Monthly Archives: June 2014

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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Why Belief is important for us Carers

I recently had done a creative blog post belief for carers. The post is simply called “Belief for carers” and I do admit it may not make sense to some people reading the blog, heck! it does not even rhyme. However where I feel that blog post main effort is to be just a message from the heart of a carer reaching out to others.

Perhaps one could say the message of that blog post is as pure as it can get because it has come from someone caring for a long time.

Actually it would be a good idea to perhaps read that creative blog post again, because some of the text can be rather cryptic, but this just adds to more involving reading. You can always comment on the blog postor take away whatever you feel from it.

Anyway let us be a lot less cryptic this time, why is the word “belief” needed for carers? How can belief affect the role of a carer and who they care for as well as dealing with others on their journey as carers.

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As I started out on my journey as a carer all those years ago, I can certainly say that I lacked a lot of belief.  In fact you could say that I did not have much time to think, let alone any time to believe in what I was doing.

Only through a series of battles and development of thick skin that I decided to try and believe in myself, because no one else was going to do it for me. This is not to say that I am a strong person, I am most certainly not, but I do value the use of belief in the world of caring.

Carers throughout their role or journey will fail on many things, this is unfortunate but I want to be realistic, the role of a carer is just not as rosy as some make it out to be. So when things do not go according to plan, carers begin to not put so much faith in too many plans, there will come a time when carers will just have to take a step forward and believe in themselves, believe that everything will be OK, believe the next day will be easier and believe support will come.

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In this world we have to make plans, nothing is certain for tomorrow, but plans can soften the blow of the unpredictable, the unfortunate, the unrealistic.

This could be the unpredictability of finances or the health of whoever we care for, especially if the person we care for suffers from mental health problems. I can certainly say very few things can be unpredictable as mental health. If plans fail, or support fails then carers need to believe things can turn out for the better. This is not to say that carers should not trust in plans, but the path of a carer does often stray away from planning.

With belief carers can have some hope and this can affect a carers health and mind. Carers may know deep down that with all the energy and effort will not be enough, but with belief it can give us carers some calmness in the situation.

There has been times that I have been let down, and after a while I know I have failed the battle, this makes me wonder how many carers out there have been let down, how many carers out there have to pick up the pieces. This is where I stop to think and reflect, I may not see how many carers out there suffer, but I know for sure that at that moment I was suffering, but did not want to give up. My trust was weaken, but now my energy has to be put into belief in myself and in the system that is meant to help us carers.

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Belief for carers is not the only thing that can help families or carers in such a difficult and unpredictable world, there are many more skills and attributes that can be useful for carers and I hope to blog about those when the time comes.

Carers can put belief into many things, but the first place to put belief is in themselves, in their plans which may or may not fail. Carers can put belief in their loved ones and have hope that the next minute, the next hour, the next day will be better.

Carers can put belief in others and hope that our trust will stay intact because it is so difficult to always care by yourself. Carers need a system that supports us, so we as carers can support whoever we care for, be it our friends, family or even neighbours.

Some people may actually have belief in us carers, but this is not so easy to see. How can you show belief to other people? So the best effort is to believe in yourself, this is something you can feel for certain.

Just stop for a moment when things seem to feel at their worst. Believe tomorrow will be better and that you can make a difference. Believe you are needed when you feel pushed away, you have tried your best and you believe this to be true even when you feel others around you seem not to understand.

Believe in yourself, because above all……..you deserve it.

Belief for carers

Belief

I know its hard, so unexpected.
You struggle each day and your mind wanders
Where next? who to turn?
You have to believe you can cope

A carer’s journey is filled with doubt
You mind wanders and does not sit still
Sometimes you are alone
But belief can take you through

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Each day brings change so fast
Just as much as you can care
Life is tough, but you have to be there
Belief will give you the strength

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They need you, we need you
Be their strength and support
They may not show it
But you have to believe you can do it

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The clock ticks and you wonder
You wonder about mortality
You wonder about life
Time is all thats left
But with belief more will come each day.

 

Lewisham Carers Event 2014

On Tuesday the 10th of June 2014 I decided to take a trip to Lewisham’s Civic suite for the Carers day event which runs from carers week 2014.

lewisham civic suite

What is carers week?

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Carers Week is a UK-wide annual awareness campaign which takes place from Monday 9 to Sunday 15 June 2014.

