Monday, November 10, 2014

Two Uncomfortable Truths

Ok, so the C in CRAZY is Caring.

The R in CRAZY is Reality. The reality is that there are two truths about caregiving—the first you’ll only hear in whispers—that should be the foundation of your experience. First, it’s OK to not like caregiving. You certainly care about the person for whom you are caring; you may even love them. But, you don’t have to like all the caring activities for which you are responsible. In fact, it may not be too strong a statement to say that you detest some of your responsibilities. The fact that you don’t like some of the activities does not say anything less-than-positive about you. It’s OK. No one likes everything they have to do as a caregiver and it’s OK say so…to your inner circle. Complaining about your responsibilities to anyone who will seem to listen can assure that sooner or later few people will be there to listen.

Second, it’s OK to not know everything. No one does, not even professional caregivers. One of the maddening aspects of caregiving is that you can ask the same question of 3 professional caregivers/lawyers/counselors and you’ll often get 3 different answers. The solution is to ask more questions. Get as much information as you can and make informed decisions. The bottom line of the caregiving experience is this: As long as your caree is safe everything else is a bonus. So, get as much information as you can, make good decisions and do it your way.

Again, caregiving can be an experience that broadens and deepens your life in ways you can’t imagine. Or, it can be an experience that steals the life you have, shrinks your world and turns you into a negative person you never meant to be.

Respect yourself enough to admit that you may not like everything about the experience caregiving has brought into your life. Be aware enough to know that you can’t know everything and ask better questions.

In fact, the next time you’re talking with another caregiver lean forward and whisper, “What do you really think about caregiving?”

Their answer may surprise—and comfort—you.

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