In our FB Community, The Caregivers Collective, the community brought up:
I don’t see myself as caregiver
Can I consider myself a caregiver?
What makes a caregiver?
What’s our definition?
What came out of this conversation is that individuals have trouble being called a caregiver because they don’t feel like they meet the criteria. They feel that they are not there enough, and to them that they are not doing much.
The thing is they begin to see that the things that they DO do as counting. And in some cases, it is 100% doable from anywhere.
From this conversation what came up was when they went looking and asking themselves, ‘What do I do?’, ‘What do I need to do?’, and then seeing that they have a function that is critical in the care. Like supporting other family and friends and their loved one in decision making and having their back.
I’ve been reading “Take Your Oxygen First” by Leeza Gibbons. This paragraph struck me⇩
“…….there can be a great deal of shame and stigma attached to the idea of caregiving. Caregivers are often described as ‘martyrs’ and ‘victims’. To many, caregiving is often associated with codependency, a mental health challenge in which a person cares too much for another’s struggles, often enabling bad behavior in the one being cared for. These associations cause caregivers to avoid being labeled a ‘caregiver’ and, as a result, they fail to seek help for themselves.”Excerpt from “Take Your Oxygen First”
In particular, this quote⇩
……..’Cause caregivers to avoid being labeled a ‘caregiver’ and, as a result, they fail to seek help for themselves’
Why does how you define yourself matter? I see this over and over again. When you don’t define yourself as a caregiver, you fail to seek help. When you fail to seek help, you suffer. When you suffer, your loved one also suffers.
What to do about it?
What if you defined yourself as a caregiver so that you sought the help and support you need? What would you be experiencing as a result of having that support and help?
This is a much bigger conversation. Let’s continue it together. Post your comments below.