Our bandwidth for juggling and multi-tasking, layered with emotions, happens without question as caregivers. Some things need to be done. Right? The idea of doing a self-check-in in the midst of all of it is often overlooked. But without pausing, you won’t be able to see what may be missing.
When we continue amid crisis without looking back, at some point, we’ll slow down or become ill and realize things that we didn’t do for ourselves. My jaw dropped listening to a friend recently who has gone through so much with her family. A strong woman who continues to do what has to be done no matter what, something I am have been in awe of. As the details began to emerge of the past months, a pause happened, and her tears flowed. And so did mine.
For me, a flashback of sorts of the caregiving days where my heart would break into pieces seeing my Mom not be able to do certain things or the health issues that would pop up, and decisions to make. Was I overthinking, was I catching all of the little details? Was I doing enough? Lace all of that in with difficult conversations and others that never had the opportunity to happen.
Many of us have been there. We continue to put one foot in front of the other until that one day, and you start talking about it, the emotions release like a broken fire hydrant.
As caregivers, we do/have done as much as we can. Some days perhaps we couldn’t quite get it all done, others it’s as if some superpower pops out and all is well. Knowing that those days will happen, it becomes imperative to be sure we have time to sit, honor ourselves, and allow those tears to flow. You would want your best friend to do that, wouldn’t you?
Numerous studies have shown that repressing your emotions masks them over. They ‘appear’ to go away. The truth is they are festering inside, causing emotional pain and physical illness.
Find a different way:
Prepare: as best you can (make a list and check it three times).
Write things down: Be open to hearing and seeing things and record them. You may think you have a good memory, but a dose of caregiving can alter your senses.
Plan: Prepare for the future and get expert advice in areas that are unknown to you.
Get support: Talk to others and or journal. You will find much-needed relief in words/feelings that you allow to rise to the surface.
Emotional support: Grab a box of tissues and cry.
That ‘stiff upper lip’ thing we learned early on in life is only useful when you’re getting blood samples taken. Even then, I’ve been known to let a whimper out now and again. DON’T SUPPRESS YOUR FEELINGS.
We are here to help you remember to breathe. We know all too well; this is not always a comfortable journey, and we also know the downfalls of not engaging your pause button.