I have started this freaking blog, three times. I can’t seem to get going with it. Why? Because my mind is racing and I don’t want to deal with the emotional “stuff” that I am going to have to deal with. How can I tell you to learn to accept help when I have had trouble accepting help? Maybe, I can use some of my experiences so you don’t have to be as stressed as I was.
Our own thoughts, feelings, and stressors keep us from accepting help much less asking for help. Look at us in our Superman power pose. We can handle all. We can do all. And we truly can until the needs of our loved one takes up so much time and energy that we have nothing left to give. This happens about 18 months to two years in the helping process.
February 22, 2023
When I can help someone, I do. I don’t think a thing about helping them nor do I keep track or a “tab”, if you will. I am sure there are many people out there that are the same way. Just as I am sure that there are people that do keep score. Find the people who do not keep score and are willing and able to help each other out when needed.
We can’t do it all. We do need help. We need a written list. It doesn’t have to be things for your loved one, it can be things for you or the house. Things that others can do for you to help ease the stress. What would help you? It is often hard to think about what would help us when we are put on the spot with an offer of help.
Too often we think all the help needs to be for our loved one or we should not ask for help because we are the caregiver. Nope, wrong again. What could someone do for you to free up time for you to get your paying job done? What could someone do for you so that you can spend more quality time with your loved one? I want you to think and consider all of the things that do not require you personally to handle. There are quite a few, aren’t there? Write them down on a piece of paper and place them on the refrigerator. Think of it as delegating certain tasks so that you can be fresh, rested, and in a better frame of mind to help your loved one. Let’s face it, if you don’t take care of your health and your needs too, you will become ill and you can be in worse physical health than the person you are caring for…then who will take care of your loved one?
Let them pick what they want to do from your list. Most of us have things that we can do and will do and we also have things we hate to do. Don’t expect someone to do something that they hate doing. Since you aren’t making them or expecting them to do something that they hate…you don’t have to feel guilty about asking for some help.
Our own personal barriers get in the way of asking for help or accepting help. Most of the time it is the negative head trash talk that gets in our way.
Examples of barriers that caregivers have in accepting or asking for help:
- Do you feel selfish if you take care of your own wants and needs?
- Do you feel like a failure if you have to ask for help?
- Do you feel that you have to prove something? (being worthy, loving, caring)
- Do you feel responsible? Are you truly responsible or is that a false narrative?
- Do you find yourself saying, “If I don’t do it, no one else will do it?”
- Do you find yourself saying,” family takes care of family?”
- Do you keep hearing the promise that you made, playing over and over in your mind?
- Do you have the inability to let go of control?
- Do you have guilt over leaving your loved one for a short time?
- Do you have trouble feeling that no one else can “do it right?”
Reframe the way that you view things. Look for solutions to the problems. The problems are things that get in your way of sleep, rest, physical activity, alone time, and being in the best frame of mind and shape that you can be in to provide the best care for your loved one.
What are some solutions that will remedy these things? One of the best things to remember is to use “I” statements. As in, “I need…” “I want …” Do not say, “You need to…” No hinting allowed. No one can read your mind.
If someone asks you what they can do, don’t even think that you are a burden. You aren’t. You are important to them and they want to help you. Don’t rob someone of a blessing when they want to do something to help.
Caregiving is hard. Caregiving is a burden. Don’t misunderstand…the person is not a burden. I want you to be able to recognize that caregiver burnout is real and it can happen to anyone. You do need help and you do need to rest.
Admit what you cannot do. Admit what you can no longer do. The struggle is the fight inside your own mind. When you accept things that you cannot do, you allow your brain to look for other solutions.