It’s the bane of any caregiver’s existence. That looming silent shadow at the back of your mind. it’s always there, patiently waiting to worm into the fabric of your life. I’m talking about burnout, specifically as a caregiver. It really isn’t fair, is it? You want nothing more than to help your loved one as best as you can, most of us would happily sacrifice everything in the hopes of helping them. But you can’t, because you know what happens when you give up everything? When you lose yourself in what you do as opposed to who you are? That’s right, burnout. The fact of it is that even with an act like caregiving, you can’t give everything of yourself and hope to get by without yourself.
Caregiver burnout is usually what happens when you’ve been stretched to the max, you just can’t give anymore of yourself. You can be tired, irritable, depressed, anxious, any number of nasties really. It happens when you push too hard and too fast and give all you’ve got until you have nothing left.
That dark looming cloud overhead doesn’t have to stay there though. You can make it go away, its not easy, but its probably worthwhile. Reach out. Hold out your hand and ask for support. Asking for help doesn’t make you weak, far from it. Anybody who has swallowed their pride and allowed others to share the weight will tell you that it only makes you stronger. Think of the bundle of sticks analogy. One twig is pretty easy to break, right? Well try grabbing a handful and break them at the same time. It’s quite a bit harder, isn’t it? The point is, you don’t have to do this alone. I’ve often found that many people want to be helpful but just aren’t sure what to do, so if somebody offers their assistance, take it, be up front about what you could use help with. Many hands make light work, right?
Its all about you finding balance in your life. If you can find that middle ground. That spot where you can be a caregiver AND yourself, it will be better not only for you, but also the loved one who you care for. Just remember that every storm breaks.