you to be on the receiving end of this dialogue of dissatisfaction? I didn’t make you sick or cause certain things to go “wrong” with you.
I must stop here…..because I realize it’s not about me. It’s not even about what he said or what’s going on and how he even got there. I began to absorb his negative energy and started wondering what’s in it for me and how can I still pursue my goals.
One of the ways to develop a level of resiliency is to have something else to focus on. Is there a dream that you have that you buried because as a caregiver you don’t have the time to pursue it? One of my passions is writing and one of the reasons for starting this blog. Experts say write about what you know.
I want you to remember that, whether or not you are a caregiver, having balance in your life is key and it is especially important to carve out some time for yourself. Do you have any desires and passions that lay dormant? These things can serve as an outlet and give you something else to focus on besides the person’s ailment and all the responsibility that comes along with being a caregiver. Pursue them. You are feeding your spirit which will give you more energy to fulfill your dreams and desires along with your caregiving responsibilities. I recommend that you don’t forget about yourself during this time and process.
Joel Osteen said, “One way to tell if a dream is really from God is that the desire won’t go away. You may have had it for years, but you still can’t let it go. In fact, you may have tried to let it go, but it won’t let go of you.” I encourage you to reach out and search your heart for those dreams and desires that reside within you. They are there for a purpose and it is a disservice to yourself and others if you don’t pursue them. This is how you bounce back. This is how you become resilient. This is how you keep going.
What have you done that helps you to bounce back? Are there dreams and desires that you’ve let go? Please share your thoughts.