What are some things that caregivers have in common?
Well...talking about caregiving is kind of taboo. 50% of us don’t self-identify as caregivers.
There’s a lot of awkwardness here that we’ve got to get over to get on with the good stuff.
First of all, usually we don’t choose to become a caregiver - something happens and we rise to the occasion and do whatever it takes to care for those we love. Then in many cases, something happens again. And perhaps, again. And we keep finding ways to respond with care.
Second, often we don’t know how long we’ll be a caregiver for - sometimes the period of care is short, and sometimes it can go on for years. Situations are often fluid, with lots of changes, both positive and negative. Caregiving can be a rollercoaster, and for some of us we aren’t sure if it’s more Space Mountain or an upside-down-puke-your-guts-out-and-lose-all-the change-in-your-pockets kind of ride. Sometimes the care is fairly easy to do, and other times it isn’t and we aren’t sure if we can make it through another day. This for any reasonable human can cause a lot of stress, along with some pretty significant emotions.
Third, caregiving is often invisible to others because it happens behind closed doors and we tend to not talk about it. We’ll hide the gory, grisly, and often disturbing parts because we’re too exhausted by them to talk about them more. Or we don’t want to bother others with our problems. Or we just want to enjoy this nice moment where things feel normal for a bit. Or we are afraid we will get in trouble for how much time we are putting into caregiving. Caregiving has a way of keeping itself hidden and the problem with this is that caregivers aren’t receiving the care that they need.
When you take the step to speak out about caregiving, to see caregivers and acknowledge them and help connect them to resources, you are taking action to help with the invisible roller coaster struggle that many of us are privately on.
You are making a real difference.