Understanding is what carers do the most

I didnt understand when it finally appeared
I didnt understand when you turned to me
I didnt understand my new role
I didnt understand what I had to be

I didnt understand the world of carers
I didnt understand the world of the mentally ill
I didnt understand how to get help
I didnt understand you needed me still

Only time made the difference
and a lot of patience
a lot of help
with plenty of assistance

and now I understand what I need to do
I understand what a carer is
I understand that I try to be there
through all the pain we will share

I understand how you suffer
I understand to face the fear
I understand myself a lot more
in order to provide more care.

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So there it is, one of the key skills a carer needs to carry out their role, which is being able to understand.

As with belief, the skill of “Understanding” is not so easy to attain. We all understand things each day, but the more you care the more you begin to understand how to cope with caring. The longer you have been a carer the more you may be able to understand your role. Yet, it is OK to find yourself caring for a long while and feel that you do not understand anything, you do not understand why this has happened to your loved one, you do not understand the pain and torment you face along with who you are caring for.

Why is this OK?

Because you are at least trying to think with your mind about who you are and what you have become. At least you are trying to understand the sorrow and heart break. There will be times that there will be moments of happiness and there will be times when things fall apart, but if you try to understand then it may help you to be at ease with yourself for the future.

Out of all the carers I have met in carers groups or networking with other carers, the one thing I have noticed is how wise they are on their journey as carers. They never show that they know it all and through the most difficult times all carers face, I know silently that they continue to try and care for their loved ones through understanding and providing love and giving care.

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I cannot claim that it is easy to understand someone suffering mental health difficulties, this is just not so possible, but in order to carry out appropriate care I always remind carers to do a little research and ask around about the mental health condition someone has, so the carer knows relapse signs or knows what to do in a situation. A carer should at least try and find the diagnosis of who they care for, although not everyone is happy to know what the mental health problem could be, in case the answer would be just too devastating.

With understanding, I feel carers can travel on their journey without too much hindrance, even though at times the cared for may lash out at the carer, be it emotionally or physically, but as carers all we can hope to do or even have left is to understand.

Financial, energy or material resources can do little effect without understanding the cared for situation or our own situation.

I do often feel that understanding is something that forms a little each day. If you are a carer of someone suffering mental health difficulties, I ask that each day just try spending 5 minutes trying to understand your role and where you are going. You do not need to act on anything, just try to understand your situation. Even if you are not actively thinking about how you are providing care.

We know that each day something is forming within all us carers and we continue to try and provide care because we have that connection no one else has at that moment, we continue to hope and pray because we fear loosing that person. We sacrifice our time because there is no one else that can do this for us unless they are paid, we as carers do all this and more because we understand.

We understand as carers and yet, we do not show it, but only through the care we try and provide.

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