If you are a carer or have recently been one, I guess you are at least aware of some of the difficulties carers can face. If you are a new to the caring world then feel free to wander around my blog site, which is usually dedicated to carers helping to support those suffering mental health difficulties. My site also touches on other subjects like awareness, events and learning more about mental health and psychology, but for now I want to delve into a topic on what defines a carer.
Now do not get me wrong, its very hard to pin down the core essence of a carer, mainly because there are so many different types of carers, for instance young carers, those caring for physical aliments, sibling carers and many more. What I would like to point out is something I have noticed from my own experience of caring for 12 years as well as what I have found from other carers. So what is this definition I have experienced? Basically I have come to find that carers take a lot of pain, carers suffer. I admit caring can also be very rewarding in where you are being there for someone, in where you are being there for your loved one, because as a carer you help them through their difficult days until they are strong enough to see themselves through their own pain.
The thing is if you are a carer, then there must have been times when you have thought about all the difficulties you have faced when you are only trying to fulfil your role as a carer. Was it trying to get information to help care for someone? Maybe you felt ignored by those who should be supporting you? Perhaps as a carer you have been hit financially because if you are caring then you cannot be working at the same time.
One of the worst types of pain for a carer to experience, particularly mental health carers is experiencing conflict for those they are trying to support and help. Carers can be pushed aside, become untrusted, blamed for things they would never wish on anyone. Now I am not saying that all carers are angels as we often know some people are the cause of mental health problems, although I feel the majority of carers out there have good intentions.
So the question is how much have you gone through as a carer? How many times have you held your breath in order not to break down yourself? What has defined you as a carer? We carers can sometimes be at fault, because another concept of caring is to put as much time, energy and resources to support someone when at times we should save space into supporting ourselves. This is a difficult balance because how can us carers tell when our loved ones need more support or less? Maybe you felt its best to go for broke and give all you can because you feel that if you do not give enough care then you could loose your loved one, you could loose your friend and you will feel that you are to blame.
The question is how many times as a mental health carer have you seen your loved one in despair or confusion because they lack capacity to take control of their own health. How many times have you punished yourself because you made assumptions that has led to mistakes? You may have taken the brave steps to talk or confide with others about all the pain you have gone through, you might have phoned a friend or sought therapy yourself. Your journey as a carer may be long and difficult, but without a doubt you have experienced pain. Still without a doubt this is one of the core essences of a carer I am talking about, this is something not many people in the community would wish to take on without careful thought. Carers go through pain and the essence of pain is what defines a carer, the pain you have been through all this time is what defines you.
If you are a carer of someone experiencing mental ill health, then I have to congratulate you. In fact you should be congratulating yourself, why not give yourself a pat on the back? go ahead and do this now because you deserve it. You are still here caring through the pain of not only what you are going through but also the pain of what your loved one is going through. Not many can see it and sometimes it takes a skilled mental health professional to notice the emotional scars a carer has picked up throughout the journey a carer has travelled.
You see it is pain on what can define someone, it is the pain of what can define a carer and unfortunately pain is what a carer like ourselves have or will experience. Throughout the many years of caring I have seen and experienced the difficult aspects of caring and I know that you must have gone through the same, I cannot prove this of course, but somehow, deep down I need to point that you have faced a difficult journey, but lets be clear the road may be a tough one, you may not see its end, but it does have its rewards. The road need not be unbearable, but as a carer you need to look within yourself and acknowledge what has defined you.
Let us also be clear that there are many other definitions of a carer, but I find it hard to admit the none is so common than the emotional and sometimes physical turmoil a carer has to go through. As a carer have you struggled to make a decision which will reflect on the future of your relationship with your loved one?
As a carer do worry about your own future? Maybe the strain of caring has led to you suffering depression, anxiety or other forms of mental health concerns. Who says mental ill health only affects the person receiving the care? Carers are prone to mental ill health as well. Yet, as of this blog post it is the start of 2015 and as of this blog post if you are a mental health carer or in fact just a carer you are still here. You have been through the tough times and have perhaps formed a thick skin, some mental toughness and a caring mind.
You have stuck through it, taken the emotional blows and those scars however deep they are, those scars are a reminder of the pain you have been through. Let us carers not have to face the pain alone, it is so important when to know when to seek help since carers should not have to cope on their own. There are many tools and resources to help a carer support and care for their loved one. Do not feel that you cannot talk to others about your worries, concerns or problems. You as a carer at least deserve it!!
Let no one tell you that after all you have been through that you are not a carer, I am talking to those who are isolated and have stumbled across my blog post. Let no one say that you have an easy life since many have taken the steps to walk away and perhaps some do not have a choice, but we all know its not such an easy decision. Let no one say you are the cause of your own pain, because the steps to healing yourself is acknowledge you are only trying the best you can in a world that is not perfect.
It is pain that defines us, and you have taken the blows and you are still here.