Monday, July 25, 2011

Can I Care for Another Person?

Me & Mom (Photo by Jeff Norris)
I am a caregiver for my Mom who has dementia. My family and I live with my parents so Mom really has 3 adults and 1 child as her caregivers. However, most of the caregiving falls to my Dad as he is the one she is most comfortable with. My husband, son, and I help with a lot of things, but Mom prefers to have Dad help her with getting dressed and all the other basics of everyday.

But this week Dad is gone on a retreat and I am the main caregiver now for Mom. I don't mind taking care of Mom, it just happens to be unfortunate that this is not one of my more stable weeks. So I am having a hard time keeping up with caring for my son, caring for my Mom, and caring for myself.

I struggle with the question of whether or not people like me can be caregivers for others. Can I care for Mom when I have so many difficulties of my own? How do we care for our children?

For example, if I can't sleep at night and have to be up at 7:30am to get Mom ready for the day, how do I do that? I can't function on no sleep yet I also can't take a nap because of caring for another person.

I do believe that people with mental illness can lead good lives and we can be helpful to others, but it is eternally frustrating to me that I can't be a full time caregiver because honestly, I need a caregiver myself sometimes.

These are the times when I hate that I am not "normal."

I can be a caregiver, but I probably can't ever be a sole caregiver, which means I need someone to help me. Fortunately I have my husband and usually my Dad, but I wish they did not have to help me. This is where the guilt of mental illness comes in. The guilt over not being able to do everything, be "normal," and able take care of my mother on my own.


Rev. Katie

1 comment:

  1. I struggle with caregiving very often. There are days when I can barely care for myself and I still have to be be momma. Hard stuffs, very hard stuffs.