Journey Back to Self is a journey of a lifetime.
This Journey Back To Self isn’t for sissies. This Journey Back to Self requires a lot of internal work — work that many just won’t do. My life depends on it.
It’s pretty clear – caregiving sucks the passion right out of some. At first, it begins with a loving gesture. Over time .. over the years.. it becomes a necessary aide given when someone needs it most. Most of us feel we are doing what any loving spouse, daughter, or friend would do. So how does one separate need from dependency? How does one save themselves after nearly all had to be let go? And how does one avoid stupid altercations with people who have no good intent, but choose to inflame as if their egos demand it while they find ways to avoid direct help – even if that help is a truly helpful action or well wish?
Today, I am aware. Tomorrow, I may fall back to denial. Today I feel clear. Tomorrow, I’ll most likely be as muddied and frustrated as ever. In this article, I’ll share some of what I am doing to recapture that love of self…and I’ll also provide a list of 7 likely resources for respite.
Why? Why am I going nuts?
Well intended idi…oops, well intended strangers. Yesterday it was the grocery store clerk telling me that her MLM line of supplements are the only thing I need to heal a hip issue that really requires an MRI and possible surgery. Supplements don’t repair connective tissue torn. And grocery clerks are so uncredentialed to be diagnosing or prescribing anything. If they were credentialed, they sure wouldn’t be working at a check out stand.
The commentators who think they have cures and insist they know more than most of the medically trained, licensed, and credentialed superstars aren’t much better. Why would I believe some stranger on the web instead of a medical doctor?
I’ve learned more than I’ve ever wanted to about living with a chronic disease — and I am a healthy, vibrant old lady who barely takes supplements let alone routine medication. It’s not for any particular reason except that nothing has been prescribed because it is not indicated. And I often forget the vitamins. It’s ok. Really it is. I feel great when I eat right and I’m smart enough to listen to my body’s fueling needs. I don’t need pills or potions unless I feel like an extra oomph — and most of the time, I choose real food.
So this journey back to self – it seems to be igniting an anger today. An anger at people who have the arrogance to think they can tell me what I ‘MUST DO’ to prepare my body to perform as it should. I’m so frustrated with all the quack solutions, arrogant my doctor is better than your doctor nonsense, and people filled with ideas on what I should tell someone else to do.
This Journey Back to Self — at this point, it requires I remove the chronic illness thinking pattern and avoid the constant bombardment of take this pill or that potion, think this way, see this doc, read this new release….
In order to continue on my Journey Back to Self, the number one rule is
Keeping the Focus on What I CAN:
What I can do
What I can think
What I can let go
What I can invest in
What I CAN DO
And for starters: I let go of all the online forums and facebook group where people are totally focused on ‘the disease’. I’ve left them. Some I said goodbye and told them why. Even then, while I said I need to focus on me, I got more advice on what to do for him. I’m done with this.
I choose to let go with love. I choose to let go of the past. It doesn’t matter. The past is dead.
THE KEY to MY JOURNEY BACK TO HEALTH IS TO RECREATE BALANCE!
That requires self-awareness. And self-knowlege. It requires self-acceptance more than anything. While I’ve devoted this site to more caregiving stuff, I’d like to remind you all that there are sources. You just need the money, the time, and the need to have a routine caregiver. My needs are different. It isn’t possible to hire someone for a Monday and then find out he needs help on Wednesday. Most people will find a better way to deal with this.
7 ways to get help so you can take your own JOURNEY BACK TO HEALTH
1) I recommend joining AARP – they Provide a wealth of information regarding caregiving.
2) Here’s one link: Caregiver.org
3) Well Spouse Organization — Their motto says it all: “You Are Not Alone” and “When One is Sick, Two Need Help”
4) LifeSpan Respite Washington provides a lot of useful information and also has programs that will help in Washington State. They are part of a national group, but I found my local arm was the most valuable. And useful.
5) Creative Respite Options: Other WA respite options can be found on LifeSpans page for Respite — if you scroll down you will find a listing of ‘Creative Respite Options’ — which could prove essential if you are like me and don’t qualify for the state aid programs available. Click here to Find Respite Care for Adults in WA. If you are not in this state, take a look and see if they can provide counterpart contacts in other states.
6) Caring for Adults with Cognitive and Memory Impairment — Please READ THIS! The degree of brain function will vary, but even a Mild Cognitive Impairment can require Caregiving in one degree or another. As the family loved one, you will see signs long before the doctor’s will agree to a test or be willing to diagnose the problem.
7) ARCH National Respite — this might have value for those out of state.
There are many organizations who now claim to support caregivers. There is a huge need.
My hope is that our society somehow comes to value the caregiver and offer a helping hand occasionally. It’s not always a life or death matter – until it hits a critical point. Why wait? Why not do some simple little thing today that helps elevate the caregiver before they too become someone who needs help.
IF you or a loved one need respite, please do what you can to get it. I wish I had known long ago that ‘his illness’ would become a lifestyle that drains me.
It is time to take mores steps on my journey. Care to come along for a wild ride? Some days I just want to RUN AWAY. Perhaps there is a better way.