Caregivers often find themselves feeling like “Victims.” There is nothing more debilitating than victimhood. It takes away your power. It puts the power outside of you, and it points to something or someone else. Not you. In ‘Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway,’ Susan Jeffers suggests empowered people don’t feel like victims and take full responsibility for their life. Victims want to blame someone. Or they blame something outside of their control; therefore deeming it not fixable. This feeling is a terrible lie. We always have control of ourselves. We can control how we react. That is a definite yes.
We must practice and practice, and may never get to 100%. However trying to be better and better at controlling the things we can, is like exercising a muscle. It becomes easier and easier. That makes us feel successful. It can give us a huge “high” to discover that we are not “reacting.”
We learn that taking a breath before responding can change the outcome immensely.
When we are responsible for the health and well-being of a parent, sibling, spouse or child, the burden can become unbearable. However, we are not alone! There are agencies, facilities, and helpers who can make things easier. Look for them on google. Support groups, caregivers, therapists, and other people in this situation can all help us. Take advantage of the many resources available today.
We can be caregivers without losing our minds.
Sometimes we feel we should be able to do it, that it is just not that hard, and we must be very small-minded people for resenting helping our loved one. But day after day without letup is not sustainable. Asking for help may seem like capitulating, but it is just good sense. It is indeed scary to ask. Some people have a real mental block against asking for help with things for which they feel they are responsible. But just do it. It will become easier.
The muscle for “asking” becomes stronger.
We can begin to have a breather now and then; perhaps a nighttime caregiver can be hired for several nights. Or we find a place to take our loved one for daycare. And suddenly we look around and say, “Wow! I am taking control of my life.”
By Bonnie Matheson, Caregiver