As a carer you may feel like you should be doing more, that you are not doing enough and just feel overall guilty that you are not doing a good job. When you are a carer you may often find yourself in a vicious cycle of resentment of guilt. Too many caregivers feel guilty for saying anything construed as complaining or wanting a break.
You may feel like your life no longer belongs to you – that it’s only about the person you are caring for and you whole life revolves around your carer role. You will find yourself feeling guilty for the way that you’re feeling. Many carers who give up their life to caring for a loved one or allocate a sizeable amount of time to caring, will eventually feel like their life no longer belongs to themselves. If you’re a carer experiencing this, you may feel almost as if your life is slipping away. You spend all your free time caring for somebody else and you may find yourself losing touch with the people close to you: your friends and even your spouse or children, in the most extreme cases.
You are not alone.
Many carers find it hard to maintain a social life and carry on with their hobbies and interests. But you may find yourself feeling guilty, that as a carer you allow yourself to think about you, when there’s a loved one in a very difficult situation requiring your care and help.
Carers can also reclaim ttheir identity by cultivating trusted and appropriate relationships. In those relationships, carers can safely express feelings and challenges with someone who understands their needs. Not limited to just friendships, a relationship with a trained mental health counsellor can help sort through issues.
Here are some tips for you to try this week :
Schedule your days to give you free time for yourself.
Start a new hobby, learn a new skill or meet new people, whatever is important for yourself.
The next time a friend asks, “How are you?” it may feel strange at first, but try and answer in first person singular. Appropriately sharing your own heartache and feelings is not self-centered; it is healthy.
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