Until I came to the forum I didn’t seriously look at myself as a care giver. I was just a mum looking after her daughter who’d been unwell and struggling for a long time.
I found the forum one morning when I was feeling really low and wondering if I could dig any deeper for the strength I needed to keep supporting my teenage daughter. I started to read through the posts and realised just how many people there were out there coping like my daughter each day, day after day. I had never joined a forum before but the warmth, humour, understanding and support that came through each post made me take the courage to join this one.
I am so glad I did! I wondered if as a care-giver not a sufferer anyone would want to respond. I cried when I read the supportive replies and warm welcomes I received. I felt I had found somewhere where people understood, where I could talk and they would listen. I learned so much more about what my daughter was going through every day. Other people’s stories, thoughts and ideas helped me adapt the way I supported my daughter. Above all, the forum gave me a real belief that there was hope, that I was doing the right things.
The forum carers section is a godsend. It is a private place just for care givers where we can talk, shout, cry and support each other. As a care-giver it can sometimes feel as if suddenly you are giving your all and a little bit more to the individual in need, but that you are receiving very little, sometimes nothing, in return.
However much you understand and empathise with them, appreciating how they feel and the enormous frustrations they face, inevitably there are times when, as their parent, partner etc, you scream inside ’WHAT ABOUT ME AND HOW I FEEL?!’
Then there is the guilt. Do I try to understand how they feel enough? Am I giving enough support or am I stifling what little independence they may feel they have left? Is it wrong to sometimes feel resentful that their limitations have changed the way that you live your life?
Being a care-giver does not make you superhuman. It does not stop you feeling emotion. You are going to feel tired, sad, upset, frustrated and a whole lot more. It is because you are a caring person. Accepting this is the difficult bit, learning to cope with it, often alone, is the hard bit.
My daughter is now on the slow but steady road to recovery. I find myself now talking to new carers who are where I was several years ago. Their worries, fears, concerns and troubles I can identify with. The forum and its fantastic members gave me so much (and still do!) and if I hope I can help that supportive ‘family’ continue to grow.