Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, living with chronic illness, Living with Illness

Invisible Injuries

Welcome to Caregiver Friday!!!

I want to start this post with two simple words…”Thank You”.  I wanted to start with these words because it’s the two words most caregivers/wellness partners don’t hear often enough if at all.  I’ve sat in hundreds of caregiver support groups where the biggest complaint is feeling unappreciated.  I know you want to hear “Thank You” from the person you’re caring for, but I hope that my sincere appreciation tides you over till you get what you need.

So why am I talking about appreciation?  It’s because not feeling appreciated or valued is one of the invisible injuries caregivers experience.  It’s not an injury like a broken wrist, but one of the spirit.  It’s the injury to your good intentions.  It’s the injury that often can’t be seen, heard, or expressed either because of fear or not having the means to express the injury. 

Invisible injuries are not unlike those who face invisible illnesses; no one knows and yet the pain whether it be physical, emotional or spiritual is very real.  It’s not like you wear this invisible injury on your sleeve so no one is asking you about it including the medical providers.  The focus is on the patient, but all too often it’s you, the caregiver, who needs the attention.

How can you make the invisible visible?  The most important person for the injury to become visible to is you.  You have to identify, acknowledge, and express the pain.  Support groups specifically for caregivers is a good place for this to happen.  You have a story and the untold story is the injury.  To heal it requires that your story be told, heard, and validated.  Your life is made up of many stories, but this one, the invisible one, is the one that causes psychic pain. 

Don’t walk around with an invisible injury.  Allow it to rise to consciousness and be expressed so that you can heal and your role as a caregiver doesn’t get contaminated.  Again, from the bottom of my heart I say, “thank you” for all you do.

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