It is slightly over 10 years now that I have been a carer and it honestly feels longer. Each day that passes seems to chip away at my resolve. Each day that passes my energy level sinks lower and I wonder what keeps me going from day to day. Some days I could sleep for England and others I run around as if I am on acid. There is no constant anymore. I often battle to summon up the interest to do something whether at work or at home. Caring has taken its toll on me over the years.
So why do I continue to do it? Well, the simple answer is love. Not love of doing it but love for the person I do it for. Because I know that a care home would not give the same level of care I do and that would destroy the person I care for. Caring has its rewards as well as times when it drives you to distraction. Many a time my patience wears thin with constant demands and requests. Many a time disagreements arise and my temper snaps. After all I am only human and somewhere deep down crave freedom from the prison of caring. It’s only natural to want your life back, especially as the years advance and you see less and less of it to enjoy. Yet life has no enjoyment anymore. Free time is a luxury that comes almost never, actually never comes, because guilt kicks in if you want to go anywhere. Guilt that you should want to get away from the handcuffs that tie you. Having to explain if you are away for more than five minutes. Your caree becomes so dependent on you that they cling to you like a limpet and don’t let go. Often they do not see how much life they suck out of you. Dragging you down physically and mentally.
All people can say to you is “you look knackered” not realising the half of it, or “take some time out for yourself” without offering a solution as to how, when. Not very helpful really. It’s hard to comprehend a life of caring if you have never had to experience it for yourself. Life’s easy when you can walk away from it and live your life. Do your own thing.
Anyway, some people can do it (even if it is forced on them), some people can’t or won’t even try. Whatever you choose, choose carefully. If you walk away, any regret you suffer is yours. Just remember contact by phone it just as good as popping round to visit. A caree gets lonely and sometimes just needs someone to talk to. Does it hurt to pick up the phone once a week? Not really. It shows you care.