Here is another skill set for carers which I want to raise on this blog post. Oddly enough this one is the most common that is used among carers.
There are times when some of the most simple things in providing care is all that is needed. You do not have to spend large amounts or money or lots of energy. Sometimes you do not have to say a word. If you are a carer or have been a carer then you perhaps already guessed what I am talking about.
If you felt you have done nothing or not provided much of any care and yet you visited your loved one, then at least you are providing some sort of care. This is done by just being there.
If you feel you are the only one in a large family providing care to someone, then rest assured you are being there for them.
If you feel a family relationship breakdown has pushed you away, then at least you have been there for them.
If you speak to someone on your loved one’s behalf then that is still classified as being there for them.
Even phoning, writing a letter or asking if everything is ok, is still being there for someone.
You know who I am talking about. Yes! Its you.
If you have done any of the above and feel down because things are not going as planned, then at least you have been there for someone. Being there is half the battle, because you have turned up to be part of someone’s world, unfortunately their world is falling apart perhaps due to mental health problems, but you have and will be there for them.
We are sometimes placed in difficult situations where in today’s society we are told that we should be there for ourselves. We should be independent, we should move on and get a life and not spend too much time or energy on our loved ones.
Carers can be often told that they should have their own families, if they are caring for a relative, who may be deemed as a burden.
Carers can be told that they should find another partner if the one they are with is suffering mental health difficulties.
Carers can be told that other services will take care of the situation if their loved ones health deteriorates.
I can imagine that perhaps there are some very good reasons for carers to move on, but there are times that “being there” for someone especially through the hard times is a noble thing.
In this society you may not have to look far, when someone ends up cutting their losses and runs at the slightest hint of their loved ones failing mental health. People do it all the time, we all have our limits. I am not saying those people should be despised, but what I am saying is that carers caring through difficult situations should be acknowledge for being there.
Time and time again, I hear of carers having to cope on their own. I have heard of carers with large families left to handle caring for their mother, father or relative, because that’s the way it has always been.
You often wonder to yourself if such carers should demand help from their families, you wonder if such carers are a pushover or too weak. Yet, the same situation is that no one wants to be “burdened” in providing care.
No one wants to give up time at work because they need the money.
No one wants to sacrifice time with their own family or friends.
No one wants to experience sadness or anger, because those feelings are painful.
This makes sense doesn’t it? Why would anyone want to give up their time?
Because of a simple reason……They care!!
Carers care because they may be related to their loved ones, who they have known ALL their lives.
Carers care because they hate to see the person suffer so much.
Carers care because they imagine what if they were ill, who would be there for them?
Carers care because they have the strength and energy to carry the load.
Carers care because they WANT to be there.
If you have been there or are being there for someone, you know what I mean. I do not have to tell you that “being there” is so important, but carers can be worn down by the stresses of their role. Society does not always seem to value carers and so I find myself writing this blog post to highlight a simple act that can make society more caring.
There is a saying which goes like this “A person without a friend is like a life without a witness”. Can you imagine what it could be like when someone suffering a mental health condition becomes isolated? All too often this is the case.
There are no witnesses, no one to see what is happening to them or anyone share the pain. I am not saying all carers are the same as we know some carers can be the “very problem” of their loved ones situation. However it must be noted that if you care for someone, you wish to be that witness to share their pain or happiness. You wish to see what is going on, you wish to make that difference.
You wish to be there for them…..
If your caring role has come to an end a long while ago, take heart that you have been there for someone you care for.
The situation might have been enjoyable or it may have been painful, but take heart that you tried. You were there for them.
Being there for someone is just the start of a journey where you can then be able to assess the situation and carry out more of a caring role.
By being there, this can lead you to try understand what the person is going through, you may not need to say anything, you can just listen. By being there you are a vessel of information which you can share with health professionals when the patient can no longer communicate.
There will come a time when your loved one does not want you to be there, but that is ok, you may need to give them space. Sometimes you have to back off to give yourself your OWN space.
If you have been there for your loved one by sacrificing your time, then it is important for you. It is your decision and perhaps it did not work out for the best, but you did it, you were there for them.
We may have our own families, or close friends. Perhaps a neighbour we often talk to. We just cannot see it, not so easily. We wake up and wonder about our own problems, perhaps rush off to work or pay the bills to survive and achieve our dreams. Yet, there will be a time, since time is the ruler of many things. It need not be mental health, it can be physical health. Just think to yourself, when the time comes…..will you be there for them?