Days fly by, a new post idea hits me, I either start to write or am too tired and will return to it another day and then that idea either eludes me or I can’t seem to figure out where to go from the title.
But one stream that has been current in my thoughts is why when I see other caregiver’s posts or tweets, they seem to be happier, more positive and have a better grasp on things than I do? Now I’m not saying they have a “whoo hoo my loved one has Alzheimer’s” happy, because there’s nothing happy about the disease, but wondering why am I’m failing at finding the reward in what I do as a caregiver, I’m not there yet.
They seem to be able to see the light in what can be very dark days. Their stress doesn’t pour out into their words as mine seem to do, so I often keep quiet. I’m stressed all of the time, cry…a lot, and as much as I work to handle how I react to things, sometimes I can’t hold it in. I’m trying to balance having patience, being calm in midst of the Alzheimer’s storm, even when I have to struggle with mom to get her to change clothes, her pads, or to be calm because she doesn’t “see” anyone she knows (hallucinations) with wanting to burst out and scream. Does anyone else want to scream? Are my fellow advocates handling their caregiving with grace under fire?
My sane self knows I have no control over what’s going to be said or done by mom, but my un-rational self feels I could do more, be better, try harder until my mom recognizes that I’m doing the best that I can, the best for “her”, but she never will. Caring for mom wasn’t something I was given an option to do, I’m an only child so who else would do it? My dad’s passed, mom has no siblings…it’s me. And I honestly accept my role, I knew down the line in my life I would be caring for her but you never think Alzheimer’s would enter the picture. I just wish I had a break for an hour or two.
People have said that I shouldn’t beat myself up because it has “just” been me on duty for 24/7, 365 days a year for the past 3 1/2 years, but I don’t want that to be an excuse to find my happy, to find my reward, to be the best caregiver that I can be.
I try to be a better daughter, a better caregiver, even neglecting my own self which tends to happen to caregiver’s, but how do you stop for yourself when it’s just you? I wish I could be as nurturing and encouraging to myself as I am for other caregivers or to other people period.
Mom’s declining faster and as she changes, I change, looking for ways to do old things in a new way. I’m a work in progress trying to accept what I’m doing many couldn’t or wouldn’t do day-in and day-out, but on my birthday a few days ago, I was having a great conversation with my long-time friend Sharon, as we always do.
She like others have said good things to me, but whatever good people have said that didn’t stick, this did…Before our conversation ended, she asked me to do one thing and that was to really recognize that I am doing the best that I can.
It’s challenging to realize that within myself, but perhaps it’s time to try.