Welcome to another of my blog posts on caring. I have not posted for a while because I have been really busy in my caring duties and if you are a carer like myself, I suspect you have been a rather busy yourself.
Sometimes we carers can often fall deeper into despair, depression, guilt, anger and sadness. Sometimes we are not even sure of our roles, its like there are hardly any clues on how us carers should live our lives, let alone help those who we care for live their own lives. I suppose being a carer does have its moments, I mean if you are a carer for someone within the family, then you are holding the family together and if you are caring for a friend or someone close to you, then you are helping to care for the community.
Still, there are times when carers sink into ourselves and wander into the dark corners of our mind wondering if there is an easier way. This is why I want to center this blog post on the idea of hope.
There is always hope.
At times when I was a carer, there would be situations thrown at me beyond my control. I would sometimes stare out the window of my room and literally question myself, I would question my role, question my existence and question all sorts of events.
At that time of such self reflection, I felt things turned out wrong, unfortunately when you are caring for someone with a mental health problem, you might find yourself out on a limb. You are just not sure how things will turn out. You as a carer begin to seek answers from others, where you hope they may have walked the same journey as you have done. The problem is that there are not many people out there who have walked your journey regardless of how many carers are out there.
YOU as a carer are a unique person, with unique abilities for your loved one or family. You want to care for them, you want to protect them and they mean everything to you, but there are times when you begin to question yourself on if you have done everything right or that have you done enough.
The thing is though that because you are still there, perhaps doing the caring right at this moment, then there is always some hope.
I have been a carer for a long time, so long that I just cannot fully remember how I even started caring. There have been many carers out there caring longer than me. I often wonder to myself how do they cope? The longer you have cared for someone, the more you have been through and perhaps the more scars you have picked up. Such scars could be emotional and perhaps such scars have worn you down physically, but they are battle scars. I admit this, we carers battle every day for our loved ones.
There are times when I look back into the past and wondered to myself the following.
“What if I just done something different?”
“What if I did not say something that upset my loved one”
“Why did I not say something at the meeting?”
” If only I had a little more time, if only I could turn back time”
I ll be surprised if there is a carer out there who has not thought the same things, especially in those moments when us carers are alone. There are many successes for carers, but without a doubt there can be so many mistakes where the road or path can lead to dead ends or wrong turns.
Us carers are always looking out for the road signs where we hope such signs can make the journey so much easier for ourselves.
Still, you know what? The past is behind us now and us carers cannot turn back. We have come so far and perhaps put so much energy into the situation. Us carers need to continually move forward even though we can be unclear of what lies ahead. It is so important to avoid travelling on your own as a carer, but there are times when you feel you are on your own.
If you have been through a lot in the past and have come this far, then it goes to show that because of your role, there is always hope gained from the past. This goes to show you have learnt so much from the past and you are applying this to the present.
The past is behind us, but as a carer the past has given so many things, you have learnt so much about your role if you have been a carer for a long time, but what about now? What about the present? Where can hope lie in this situation?
You are a carer in your role now, but even you as a carer can question your abilities as a carer. Even now, carers like ourselves wonder why we continue to do the things we do. The present can contain many problems, some seen while other problems are unseen. The present is where your actions, thoughts and role can make so much difference.
From what I have learnt about hope in providing care at this present time is that I am fairly successful in still doing my caring role. Make no mistake about it, I have done so many things wrong in my role because I might not have thought things through, perhaps I just could not get the support. Maybe I am just being too hard on myself, but I am still caring and I want to see my loved one continue to be protected and safe from the illness they have unfortunately have to live with.
Because I am still caring, then there is hope for who I care for and also hope for myself. Although not all want to continue to care in their role and that is ok, we all have important and difficult decisions to make, but we need to look at where hope might be present.
Hope for the future is perhaps one of the most important and difficult decisions for any carer out there. There will come a time when your caring role will change, perhaps you will have to place even more energy into your role or then again perhaps with dread your caring role could stop. This might be down to your loved one moving on or perhaps you have come to a decision that you no longer wish to continue in your caring role.
The future is often there waiting for us carers, we continue on in our role hoping our actions will make the difference, we hope that things will get better and that they will get easier. We hope that us carers will be appreciated with the amount of time and energy we put into our roles.
There IS some hope for the future because if your loved one was without you, how much difference would this be for them?
No one can live our lives for us and we must live with our decisions. As carers we travel the road thinking about the past and hoping present actions will make so much difference in the future, but there is always hope because of the uncertainty us carers want to make that difference, not only for ourselves, but for whoever we care for. Hope is always there because we have come too far to disbelieve our role. Hope is there for the past, present and for the future.