Carers and The Lonely Path

Road through the yellow sunflower fieldHello again, it’s has been a while since I blogged and I just think it is time to write up another post. This site is here to raise awareness of carers and mental health. I am not an expert in mental health problems, but I am a carer of someone using the services and I feel that it is so important to raise awareness of carers. Unfortunately carers are not all alike.

When I talk about carers, I am not talking about care workers, they are paid to do a job. I am talking about people who care for a family member, friend, loved one and so on. I am talking about those who care because they feel compelled to care or they care because they cannot turn away or perhaps there comes a time that they cannot cope with their frail partner. We should also note that we should not stigmatize former carers since we all have our limits.

Also be aware that not all carers are the same, we have those who care for old aged persons, carers who care for those suffering physical or mobility issues. Special needs carers, young carers, carers who are very unwell themselves and mental health carers. I fit in the mental health carer bracket and my aim on this particular post will not be an easy topic.

Its not as easy as it seems

The title says it all, when I started out becoming a carer, I felt a rush of so many emotions. I just did not know where to turn and what to ask. I felt no matter what I did, there was something I was missing, something that I did not plan for. At any moment things could collapse and my world would turn out for the worst. Even now, I can fully accept that caring is not as easy as it seems.

Why would I want to raise such a point? There still is, unfortunately a rumor that caring for someone suffering mental health issues is fairly easy. I mean, all they have to do is take their medication and all will be fine right? The truth could not be further than it can be. Mental health carers struggle to hold that relationship other carers can manage, this is because mental health carers need to be fairly skilled at negoiation, counselling, being aware of the small detail and so on. If a mental health carer looses that connection to their loved one, then the risk is that when someone becomes vulnerable due to falling unwell, then the carer is not there to lessen the damage to the service users life.

Starting out on the Journey

Now that I know caring is not as easy as it seems. I want to point out that those who are beginning to take on the role as a carer need to consider quite a few things. New carers must leave space where they can ask about support for themselves. Caring can be difficult even if you have planned in advance the tasks you need to do, but with new carers, they are not fully sure what they are doing.

Newer carers will spend most times worrying about what is going to happen to the person they are care for. It won’t be long till such carers earn sleepless nights worrying about their future and how they are going to support their love one. Some carers are lucky enough to have friendly neighbours, friends & family or even a social network to help keep such carers welcomed and supported, but if you are a lone carer like myself, you will spend.

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The anxiety

Its all about wondering and not knowing whats going to happen, one day your loved one is doing fine and then there is that period where you just dont know what is going to happen. The person you care for is going under bad patch, they are suffering through the dark days of mental health.

As a carer you try hard to reach them and tell them everything is going to be ok, but within you there is some anxiety, we can just never be too sure, but we can always try and prepare. It’s just the anxiety, carers cannot always stay home and monitor their loved one’s health, but when a carer does have to go out then they start to worry about how things are for who they are supporting or caring for.

At times we are still alone

Carers can get support in a number of ways, that being carers groups, therapy, speaking to other friends and family, speaking to their doctor and even getting support from the mental health services. Resting or relaxing, our minds stay with us, all that carers have gone though and all that we have done, we are still on our own. We still have to cope with our choices. The path is lonely, but it has to be walked, there is no turning back unless we take a different path.

It is a path, it is a journey

As a carer, we have choices, we can continue to care or walk away, perhaps we can even rest, but no matter our choices, we are on a journey and there is no telling where carers will end up. We can mark our journey so other carers can understand what another carer went through, but it is a journey all carers have to take.

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Most times the path is uphill, a long hard struggle, then the path diverts downhill and splits into many path’s full of difficult choices. Pay now or pay later, which path can a carer take? Is the decision truly the carers? Or are carers forced into a decision which they may or may not regret. It’s important us carers read the signs, maybe we just might make the right choices on the journey.

Sticking with it

Although the path is lonely, we need to stick with it. What I mean is that us carers should not make rash decisions, we should not throw it all away and blame ourselves. We need to stick with our choices unless there is a good informed decision to change course. Infact changing course on the path is fine, but giving up on everything is not recommended. We need to look after ourselves, look after our loved ones

Take note of the signs!!

No matter where you turn on your journey, no matter where you look or even if you get lost, take note! Record your journey and look at the sign posts. Carers sometimes do want to tell other carers their story, they do want to point out the long and difficult journey they have undertaken. Carers like ourselves must listen carefully and take note, because we are all on this journey, but it is a lonely journey to take.

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