to the caretakers, from a caretaker, writing about care taking.

First, I want you to know that YOU are an INCREDIBLE human being. Seriously.

and if you are a caretaker, you are BEYONDDDD incredible. know that. if anything, just leave with that.

Us caretakers don’t get the love we need and deserve. Especially if we find ourselves in these positions at such a young age … ( in my mindset right now— 30 & under).

I tend to call us the unseen victims of a tragedy. I say this because I have lived this. And I felt this way from time to time.
I’m writing this post, for two reasons. The first, and most important to me, is to acknowledge all caretakers and let them know they aren’t alone. Care-taking is TOUGH WORK.  Many caretakers often don’t have a voice because they are too damn busy taking care of other people’s problems to realize they even NEED a voice. Oh also, we need to know that it is 100% okay to not want to be a caretaker (ever or anymore). So hi, i love you, && i hear youuu. lets talk.

The second reason I am writing this is because I feel like the general public/ our society/ anyone who comes across this post, should understand REALLY what it’s like for a caretaker. So the next time they come across one, they can just give one of us a huge hug, because they will know we need it.

Now that my small rant is out of the way, lol, let’s get started.

I was somewhat forced into the caretaker role, as many are, when facing an unexpected, life altering situation. My partner at the time was in need of an organ and after his family had deemed the situation “too much” to take on, 100% of the responsibilities landed on me. Twenty- five year old me. We moved into the master bedroom of my mom’s house. I kept the house clean. I worked everyday so I could keep up our lifestyle. And of course, paid most of the bills. I forfeited “me time” to bear the weight of his depression or to entertain and attempt to distract him from the current situation at hand. My world revolved around taking care of someone else and making sure their happiness and comfort was top priority.

Naturally, after a while, my identity started to shift. I was losing the essence of my being. I started to forget who I was and what made me happy.. all caused by ignoring my own self love and care.

Time and time again, people would naturally ask how everything else was…things like, how my partner was, or what was the progress with the transplant, how was my family handling this, was work too hard…?,

it was extremely rare when I had someone look me in the eyes, give me a hug, and just say, “hey, I know you’re healthy, life is “good” but girl, this shit is hard, & you’re doing a great job”.

Life started to get harder. My care taking hours were taken for granted. “ please tell me what you actually do to help? ”. That stings.

The days blurred together. The hours out in at work seemed useless. Day in and day out. Monotony. I  had barely anything to show for my hard work.  The things I did enjoy doing seemed pointless and would leave me with a feeling a guilt. “How could I enjoy myself when the one I love is suffering ?”. (Seems silly, but wait until you’re there. I hope you never are though. )

Day after day, I felt my old self slipping away. I cried at the most random times. I lived with an internal battle. Would I still be a good person if I left?

What do you think?

—more on that later.
C

2 thoughts on “to the caretakers, from a caretaker, writing about care taking.

