Episode 91: Is it really time to give up?
I know things might be feeling really dire right now.
You don’t know how you can continue caregiving. You feel worn out and broken.
I know the feeling of dread that creeps up on you when you try to look too far forward into the future. The anxiety looking for hope can bring because you just can’ see it. You want to know things will be better but you wither feel defeated by not finding it or just stopped looking for it anymore.
No one understands how you feel. No one cares to know about the hardships you’ve had to endure as a caregiver. You don’t feel like there is anyone to talk to and that makes you feel lonely.
You’re angry that this is what your life has become. You resent the fact that you aren’t living the life you thought you would be at this point in time and you have no idea who you really are anymore.
Thing is you do not spend too much time with these thoughts because there isn’t much time for you to sit and feel. You stuff them down deep and in those few quiet moments they crawl back out and poke at you, making life all the more difficult.
The jealousy that rages when you see your friends post the vacation pictures. The resentment you feel when someone checks in with your wife and not ask you how you’re doing. The sadness in the pit of your gut that grows when you realize you are disconnected from the people in your life. The anger that shows up when you think back on the goals and dreams you had for your life. The anxiety that fills you when you realize you have no control over the future.
I see those emotions. I know those emotions and I’m here to remind you that…
You are a beautiful human being.
Even when anyone else would have run away you stayed.
You care for a person with so much intensity and drive. You selflessly give more of yourself than you have to give. You endure more for this one person than most people would for just themselves.
Do you realize how important you are to the person you care for?
Sure they might not express their gratitude. In fact no one really acknowledges all that you do. But you know deep down inside that you are the person holding everything together. Even in the moments you ask yourself if anyone would really miss you if you left you know everything would fall apart.
You find strength when you don’t think you have any left just so you can help keep this one person alive, to make sure they have the care they need in order to survive what they are living with.
Don’t discount all that you do for them. The special way you do those things for them. The way you understand what they need and when they need it. The shirt that they need when their body really hurts. The specific way you need to stack up the pillows for them and just the right amount of attention to let them know they are loved.
I know you feel lost.
I know life feels hard for you right now and I’m asking you to take a step away from your busy mind and your heavy heart and notice that you matter!
You are the superhero saving the day for at least one person in this world. That’s more than a log of people can say.
Superheros are almost always misunderstood. They’re never mainstream. They don’t usually fit in. They do feel lonely at times and struggle with the worlds they live in.
But the reason they continue to fight is because they know what their calling is. They don’t wait for people to acknowledge what they do. They know they are a force for good and they make a difference.
Caregiving can feel horrible… I’ll never try to tell you it can be easy.
What I will say is if you can always remind yourself of your mission, acknowledge how much a a big deal you really are and how little you really should rely on other people acknowledging what you do, you can really shine.
And finding the light in the darkness is what all of us need to be able to do.
So imagine what color cape you’d have in an alternate universe and mentally put it on when you begin to burnt out. Live your caregiving role with pride and purpose and know that even the best of us break down at times. We all feel lonely and misunderstood. We may feel that no one really notices all that we do.
But in the end what matters is, the warmth you feel when your loved one smiles at you, the accomplishment you feel at the end of a long day, and the belief that you are making a difference.
Continue being that superhero!
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