Being a carer myself for over 11 years, I feel an interest and a connection in raising carer awareness, although my role as a carer has been on mental health care.

I have actually been to the Lewisham’s reaching out to carers event 3 or 4 times, so I had some idea what to expect. Usually you would have numerous stalls, posters and flyers, some speeches, lunch and a wellbeing treatment room where you could get massage or other forms or relaxation.

All these things are critical for carers especially the number one thing being “Information”. What tends to hit carers the most is lack of information, be it information on what to do as a carer, information on getting support, information on looking after themselves or their caree (that being the person who they care for).

As I arrived at the “Reaching out for carers” event. I was greated by staff who are passionate by carers. One was off the Lewisham carer’s partnership board and I know he works very hard to raising awareness and services for carers in lewisham. The other staff who signed me in was the “Carers lewisham” youth worker.

goodie bag

I got my raffle ticket off the welcoming staff and also a goodie bag filled with
carer packs and information. There was quite a lot, so this impressed me.

 

 

Most of the day was spent wandering from stall to stall, although this year I did not talk too much to the other stall holders, but I saw the usual being “Lewisham Talking Newspaper”, “FORVIL stall (Vietnamese support for Lewisham Vietnamese residents”, “Lewisham IAPTs (Increasing Access to Psychological Therapies” and several other stalls.

pic-1The main stalls I visited were the “Lewisham Carers” stall, SLaM carers information stall “SLaM” stands for South London and Maudsley trust and I visited and chatted to those holding the IAPTs stall.

 

To be honest I used to go to the “Reaching out for carers” event to look for information and I guess I still do at some point, but the main reason now is to reach out to carers, not because I can try offer any support, its mainly because I am still looking for that connection, I am looking for the network of carers. I usually go to carers groups in my borough which is Lewisham and I meet some familiar faces, but being a carer can often be a lonely role. It can be hard to be understood as carers battle for ever decreasing support.

This year’s carers event held over at Lewisham’s civic suite did not disappoint when speaking to other carers, I met a few who are well known to Lewisham on their caring role. I spoke to them on what they thought about the event and most were fairly happy. I asked them how they were getting along in their well being and caring role and things were improving as long as they themselves felt valued.

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I also did the same for the stall holders where I asked how they were in themselves and unfortunately some were ill. In my “mind” I thought what pressure are they under? Could it be service changes? could it be proving support to carers that might be demanding? None of the stall holders told me. However I do sympathize with most of them.

I did not stay too long at the event because I had to pop into work. Luckily I work part time to support myself financially and we ll get on to that another day because carers definitely need financial support, but this is lacking because they are busy caring.

Overall I was fairly pleased with the event and I wished I took more pictures. I hope to attend more events in future regarding carers or mental health events.

Mind of a Carer

matWelcome to my latest blog. This blog is about caring and mental health. To put it short, I am a carer of someone who has mental health difficulties of around 11 years on going. My journey has not been easy, far from it. I have had to make my own path and have made some successes, but also quite a few failures.

Still if you are a carer or starting our as a carer, what value could this blog site offer you? why read this blog? Personally I hope this blog creates a path where other carers can use and find something new that can aide them on their own journey. This blog also tries to support other causes along mental health themes, but I do hope it gives the reader pause for thought.

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From my successes, I hope to share my thoughts as it will give you some comfort. From my failures I hope you can learn from them, so you will avoid such failures yourself. This blog will look to avoid blame on anyone or services because the best way forward is that carer, those with lived experiences and mental health practitioners work together.

My first blog will look to set the structure I hope this blog site will form.

About – Plain and simple, the about page explains what this blog is about.

Links – Interesting and useful links for carers or those with lived experiences

Mental Health – A page on looking after your own mental health as a carer

Most of my blogs will be added into categories

Thoughts – My thoughts for the day or depending on how often I post, you can agree or disagree.

Event reviews – I often visit events around South London and sometimes further afield, some are in another blog which is called “South London Health forum”.

Guest Blogs – These are blogs supporting this blog or visa-versa, because people might get fed up of hearing or reading my own views.

Campaigns – I work on certain groups and I sometimes might update others on here. Regardless if those are my projects or other people’s projects.

I am sure to add more categories or pages, but these will do for now.  I do hope you stay and have a look around, I am sure you will find something of use or interest.