Welcome to Caregiver Friday!!
It’s amazing the learning curve you experience when the person you love is diagnosed with a chronic or life-threatening illness. There are the obvious things like learning new ways of communicating with medical professionals, scheduling your day and all the appointments, and finding ways to lend a compassionate heart to the person you love.
Perhaps you had to learn things like new ways to cook or even CPR to ensure the health and welfare of your loved one. It’s amazing to think that once the diagnosis hits an entire world of new things opens up to you. What will this mean for you? Later down the road you’ll have the tools you’ve learned to share with others who are beginning this journey. You may be asking, “But what about me?” I’m in full agreement, you shouldn’t have to learn everything on your own, so I hope you’ll find a support group.
Support groups are great because they are often solution oriented. If you wind up in a support group that is a gripe session run as far and as fast as possible or you’ll want to through yourself off a cliff by the end of the meeting. Being with others who have found ways to cope are the people who will be your greatest assets. They will educate you, inspire you, and comfort you through this process. They will say, “I know how you feel” and actually mean it. They can tell you where the bumps in the road are so even if you can’t avoid them, you can prepare for them.
These things you have to learn can be very concrete or they can be part of your inner journey. The things you may need to learn on the personal level is taking time for yourself. Understanding that if you’re not fed, you can’t feed anyone (I mean that literally and figuratively”. Pay attention to the things you love to do and make a point of doing them. If you’re a gardner then garden. If you’re a painter…paint. If you love to read, carve out time on the schedule and write it on the calendar as an appointment and read.
I know it’s a lot to take in all at once, but know you’re not alone and there are lots of resources out there for you. You can get the free e-course, The Courageous Caregiver at http://www.survivingstrong.com.