  1. I myself am a caretaker= i have had two babies by my fiance, who supports us financially. I do not have a career, nor did I seek one, once I graduated college since I found myself in the midst of the mommy lifestyle, and was bound and determined to have that white picket fenced home with the 2.5 kids and a happy marriage, with me being the person who keeps the house warm welcome and alive and thriving. Well, there has been some ups and downs, and when my dog died I found myself spiraling into depression mode, and not attending to my daily tasks which seemed impossible to do as the work piled up along with the guilt and shame… i’ve had a hurt back for a month and that hasn’t helped any of course… well some days I felt stuck, the “what exactly do you do” comment painfully reminds me of the anger and sadness and heartache and straight loneliness I have felt when i’ve gotten this thrown at me- so I am there with you believe me, but at the same time, I’m the nonworking partner too so I’m in double dire straights so maybe i can shed some light on the situation… maybe I should have gotten my career going on, and while there’s no time like the present, I do find myself questioning my life style, life choices, and my next move in life… the main lesson I have learned in caring for loved ones even when I don’t feel like they are caring about me- is that there’s a reason why we’re together, in the here and now, and to not take life for granted, no matter how little you feel you have been given to work with or how much you have to work through, and to just listen to your heart and try and do more than be that “good person” you feel you can almost absent-mindedly be or can easily achieve or just are, and instead drop all of that rhetoric if you will, and look for those noble principles that you could consistently hold true no matter what the variables in the equation situation may be… in other words, it may help you to put yourself in your partner’s shoes and live life through his eyes for a moment. Would you feel like he is a good person to question leaving you with the seemingly primary concern of being a “good person”? I understand you feel life is difficult and your caretaking role is all consuming, but maybe ask yourself what you would be doing right now had you not be doing what you are doing right now. Would you honestly rather be anywhere than you are now, given this extraordinary circumstance, is it possible that this is the role you were meant to be exploring at this point in time in your life as part of your own journey and growth? Sometimes it may seem like one partner is doing more and therefore could never match or be a “better person” than the other partner and so the more needy partner may feel even less than in this type of relationship too. I only can speak for myself; but it just seems like maybe sometimes the working partner not only tends to get more glory for being this archetypal “good person” but the working partner sometimes doesn’t see that this rhetoric may be hurting their own role in the relationship by biting off more than they should in a partnership and then belittling the person for not matching the high standards in place especially if they physically are unable to… and when the pressure doesn’t change or let off, it does feel rather hopeless for both people, and becomes a runaway train going faster and faster and harder to stop and change course. My partner works hard to take care of us, but he too sees himself as a “victim” of sorts, working so hard for everybody but himself, with no time for himself and his pursuits in life… I try and understand his position without accepting the “bad person” role as well as not in turn seeing myself as a victim of the same circumstance. It’s too easy to blame your loved ones on your own frustrations in life, even if they are intertwined with that person… It’s better but more difficult to find a common ground of equality, trust, love, and a way to work out the extraoridinary circumstances in a way that is satisfactory for both your lives together and invidividually. Just remember such a deep complex relationship is at least real and true, and so to leave it when things aren’t going good or at all as expected or planned, you may want to stop and ask yourself what you are really leaving behind, and what you ARE getting from this life you’ve made together, since reality has a way of showing us we don’t know what we have until it’s gone and the feelings you’re having now may be a part of the guilt and shame you feel when you realize the good parts of your life together, that nobody on this earth could give you but your partner. When I feel like leaving my relationship, I take a step back, and allow room for growth for both of us. We love each other, we are committed, and yet as 20 somethings together since college, we still have a little growing to do independently I think, and so it’s nice to be able to have a security in a life partner and then also realize you are still your own person with your own responsibilities to yourself and the relationship to make it all work. Take it day by day, and don’t worry about being a good or bad person- instead, develop noble principles that would give you the flexibility to make complex decisions that ultimately work toward a higher good- peace, love, happiness, justice, you name it. I do feel sad you all are going through this and I do hope that he gets better, and also I would like to think he would have done the same for you if it had happened like that, but since that is your reality, you may as well come to an understanding of sorts to get back to that place of crazy love for each other no matter what is going on. Life is too short to wonder if you are doing the best you could have done in a different life; it’s nice to love and enjoy what you have together and appreciate the fact that you are able to fulfill your duties- one has to wonder, would you work as hard if you were living more for yourself? I wonder that myself and it’s just amazing what human beings are capable of doing when yes= another depends on you, rain or shine. It’s almost that needed catalyst to will the self even to work hard enough to make a positive impact in this world in the first place. As much as working is not fun, one has to really get in there and wonder how not fun it would be to be in your partner’s shoes living his life, making you feel like this, it’s not the ideal for either one of you obviously, but that’s the beauty in it too= you all are each other’s best hope in succeeding because you are already trusting each other and holding one another to it, so now, believe your love for each other is real and drop any petty arguments that you may have been having and try and say new things. Be honest about how you feel and allow the other the same floor space. Try and really be equal partners because if you really listen, it’s usually about something you both are doing but unwilling to take responsibility because you are holding on to who does it more, first, etc. Anything that is of that nature doesn’t serve you now or any other relationship you have, so the best thing you can work on right now and I only say this because I am currently working on it with my partner= is to forgive any wrong doings, move forward with love, take accountability and responsibility= not to be a good person (you already are), but to change how you relate to one another. Good luck and I hope you don’t find this message to be weird, I just am getting in there and telling you what I hear and honestly my spouse does the whole good person rhetoric and it irritates the heck out of me not because i’m a bad person, but because that’s basically what he’s built his own good person credibility on which obviously hurts me, and not saying you’re doing the same, but it is something to ponder at least, so I’m passing it along, for better or worse!! Good luckies and i hope for the best for you friend!! ~Sincerely, Stephanie C M

  2. You showed me everything I needed and want in those years you didn’t loose yourself you gave it to me and for that I will always love you and try to be where ever I can be in your life and I’m truly thankful for you and your heart and even getting to know it.😃

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