Who cares ?

Caring for someone else is looking after the needs of another person when they are unable to do it for themselves. This can take many forms such as looking after a parent or grandparent that suffers from dementia or ill health. Your partner may have cancer, or you could be a parent or carer of a child who has learning difficulties or mental health issues.

Caring can often hold difficult decisions which may lead to feelings of guilt as it may feel that you need to lose some of your responsibilities. Caring can be draining it often brings a sense of feeling overwhelmed. There can be difficulty in trying to balance your caring duties with the other aspects of your life, such as work, family and looking after your own needs.

Caring anxiety

Worrying about the future when caring for someone is a normal response. There can be lots of unknowns about what might happen and how this can be managed. There might be worry about how you can cope as a carer.

Carers are normally resilient people and often carry their worries around them without being able to share them. There is often a fight to get support as resources can be struggling to support those who need it and there is also being able to understand what is available.

One of the key things that I come across is that people are given a diagnosis of a loved one and very little support for how they can manage. There are of course the practical side of things, these are likely to take priority to make sure things are manageable and functioning. So where do the questions such as what is going to happen in the future ? How am I going to manage ? I am scared but I can’t say that to them as I need to be strong.

Caring loss

Caring for someone may not have been something that you had foreseen as being part of your life. For example:

A parent who discovers that their child has a long-term illness, disability or learning difficulty is likely to have to try to manage their feelings around the loss of the healthy child that they may have foreseen they would have.

A partner is unlikely to have foreseen that their loved one would develop a long-term illness or a disability due to an accident during their time together.

A son or daughter might understand that there might be caring duties ahead for their parents but the reality of how it impacts their life might have been harder to foresee.

It can be helpful to have some space to recognise the change in circumstances and the loss that it brings. Looking at the loss and working through it can be helpful as loss tends to have many elements to it, working through these can help to reorganise life and move forward. In effect it is a form of bereavement, and it is helpful to have the opportunity to grieve the loss.

Looking after you too !

Self-care is anything you do to take care of your physical, mental, spiritual well-being. Self-care is important for so many reasons. I like to promote self-care as I believe it helps towards positive mental health.

An ability to put your own needs first is not always easy. This can be for several reasons, time can feel tight, demands from other parts of our lives can get in the way, or perhaps it is the thoughts and feelings which we carry.

The benefits of self-care can leave us feeling refreshed, re-energised, feeling happier, help to restore a better work-life balance and avoid a feeling of burnout.

Some thoughts that might get in the way of self-care such as being self-indulgent, feeling guilty, or not seeing our needs as important as others.

The good news is self-care does not need to be time consuming, cost anything extra, or complicated. I thought it could be helpful to think about some examples of self-care to inspire some ideas of how you can bring more of it into your life, these can be found here – Self care activities – Counselling with Sarah

Having supported and worked with carers for the last few years, counselling has been a chance to explore some of the thoughts and feelings which may not be able to be explored elsewhere. It is not unusual for someone to feel stuck, lost, or lonely as a carer. The idea of doing something for themselves may leave a guilty feeling behind which can be talked through.

I work to support people to manage their anxiety has helped people to look after themselves better, it has meant that they have been able to feel less overwhelmed and finding that they are able to manage better. Counselling offers the support to work through the difficult feelings attached to the loss that you may be experiencing. If you feel that you would benefit from counselling or would like to speak to me further about how it might help support you, please contact me at [email protected]

Caring about those who care
Tagged on: