A few months ago, I was asked to share my story with a local Caregivers organization. As I was reading it over the weekend, I realized that many of my readers may not know the story of how I became a Caregiver.
If you are a Parent/Caregiver, welcome! I am glad to have you along on this journey. If you know a Parent or Caregiver who is going through a health challenge with a loved one, please consider sharing this information with them. This is how community is formed, no one should have to go through these situations alone.
A Caregivers Path
It was a cold, late December afternoon when I first realized how far my son’s mental health had declined. A chain of events led us to the hospital and an extended wait in the comprehensive psychiatric emergency department. In a matter of months, my son had gone from a cheerful, happy-go-lucky teen to dark, dank and angry. Suddenly overnight I became a Caregiver.
When my son was first hospitalized and even in the subsequent months and hospitalizations that came later, I did not necessarily look at myself as a Caregiver. But that is exactly what I was. I was making the majority of decisions about my son’s care, managing his treatment plans and working daily to ensure that all his needs were being met. I was also working a full time job, parenting another child and trying to hold my “normal” life together all at the same time.
After a few months of this crisis, I realized that I needed additional support.
Yet when I sought out groups or peers that could give me advice, lend a hand or listen to my fears and concerns, I found none. This became the consistent theme throughout the 18 months that my son was in crisis. What I found was the longer he was in crisis, the less support there seemed to be.
When my son finally started to stabilize and was on the path to his own recovery, I made a decision to become a resource for other parents and Caregivers looking for support. I had learned so many lessons, tripped often into potholes and pitfalls I never saw coming and had recognized how important it was to have support during crisis times.
I longed for connection with other Caregivers, even after I’d come through the challenging times.
When I could not find the support I was looking for I decided to create a space for others to find support. Starting with the launch of this blog, Far From Paradise, and the Parent and Caregivers Community, Recharge Basecamp, I began sharing my stories, lessons learned, heartbreak and successes from walking the Caregiver’s path. Through this platform, I’ve formed many personal connections and have been able to assist those looking for help.
These connections have proved to be healing for me as well.
For information on Recharge Basecamp: A Community for Parents and Caregivers visit www.rechargebasecamp.com