Many of us are both caregivers and survivors of trauma.  It’s a rough road to walk.  Particularly when you are a physically “intact” survivor, and are giving care to a person who is now differently-abled.  Trying to give yourself compassion when you are helping someone who has witnessed horrors unimaginable to the rest of the world, who has had to come face to face with the  reality that humans have the capacity  for unimaginable acts of violence as well as compassion, is tough.  It makes  your issues, whatever they may be, seem pretty lame in comparison.  That doesn’t mean they aren’t just as hard for you to bear.  The mothers weeping at the loss of their sons and husbands, whether physically or mentally.  Wives who wake-up with a fist in their face, with the deadening fear that comes from being threatened by your husband who told you he would be there for your through everything, sickness to death, but now looks like he may be the cause of it.  (or her, there are many female soldiers now who are suffering the same symptoms)   You have to give yourself breaks, have respite, have moments where someone takes care of you.  The consequences to your own physical and mental health from not finding ways to have a break from the person you are caring for are monumental.  This is increased phenomenally when you are a trauma survivor yourself.  Forgive yourself when you want to scream, “who are you?” to the person you pledged your life to, or when you do scream it.  Find a group where you can tell the story of your life, the loss of what you thought it would be and how it has turned out; your love for a country that seems to have turned it’s back on you and your family or even your hatred and resentment toward it.  We’re allowed to feel that here even if it does seem unpatriotic.  Most often it’s just a flash of anger that will pass, and will be more likely to pass if you let it out where you know you can safely do so.  This morning my heart is with all of the caregivers, myself included, who care for war-torn survivors, disabled children, maimed loved ones whose brains may have been scrambled beyond recovery.  The sorrow, anger, guilt, rage,  at what war, or life has dealt you is understandable.  Many of us were never taken care of as children, and had the fantasy that marriage (or a relationship) would finally give us a partner who would care for us as we cared for him/her.  I’m not proud to say there are days when I want to scream, “I’m so sick of being around people who need me!!”  Family members tell me I have a “full plate” but lecture me about taking care of myself.  How do you do that when you’re constantly reminded that your care is so much less important (as far as consequences) than caring for your loved ones?  Whatever you may have done, or not done, forgive yourself.  Human beings are frail and yet we can be as strong as any superhero.  You need respite, caregiver!!  I need it, even if it’s only going to be for surgery and a few days in the hospital.  Needing a break doesn’t make you unpatriotic,  weak, or “bad.”  It just makes you human, in all the glorious and frightful manifestations being human are.  My heart is with you and I wish you peace, rest, and courage for your journey, whatever it may be, and wherever it may lead.  Namaste’.


~ by janetlandis on October 22, 2011.

One Response to “Caregivers”

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