Most of us have taken on the role of caregiver at some point in our lives–some more, some less. Whether by choice, career path, or life circumstances, we end up taking care of others in some capacity or another.
I’m wired to care for people. In the earlier years, I was labeled as codependent (I don’t feel like getting into that right now, but I encourage you to look up the term!!!) in that I got a lot of my self-worth and confidence from caring for others. You can imagine that if my self worth was based on the health of someone else, that my own sense of self would be a little…shaky. If you find yourself being a little needy for approval, then I encourage you to examine the whys; nobody’s self worth should be dependent on anyone else. But for caregivers in general, here are some guidelines that I follow:
BOUNDARIES. Establish boundaries. Put on your own oxygen mask before you help anyone else otherwise you will seriously die. No, seriously. You’ll get some weird virus in your heart, or an autoimmune disorder like psoriasis and it’ll get infected and you’ll be so the fuck worn out that your body will just be like, I’m done.
DO NOT TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLY. As soon as you bring it into your own mind and body then it sets up camp there and then all of a sudden you’re sick too. This isn’t a free pass to be a cold bitch, but simply a warning to stay as emotionally healthy and mature as possible and if you need help, then go get it. Which brings me to…
DON’T TRY AND BE A HERO. You’re already a hero because you’re there. It’s not your responsibility to save anyone. You’re only responsible for yourself, and if you feel like your own self needs help, then go get it.
BE HUMAN. At your healthiest self, you’re going to sound like a therapist to the person you’re helping and it gets a bit nauseating. Feel free to throw a fit, eat 4L of ice cream, take your clothes off in public, kick a jogging stroller, chain smoke a pack of cigs and puke into the dead planter on your balcony. And then get up, brush yourself off, pop a piece of gum and get back into the game.
I think that’s it. I’m no pro; I can only speak from my own experience.
Do you guys have anything to add? Tell me your story. Are you a caregiver? How? Are you on the receiving end? How does this post make you feel? What can you add to it?