As we are rounding out the year, I felt this is the appropriate time to celebrate caregivers who often go unrecognized for their daily efforts. This issue is packed full of information with the caregiver in mind.
As survivors, we often neglect to understand what our experiences have been like for the caregiver or loved ones in our lives. We tend to get wrapped up in our own feelings of anger, grief, sadness, and so on, with little regard to how this massive change impacts those around us.
While it may seem as if the caregivers in our lives don’t understand what we are dealing with (Because how could they? Unless you’ve experienced a brain injury yourself, you can never fully understand.), they are doing the best they can with what they know.
The fact that doctors don’t even fully comprehend the far-reaching effects of brain injury should make it apparent the lay-person also wouldn’t be able to … without doing a lot of research and educating on their own — which many of them do.
Most caregivers want the best for us; they want to help us get the best treatment available so that we are able to return to somewhat of a sense of normalcy in our lives. But in the process, they often become burnt out, overwhelmed, and left with lingering questions of how to help us (or in some cases, how to deal with us).
As most of you know, I am currently a caregiver for my mom, who is going through terminal cancer treatment. I know how exhausting caregiving can be, how unappreciated I can feel, and how overwhelmed I can be with treatment options and/or doctor visits. It’s not an easy job, no matter how “able bodied” the person may seem to be.
So, the next time you get frustrated your caregiver just “doesn’t get it,” take a moment to remember how much they have to go through as well. Their life is also turned upside-down and up-ended. They are likely trying to manage work, children, and caregiver duties all at once, while also trying to spend copious amounts of time searching the internet for treatments and/or resources for you.
If you haven’t done so lately, please tell your caregiver how much they mean to you, and how much you appreciate them. If you’re the caregiver, have a candid conversation with your loved one about how much you try to understand their perspective, and how much you do to understand.
We all need each other. In a world where you can choose anything — choose to be KIND.