Being a carer can be a lonely path

Being a carer can be a lonely path at times. Friends and family don’t always know or realise the full extent of what is going on. Frequently people are shocked by the constant concern and issues faced in my household.

Of course, when a major event happens, like a hospitalisation, then people come around. Otherwise it rightly isn’t the forefront of people lives. After all, we are the main character in our own films right? Other characters dip in and out.

So the jobs that take up a carers time, and the mental aspects of coping with a terminally ill patient, won’t be considered by people. This is the lonely aspect. It can feel like you are ploughing a furrow that no one else is aware of.

I used to really love Friday evenings. I’d leave work, and that was it for the week. Bliss. However now, I leave work and my second job starts. Picking up the pieces at home after my wife has collapsed exhausted at the end of the day. Looking after the children, and ensuring they get to whatever club or commitment they need to at the right time. The stress of worrying over her health that day.

I saw a great picture the other day (below), and it is so right. When people ask us how we are, the default answer can be to say I’m fine. But is that really the case? We should be prepared to ask for help. It may surprise you that most people will be more than willing! It is hard, but the relief when offered some assistance can be rejuvenating.

There is no need to be a martyr as a carer. After the patient, the most important person to look after should be yourself. You will help no one by being burnt out and getting ill. I will admit I don’t always do this. I am a typical man, and will soldier on and try to do everything by myself, when in reality I am just spreading myself so thin that nothing gets done properly. I think that may be a resolution for me this year – to accept help and ask for assistance.

I will also say something about lonely versus alone. As an introvert, being alone can bring me great relief and help me to power up. This isn’t being lonely, but having time on my own. There is a major difference between wanting solitude and having solitude thrust upon you.

Finally the first lines of the following came to mind while writing. Enjoy!

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