Welcome to Caregiver Friday!!
My San Antonio lessons continue and as the days roll by more and more questions pop into my head. I was standing in front of my apartment complex waiting for the bus and watching the cars as they pass me on their way to their destinations. I haven’t taken the bus on a regular basis, other than in foreign cities here and abroad, for over 25 years so my vantage point has always been the car.
As the cars were driving by I was wondering if the drivers make up stories about the people at the bus stop, the way I make up stories about the drivers. We concoct stories based on things like the made, model, and year of the car, the condition of the car, what neighborhood they’re pulling out of and a host of other conditions. Do people think I’m different because I’m riding the bus instead of driving a car?
So let’s translate this to your life as a caregiver. What stories do people tell themselves about you. Maybe it’s the stories based on things in your shopping cart, like first aid/medical supplies, etc. Perhaps it’s the way you sound on the phone, even if you say everything is okay…people know. What I do know for a fact is that if people don’t have the whole story they fill in the gaps with made-up stories. We like the circle to be complete and if we don’t fill in the gaps, the brain takes over and completes the task.
What does your body language, your emotional/spiritual persona saying about you on any given day? Are you trying to cover the real you because you’re concerned the “real” you would be too much to handle? I’ve found that the “more real” you are the better you’ll feel and so will those around you. You’ll find out who in your circle can hold the pain. People don’t have to solve your problems, but knowing they can hold the pain without running for the hills is a comfort. It means you have a place to vent and be authentic.
You don’t have to be happy and care-free for others. Caregiving is strenuous and exhausting. I hope you’ll find ways to rejuvenate your spirit, but in the mean time, take a look in the mirror whether it be an actual mirror or a quiet reflective space in your soul and ask yourself about the story you’re telling yourself and the story you want or need to tell others…then go do it!