I see your eyes and I know how lost you feel right now. I can imagine your thoughts and all of the emotions you are feeling; angry, sad, mad and blaming all at the same time. You are in shock. This child or loved one that you have tried so hard to love through all the tough times; love away their hurt, their pain, their illness is really in crisis.
You may not be able to hear this now, but I want you to know of a truth that I learned going through my son’s crisis; sometimes we just cannot love someone through something that they are experiencing. It is not a reflection on how much you love, how big your heart is or how hard you try to do all the right things. You see, it isn’t about you at all. That’s the hard part of all of this and as it starts to settle in, you may realize that this situation was going to occur no matter what you did or did not do. If there were an action you could take to make it better, you would do it. When there is no action that you can take, it can feel like you’re falling into a deep hole. I understand. I have been exactly where you are. You are not alone.
Many Caregivers, whether mom, dad or grandparents, are natural born nurturers and most of us really pride ourselves on the way we care for, love and support the people in our lives. I know I do. The risk with this is that sometimes we forget that it’s not really our responsibility to make it all okay. While we may coach, teach and guide our loved ones along their path or through decisions that they need to make, we cannot assume responsibility for the actions taken by another person, even when it’s your child choosing unhealthy habits or an unconventional, jagged road.
I’ve sat in the waiting rooms and Doctor’s offices, just like the ones you’ve been waiting in recently. When you are there, do you take a look around? I imagine that you see the other Caregivers who are there too. When my son was in crisis, there were times when the waiting rooms were so packed with parents and Caregivers that there wasn’t anywhere for me to sit. One would think with all those people going through similar circumstances, you might feel a bit more supported. Yet, it feels so lonely.
I know that it may feel like no one could possibly understand what you are going through or what you have been through. I want you to know that there are people who do understand and who have been down the road you are on. Often it takes a little bit of trusting and searching to find the support that you need. Please do not give up on yourself or your loved one. You will get through this bumpy time and you’ll find your way back home again.
With much love,
A Mom who has been there
This is very beautiful! It is so true that a person’s mental illness isn’t about their caregiver. I know my parents have gradually distanced themselves from me to protect themselves from being hurt by my actions. This is understandable, even though it is sad now that I’m doing relatively well (I’m the one with mental illness).
Amy White says
Thank you for your comments. I hope that with time, the distance will give you all a beautiful new perspective and that healing with take place within your family (if that is what everyone wants). One thing that I have learned is that in crisis everyone is doing the best that they can, and that things may be challenging even so. I am glad to hear you are doing relatively well and wish you continued success on your path. Big big love your way!
Wonderful post! It becomes difficult to find joy in small things when taking on such a monumental task. This is a beautiful letter to everyone who is going through this difficult period of change. To watch your loved one deteriorate in front of you is sad and infuriating and upsetting and it is so easy to feel lost and lone. I have never met anyone who has said the process is easy. I also find it helpful to look online for others who are going through this and can offer insight and advice as well as books and magazines. I wanted to recommend a book that really helped me with my mother called “The Caregiving Trap” by author Pamela Wilson (http://pameladwilson.com/book/…. The author shares her personal experience as well as her professional experience and offers help for the caregiver and the care recipient. This book helps to keep your emotions in check and prepares you for many of the difficult decisions you will have to make along the way. I think the more prepared you are the less you can be caught off guard along the way which is very discouraging and hard. A big hug to all of the caregivers out there!
Amy White says
Thank you so much for your comments and for sharing another important resource with my readers! This is fantastic and I’ll be looking it up as well.