So, as you may know already, I’ve been a carer for 11 years. The people I care for have physical conditions – for example angina, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and epilepsy. But what has that taught me? I’ve done similar posts as the people I care for have mental health or neurological problems and some are users of substances.
But here’s what being a carer for people with physical conditions has taught me…
- Be adaptable – Having a physical condition can change your life and you have to learn to be adaptable. It’s the same when you are a carer. The person you care for may suddenly end up in hospital (as has happened to me) and you have to adapt to the situation quickly.
- Don’t panic – It’s easier said than done, especially when you have anxiety too. But I’ve had my fair share of stress and I’ve learnt that when a loved one becomes unwell, that it’s not fair on you or them to panic about it. Keeping calm is much better.
- Say yes to challenges – Being a next of kin for someone is a big challenge. It’s a big pressure, but I told the family member (who I am next of kin for) that I didn’t mind. It’s a big responsibility to have at 21, but it’s fine.
- Take time out for yourself – even if it’s 5 minutes – Taking time out for yourself is a blessing. It gives you time to rest and time to think of yourself. It means you are healthy and fit. If you became unwell, then you wouldn’t be able to care. It isn’t a guilt trip, but you need to think of yourself so you don’t burn out. I don’t need to say anymore.
- Be there for your family – It’s hard living with a physical condition. It can take its toll on a person. I always ask if my family are okay and if there’s anything they want to talk about. I give them control.