When I was in the midst of stressful times in caring for my Mom, I often thought about the various things that were at my disposal to help relieve feelings of overwhelm, sadness, uncertainty, things spinning out of control (in a figurative sense) and exhaustion from lack of sleep. There were many tools available, since I was already a student of yoga and meditation, learned Tai Chi, had been a musician most of my life specialized in quiet, relaxation music and breath work techniques and read widely from many excellent authors who taught stress relief techniques. However, the operative word is that I thought about them -- I didn't actually use them. Big difference! Looking back on how bad I felt, this is a mystifying thing to me -- almost as if I deliberately sabotaged myself by ignoring the things I knew would be most helpful & healing. My excuse was (valid, or at least it seemed so to me at the time) that I was too tired and lacked the energy to do these things, but I knew in the depths of my being that these practices would alleviate the negative feelings and both calm and energize me. Yet I still didn't apply my knowledge. Even when I heard from others how vitally important it is to keep yourself well, balanced, healthy, whole. I still crashed and burned out. I'm wondering how many others are feeling the same way? What would be the catalyst that would set you in motion toward better self care? Would words alone do it? An intervention by a friend or family member? A heart attack or other serious health challenge?
Today I was shocked to read in one of the online Care newsletters about caregivers who actually reached a breaking point and snapped, killing either their loved one and/or themselves. The tragedy and pain of that prompted a very deep, visceral response in me, along with the strong desire to reach out to help anyone in that desperate, frightening place on the edge of reason. While I am not a professional psychologist, nor do I have any credentials in that area, I do have good instincts, a great deal of caregiving experience and a compassionate nature with a desire to help others going through the same long, confusing journey.
If you find yourself just needing a sympathic "ear", a bit of direction in finding access to the help you need or know of someone else struggling with issues surrounding care of their loved one, please get in touch or give them contact information for this site so that they can begin to connect to the help and resources they need. There is so very much information on the internet that it can be overwhelming, not to mention extremely time consuming to find it and evaluate it. That's one reason I created this blog and website -- as a service to help identify and define the best resources, cull out the time wasters, and direct others to new resources and information thereby saving them time and frustration in the process.
Karen is a compassionate, enthusiastic student of life, who cared for her mother for 17 years. She brings her insights, compassion, experience and desire to share knowledge and healing to this ongoing conversation with others on the caregiving path. If you are caring for a parent, spouse, friend or other loved one this site offers sanity-saving tips, open-hearted self-care ideas, and an open forum for discussion, connection and sharing resources for the journey.
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